A phone call the other night stirred up some pleasant memories. Fellow wanted to know something about Vermont, said he was going up there right away and could use some tips about what to see, etc.
I’ve said and written many times that Vermont is my second favorite state, right after good ole’ Alabama. What should I tell him to see or where should I tell him to go?
Different things appeal to different people. For instance, my third favorite state is Iowa. What? What about Iowa could appeal to you? It’s just cornfields and soybean fields. Boring. That’s what somebody said. I loved it, and the people there. But in the case of Vermont, what should I recommend?
First, just the countryside. Get off the Interstate and onto the blue highways and state roads as soon as possible. A good place to enter is at Hanover, New Hampshire, which really ought to be in Vermont. That’s where Dartmouth is located. They are my ideal of what a college/college town should be like.
The first time we were up there, we tried to take in all of New England. We got off the plane at Windsor Falls, rented us a Plymouth Volare with a slant/six engine, and happily motored through parts of all of the New England states except Rhode Island. They were all nice, but Vermont was our favorite.
Just drive along on those little roads. There’s a picture-book farm down there. House, barn, silo, tractor, cows, corn field–just like in a first grade reader. No litter along the highway, I mean none. Not even any big billboard advertising. Each little town has a wrought iron sign with its name and the date the town was established–in the 1700s, probably.
We saw an article in a magazine at a motel about the Tunbridge World’s Fair, the 150th, or something like that. It was on our way, so… there we were. It was in the middle of the week, so there were no huge crowds. Tunbridge? About like Loachapoka. There were displays of fruit and vegetables and pumpkins. We didn’t see them, but amongst the activities were horse pulls and steer pulls, that kind of thing. I saw there the biggest steers I’ve ever seen. Huge things. Even a little Ferris wheel Stop by if you get a chance.
Then there was the town of South Royalton. About the size of Notasulga. The White River runs right through the middle of it. It’s one of those wide but shallow rivers. A fly fisherman was standing way out in the middle of it. Funny thing: the Vermont School of Law is located there. A student certainly wouldn’t have many distractions
There was a covered bridge there, one at Tunbridge, too.
We sliced diagonally across the state to the biggest city in it, Burlington. It’s bigger than the population figures would indicate, because there are other towns all around. Vermont is very economical about town names. You’ll see a town on the map, like Royalton, for example, and there’ll often be a South Royalton and a North Royalton and an East Royalton…you get the idea.
We especially like Bennington and its surroundings. There’s a museum there that features virtually all of Grandma Moses’ works. The Old First Church is there. Go in, for sure. It is beautiful, and practically oozes history. There’s a graveyard nearby. Robert Frost is one of the famous people buried there.
Arlington is nearby. There’s a Norman Rockwell museum there. Arlington is where he lived when he was turning out many of those Saturday Evening post covers. His house is right over there, on the other side of a famous trout stream. To get there, you go through surely the most photographed and painted covered bridge in the country.
They may be gone by now, but even the second time we went, there were people working in the museum who had posed for Rockwell when they were kids.
And speaking of Grandma Moses, she lived and painted not far over into upstate New York at a place – not a town, not even a village – called Eagle Bridge. Her house is there.
And big band fans, to get there, you go through the town of Hoosick Falls. There’s where two icons of the big band era lived, Bob Eberley (he changed the last letter), who sang with Jimmy Dorsey, and Ray Eberle, who sang with Glenn Miller.
It really should be in Vermont.
Alas, we saw such a little bit of Vermont. Hope you see more.