I can come up with a long list of reasons why I love Vermont. But if I have to narrow it down to one favorite quality, to me it’s the fabric of small-town life, with the closeness of farms and the pristine natural environment.
When I'm traveling throughout Vermont...
We love to see villages and towns where the streets are lined with locally-owned shops. Vermonters realize how lucky we are to still have small-scale communities that work. They aren't overrun by fast-food chains and big-box retailers. Mom-and-pop country stores, family-owned restaurants, cafes, bakeries and brew pubs, the post office, and town hall are where neighbors meet, greet, and share news, ideas, and laughter.
I find a certain comfort in the familiarity of traditional buildings and structures. When I see a village green with its picnic tables and
gazebo, a white church with its tall spire, a covered bridge spanning a clear stream, these give me a sense of being a part of history, that my heritage is worth cherishing and protecting. That's always been important to me, and I want that for my children, too.
Though the pace of life is slower in Vermont, our small towns aren't sleepy or boring. In fact, they are far from it! Vermonters love to learn, celebrate, and just plain have fun. A village with less than 500 people can have a vibrant theater, an orchestra, a writer's group, and more than one fine art's gallery. Artisan fairs and farmer's markets abound all year round. Historic events are remembered with concerts, parades, and educational opportunities for people of all ages. Our small towns make you feel at home, no matter where you're from. People feel safe here. They are refreshed and inspired. Why? Maybe it's the serenity that comes from a small community still connected to the family farms in the surrounding countryside. Perhaps it's a result of being able to stroll from the center of a vibrant town to a dense forest. Most likely, it's both of these and the Vermont people who work diligently to preserve our unique way of life.
Though every small town in Vermont has its special qualities and unique charm, here are a few I'm very familiar with and know you'll enjoy visiting.
5 Towns You'll Enjoy Visiting
Nestled in the Green Mountain National Forest, Weston is home to The Vermont Country Store, our family-owned business and the original country store in Vermont. Weston is also home to Vermont’s oldest professional playhouse, often said to be the most beautiful theater in New England.
Be sure to tour the still-functioning grist mill just down the road. Our great-grandfather Garner Lyman Orton was the miller there.
In the valley of the Williams River is historic Chester, very nearly as it was in the 1800s. You’ll see a collection of that century’s most popular architectural styles.
Take a stroll on the village green and enjoy poking around in the antique shops, book store, and many small shops. Head north on Rt. 103 past the railroad station through Chester Depot, then across the river to the Stone Village.
Through thick woods, down a steep hill, round a sharp curve, and Grafton appears with picture-book quality! Stroll the village for its architecture and nearby state forest for its natural beauty
As you leave town, head west on Rt. 121. The road turns to dirt. There's a real nice swimming pond a mile up that road on the left.
4. Bellows Falls
After visiting our store, be sure to spend some time in Bellows Falls, a village within the town of Rockingham. True to its name, there are falls to see, and much more!
Check out the growing local art scene on Canal Street, There’s also a 19th-century railway station, an opera house with a huge movie screen, a hydroelectric dam, one of the oldest canals, in the country and a gorgeous brick downtown.
Home to the first marble quarry in America, Dorset is a scene of quiet busyness, much as it has been for over 200 years. The quarry is open to the public and in summer serves as the local swimming pool.
Be sure to stroll the village green, where even the sidewalks are made of marble. Take in a show at the Dorset Playhouse and then enjoy dinner at the Dorset Inn, which has operated continually since 1796.