Obscure Vermont

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The ballad of hiding things behind walls is a pervasive one that’s well sung. I’ve always had a fascination with things lost and re-discovered, and often can’t help wondering what sort of clandestine things exist in the mundane world we see everyday, and if uncovered, what sort of power would it have on it’s discoverers? Years ago, I remember an old farmhouse in Colchester that was getting a face lift. As the… Read More

Spring in Vermont often means weeks of gloom and rain, which mixes up with the sour in my cup. Sometimes the best cure for Spring fever is adventuring. I knew of two local spectacles in Burlington’s intervale, one a local landmark and another a striking existence of hidden obscura. Cruising down North Champlain Street, jarring along the many “speed humps” along the cracked road, I gazed at the Old North End’s many… Read More

The Pine Street barge canal was another find I stumbled on while browsing Google maps of Burlington one night in my apartment. An interesting hatchet shaped stagnant watery partition jutting off from Lake Champlain into Burlington’s south end district – it’s surrounded by swamps, the bike path, railroad tracks and slumping chain link fences, and a little to the east – Pine Street and it’s burgeoning arts district delineate the border of… Read More

Sometimes it seems that I could write a sizable book about Burlington, inspired by the seemingly endless tales of fabled places, strange stories and lost history that are begging to be known – their praises seldomly sang by a select and arcane few. There are many weird and wonderful things that many of us see everyday. The world’s largest tower of filing cabinets makes its home in a weedy field in the South End,… Read More

Burlington is Vermont’s largest city; the last census reported around 42,000 people making their home within the city’s 16 square miles. And anyone who knows Burlington would agree its an interesting city, with a diverse history adding to the layers that form the design and the architecture of the big picture. But even among the urbanization, there are still untapped places that can offer a rare glimpse of mystery and perspective that have… Read More

Auer Family Boathouse | Circa 1950. Photo from my family archives. This is a peculiar tale I recall from my childhood. It was a cool summers night – late July, 1998. I was 10 years old and was spending the night at my Grandfather’s boathouse, situated on one of the most splendid locations in all of the state. Located where the Winooski River meets Lake Champlain in a sandy delta of twisted Cottonwood Trees… Read More

Winooski is a brawny old mill town built intentionally on a series of cascades on it’s namesake river that would power the woolen mills that built the city, and a prevalent French Canadian populace that affixed their surnames to street signs and brought down francophone media from Quebec. The textile mills both lifted the city up, and then let it fall when the industry went bust. The flood of 1927 was particularly harsh… Read More

I think this is one of the first Vermont oddities most Chittenden County denizens are introduced to, because of its easy to find location in a slowly gentrifying neighborhood. I lived in Burlington’s cool south end district for a few years before I moved onto other apartments, which I’m now regretting. Sometimes the best adventures are in your own backyard. Or at least they can keep the doldrums away. One of my… Read More

There are many schemes a community could brainstorm to cut back on it’s energy bills. In the 1970s, Winooski’s solution was to build a giant dome over town, which of course led this blogger to ask a lot of questions. Shaped by the cotton mills that lined the river banks and influenced by the loads of immigrants that moved into the neighborhoods rising up the steel hill across it’s titular river from more affluent Burlington,… Read More

Abandoned roads have a story to tell. They represent abandoned dreams and ambitious projects that reflect the growth and often tumultuousness of our society, or the irresponsibility of our governments, cracked asphalt scars that mar the landscape and are reincarnated into monuments of failure. The Southern Connector There is a stretch of abandoned interstate highway in Burlington’s south end, crumbling to pieces as the urban development around it was designed purposely to obscure… Read More