Obscure Vermont

Archives

For a blog about obscure Vermont, I’m a little surprised that an abandoned farm hasn’t made the rounds in my posts yet. Every state has stereotypes that give an oversimplified image of what it’s supposedly all about. Massachusetts is all paved suburbia and Dunkin Donuts, Maine has the ocean and fanfare for an acquired taste called Moxie, and Vermont is a bunch of farms and home to Ben and Jerry’s. Well, in… Read More

The hill country up near hardscrabble East Richford is an older, left behind Vermont of farmhouses with sagging rooflines, boarded up country stores, rivers, rusted iron railroad bridges over narrow underpasses, and toothpick rows of harvested corn stocks left in bleak fields. It was up in this part of the state under 6 inches of snow and roads that made me thankful for snow tires that I was going oddity hunting. We… Read More

I woke up at 5 AM, was reminded that I wasn’t a morning person, and stumbled out my back door at 6. My friend was waiting for me in his parked car as the headlights cast a dull amber pallor onto quiet streets that were under the cold gray dawn. It was 41 degrees and I was all shiver bones in the new coming chill. I stopped for a few gas station coffees… Read More

“Wait – there it is!” I shouted, pointing to the top of a long rock emergence that confined a rootsy trail between a steep descent down to more rocks and dead leaves. I hastily bushwacked off from the path, clambered up the small incline thick with lots of scratchy underbrush and got to a plateaued area at the top, and found what I had been searching for – the very camouflaged Franklin… Read More

Queen Connie Vermont’s roads are pretty regulated, so there isn’t much here in terms of weird or kitschy personalized properties that people like to put into the broad category of roadside Americana – which includes a perpetually growing compilation of the same genre (nonstandardized) but vary widely in sentiment and imagery. But, that doesn’t mean obscurities can’t be found along Vermont’s byways. Take the tiny farm town of Leicester, whose most famous denizen… Read More

Men and women generally make their mark in life through their achievements, earning fame from them and a place in popular culture, especially if the individual dares to toil in the unknown of a less categorizable pursuit, figuring out the hazier parts of our existence. Though I can’t claim that Vermont breeds this type of person, our small state definitely draws them, and has been home to quite a few extraordinary people… Read More

The deadliest place in Vermont is simultaneously one of it’s least dead places. The head of the state’s public safety commission once dubbed the Huntington Gorge as “the deadliest place in the state”, and according to those who make it their business to track this sort of stuff, this is considered the most dangerous swimming hole in all of New England. But despite that macabre distinction, in the summer the chasm is absolutely… Read More

Lake Champlain is imbued with a sundry of awesome folk tales that stretch the imagination. Mysterious lights, beaches that allegedly make dog noises when the sand is bagged and slapped together (one of my favorites), rum runners, underwater shipwrecks, and places that are said to be bottomless, such as an area near the Charlotte-Essex ferry crossing. Addison County lore even has it that while building the Champlain or sometimes called Crown Point Bridge, construction workers were… Read More

One of my favorite pieces of Obscure Vermont is a mixture of architectural vernacular, and good old fashioned Yankee Ingenuity. Do you see the diagonally tilted window placed in the gable end of this old farmhouse with its long edge parallel to the roof? A lot of people, Vermonters or flatlanders, seem to be flummoxed about these peculiarly slanted windows. That’s because their orientational existence isn’t found in any other states (though someone did… Read More

I accidentally stumbled upon this shrub ensnared abandonment in a hardscrabble Vermont town, and decided to stop and take a look. This slumping and fading edifice was thematic. The portrait of town is a sad one. What was once a profitable industrial hub has been reincarnated as a sordid and depressed community. At one time, the solemn property contained a few blue collar business on street level, with the upper levels awkwardly converted into several… Read More