Quarry country has its own unique beauty. Explore it the “hard” way at Millstone Hill, a bed-and breakfast located in East Barre. The proprietors have developed a 50-plus-mile network of bike trails — both challenging singletrack and more moderate ones — that brings you alongside dozens of old quarries and “grout” pile lookouts. One hundred years ago, it was the site of a small, independent quarry operation, one of more than 75 in the area. Millstone offers camping, too, and indoor accommodations start at $95. The whole lodge rents for $490. PHOTO: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
Nothing says summer in Vermont like high-brow theater performed in a barn. The 2008 season at Unadilla includes an opera series.
This professional theater company stages its shows at Montpelier City Hall. Click on the website above for information about education and outreach programs, and for their current schedule.
The four-hour hike is considered “advanced” by the Green Mountain Club. The reward — on a clear day — is stunning views of the Green and White mountains. The most popular approach is from the Waterbury side, but you can also get there from Middlesex. Looking for trail mix? You’re in luck. Central Vermont is the granola capital of the world.
How do the people of modern-day Barre blow off steam? If it’s summer, they go to the Thunder Road Speed Bowl, atop Quarry Hill. Every Thursday night and Sunday afternoon, thousands make the trek to “the nation’s site of excitement” to watch mostly local drivers compete in street-stock and late-model races. There’s even a state senator — Phil Scott — tearing around the track.
If there were railroad tracks between Barre and Montpelier, Barre would be “on the other side” of them. It’s a working-class city that sprang up around the region’s remarkable granite quarries, which are still producing world-class stone. The original laborers were immigrants from Italy and Scotland. This museum documents the history, geology and technology of the dangerous trade that cut many Vermont lives short.
Contemporary quarriers are still at work at the Rock of Ages Quarry, where you can observe artisans cutting massive blocks of stone as well as sculpting the memorials. Take a guided tour (May 23 - October 17, 2008) or check out the do-it-yourself Cut-In-Stone Center.
Located in the Pavillion Office building, this museum offers a great primer on the forces that have shaped Vermont. The permanent 5000-square-foot exhibit “tells the story of Vermont’s people from 1600 to the present,” according to the website. “Using Vermont’s motto, ‘Freedom and Unity,’ as its thematic cornerstone, the exhibition shows visitors how Vermonters have always balanced individual freedoms and community.”
Stowe’s hills are definitely alive, and no more so than at the Trapp Family Lodge. The Sound of Music association has worked well for the 2400-acre Austrian-style resort, which is a cross-country ski center in the winter. In summer, it offers hiking, horse-drawn wagon rides, bird-watching tours and Sunday evening “Music in the Meadow” concerts. The “Real Maria” documentary film shows twice a day.
Innovation is definitely in evidence at the Yestermorrow Design-Build School, a center of “hands-on education” that “integrates design and craft.” There are intro courses for beginners, as well as continuing-ed opportunities for seasoned architects, builders, landscapers and engineers. Stop by and tour the campus. You’ll see student-built cabins, solar-powered showers and other shapes of the future.
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