In the summer, you can tour this replica of the simple, 18th-century home occupied by Vermont’s rabble-rousing founder. The 284-acre grounds are accessible daily from sunrise to sunset. The entrance to the property is off of Route 127.
(Published in 7 Nights 2008-09)
It's the closest thing to a palace that exists in Vermont: The crimson damask lining the walls matches the upholstery on the chairs. The floor is a checkerboard of black-and-white marble, and imposing portraits of former proprietors Lila Vanderbilt Webb and William Seward Webb grace the walls.
Middlebury is a walking town. If you’re really ambitious, there’s an 18-mile Trail Around Middlebury — a project of the Middlebury Area Land Trust. A combination of hiking trails, dirt roads and paved highways, TAM stretches from the Otter Creek Gorge Preserve to the Battell Woods.
This landmark brick building was once known as "The Socialist Labor Party Hall." Samuel Gompers, Eugene Debs, Mother Jones and Emma Goldman spoke here. And stonecutter Elia Corti was shot here in a scuffle in 1903. It's a must-see stop on any tour of Barre.
Oakledge Park marks the Southern end of the Burlington bike path. Once home to the Webb family's Oakledge Manor, it now boasts picnic shelters, playground equipment and a stony swimming beach (no lifeguards, though). It's also home to the first handicapped accessible treehouse built in a public park. A short walk north takes you to the site of Burlington's Earth Clock. Stick around for the spectacular sunset.
Downtown Burlington is dominated by the Church Street Marketplace, a pedestrian-only promenade enlivened by shops, restaurants, food vendors and street performers. When the weather’s nice, and the cafe tables come outside, you can get dinner with a side of people-watching. It’s the closest thing in Vermont to an Italian piazza. No Vespas on the cobblestones, though.
The original Vermonters — Native American Abenaki — have a voice at the Vermont Folklife Center. So do the Vermont descendents of slaves. With an archive that consists of more than 3900 tapes, the organization aims to document and conserve the state’s cultural heritage, including groups making history today. A recent photo exhibit captured the lives of Mexican dairy farm workers in Addison County.
Best known for its connection with the Underground Railroad, the Rokeby Museum preserves the history of four generations of remarkable Robinsons. Ahead of its time in every way, the family was made up of Quakers, abolitionists and artists. They were also successful farmers. Patriarch Thomas R. Robinson was among the first agriculturalists to import Merino sheep to the U.S. If he were around today, the old man might be raising something equally radical, like llamas. Two of them live across the road from the Rokeby, along with a camel.
This historic public art gallery in a renovated fire house next to City Hall is managed by Burlington City Arts.
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