Tagged: Pawlet

A Bunch of 250th Birthday Parties for Vermont Towns and Cities – Rutland Regional Guide

Posted on December 22, 2011 by - Rutland Regional Guide, Vermont Towns

A bunch of 250th birthday parties for Vermont towns and cities

By Nathaniel Gibson

The town of Pawlet celebrated its 250th anniversary of charter in style as shown by Adelle Seamens (left) and Sarah Post (right), with art by Roy Egg, all from West Pawlet. Photo Credit: Rhonda Schlangen.

Above a certain age, many people stop keeping track of their birthdays. But when a bunch of Vermont towns reached the ripe age of 250 this year, they celebrated in style.

The big 250th can also be called the sestercentennial or the easier-to-remember quarter-millennial — meaning that these towns were originally chartered a quarter of a millennium ago. And they marked their long and rich heritages with a plethora of events — parades, fireworks, quilt shows, art exhibits, live music, dancing, wagon rides, historical exhibits, and more.

These 63 towns, about a quarter of the state’s total, predate not only the founding of the United States, but the state of Vermont itself. They were originally chartered in 1761 by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth as he attempted to exert control over the territory between New Hampshire and the Province of New York.

Although the grants were eventually invalidated by King George III, who ruled that the Connecticut River was the boundary between New York and New Hampshire, unhappy colonists declared the territory to be free and independent. Vermont was subsequently founded on January 15, 1777.

The town of Woodstock’s 250th birthday bash was a picnic at the Billings Farm & Museum on July 10 — with horse and wagon rides, games, presentations on the history of the town, free ice cream, and live music by the Old Sam Peabody Band. “It was a great community celebration of 250 years, and we had the perfect location in the Billings Farm and Museum,” says Elizabeth Finlayson, Director of the Woodstock Chamber of Commerce.

On the other side of the state the southern Vermont town of Manchester marked its 250th on August 12 and 13. Entertainment included wagon rides, tours of Dellwood Cemetery, a stock car show, a hoedown and barbecue, a carnival and a concert by the U.S. Navy Band followed by fireworks.

“The opening ceremony at the Bennington County Courthouse in the village with Governor Shumlin was very well received, and all the other events also went off well,” reports town clerk Linda Spence, who helped organize the festivities.

“Everyone who participated enjoyed themselves, and it was great to see families represented across multiple generations.”

Rep. John Malcolm reads the Legislature's resolution announcing the celebration of Pawlet's 250th anniversary of charter to a crowd assembled in front of the Town Hall. Photo Credit: Susan LaPorte.

A few miles north of Manchester on Route 30 the town of Pawlet celebrated its 250th anniversary during the memorable weekend of August 26 to 28. Festivities included live music, dancing, a quilt show, many displays and exhibits, ghost walks and a parade. The celebration culminated with fireworks that ended just as tropical storm Irene showed up.

“I hope having that memorable day to look back on has been able to bring a smile to the folks in our town who suffered from the damage and destruction of tropical storm Irene the next day,” remarked event organizer Judy Coolidge. “To see the number of people who came home to Pawlet to be part of this celebration and to hear the wonderful stories of what a fabulous time they had has been so rewarding.”

Benning Wentworth continued making land grants in the present State of Vermont until 1764. Next year the towns of Averrill, Bloomfield, Bristol, Charlotte, Ferrisburgh, Hinesburg, Lemington, Lewis, and Monkton will celebrate their 250th anniversaries, with even more to come in 2013.

Nathaniel Gibson is a freelance writer who lives in Pawlet and may be contacted at www.nathanielrgibson.com.

The article originally appeared in the Fall 2011 edition of the Rutland Regional Vermont Insider Guide.

Farmers markets are sprouting up all over Vermont — Rutland Regional Guide

Posted on October 21, 2011 by - Local Food, Rutland Regional Guide

Farmers markets are sprouting up all over Vermont

By Nathaniel Gibson

The Cobb Hill Farm stand at the Hartland Farmers Market offers a wide range of local food items and fresh produce, including green beans and rainbow chard. Photo Credit Shari Altman.

Celebrate National Farmers Market Week in August by visiting your nearby farmers market – all autumn long. Luckily, you won’t have far to go.

Farmers markets are sprouting like wonderful flowers across Vermont to meet the growing demand for fresh, local food products.

The trend is reflected nationwide as well: from 2009 to 2010, the number of farmers markets across the country grew by an estimated 16 percent. Farmers markets not only offer food and quality crafts; they also provide entertainment and build community.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s Web site lists 77 farmers markets statewide.

Some, such as the Hartland Farmers Market, are relative newcomers. Founded in 2010, it is open 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. every Friday and offers seasonal veggies — green beans, carrots, rainbow chard, to name just a few — plus farm-raised beef, baked goods, local cheeses and specialty-cut flowers.

Picnic tables are available where visitors can sample the fare and listen to live music. In keeping with the theme of sustainability that runs through all Vermont farmers markets, a local company offers recycling pickups at the market.

The Cobb Hill Farm stand at the Hartland Farmers Market offers a wide range of fresh produce and local food items, including farm-raised beef, cheese, and eggs. Photo Credit Shari Altman.

Organizer Sharon Irwin attributes the Hartland market’s growth to word of mouth and lots of community support. The market attracts a mix of local residents, people from neighboring communities and out-of-state visitors. “The town and community have both been really supportive of it,” she says. “It’s great to see people coming to hang out with their neighbors and friends.”

Other new farmers markets have taken root in Lyndonville (Fridays, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.), Castleton (Thursdays, 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.), and Pawlet (Fridays, 3:00 p.m. to 6 p.m.).

Many of these newcomers are offshoots of the state’s larger, well-established farmers markets.

The Wood Family of Pawlet offers their maple products and farm-fresh eggs at the very first Pawlet farmers market this summer. Photo Credit Sue LaPorte.

The downtown Rutland Farmers Market is the biggest — with over 90 vendors selling a huge variety of food and crafts. These include seasonal fruits and produce, local honey, fresh eggs, artisan cheese, flowers, pickled vegetables, jams, and pies and more.

The Rutland Farmers Market is open two days per week. It operates from May 7 to October 29 on Saturdays (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Tuesdays (3 p.m. to 6 p.m.). The market is a collaborative effort of the Rutland County Farmers’ Market and the Vermont Farmers Market, whose members have watched it grow steadily over the years.

“It’s been a good thing for the vendors, a good thing for the city, and a good thing for the customers,” says Judy Dark, one of the organizers, noting that in addition to supporting local farmers and craftspeople the market encourages people to come out and interact with the downtown area.

Beyond a core contingent of local customers who loyally support their favorite vendors, the market also attracts visitors from out of state. Dark has fielded calls from people planning trips from Massachusetts and metropolitan New York who want to know if the market will be open when they visit.

Other well-established markets are in Burlington (Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.), Montpelier (Saturdays, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.), and Fair Haven (Fridays, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.).

For more information visit the Vermont Agency of Agriculture’s Web site at www.vermontagriculture.com/buylocal/buy/farmersmarkets.

Nathaniel Gibson is a freelance writer and locavore who lives in Pawlet. He can be contacted via www.nathanielrgibson.com.

The article originally appeared in the Late Summer 2011 edition of the Rutland Regional Vermont Insider Guide.