Blog :: 01-2015

Hartland, Vermont: What's Old Is New

James Hope Painting of Mt. Ascutney credit: American Gallery

Hartland is Central Vermont's best kept secret. With its quietly rolling hills, like the nooks and crannies of an English muffin, it is sandwiched between White River Junction, Woodstock and West Windsor; a rural town offering 62 miles of dirt road yet merely five minutes to I-91 and I-89.  That means quick and easy access to shopping, movies, restaurants, theater, schools, two National Parks, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center as well as Lebanon Municipal Airport.

Chartered in 1761, Hartland's center is known more specifically as Hartland Three Corners. Its centerpiece is Damon Hall, an old brick structure, the gathering place for all political activity.  If you buy property in Hartland, you will surely attend "Town Meeting," the annual get-together that - with the running of maple sap in March - brings people out of their cabin fever confinement, heralding a start to spring in Vermont.  While technically a meeting to approve tax rates and such, it is also traditionally the time when Vermonters get to "vent" about everything from road conditions to thanking volunteer rescue workers for retrieving their runaway cow.

In close proximity to Damon Hall is The Hartland Diner where local ministers, carpenters, beer brewers, moms and kids all congregate for simple breakfast, lunch and conversation.  Down the road at Hartland Four Corners, you'll find the Skunk Hollow Tavern, a cozy "Hobbit Hole" in winter where folks gather to make music on open mic nights, but also a gem of a place upstairs for fine food and candlelit dining. Just beyond the crossroads, you'll find the Cobb Hill agricultural community, known, among other things, for its artisan specialty cheeses. And access to skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing is easy as Hartland is close to both Okemo, Killington and Mt. Sunapee, New Hampshire, less than an hour away.

Properties for sale in Hartland can range from extensive acreage to antique capes to new construction luxury homes with huge views or southern exposures revealing Mt. Ascutney. Hartland is a place where you can still see the stars at night or a Super Moon rise along Vermont's beautifully-protected ridgelines.

While Hartland is a traditional, albeit even sleepy New England hamlet, it is also home to several very active Vermont politicians including U.S. Sen. Peter Welch and Rep. Matt Dunne. When Bill Bradley ran for President many years ago, he spoke to Hartland residents at Damon Hall. The head of a major telecommunications company, VTel, has also chosen to own property here - not surprisingly this rural community is well-connected with state-of-the-art fiber optic lines. And, when the Vermont Legislature first approved same-sex unions many years ago, it was Hartland's Town Clerk who opened early - without a whole lot of fanfare -- on a Saturday morning to issue the very first Civil Union certificate in the state.

For those with children, who might want to raise them rurally or get them out of an urban environment, Hartland has its own school, library and recreation center and is within easy reach of learning centers like the very kid-friendly Montshire Museum of Science.  

For adults, Hartland is only ten minutes from the Artisan Center of Windsor which includes the Harpoon Brewery, Silo Distillery and Vermont Farmstead Cheese outlet. The location is perfectly used for area concerts and community get-togethers. Additionally, in summer, area residents enjoy going through the covered bridge at Windsor to concerts on the lawn at St. Gaudens National Historical Park in New Hampshire.  Hartland offers the opportunity to be happily hidden in the hills without feeling the least bit isolated.

Bridgewater, Vermont: Entrepreneurial Outpost, Snow-Lover's Secret

Bridgewater, Vermont, 8 miles to the West of Woodstock; that much closer to Killington Resort, has a year-round population of about 1,000 people most of whom you will never see due to the community’s rural character. It comprises 45 square miles of land with old 18th-century tracks, roads and stone fencing still evident throughout its woods and pastures.

The population means more land available, more unobstructed views, more horse trails and more chances to breathe the fresh air, fly high and spread your wings. That's exactly what a number of entrepreneurs have done who have chosen to live -- and create - in Bridgewater.

Once a bustling hub of the sheep and woolen industry along the Ottauquechee River, Bridgewater, Vermont now continues its history with its use of the restored woolen mill. The mill is home to a number of remarkable craftsmen and businesspeople, including internationally renowned furniture maker Charles Shackleton, Miranda Thomas Pottery along with smaller micro-craftspeople such as Fiona Blunden and her Gold Gilding Studio.  The Mill Building also offers Ramunto’s pizza and beer, popular with locals heading home from work or visitors heading home from the slopes. 

 

Just down the road, at Bridgewater Corners, Long Trail brewery, which started in the mill building and is now a vital local employer, hosts thousands of skiers, bikers, tourists who stop by to sample beer, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the Ottauquechee River as it burbles its way East to the Connecticut River.

Long Trail Ale is the top-selling beer in Vermont. And its new Limbo IPA is winning awards even in 2014. Long Trail is one of the original microbrewers in the State, named after the Long Trail, a North-South trail through the Green Mountain National Forest. The Long Trail connects to the Appalachian Trail, the famous outdoor thruway, which happens to go through Bridgewater the surrounding Chateauguay Wilderness and on into Woodstock.   

Bridgewater, Vermont also includes one of the most scenic roads in America, often featured in magazine and TV reports, Route 100 /100A offers great bicycle touring and top-down roadster fun. The road less-travelled just happens to be the most beautiful, particularly in fall when the hillsides are ablaze with leaves turning red, orange and gold. 

The October Country Inn in Bridgewater serves as perennial host B&B for those passing through whether by antique car or road bike. Nearby places to stay are also available in Woodstock, including the newer 506 On the River, the latest entry into the local hospitality business.

If you choose to live in Bridgewater, Vermont and own property you can enjoy the convenience of stopping in for last-minute groceries, gas and supplies at the Bridgewater Corners General Store or make your way into Woodstock for movies, performances, library, tennis and golf at the Woodstock Country Club. Heading in the other direction on Route 4 from Bridgewater, Green Mountain National Golf Course is less than a half hour away.

Exceptional properties, horse farms, working farms are available in Bridgewater and many "famous names" have chosen to quietly buy retirement or second-homes here in which they can entertain, quietly create or plan their next venture from a big old style front porch, rocking in a chair with a lemonade, a beer or a more sophisticated cocktail.

And, while not technically in Bridgewater, living here puts you close to those who have made a difference, including one famous name: President Calvin Coolidge, whose birthplace- now a historic site - is just a few minutes away in Plymouth Notch. The traditional values he espoused were much related to the place in which he grew up. It was and is a bucolic place just up and over from Bridgewater, Vermont.

 

Comments

  1. Gisela on

    I've always been facsinated by color and how people respond to it. I think it's the part of my job that I love the most, and it seems to be the most appreciated from my clients. Choosing colors is alot about a person's sensabilities, but it's also about changing the perceptions and the mood of a space. Nothing does it better than color. fun post!