The road to Tinmouth is hilly with a few twists and turns. Along the way there are some old barns, thick wooded forests and wide-open fields. When you finally descend into town, it’s easy to feel as if you’ve discovered a beautiful paradise that’s tucked away from the rest of the world.
In all my years in Vermont, I had never visited Tinmouth. This summer, I finally drove along Route 140 and made my way to this tiny Rutland County community of 613 people. When I came upon the center of town on a quiet Saturday morning, I wondered about the people who live here. For a town this small and so off the beaten path, it felt vibrant and active rather than sleepy and still.
Nelson Jacquay, who has lived here for 46 years, says Tinmouth’s community spirit is what he loves most about the town. For a small town, there is no shortage of residents who volunteer, lend a helping hand and support their neighbors. “We are a kick-ass little community because we maintain a larger than average critical mass of community volunteers,” he says. “We deal with our issues, and we know how to support and celebrate each other.”
Land conservation and education are issues that Tinmouth residents care deeply about, and they are enthusiastic about potluck suppers and town meetings. Tinmouth hosts the annual SolarFest sustainability conference and music festival each summer (update: the event is on hiatus), and there are regular musical performances at the Tinmouth Old Fire House.
To answer some of my questions about the town, Nelson sent me a DVD, “Tinmouth, Vermont: Diverse Community in the Landscape,” which was produced in 2005. Dozens of townspeople were interviewed, talking about why they enjoy living in a rural community like Tinmouth. They described having a sense of comfort and belonging, and how Tinmouth is a safe, welcoming, beautiful, secure and loving place to live.
One local resident put it this way: “There are a lot of roads you can take in life, and I’ll take a country road any day.”
Me, too. Especially if it leads to Tinmouth.
**If You Go: Town of Tinmouth