That Old Vermont Feeling

Fletcher Vermont

Cambridge Road in Fletcher, Vermont

How many Vermont towns look the same as they did a generation ago? Probably quite a few. Certain towns make us feel nostalgic for different reasons and stir memories of past experiences and old friendships.  For me, most of those towns are where I spent my childhood, teens, and 20s — Manchester, Peru, East Burke, and Warren.

But it’s interesting when you feel nostalgia in a place that’s new. While meandering this week along the backroads of Franklin County in northwestern Vermont, I came across the small community of Fletcher, a town I’ve never visited. Something about Fletcher made me long for my childhood days in Vermont. Fletcher has old farmhouses and barns, a store, church, and meeting house. The town is quiet, pretty, and only a short drive from Smugglers’ Notch.

I don’t know what Fletcher looked like all those years ago when I was growing up. I imagine it’s not too different now. But why feel a connection to a town you have no part of?

As I grow older and raise a young daughter of my own, time is becoming one of my greatest fears. It just goes by too fast, and the weeks and months seem to speed up every year. But being in Fletcher gave me hope. I was reminded that life can move a little slower and some wonderful things don’t ever have to change.

**If You Go: Town of Fletcher
Franklin County Chamber of Commerce

2 Comments

  1. I always enjoyed that feeling on my trips to Vermont. Coming from the most populated part of NJ, its hard to find open places, or get a feel of what places might have been like 100 (or even 25) years ago. There are many buildings still around here that date back to the Colonial period, but mostly, they don’t fit in with the current environment. (lots of people, development, traffic…)

    In Vermont, older structures are usually in a larger environment that hasn’t changed too much either. Its a bigger-picture thing I guess, and adds tremendously to the experience I think. Look at Old Bennington for example. While the monument was built in the late 1800′s, many of the homes that line Monument Ave go back to the 1700′s.

    Walking some of these areas at night, with even less traffic or visitors around, its not hard at all to imagine what the area might have been like.

    I’m in the same boat. With a 3 year-old, I’ve become much more aware of the passage of time, and the transitory nature of most things. It seems nothing stays the same, and its sad when things and places you grow fond of as a kid or young adult disappear, or are altered beyond recognition for whatever reason. You lose that tangible link to your own past.

    I think nostalgia is/was one of the things I like most about visiting parts of New England, but especially Vermont. Some things can outlast the typical lifespan of one person. I hope to take my Daughter to some of my favorite Vermont places as she grows up, and if she’s lucky, she’ll have them to visit during her lifetime when she needs some grounding, a change of perspective, or to be reminded that things sometimes do stay the same.

    Great post.

  2. So well said, Scott. When we lived in Boston, I would visit Vermont as much as possible. The villages, historic buildings, open spaces and quiet, country roads have always brought me so much comfort.

    I am so glad that you plan to visit Vermont with your daughter. I’m sure that one day Vermont will mean so much to her, too.

    Take care. Thanks, as always, for writing.

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