On Route 12 near Silver Lake stands the 183-year-old Barnard General Store. The country store made headlines across the state three years ago when it closed for business. It then captured the attention of national news outlets when local fundraising efforts helped rescue the store in 2013.
Last weekend, we camped with some friends at Silver Lake State Park, located up the street from the Barnard General Store. I had been to the store in the past, but this was my first time visiting since it reopened.
Established in 1832, the Barnard General Store is one of the oldest in the state. Inside, you’ll find everything from fresh coffee and craft beer to deli meat and fresh seafood – along with a seating area with a half dozen chairs and tables, and an inviting counter with comfortable stools. The store’s deli serves hearty sandwiches, fresh-cut meats and tasty salads. On Saturdays and Sundays, you can order buttermilk pancakes made from scratch (a popular favorite).
New Faces, Old Friends at Barnard General Store
When the store closed in 2012 after experiencing financial troubles, the town rallied to save the business. Locals donated more than a half million dollars to the Barnard Community Trust to purchase the store and fund its operations under new management. Joe Minerva and Jillian Bradley, a young couple who met in high school on Long Island, now operate the store. (The Barnard Community Trust still owns the building.)
Joe and Jillian worked at the Richmond Market near Burlington as a customer service manager and store manager, respectively, before coming to Barnard. The couple had never even heard of Barnard — located about 10 miles north of Woodstock — until they were approached to run the Barnard General Store.
Now two years into running the business — which consists of 10 hour works days, seven days a week — Jillian says it’s the customers that make the effort so rewarding.
“In a short amount of time, we have met people who have really touched our hearts. We have customers who have become like family to us — some who come to our Thanksgiving dinner, some we celebrate birthdays with,” she says. “And it’s not just the locals who have made an impact on us. So many people who camp at the campground, or have seasonal homes in town, or even just are passing by are constantly reaching out and thanking us for making the store what it has become. Since the store has been around for so long, so many people have stories to tell us, or memories to share with us regarding the store. Hearing those stories makes all the hard work worth it.”
And the cozy atmosphere, delicious food, and beautiful location make Barnard General Store very much worth visiting.
**If You Go: The Barnard General Store is located at 6134 VT Route 12 in Barnard.