Inspiration Along the Robert Frost Trail in Ripton
July 09, 2015
“We love the things we love for what they are.” –Robert Frost
Just beyond the farmhouse at Homer Nobel Farm stands a fragile log cabin where Robert Frost spent summers for 23 years.
The small town of Ripton in the Green Mountain National Forest is where the poet lived while teaching at the Middlebury Bread Loaf Campus. Even though Frost is buried at the Old First Church cemetery in Bennington (he lived in Shaftsbury with his wife, Elinor, before she died in 1938), Ripton is officially known as “Robert Frost Country.”
In 1920, Frost moved from New Hampshire to Vermont, according to the New York Times, “to seek a better place to farm and especially grow apples.” For the rest of his life, the Pulitzer Prize winning poet lived primarily in Vermont, where he become the official poet laureate of the Green Mountain State.
He purchased the Homer Nobel Farm off Route 125 after his wife died, opting to have friends stay in the white clapboard farmhouse while he lived in the cabin, where he could have privacy to write.
Middlebury College now owns the Frost property — a historic site — and uses the farmhouse for faculty. The cabin is not open to the public. However, you can park at Homer Nobel Farm at the end of Frost Road and walk up a wide path past the farm to view Frost’s cabin, which has been left as it was since Frost’s death in 1963 (a sign in the driveway asks visitors to stay on the path and to not disturb the cabin).
While the cabin gives you a glimpse into Frost’s Vermont life (and a few goosebumps), the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail is where you’ll see what inspired Frost. The trail, less than a mile in length, starts with a bridge across Beaver Pond and winds through the woods before crossing the South Branch of the Middlebury River into a more forested area, past seven Frost’s poems mounted along the way (Reluctance, The Road Not Taken, The Secret Sits, to name a few).
A sign at the trailhead sums it up: “The poems you’ll see along the trail describe the feelings of the poet, indeed, feelings you might experience in walking through this natural environment.” Perfectly said.
**IF YOU GO: The Robert Frost Interpretive Trail is located off Route 125 in Ripton, just south of the Middlebury Bread Loaf Campus.