Vermont’s 251 Club Inspires Exploration of Towns, Cities, Grants and a Gore
November 12, 2020
Lewis is one of those towns that’s hard to find. Just ask any member of the 251 Club of Vermont.
Located in Essex County in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, Lewis has no residents, no post office, and no roads other than logging roads and hiking trails.
It’s a town that members of the Vermont 251 Club have trouble crossing off their list when they set out to visit all of Vermont’s 251 cities and towns (some members also visit Vermont’s three gores and lone grant).
“There’s a running joke about Lewis, Vermont,” says Stephanie Young, executive director of the Vermont 251 Club. “That’s often one (town) that members save for last.”
Vermont 251 Club: A Shared Love for the Green Mountain State
The inspiration for the 251 Club goes back more than 65 years when Dr. Arthur W. Peach, a poet, professor, writer, historian, and fan of all things Vermont, wrote a column for Vermont Life magazine. In the summer 1954 issue, he proposed an informal group to be known as the 251 Club in response to countless reader inquiries that asked, “How can I come to know the real Vermont?”
Young, who graduated from Vermont Law School, was a member of the 251 Club before being named executive director in January. The club has 4,200 active members, and some simply drive through towns to check them off their list. For Young, who has two young sons, she strives to at least step out of the car for every town they visit.
“One of the great things about being a member is that there are no rules,” says Young, who has visited over 140 towns. “We’ve had members take pictures in front of post offices or the welcome sign of each town. We’ve also had members who have run through each town, who have biked through each town, or who have walked through. We’ve even had a member who hit a golf ball in each town.”
Young says the common thread among the group is a shared love for Vermont.
“We want to go out and we want to explore,” Young says. “It’s also about the memories you create doing it. I know for my family, we have countless memories of doing our 251 adventures, whether it’s finding a new state park, finding a new restaurant, or finding a new historic site. I think it’s the memories that drive members.”
Happy Vermont Podcast: The Vermont 251 Club
-Stephanie Young, executive director of the 251 Club
In this podcast episode of Happy Vermont, Stephanie Young talks about the history of the 251 Club of Vermont, what the club offers members, and why you should join.
Learn more about the Vermont 251 Club at www.vt251.com.
You can find this podcast on Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, and Stitcher.
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