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Walking Vermont dirt roads

Braintree Couple Stays Connected Walking Vermont Dirt Roads

More than 8,500-hundred miles of dirt roads zig-zag across Vermont, and that’s a lot of ground to cover by car, foot, or bike.  Paulette Staats and her husband, Paul Shriver, take it one road and one step at a time.

The retired couple, married for 43 years, began walking Vermont dirt roads when they became empty-nesters in 2006.

Using the Delorme Vermont Atlas & Gazetter as their guide, Paulette and Paul have strolled dirt roads in Sharon, Randolph, Goshen, Pomfret, Barnard, and beyond. Even though Paulette and Paul have lived here for many years, walking Vermont dirt roads gives them a new way to explore the state.

As of April 2021, they have completed 41 roads walks together.

Paulette enjoys how each walk is different and the incredible scenic views she finds. When the couple began exploring roads 15 years ago, most of the routes were loops that stretched for several miles.  But now, they are finding linear walks that they enjoy as well.

“You see one thing going up and something (else) on the way back,” Paulette says. On their walks, they’ve come across abandoned copper mines, a B-17 plane crash site,and waterfalls. “I find it’s just a peaceful way to see Vermont but also a way for some quiet time to yourself.”

For Paulette and Paul, the walks have given them time together as a couple. It’s also an opportunity for their individual and shared interests to flourish. Paul enjoys history and trees, while Paulette loves seeing farms, animals, historic buildings, and landmarks.

Walking Vermont dirt roads

-Paulette Staats and Paul Shriver at the Braintree Hill Meeting House, located along a dirt road.

“Sometimes on these walks you get the feeling when you look around and listen and hear what it must have been like 100 or 150 years ago,” Paul says. “You don’t hear any sounds of machinery, and you don’t see a whole lot of traffic. For me—I really like history—it gives me a feeling of what it was like back then, which I think is really cool.”

Paulette takes photos and videos of animals on her walks—cows, birds, horses, goats, sheep, and chickens—to share with her granddaughters.

So, how much longer will they keep this up?  For as long as possible, Paulette says. “It’s a great way to stay healthy and happy,” she says.

Suggestions for Walking Vermont Dirt Roads

Walking Vermont dirt roads

-Goat Hill Road in Pittsford

Every Vermont dirt road is a little different, and there is no shortage of them around here. Here are ideas for four dirt roads to explore on foot in Vermont.

Randolph: Start at the Kingsbury Covered Bridge near Route 14. The bridge was built in 1904 and is the last documented covered bridge built in Vermont during the 19th and early 20th centuries. From the bridge, walk west on Kingsbury Road and turn right on Crocker Road. Keep going until the intersection of East Bethel Road. Take a left on East Bethel Road and eventually left on to Crocker Road to loop back to Kingsbury Road to the covered bridge.
Loop Distance: About 10 miles.
(recommended by Paulette Staats and Paul Shriver)

Landgrove: In southern Vermont, the small town of Landgrove is home to about 15 miles of dirt roads. Start your walk at the historic Landgrove Meeting House, located at the intersection of Landgrove Road and Old County Road West. Head east on Old County Road West and take a right on Cody Road. At the end of Cody Road, turn left on to Landgrove Road to loop back to the Landgrove Meeting House.
Loop Distance: About 4.5 miles
(recommended by Happy Vermont)

Danville: Mack Mountain Road runs from Danville to Peacham and is lined with old maples, deep woods, old farmhouses, and scenic views. Vermont historian and author Howard Coffin shared a story on Vermont Public Radio a few years ago about Edward Palmer, a young man from Peacham mortally wounded at the Wilderness. Edward was treated at Montpelier’s Sloan Military Hospital and died there in September 1864. His father went for the body, and his route was along what is now Route 2 and Mack Mountain Road. Coffin describes Mack Mountain Road as one of his favorite scenic routes, especially in fall, because it’s a way to honor the memory of a fallen Civil War soldier.
Linear Distance: Mack Mountain Road extends about 6.34 miles (one way) from Danville to Peacham.
(recommended by Happy Vermont)

Pittsford: Goat Farm Road in this gorgeous part of Rutland County is where you’ll find a barn or two, horses, and lots of peace and quiet. Goat Farm Road starts at the intersection of Parker and Oxbow Roads and runs north-south.
Linear Distance: Out and back is about 3.2 miles
(recommended by Happy Vermont)

Happy Vermont Podcast

Paulette Staats and Paul Shriver share some of their favorite Vermont dirt roads and why they love exploring the state together.

You can find Happy Vermont’s podcast on SpotifyApple PodcastsAmazon Music, iHeartRadio, Stitcher, Pandora, and Google Podcasts.  You can also listen here on Podbean.

 

 

Categories:
Bennington County, Caledonia County, Dirt roads, Orange County, Podcast, Rutland County
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