Advertisement

POSTCARD FROM VERMONT

Take a walk, tip a tankard

September 17, 2006|Elizabeth Mehren | Times staff writer

Windsor is the birthplace not just of a state but also a state of mind. The "free and independent" spirit that brought Vermont into existence more than three centuries ago prevails today. Windsor's Main Street is a kind of time warp -- but it is real and lived-in, not some treacly quaint theme park of how you wish Vermont might look.

*

Just calm down

The sign for the quirky Path of Life Garden comes up just off Interstate 91, the main route to Windsor. For a $4 donation, visitors discover a vast garden filled with sculpture and winding paths. The lush, green space is divided into 18 "rooms" depicting different life stages -- areas without walls that celebrate birth, adventure, hope, creativity, community, contemplation and so forth. This place is so Vermont: laid back, yet filled with spiritual sincerity.

*

Whitewater ahead

Speaking of strategic locations, how about the Harpoon Brewery? It's equidistant from the serenity garden and an outdoor adventure center -- and the ideal antidote to either. The indoor pub and outdoor beer garden offer sandwiches and pints of lager fresh from the on-site brewery. At least six beer "flavors" are available at all times. Harpoon's nonalcoholic sodas (root beer, cream and an outstanding orange) are popular in my family, so I always take home at least one mixed-flavor six-pack.

*

A toast to the past

The Old Constitution House, on North Main Street, was a tavern in the 18th century and presumably many tankards were raised by the group of men who gathered here to establish the "Free and Independent State of Vermont." Vermont maintained its sovereignty for 14 years, joining the Union in 1791 as the 14th state. A document drawn up at the tavern was the first in America to ban slavery and establish voting rights for nonlandowners.

*

Tool time

I thought a friend was nuts when she told me to visit the American Precision Museum, 196 Main St., (802) 674-5781, www.americanprecision.org. But its collection of tools used to create large machines -- and implements such as guns and rifles -- intrigued me the minute I entered the cavernous building. This is the spot where America's modern system of industrial design and production was born. The museum celebrates the ingenuity of the designers as well as the machines and tools they devised. Admission $6.

*

Where to stay

The Juniper Hill Inn is a great New England country lodge. The inn sits on a hill with a view of Ascutney Mountain and Lake Runnemeade. The lawns are beautifully manicured; the gardens, impeccable. Many of the 16 guest chambers feature claw-foot bathtubs -- a lovely respite for the tired traveler. Some rooms have wood-burning fireplaces. Rooms run $115 to $350. 153 Pembroke Road, (802) 674-5273; www.juniperhillinn.com.

*

Where to eat

If your preference is gourmet, dine at the Juniper Hill Inn, where a typical dinner includes asparagus soup with creme fraiche or marinated venison. Five-course meals begin at $49 per person. Personally, I am happier at Dan's Windsor Diner. Meals $5 to $10. 135 Main St., (802) 674-5555. Or Harpoon Brewery, with sandwiches (from $5.50) and fresh lager. 336 Ruth Carney Drive (off Route 5), (802) 674-5491, www.harpoonbrewery.com.

*

Getting there

From LAX, United, US Airways, Delta, Continental and America West have connecting service (change of plane) to Montpelier, Vt. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $449.

*

elizabeth.mehren@latimes .com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|