Staytripper, June 2021

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Book It

Overnight at Rudyard Kipling’s Naulakha

Path Finder A Windsor sculpture garden symbolizes life

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THE ISHAM FAMILY FARM

is really excited to be able to offer the following shows for our 2021 Season. JUNE 11 LYRIC THEATRE 6:30 PM PRE-SHOW Environmental speaker Tina Heath A Wetland Ecologist speaking about “Vernal Pools.” SHOW “A Year with Frog and Toad” is a Tony Award-nominated musical.

JULY 2 HELIAND CONSORT :: UNIVERSE IN A SPARKLE PRE-SHOW Environmental Speaker-Bill McKibben, Environmentalist and co-founder of 350.org will discuss his thoughts on our environment.

JULY 28-AUGUST 8 POPCORN FALLS

SHOW Heliand Consort performs an expansive program of chamber music and songs inspired by our natural world as we honor diligent doers who move us toward greater awareness of, and harmony with, nature.

JULY 11 KERUBO PRE-SHOW Environmental Speaker Elaine Pentaleri, Vermont published Poet will read her poems about the environment SHOW KeruBo sings African folk music and Afro jazz, from slave spirituals, African laments, civil rights songs, story songs, gospel songs, and beyond…

JULY 18 THE FARM TO BALLET PROJECT PRE-SHOW Environmental Speaker-Ballet Vermont Dance Camp dancers will discuss what they have learned about the environment through dance. SHOW The Farm to Ballet Project is an original ballet about a farm through the seasons.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR!

The 2nd annual Farmers Market here at the farm on Tuesdays starting June 22nd for 15 consecutive weeks Isham Family Farm believes in creating a healthy environment for the 4 B’s: Birds, Bees, Butterflies and Bugs!

PRE-SHOW Environmental Speaker- (Opening night only) Ethan Tapper, Chittenden County Forester will discuss forestry management for wildlife SHOW Popcorn Falls. Written by James Hindman. Produced by Vermont Stage. Synopsis: Welcome to Popcorn Falls, a small American town whose only claim to fame – their namesake waterfall – has dried up. Now bankrupt, their last chance is a large grant that can only be used if the town produces a play in a week.

AUGUST 18 BARN OPERA-TOSCA PRE-SHOW Environmental Speaker-Julie Cadwallader Staub-Vermont-based, Writer’s Almanac recognized Poet will read her poems about the environment. SHOW Puccini’s political operatic thriller is set in Rome in June 1800 (during the Napoleonic wars and a time of great political unrest).

SEPTEMBER 11 & 12 VERMONT SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL PRESENTS: SHAKESPEARE: COMPLETELY UNBOUND! PRE-SHOW Environmental Speaker-TBD SHOW The artists of Vermont Shakespeare Festival have created a fresh new show composed of text from each and every one of his 37 plays! This groundbreaking theatrical fusion is the perfect response to the history, romance, tragedy…and comedy of our times.

FIRST: EARTH SUMMER SERIES VISION STATEMENT: We believe that diverse and inclusive music, theatre, dance and words can act as a powerful force for good in the community while promoting environmental awareness and responsibility. At the intimate setting of the farm, the “First: Earth Summer Series” can bring people together in a unifying and uplifting shared experience and strengthens the idea of a community coming together to celebrate the environment while witnessing live performances of different cultures and genres.

*Tickets, more details and exact showtimes on

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NO Refunds: Free Parking * BYO Picnic

* proceeds from these events will benefit Vt Audubon and First: Earth Educational Fund.

Mike Isham & Helen Weston • Isham Family Farm • 3515 Oak Hill Rd, Williston VT 05495 • 802-872-1525 • Farmermike@ishamfamilyfarm.com 1T-ishamfamilyfarm050521.indd 1

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Testing the Waters

J U N E 2021

In this 12th edition of Staytripper — which marks a full year of guidance for safely exploring the state during a pandemic — we find ourselves at a transitional time. In accordance with the Vermont Forward reopening plan, restrictions have been easing on masks, travel, gatherings and events. The changes feel both incremental and transformative all at once. Summer festivals are slowly appearing on the calendar, retail shoppers have resumed leisurely browsing, diners are more comfortable inside restaurants, and out-of-state tourists are back in our midst. Ready to start gathering with groups of people? Try outdoor yoga in a Quechee forest canopy or al fresco films in a White River Junction parking lot. Tired of takeout? Dine pond-side in Ferrisburgh or by a chef’s kitchen garden in Middletown Springs. Craving a getaway? Keep it in-state with a road trip to Rutland, an art adventure in Windsor or an overnight at Rudyard Kipling’s historic Dummerston home. This issue dips a toe into our so-called “new normal.”

A NOVEL RETREAT...................... 6 Landmark Trust USA preserves and rents storied Vermont properties, including Rudyard Kipling’s Naulakha

— CAROLYN F OX, EDITOR

BY AMY LILLY

TRIP OF A LIFETIME.................... 10 Path of Life Garden in Windsor offers a space for spiritual reflection BY MOLLY ZAPP

OUT TO EAT................................. 14 Scenic spots for enjoying breakfast, lunch and dinner outdoors BY JORDAN BARRY

RUTLAND CALLING.................... 18

Burlington

Public art guides a day trip in the former marble town

St. Johnsbury

21

BY SALLY POLLAK

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DESTINATIONS

BarnArts Thursday Music Series at Feast & Field Market...................... 20

14

First: Earth Summer Series................. 21 Yoga in the Canopy.......................... 22 Light River Junction: First Fridays With WRIF..................... 23

Williston

Montpelier

Shelburne

Ferrisburgh

Middlebury

20 Barnard 18

Quechee

White River Junction

10

Rutland Windsor

14

23 22

Middletown Springs

Exploring the state? Follow the pins to find the fun in this issue.

6

Bennington ON THE COVER:

Arielle Thomas at Huntington Gorge

Dummerston

Brattleboro

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PHOTO BY ARIELLE THOMAS SEVEN DAYS STAYTRIPPER JUNE 2021

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A Novel Retreat Landmark Trust USA preserves and rents storied Vermont properties, including Rudyard Kipling’s Naulakha BY A M Y L I L LY • lilly@sevendaysvt.com

I

COURTESY OF LANDMARK TRUST USA

t may come as a surprise to Vermonters that British author Rudyard Kipling — who wrote The Jungle Book, among many other classics — lived for four years in the Green Mountain State. The Bombay, India-born writer met and married American Carrie Balestier, from Dummerston, in London in 1892. Charmed by the southern Vermont landscape during a visit to her relatives, the 27-year-old author bought 10 acres in Dummerston from her brother Beatty and built a distinctive house in the American Shingle style that he called Naulakha. He lived there with his family from 1893 to ’96. Today, that exotically named rural Vermont property, located three miles from Brattleboro, is in tip-top shape. (The name comes from the Naulakha Pavilion at Lahore Fort in present-day Pakistan that Kipling knew from childhood; it was also the title of a novel he cowrote with Carrie’s other brother, Wolcott.)

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But don’t plan on visiting it like a house museum; Naulakha is meant to be stayed in. The National Historic Landmark is a vacation rental owned by the Landmark Trust USA, which uses rental income to maintain historic properties. Up to eight guests can stay for as little as three nights or as long as a month in the beautifully restored four-bedroom, three-bathroom house. (The $520-per-night cost becomes affordable when split among a group.) Another four guests can rent the carriage house next door, where Seven Days bunked down comfortably one night in April. Naulakha is not your typical Airbnb experience. Passing between the fieldstone pillars that mark the property entrance feels like stepping back 125 years. Propped open on either side are the original iron fleur-de-lis gates. Lining the dirt drive are the white pine trees Kipling planted, now a towering grove. The road continues past a


PHOTOS COURTESY OF KELLY FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY OF LAURENCE HOLYOAK

COURTESY OF LANDMARK TRUST USA

horse barn, an icehouse and the carriage house, converted to servants’ sleeping quarters at the author’s behest. At the top of the drive is the house he designed with New York City architect Henry Rutgers Marshall. The green-shingled juggernaut — 90 feet long and 22 feet wide — appears, as Kipling intended, like a streamlined ship riding the side of a hill. Its wide windows look east across the Connecticut River Valley to Mount Monadnock, 30 miles away. The house is still furnished with much of the Kiplings’ furniture and artwork. As Landmark Trust’s executive director, Susan McMahon, explained, “You get to stay in a shortterm rental, but what’s different here is, we’re stewarding these historic properties, not modernizing them within an inch of their life. It’s about enhancing appreciation for local history.” Naulakha’s ship-like efficiency and the purpose of its layout — to provide privacy for

the working author — are immediately apparent. Kipling oriented the drive so that visitors arrive at a porte cochere on the viewless western length of the house, which has few windows. Indoors, that western side is lined with two sets of beautiful wood stairs, one of which was for the servants. First-floor rooms open one onto the next, beginning with the kitchen at the north end, which still contains the original hulking range hood and pine cabinetry. (The trust installed the fridge.) Guests must bring their own food to Landmark Trust properties — or, like this vacationing reporter, splurge at Peter Havens and Whetstone Station in Brattleboro. At Naulakha, they can eat at the 125-year-old dining table and stash dishes on the teak sideboard carved by Lockwood de Forest, a family friend and early business partner of Louis Comfort Tiffany, of Tiffany & Co. After-dinner A NOVEL RETREAT

Opposite page: Naulakha, present and past This page, clockwise from top: Interior of Kipling’s carriage house; Rudyard Kipling in his study; porch at Naulakha; the works of Kipling; a plaque at Naulakha

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A Novel Retreat « P.7 drinks can be enjoyed in the loggia, Kipling’s favorite room, where a huge window opens to the views. The famous writer’s study is the last room at the south end. Visitors had to pass through Carrie’s office to reach it. The westerly windows are still covered with the opaque yellow Tiffany glass panels that screened his desk from prying eyes. Kipling wrote prolifically in that room, completing his two Jungle Books, Captains Courageous, The Day’s Work and The Seven Seas while he lived at Naulakha. He also began his novel Kim and the Just So Stories there. He seems not to have heeded the scriptural quote his father, John Lockwood Kipling, carved in relief over the study’s fireplace: “The night cometh when no man can work.” The study’s desk is a period piece; the original has been moved to the roomy attic, along with the author’s golf clubs. The latter was a gift from Arthur Conan Doyle, who introduced his fellow writer to the Scottish pastime when he visited in 1894.

It felt like Kipling had just walked out the door. It’s a unique experience. EMILY WADHAMS

Those clubs are behind glass, but in the attic game room next door, guests can use the pool table where Doyle and Kipling played, built to resemble one Kipling admired at Mark Twain’s Elmira, N.Y., house. Outside, guests can play tennis on Kipling’s clay court, reputed to be the first in Vermont. Rackets are provided. Renters can even soak in Kipling’s beloved tub, ringed with a smooth band of wood for resting the arms. One modern-day guest ran the bath but forgot to turn it off while upstairs in the game room; his insurance covered the damage. Landmark Trust’s booking conditions state that renters are responsible for any such mishaps, but McMahon noted that there have been “relatively few.” If a stay is not in the cards, visitors can sign up to tour the property and buildings on June 6 and 7, when Landmark Trust opens the estate to the public for its annual rhododendron tours. The bushes have matured to a massive landscape feature that forms a tunnel along one of the garden paths. Emily Wadhams, who joined Landmark Trust’s board as vice president two years ago, first experienced Naulakha on a retreat with the Preservation Trust of Vermont board, to which she also belongs. “It felt like Kipling had just walked out the door,” Wadhams recalled of her visit, adding, “It’s a unique experience, in my opinion, from your regular shortterm rental. People go there because they want something that’s a little different.” This page, from top: The teak sideboard by Lockwood de Forest; a seating area with a view toward Mount Monadnock; the rhododendron tunnel along a garden path

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Opposite page: The view from Naulakha toward the clay tennis courts; Kipling’s writing desk

PHOTOS COURTESY OF KELLY FLETCHER PHOTOGRAPHY

START HERE GO PLACES


INFO

COURTESY OF LANDMARK TRUST USA

Book Naulakha Estate and Rhododendron Tours, or a stay at Naulakha or the Kipling Carriage House, at landmarktrustusa.org.

Naulakha was the first property acquired by Landmark Trust USA, in 1992. At the time, the organization was part of Landmark Trust UK, which has restored more than 200 historic properties as vacation rentals in the UK and Europe since it was founded in 1965. The two trusts co-rehabilitated Naulakha based on the architect’s plans and historic photos, many of which were found in the house. It helped that the Cabot-Holbrook family, who bought the property from the Kiplings, left most of the former owners’ belongings intact and moved to the carriage house in 1942, leaving Naulakha largely untouched for the next 50 years. Landmark Trust USA went on to restore the carriage house and acquire three more properties in the area: the 1915 Sugarhouse at Scott Farm (the farm,

half a mile from Naulakha, serves as the nonprofit’s headquarters); the 1837 Dutton Farmhouse, which overlooks Scott Farm; and the 1802 Amos Brown House in Whitingham. By then financially viable, the U.S. branch became an independent nonprofit in 1999. Landmark Trust USA has plans to expand into other states, with potential projects in Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire, McMahon said. Architectural historian Glenn Andres of Middlebury admires this model of preservation. He has stayed in a Landmark Trust UK property — a 1613 Jacobean banqueting pavilion in the Cotswolds. “I think it’s a neat idea,” Andres said of both trusts’ approach. “Rather than having lots of people go through [as they would in house museums], it’s

easier on the properties to run them as short-term rentals.” State architectural historian Devin Colman agrees: “It keeps the buildings and properties in active use, which is important not just for ... generating income for maintenance, but for the people using the buildings. They get to experience the spaces as they were intended to be used.” Kipling left Naulakha, where he had hoped to stay, after a dispute with Beatty Balestier and a subsequent lawsuit, which brought more publicity than he could endure. In 1907 Kipling became the first English-language writer to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. He would live in several houses in the UK and India until his death in 1936, but none that he designed. Vermont has the best of him. m

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Trip of a Lifetime Path of Life Garden in Windsor offers a space for spiritual reflection BY MOL LY ZA P P

COURTESY OF GREAT RIVER OUTFITTERS

PHOTOS: SARAH PRIESTAP

T

ucked behind a parking lot within shouting distance of Windsor’s Harpoon Brewery is a gate to a spiritual journey. The Path of Life Garden, nestled on 14 acres between the Connecticut River and an industrial park, is a sculptural garden that aims to symbolize the journey of the human soul. The path has 18 outdoor “rooms,” each representing a stage of existence, from birth to death and even rebirth. Like life itself, the garden path begins without a clear view of what is ahead. Visitors enter through a metal underpass, called the Tunnel of Oblivion, which brings them to a simple post-and-beam gate, then to the first room, Birth. A few paces beyond that vulva-inspired stone sculpture is a hemlock maze, Adventure, that obscures the rest of the garden from view. A signpost offers visitors a choice: “Less” for an easy journey around the maze’s perimeter, or “More” to enter the maze, which contains many dead ends and a bell to ring at its center. “It’s a trip,” Path of Life Garden founder Terry McDonnell said with a laugh. He designed the Adventure maze as a representation of adolescence and “sort of being lost.” A former child therapist and “serial entrepreneur,” he owns the land on which the sculpture garden and industrial park sit. He also co-owns next-door Great River Outfitters, which leads day and overnight trips on the Connecticut River in kayaks, canoes, tubes and paddleboards. The business offers fat-tire bike rentals and campsites on the garden grounds, as well. McDonnell began constructing the garden in the late 1990s, inspired by the Japanese Gardens of Tully, Ireland, which were built between 1906 and 1910 to symbolize “the Life of Man.” Together with friends, family, and local artists and contractors, McDonnell added more rooms and structures to the garden over the years; it opened to the public in 2004. Creating, maintaining and sharing the Path of Life Garden, he said, has brought him a much greater sense of peace. McDonnell estimates that about 8,000 people visit the garden yearly, a fraction of the 150,000 who come to the industrial park, where Harpoon Brewery is the biggest draw. Playfulness is an important theme in the garden. Early along the path is the Creativity installation, 10

SEVEN DAYS STAYTRIPPER JUNE 2021

made of towering driftwood sculptures in the shape of musicians. McDonnell built it with artists from Marin County, Calif.; it’s easy to imagine the pieces at a Burning Man festival of yesteryear. In front of the musicians are a firepit and picnic tables that campers can use. The river bends behind it; on its banks is a starburst-shaped sculpture by Windsor

artist Herb Ferris, designed for people to lie back on and gaze at the sky or stars. Sharon-based artist Ria Blaas made the Easter Island-esque heads for Community in 2008. Standing among the charred wooden heads, one has a wondrous view of the Adventure maze, its turns clearly illuminated. The visual metaphor: Turns in life are not detours from the path; they are the path. The garden is full of hills and ridges, some of which appear too steep to be accessible to visitors with limited mobility. The top of Ambition, portrayed by a grassy, earthen mound, offers a lonely, expansive view of the garden’s acreage. There, one looks down on Community, the recently passed Family and


INFO Path of Life Garden and Great River Outfitters, 36 Park Rd., Windsor, 674-9933, greatriveroutfitters.com. Garden admission is $3-6; free for ages 3 and under. River trips and camping start at $27.50.

From bottom left: Great River Outfitters kayaks in the Connecticut River; a hilltop overlooking the hemlock Adventure maze; Community sculptures; the shade structure over Solitude

Union rooms seem distant, and Creativity is obscured by trees. The trickling waterfalls of Respite, which lie ahead, cannot be heard, and Contemplation, depicted by a statue of the Buddha and a labyrinth, looks appealing but out of reach. A spirituality study released last fall by the Fetzer Institute found that 86 percent of Americans consider themselves spiritual, while 61 percent aspire to be more spiritual. McDonnell, 60, said he was raised Catholic and “found” yoga, Buddhism and meditation in his thirties and forties. Some 20 years ago, he went to India, TRIP OF A LIFETIME

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PHOTOS: SARAH PRIESTAP

Trip of a Lifetime « P.11 listened to the guru Ramesh Balsekar and was moved by his perspectives, especially the belief that humans have no free will. Nowadays, McDonnell said, he has “very, very loose boundaries when it comes to spirituality. As long as it’s about acceptance and forgiveness, I’m good with it. I bet all religions have that.” He continued, “My experience of others who have been suffering is, we need more forgiveness and acceptance.” Forgiveness, a bamboo sculpture that requires a full head tilt to see to the top, is one of the later stops on the garden’s path — just after Sorrow, depicted by a tepee frame without a cover. Nearby both is Joy, symbolized by a raspberry patch and blueberry bushes for visitors to pick and share in season. McDonnell said he thinks people who have suffered recent loss often discover the greatest meaning in the garden — but that it’s a place spirituality seekers of all stripes can find relatable. “It’s a very simple physical representation of a super-complex, abstract experience, which is life,” he said. “Or I think it’s something like that. It makes life more observable, accessible, understandable — because it is just so complex.”

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TERRY MCDONNELL

COURTESY OF GREAT RIVER OUTFITTERS

It makes life more observable, accessible, understandable — because it is just so complex.

Clockwise from top left: Tree of Wisdom; stone benches at Family; Great River Outfitters campsites on the garden grounds; driftwood sculptures symbolizing Creativity

McDonnell admitted that some people could find universalizing narratives of life too narrow, but he wasn’t worried about it. “As much or as little as they take away is good with me — however they experience it,” he said. He did acknowledge hearing criticism about his display of the Buddha statue, which is placed on the ground and covered in coins and trinkets from visitors. (To show reverence, statues of the Buddha in Buddhist cultures typically rest on an altar or are elevated off the ground, with offerings placed on an altar.) Nicki Carmody, the shop director at Great River

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Outfitters, said that many of her customers have no idea the garden exists when they book a camping or river trip but are affected by the experience when they encounter it. A 20-foot-tall driftwood band, she said, always gets noticed. McDonnell, however, accepts that for all the people who find delight or meaning in the garden, a few won’t. “I’ve seen a lot of people get straight out from a river trip, walk right past the garden without looking up and go straight into the brewery like, I need a beer,” he said with an easy laugh. “That’s just life.” m

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FILE: CALEB KENNA

Out to Eat Scenic spots for enjoying breakfast, lunch and dinner outdoors

PHOTOS: JORDAN BARRY

BY JOR DA N B A R RY • jbarry@sevendaysvt.com

O

utdoor dining in Vermont, where the weather seems to change every five minutes, can be a gamble. But the pandemic has had a positive effect on the state’s al fresco scene: Restaurants have expanded their patios, installed tents and heat lamps, and sorted out how to make the most of a brief but glorious warm season. This summer, the Seven Days food team will be highlighting Vermont’s restaurant decks, patios and picnic tables in a new series called “Dining Out.” We’ll explore lakeside lobster roll destinations, pizza down on the farm and hidden urban cocktail spots. To kick things off, here are three picturesque places — for breakfast, lunch and dinner — that give new meaning to going out to eat. 14

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Blank Page Café 200 Leduc Farm Dr., Shelburne, blankpagecafe.com

Blank Page Café has been serving coffee and gluten-free pastries at Bread & Butter Farm on the Shelburne-South Burlington town line since 2016. In early June 2020, the café started brightening Friday mornings with breakfast tacos — complete with farm-fresh ingredients and on-farm seating. When the weather’s right, the taco operation stands under a tent in the driveway just outside the combined café and farm store. Blank Page chef-owner Mike Proia and the café’s team crack organic eggs from Shoreham’s Doolittle Farm onto a cast-iron grill and hand-press balls of All Souls Tortilleria’s heirloom corn masa to order, crisping each tortilla’s edges on the flat-top. The hefty tacos feature a different local protein every week: pulled pork from Agricola Farm in Panton, chorizo from Vermont Salumi in Barre, or barbacoa made with Bread & Butter’s beef. Slightly melted Cabot cheddar holds it

all together, while scallions, red cabbage and cilantro pack a punch of flavor and crunch. The café and farm store will be open Monday through Saturday this summer. Breakfast tacos are available for pickup every Friday from 8:30 a.m. to noon; online preordering is recommended, but walk-up orders are welcome until the tacos sell out. Blank Page will also be adding once-a-month Saturday brunch, with offerings such as a Vermont Salumi maple breakfast sausage and root vegetable hash with wild ramps. The café’s maple cold-brew, made with beans from Brio Coffeeworks in Burlington, goes particularly well with a breakfast taco and a sweet treat. Bring it all to one of the farm’s picnic tables. The experience of sitting near a greenhouse full of growing plants and taking in the buzz of a busy morning on the farm might be the most magical ingredient of them all. OUT TO EAT

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From left: Outdoor dining at Sissy’s Kitchen; breakfast tacos and coffee from Blank Page Café; Mike Proia (left) and Alex Gemme preparing breakfast tacos outside Blank Page Café; and Blank Page Café breakfast taco

Also try... • AL’S FRENCH FRYS, South Burlington, alsfrenchfrys.com • AMERICAN FLATBREAD AT LAREAU FARM, Waitsfield, americanflatbread.com • THE COPPER GROUSE, Manchester, coppergrouse.com • EDSON HILL, Stowe, edsonhill.com • HERO’S WELCOME GENERAL STORE, North Hero, heroswelcome.com • THE KITCHEN TABLE BISTRO, Richmond, kitchentablebistro.com • LOST MONARCH CRAFT COFFEE AT THE STONE MILL PUBLIC MARKET, Middlebury, royaloakcoffee.com/lostmonarch • PHILO RIDGE FARM, Charlotte, philoridgefarm.com SEVEN DAYS STAYTRIPPER JUNE 2021

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Out to Eat « P.15 FILE PHOTOS: CALEB KENNA

Sissy’s Kitchen 10 West St., Middletown Springs, 235-2000, sissyskitchen.com

Sissy’s Kitchen puts the “home” in home-style. Former Dorset Inn owner and chef Sissy Hicks has been serving breakfast classics, hearty sandwiches, and heat-andeat dinners from a house in the center of Middletown Springs’ idyllic village since 2008. “It’s a comfortable little spot,” Hicks said of her country kitchen. The sandwich menu is colorfully scrawled on a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard, tucked between an old woodstove and the kitchen’s entrance. Options such as the veggie-loaded Bene wrap and fried pollock on a homemade bun — all served with a choice of German potato salad or coleslaw — are best enjoyed during a backyard picnic in Sissy’s extensive, wellmanicured gardens. Patrons can grab a picnic table amid the hydrangeas, settle into an Adirondack chair under a willow tree, or toss a blanket between the rows of raised beds filled with cabbage, leeks, carrots and herbs. Hicks uses the produce from these gardens, along with ingredients sourced from nearby farms, throughout her menu — as well as in her line of jams made from local berries. “In the wintertime, there’s no seating except for the front porch,” Hicks said. “But people sometimes sit out in the cold anyway.” The lack of indoor seating means that the majority of cold-weather business has always centered on the to-go cooler, with locals and tourists alike taking out home-cooked dinners. That model has kept Hicks busy during the pandemic, though she adapted to add online ordering and porch-side pickup. The fare changes every week, ranging from braised lamb shank with beans, kale and carrot topped with feta, to 16

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Sissy’s Kitchen, from top: Roast beef, Boursin cheese and red onion sandwich; seating on the porch; chef-owner Sissy Hicks; and cupcakes

pan-seared halibut filet with orange sherry and honey glaze, served with forbidden black rice and green beans. Sissy’s is a destination, no matter the season. The restaurant only takes cash or check, but in a pinch Grant’s Village Store down the street will give desperate diners cash back. With only a slightly admonishing tone, the cashier is likely to say, “You must be going to Sissy’s.”


Starry Night Café 5371 Route 7, Ferrisburgh, 877-6316, starrynightcafe.com

PHOTOS: JORDAN BARRY

Starry Night Café, asparagus, and from top: Matchaherb tagliatelle dusted confit duck leg will be available with blood-orange gastrique, fenneluntil the summer scallion pancake menu arrives and smoky sesame around the end of turnips; Rhuby Slippers cocktail; and patio June, Sutton said. dining tables Even the cocktails get in on the seasonal fun — and the garden’s herbs, when they’re ready. The Rhuby Slippers combines vodka with rhubarb purée, fresh basil, lemon and soda for a refreshing springtime spritz. Starry Night has developed an extensive to-go menu during the pandemic, offering complete meals, side dishes, desserts, wine and cocktails for customers to take home. With bright tulips beckoning from the patio, though, it’s hard to resist dining on-site. m

COURTESY OF STARRY NIGHT CAFÉ

Aromas of oregano, thyme, chives, rosemary, sage and lavender fill the air on the patio hidden behind Ferrisburgh’s Starry Night Café. The seasonally driven kitchen uses its fair share of fragrant herbs, and as the weather warms and the growing season takes off, they come directly from the gardens out back. “It smells amazing back there,” said Kelly Sutton, manager of the fine-dining spot. With a pond vista and ample flower gardens, the place looks amazing, too. The stone patio has six tables — two of which seat two people, while the rest seat up to five. With the addition of three heaters, the restaurant has extended its outdoor season; patrons dined al fresco during April’s warm spell this year, and Sutton expects the tables to be popular through late fall. Starry Night holds indoor tables for its outdoor bookings in case of rain, and the popular four-season porch — complete with a stone fireplace and cathedral ceiling — offers enclosed dining with a pleasant breeze no matter the weather. The restaurant’s spring menu is full of local produce that celebrates the season, including a radish salad with strawberry whipped feta, greens and pickled shallots topped with radish-green vinaigrette. Entrées such as matcha-dusted confit duck leg, grilled strip steak with crab and

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Rutland Calling

“Rutland City Buildings” mural by Persi Narvaez in downtown Rutland

Public art guides a day trip in the former marble town BY SALLY POLL AK “We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest Until It Comes” mural by LMNOPI at Center Street Marketplace Park

SEVEN DAYS STAYTRIPPER JUNE 2021

"Stone Legacy" sculpture by Alessandro Lombardo and Andrea Ingrassia

PHOTOS: SOPHIE X. POLLAK

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riving to Rutland recently, I was taken aback to realize I hadn’t been there in 30 years. Back then, I was a sportswriter covering high school football, and Mount St. Joseph Academy, a Catholic high school in Rutland, was a football powerhouse. I made the trip down to write about the Mounties and their hometown rivals, the Rutland Red Raiders (now called the Ravens). My view of the city was from the sidelines, literally. But teams’ fortunes change, as do newspaper beats, and I stopped going to Rutland. That changed in early May, when my daughter and I drove 65 miles south on Route 7 for a road trip to Rutland. With a population of roughly 15,000 people, it’s the biggest city in Vermont outside of Chittenden County. Its major crossroads of routes 4 and 7, marked by Starbucks, CVS and Burger King, could be Anywhere, USA. But just a few blocks west of that junction is a historic downtown with local shops and a view of not-so-distant mountains. A distinct and fascinating feature of the business district is the RUTLAND SCULPTURE TRAIL. The collection of eight stone sculptures (with more to come) recollects the history of the region through representational works of art. The Danby marble from which


“Martin Freeman” by Mark Burnett and Don Ramey

Climbing rock at Pine Hill Park

IN THE AREA... • CARVING STUDIO & SCULPTURE CENTER, carvingstudio.org • CENTER STREET MARKETPLACE PARK, rutlandrec.com • GILL’S DELICATESSEN, gillsdeli.com • MOUNTAIN MUSIC, mountainmusicvt.com • PHOENIX BOOKS, phoenixbooks.biz • PINE HILL PARK, pinehillpark.org • ROOTS THE RESTAURANT, rootsrutland.com • RUTLAND SCULPTURE TRAIL, downtownrutland.com • SEWARD’S FAMILY RESTAURANT, Facebook • TOYKO HOUSE, rutlandtokyohouse.com • TRAP DOOR, Instagram

the sculptures are carved recalls a centuries-old local practice. The trail of art guided our visit. The carved figures include Ann Story and her son Solomon, who were coconspirators of the Green Mountain Boys. Ann cooked and spied for the Revolutionaries in pre-statehood Vermont. Also rendered in marble is Martin Freeman, a Rutland native and 1849 graduate of Middlebury College who became the nation’s first Black college president, and William Wilson (known as Bill W.), the Dorset-born, Rutland-raised cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous. “These are all people who have contributed to Vermont’s cultural heritage,” said Carol Driscoll, executive director of the CARVING STUDIO & SCULPTURE CENTER in West Rutland. “It takes a lot to come up with a way to present them, interpret their lives and have it be translatable into marble.” The arts organization collaborated with several key partners to organize, execute and finance the sculpture project, she said. They include Green Mountain Power, MKF Properties and Vermont Quarries. The latter business donated marble quarried in Danby — stone valued at $10,000 to $40,000 per sculpture — to produce the artwork, according to Driscoll. For our trip, my daughter downloaded the Downtown

Drinks and appetizers at Roots the Restaurant

The trail also affords easy access to downtown businesses, so we ducked into a few stores. Besides the bookshop, our stops included a clothing boutique, TRAP DOOR, that earned a big thumbs-up from my daughter, and MOUNTAIN MUSIC, a record store and jewelry shop. What a treat it was to browse aimlessly in a store after a year of quick in-and-out shopping and curbside pickup. Still, I loved a totem of 2020 at Mountain Music, where shoppers are greeted by a photo of Prince, wearing granny glasses and peeking through the hole of an album sleeve, captioned by the words “MASKS REQUIRED.” A fun aspect of our walk was coming upon other public art — in particular, murals painted in vibrant colors on downtown walls. We saw whales, a monkey, elephants, birds, flowers, a wonderful cityscape and cool, multicolored painted barrels by Bill Ramage, a tribute to an art piece by Christo and Jeanne-Claude from 1960s Paris. The trail also led us to an unexpected and lovely lunch. We had planned to eat at GILL’S DELICATESSEN, Rutland’s beloved sandwich shop, but changed our minds when we happened upon TOKYO HOUSE, a Japanese restaurant on West Street. Our takeout meal of crab and vegetable tempura, spring rolls, and gyoza was as enjoyable as it was impromptu — and a bargain at $20 for two. With some time to spare before our Roots reservation, we decided to check out PINE HILL PARK, 325 acres barely a five-minute drive from downtown. Celebrating its 100th anniversary this month, Pine Hill offers 17 miles of wooded trails for mountain biking and hiking. A path designed for young explorers, the Pine Cone Adventure Forest, leads to 12 destinations, including a climbing rock, a troll bridge and balance beams. Our day came full circle with drinks and food at Roots, where our table was under an awning at the edge of Center Street Marketplace Park and its three marble sculptures. The cocktails — a pink strawberry sour (with Barr Hill gin) and a purple blackberry lemonade (with Smugglers’ Notch Distillery bourbon) — tasted like a prelude to summer. The cheese fondue, a blue cheese and Parmesan blend sweetened with honey, warmed and nourished us on what was, in fact, a cool spring afternoon. Driving back to Burlington, we stopped for ice cream at SEWARD’S FAMILY RESTAURANT on Route 7, a dining landmark founded in 1947. I vowed not to let 30 years pass before I visit Rutland again. My excuse to return will be two more sculptures that are in production. The new marble artworks will depict Julia Dorr, a poet and founder of the Rutland Free Library, and Ernie Royal, the first Black restaurateur in Vermont. He opened Royal’s Hearthside Restaurant in 1963 at the site of the current Starbucks. Mount St. Joseph dropped its football program in 2018. The school’s longtime and legendary coach, Alfonso “Funzie” Cioffi, died in 2014 at age 84. Maybe one day a sculptor will carve a marble likeness of him, cradling a football and high-fiving his quarterback. m

These are all people who have contributed to Vermont’s cultural heritage. CAROL DRISCOLL

Rutland app, a handy tool for following the trail and learning about its subjects. Using this guide, we started at CENTER STREET MARKETPLACE PARK, site of one of the first works in the collection. Carved in 2017 by the Italian artists Alessandro Lombardo and Andrea Ingrassia, “Stone Legacy” depicts an unidentified stoneworker. The 11-foot-tall sculpture is a tribute to the local people who, dating back to the mid-19th century, carved gravestones, monuments and other objects from Vermont stone. “It’s a tribute to the unknown carver, the not-named carver, who [worked] below the radar,” Driscoll said. After viewing this piece and two others in the park, we spotted ROOTS THE RESTAURANT at the edge of the green. As it happened, we had a reservation there for late-afternoon drinks and appetizers. But before the appointed snack hour, there was more art to see. We followed our digital docent to PHOENIX BOOKS on Center Street, where an installation sits by the front door. “Jungle Book” is the work of Barre artist Sean Hunter Williams, who designed and carved the sculpture that pays tribute to Rudyard Kipling’s book. Williams spent a summer at the carving studio in West Rutland to create the piece. Kipling wrote The Jungle Book in 1893 and 1894, when he was living in Dummerston. (See related story, page 6.) Williams, who grew up in Montpelier, said he knew the cartoon series as a kid and read the book before making the sculpture. “What I wanted to do is kind of interpret the characters in my own way,” said Williams, 35, noting that he researched bears and wolves that are native to India. “I chose the scene where the jungle [animals] are deciding what to do with Mowgli.” The sculpture trail is a testament to what a small city can do when it commits local resources to a project, he said. “Rutland used to be more of a hub for carvers and the marble industry,” Williams said. “It’s nice that they’re keeping that connection alive.”

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Destinations

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Vermont’s 1st Board Game Café

Season kicks off on May 27 at Fable Farm Fermentory in Barnard. See feastandfield.com for full lineup, membership options and reservations.

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Tue.– Thu. 5pm-11pm; Fri. 5 pm-12am; Sat. 12pm-12am; Sun. 11am-8pm 3 Mill St., Burlington 802.540.1710

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BARNARTS AND FEAST & FIELD MARKET’S THURSDAY NIGHT MUSIC SERIES

Snack on the BITE CLUB NEWSLETTER for a taste of this week’s flavorful food coverage. It’ll hold you over until Wednesday.

Vermont summers offer a brief window to simultaneously enjoy nature, locally sourced food and entertainment. At the weekly Feast & Field Market at Fable Farm Fermentory in Barnard, attendees can enjoy a homegrown meal and live music while basking in the state’s natural beauty. Each outdoor event features a sumptuous farm-to-table dinner from local growers Fable Farm, Eastman Farm and Kiss the Cow Farm. Performing arts organization BarnArts curates the music series, continuing its mission to engage communities, foster talent and offer year-round entertainment. The series runs every Thursday from late May through September. Historically, BarnArts has presented a mix of local, national and international artists. In 2020, adapting to pandemic life meant making some changes. “Last year, we pivoted to 100 percent local artists,” said Chloe Powell, BarnArts’ director of music programming. Pandemic travel restrictions COURTESY OF MIKE SPENCER

SUBSCRIBE AT

sevendaysvt.com/enews

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Vermont State Historic Sites 2021 SEASON

y— r o t s i H t i s i ! V d e n e p p a h t where i

Select sites are open now! Find hours and admissions at:

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Kotoko Brass

meant that national and interna- In the area… tional touring artists couldn’t be • BABES BAR, 221 Main St., Bethel, included in the lineup. 234-1144, babesvt.com But this year’s schedule • BARRISTER’S BOOKSHOP, edges back toward normalcy. 190 Chelsea St., South Royalton, While Vermonters such as 763-7170, barristers.vermontlaw.edu honky-tonk outfit Western • THE SHIRE, 46 Pleasant St., Woodstock, Terrestrials (June 24) and pop 457-2211, shirewoodstock.com singer-songwriter Myra Flynn (August 26) remain the roster’s backbone, regional heavy hitters including progressive bluegrass band the Revenants (June 10) and Ghanaian funk group Kotoko Brass (August 19), who both hail from Boston, diversify this year’s offerings. Though popular among locals, the series generates buzz beyond Vermont’s borders. “Most attendees travel from a 45-minute radius, but some of our bigger shows have brought people from farther afield,” Powell said. J OR DAN ADAM S

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Find, fix and feather with Nest Notes — an e-newsletter filled with home design, Vermont real estate tips and DIY decorating inspirations. Sign up today at sevendaysvt.com/enews.

Isham Family Farm

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Select dates and times, June through September, at Isham Family Farm in Williston. $15-50; preregister. ishamfamilyfarm.com

KRIST EN RAVIN

In the area… • • •

CATAMOUNT OUTDOOR FAMILY CENTER, 592 Governor Chittenden Rd., Williston, 879-6001, catamountoutdoorfamilycenter.org GOODWATER BREWERY, 740 Marshall Ave., Williston, 999-7396, goodwaterbreweryvt.com MALLETTS BAY CAMPGROUND, 88 Malletts Bay Campground, Colchester, 863-6980, mallettsbaycampground.com

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4/6/21 11:24 AM Photo © Tom Rogers, Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department

A new event series from First: Earth Project, a nonprofit created by Isham Family Farm in Williston, puts an eco-friendly twist on live entertainment. The First: Earth Summer Series uses performing arts to promote environmental awareness and responsibility. So, what does that pairing look like? Seven different acts are scheduled to perform on the 108-acre working farm and community center between June and September. Each concert or theater performance is accompanied by a 10- to 15-minute lecture on an environmental topic related to the show’s themes. On June 11, for example, wetland ecologist Tina Heath wades into the topic of vernal pools before an open-air performance of the Tony Awardnominated musical A Year With Frog and Toad, presented by Burlington’s Lyric Theatre. Isham Family Farm co-owner and First: Earth Project executive director Helen Weston points to this performance, as well as Ballet Vermont’s Farm to Ballet Project in July, as particularly engaging for families with kids. The intimate farm setting aids in connecting audience members to the environment. Shows are either outside on the lawn or in a restored barn with seating. The grounds open two hours before showtime for BYO picnicking. Revenue from this year’s series benefits Audubon Vermont. “It takes a village to bring about environmental awareness,” said Weston, “and bringing our community together for an evening of live theater at our farm is a lovely way to support our natural environment.”

t ’s Fishing, Sample Vermon d History State Parks an

Free: Fishing on Saturday, June 12 (no fishing license required)

Entry into State Parks Day-Use Areas Entry into select State Historic Sites Entry into the Vermont History Museum in Montpelier on Saturday, June 12

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Destinations FILE: TOM MCNEILL

NEED SOME NEW GEAR? SHOP SAVVY AND KEEP VERMONT STRONG.

YOGA IN THE CANOPY

Need some ideas? Visit the Register for all the info on area shopkeepers who are selling their products online for local delivery or pickup. Browse by categories ranging from jewelry to electronics, outdoor gear to apparel. Whether you need something for yourself or that perfect gift for a loved one, shop savvy and keep Vermont strong.

Forest Canopy Walk

Sundays in June, 4:30-5:45 p.m., at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee. $20-24; preregister. vinsweb.org

The Vermont Institute of Natural Science in Quechee is a literal and figurative playground for lovers of the great outdoors. In addition to an actual nature-inspired playscape, the nonprofit offers walking trails, raptor encounters, exhibits and educational programming for kids and adults on its 47-acre campus. All of this is geared toward promoting a desire to care for wildlife and their habitats. June’s schedule includes weekly Yoga in the Canopy. Each Sunday, yogis ascend the Forest Canopy Walk for a late-afternoon stretching session in the trees. Opened to the public in 2019, the walkway stands approximately 50 feet tall and gives visitors a close-up view of another level of the forest ecosystem. The wheelchair-accessible wooden structure connects a 100-foot-tall tree house to human-made structures including a giant owl’s nest and eagle’s nest. A third platform features a “spider” web spanning 20 feet in diameter. Yoga in the Canopy takes place on the spider web platform with mats arranged in a circle and plenty of space between students. According to VINS nature camp and adult programs lead Sarah Strew, the lofty setting makes for a unique yoga experience. “One of the great things about the [Forest Canopy Walk] is that it kind of mimics the natural motion of the trees,” she said, “so you can actually feel the platform swaying underneath you if there’s a breeze.” In the area… Longtime yoga instructor Sharon Comeau guides • NOSTALGIA CAFÉ QUECHEE GORGE, participants of all experience 5945 Woodstock Rd., Hartford, levels in a slow-flow lesson 281-6739, nostalgiacafevt.com incorporating sun salutations, • STRONG HOUSE SPA, standing and balancing poses, 694 Main St., Quechee, 295-1718, and meditation. stronghousespa.com If a fear of heights is hold• VERMONT ANTIQUE MALL, 5573 Woodstock Rd., Quechee, ing you back, Strew advises 281-4147, vermontantiquemall.com embracing the challenge: “I think yoga is a great avenue for calming those fears and really tuning into your body and finding that kind of peace.”

SHOP TH E R EG I S T E R . C OM

WITH GENEROUS SUPPORT FROM:

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LIGHT RIVER JUNCTION: FIRST FRIDAYS WITH WRIF First Fridays through August, 5 p.m., downtown White River Junction. Free. wrif.org

“Public spaces can tell a story about our communities,” said Vermont Community Foundation president and CEO Dan Smith in a press release. “They bring us together when accessible, or leave us isolated when they aren’t.” As part of its effort to support projects that foster a sense of togetherness and boost the state’s economy, VCF and partners awarded an $18,000 grant to the White River Indie Festival and local collaborators. The result is Light River Junction: First Fridays With WRIF. This multifaceted event series attracts folks of all ages to downtown White River Junction for film, food and art, revitalizing the village’s longrunning First Friday celebration. Organizers also hope it’ll energize the local economy, bolster creativity and help individuals recover from the social isolation of the past year. Series organizers made the most of White River Junction’s public spaces by designating a parking lot behind Hotel Coolidge on Currier Street as the main hub for these weekly happenings. White-sided buildings bordering the lot act as projection surfaces for film and art installations. Feature films play on a portable screen after dark. Community art projects, smaller video projections and sound installations by local creatives enliven various spots around town, as well. Folks should show up hungry — the Currier Street lot is within walking distance of restaurants and watering holes that, along with downtown galleries, offer extended hours.

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In the area… • • •

LONG RIVER GALLERY, 49 S. Main St., White River Junction, 295-4567, longrivergallery.com LYMAN POINT PARK, 167 Maple St., White River Junction, 295-5036, hartfordvt.myrec.com WOLF TREE, 40 Currier St., White River Junction, 698-8409, wolftreevt.com

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