A family-friendly, scenic hike
Explore geological and human history on the way to the Gettysburg Quarry
Introducing Miss Kitty
Frisky new columnist tours
Southern Vermont bars, shares summer picks
North Bennington: An unsung village
Places to spend the day, including where to find the maple-cream filled doughnuts
Early Summer Adventures in Southern Vermont May/June 2023 CustomerComplimentary$4.99 Copy
Bob Audette, a cranky old white guy, is experiencing the world anew under the tutelage of an 11-yearold forest sprite. He’s been writing for the Brattleboro Reformer for nearly two decades.
Jennifer Brandt is a born and raised Vermonter and a recent Brooklyn transplant. She has worked as a freelance writer and event coordinator for the past decade focusing on food and intersection with social justice issues. She has combined her passion for food and sustainable food systems with her Indigenous heritage by creating a series with MOFAD celebrating North American Indigenous folks in the food world. When not touring cities and the back roads of the Vermont countryside in search of the endless array of food and culture, you can find her taking Instagram photos of her rescue pup Bagel.
Stewart Cairns is a photographer for the Bennington Banner. Growing up in the NYC suburbs, he didn’t make it to the mountains much as a kid, but when he was 8, his family visited the Adirondacks, and he was convinced that he photographed Bigfoot. He was certain that the picture would be in the newspaper, and that he would be famous. His parents broke the news to him that he actually photographed a very hairy man who was renting the cabin next door, searching for firewood. He was disappointed but undaunted. He has photographed many barely believable things over the years, and now that he roams Route 7 throughout Vermont, he always keeps his gaze focused deep into the woods ... just in case.
Gordon Dossett traded the traffic and urban ugliness of Los Angeles for the Green Mountains. He lives with his teenaged children, a cat and a dog, packing urban sprawl into one home. He likes making to-do lists and losing them.
Kathleen Hawes — aka Miss Kitty — is a creative writer who enjoys morning cocktails and holding grudges. You can read her work in The Sun Magazine, The Massachusetts Review, and other rando publications.
Bill LeConey is a news editor and occasional sports and entertainment writer for Vermont News & Media. A lifelong Philadelphia sports fan, he has ascended to the pinnacle of success a few times with his beloved teams, more often wallowing in the valley of defeat. He continues to hope for the best while expecting the worst.
Chris Mays is a reporter living almost perfectly equidistant from Brattleboro and Mount Snow. He has worked for the Brattleboro Reformer for 10 years and laser-etched blankets for a company for four years. His nickname is Etch Daddy.
Kristopher Radder is a photographer for the Brattleboro Reformer. Often compared to Ed Sheeran in looks, or Prince Harry pending on his hair, he can be often found with a camera in hand ready to capture life in Southern Vermont.
Tara Schatz is a fulltime freelance writer and travel blogger who aspires to earn a living while wandering in the woods of Vermont. She currently writes from a little blue house in Bennington and enjoys maple lattes, gardening, and making friends with every dog she comes across.
Dan Tebo is a Boston-based layabout and occasional film critic whose work appears rarely. He graduated from Emerson College with a degree in creative loafing. He enjoys fine dining, collecting antiquated media, and excessive complaining.
Lissa Weinmann is a curious cat, exploring back alleys, public documents and her closets in search of good stories, a few of which actually get finished. She’s co-owner of Brattleboro’s 118 Elliot, a community arts space, directs the Brattleboro Words Project, co-chairs the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Decommissioning Citizen Advisory Panel and maintains sanity and her edge with daily yoga practice.
President and Publisher
Windham County Sales Manager
Senior Sales Executive
Bennington County Sales Manager
Susan Plaisance splaisance @benningtonbanner.com
Ahmad Yassir ayassir
Vermont Country magazine is a publication of
CONTRIBUTORS On the cover: The Marina in Brattleboro, Vt. Provided photo. vermontcountry.com | 3
Happy spring, I think
By Gena Mangiaratti Vermont Country
I recently realized I am among the many who claim their mood is not affected by the weather until suddenly winter ends (knock on wood) and my antidepressant apparently starts to kick in. Until then, I forget what it’s like to step outside and not feel like the outdoors are angry with me. I’m not a skier or snowboarder, so winter merely becomes a time where everything I do is harder. With the sun finally shining and no more piles of snow atop my two-wheel-drive vehicle and no more avalanches from the roof onto my walkway, life will now happen with so much less resistance, I think.
Enter: wasps, pollen and road work. Fortunately, if you can brave all that, hiking, picnics, outdoor dining, outdoor drinking and even an outdoor art museum in North Bennington await on the other side of our new challenges. And we here at Vermont Country have selflessly tested it all out, especially the dining and drinking parts. This issue introduces our newest columnist, Miss Kitty, who shares her top picks for cocktails, cocktail dresses, a July Fourth picnic and appeasing your tom cat’s preference for IPAs and general rusticness. Staffers Chris Mays, Gordon Dossett and Stewart Cairns also share some favorite spots around the region for eating and drinking, in and out of doors. For a hike that’s scenic, educational and suitable for bringing the kids, Tara Schatz of Back Road Ramblers recommends the 2.5mile hike to Gettysburg Quarry — plus some spots to hit in Dorset afterward. If you’d like to combine hiking and outdoor dining, staffer Bob Audette recommends some picnic areas and local food stops for filling your basket.
Ever explored North Bennington? Jennifer Brandt, Vermont Country correspondent, provides
a full day’s itinerary of places to check out in this historical, unsung village that inspired the horror writer Shirley Jackson. Be sure to be around June 24, when the village celebrates Shirley Jackson Day, of which Bob Audette explores the history.
Also in North Bennington is the annual outdoor sculpture show, which kicks off June 17 with a family-friendly celebration. Vermont Country provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the show and the local organizers who make it all happen.
For sports fans, staffer Bill LeConey delves into Brattleboro’s long history of baseball, introducing us to a town resident with one of the largest private collections of Vermont baseball artifacts in existence. In addition, staff writer Tory Rich gets to know Vermont Fusion, the soccer team in Manchester that kicks off its third season as part of the Women’s Premier Soccer League this May. For those of us who enjoy the kinder weather by reading on beaches and mountaintops and are intrigued by the region’s literary history, Lissa Weinmann from the Brattleboro Words Project shares what she can tell us about a new, words-related exhibit coming to the Brattleboro Amtrak station expected to open in 2024.
And of course, our favorite film columnist Dan Tebo is back, with a list of films that fit this issue’s theme — food.
From Vermont Country, we lift many glasses to warmer temperatures, and to the strength to push through the challenges of every season to find what’s good on the other side.
Gena Mangiaratti, whose first name rhymes with “henna,” is editor of Vermont Country and arts & entertainment editor for Vermont News & Media. She lives in Brattleboro with her cat, Theodora, who alerts her to the presence of flying specimens inside.
By Tara Schatz
By Bill LeConey
By Miss Kitty
A thrill for competition seekers
Vermont Fusion soccer lives up to its name in more ways than one
By Tory Rich
By Bob Audette
By Stewart Cairns
By Gordon Dossett
Places to dine outside in Windham County
By Chris Mays
A perfect weekend in Brattleboro
By Noah Hoffenberg
Unsung Vermont Towns an Villages: North Bennington
By Jennifer Brandt
‘An enduring appeal’ Bennington celebrates Shirley Jackson Day
By Bob Audette
40 43 45 46 55
An outdoor art museum in North Bennington
Words on the water: Literary history exhibit coming to new Amtrak station
By Lissa Weinmann
Vermont Country Homes
Realtor of the Year: Jacki Murano
By Chris Mays
Savory Cinema: 10 food films that stimulate the palate
By Dan Tebo
TABLE OF CONTENTS
one with nature
perfect for families, history buffs
meow’ summer picks
to enjoy a picnic in Southern Vermont
9 14 21 Places
& Dine in Southern Vermont
Outdoor dining returns to The Grille
a night out in the Northshire
7 18 19
36 25 26 29 30 33
vermontcountry.com | 5
Places to enjoy a picnic in Southern Vermont
6 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2023
HOLLY PELCZYNSKI — Vermont Country file photo Jared Newell, of Bennington, grills burgers and hot dogs for community members during a BBQ event at the Stark Street playground in Bennington.
By Bob Audette Vermont Country
Imagine a wicker picnic basket waiting to be opened, stuffed with delectable goodies from local farms, bakeries and delis. Imagine that wicker basket at a picnic table in a state park or on a blanket rolled out next to a free-flowing river. Imagine opening that wicker basket and pulling out a pastry from Dutton Berry Farms in Newfane or Brattleboro, cupcakes from Top Tier in Guilford, some cheese and salami from The Italian Marketplace in Manchester, honey from Fahey Family Honey Farm in Pownal spread on a baguette from Gille’s in Dummerston and fresh fruit from a farmstand you passed on the way to the top of a sunshine-covered green mountain.
To wash it all down, you might pull out a bottle of wine from Honora Winery in Jacksonville or an IPA or brown ale from Madison Brewing in Bennington.
Southern Vermont has spectacular locations, some subtle and some remote, for picnics, whether it’s just to hop out of your car and bust open that basket or to walk to the lakeshore or into the forest itself.
You can find a picnic bench in the Green Mountain National Forest or at any number of state parks including Molly Stark, Woodford, Fort Dummer, Jamaica, Townshend and Dutton Pines.
If you like a “civilized” picnic with amenities close by, think about Hildene,
the Lincoln Family Home in Manchester, Retreat Farm in Brattleboro, the Merck Forest & Farmland Center in Rupert and the Hogback in Marlboro.
If you think might like to go for a dip or a canoe ride as part of your picnic adventure, there’s Harriman Reservoir in Wilmington, Lake Shaftesbury State Park, Lowell Lake State Park in Londonderry, Somerset Reservoir in Somerset, or Emerald Lake State Park in Dorset.
If you don’t mind carrying our picnic
basket on a short hike for a secluded picnic, try Equinox Skyline Drive in Arlington, Putney Mountain, Deer Run Nature Preserve in Dummerston, Prospect Rock Trail or Lye Brook Falls in Manchester, Mount Olga in Wilmington, Mile Around Woods in North Bennington, or Aiken Wildflower Trail and Hadwen Woods in Bennington. Wherever you go, remember to pack an extra layer of clothes, bug spray and sunscreen. And to keep Vermont green, always practice “leave no trace” and pack out what you bring in.
Kimberly Hatch — Vermont Country file photo Youngsters Ansley Henderson, left, and Hazel Seiden enjoy some melon during the Brookline town picnic in a past year.
Chris Bertelsen — Vermont Country file photo Elena Lyakir, Eric Slayton and Kai Lyakir enjoy an evening picnic on the top of Putney Mountain.
vermontcountry.com | 7
HOLLY PELCZYNSKI — Vermont Country file photo Reagan Killam enjoys some fruit while sitting on a picnic blanket with her mother Addey Killam of Bennington during an event at the Stark Street playground in town.
Becoming one with nature
Hike to Gettysburg Quarry perfect for families, history buffs
vermontcountry.com | 9
Photo provided by Tara Schatz More adventurous hikers can continue onward to the summit of Owl’s Head (2,474 feet). The trek to Owl’s Head doubles the length of the hike and is a steep trek through an enchanting hardwood forest.
By Tara Schatz Back Road Ramblers
DORSET — Looking for a fun hike that isn’t too difficult and includes rare natural communities along with incredible geological and human history? The hike to Gettysburg Quarry in Dorset is a 2.5-mile loop that is perfect for families, history buffs and nature lovers.
Owl’s Head Town Forest hides a rich geological and human history that includes old marble quarries, stone cellar holes, and abandoned industrial equipment.
Gettysburg Quarry, along with many abandoned quarries in Dorset, is slowly being reclaimed by the forest. Wild columbine grows from crevices in the marble and water drips eerily into the turquoise pools framed by massive walls of cut stone. It’s hard to imagine a bustling quarry in such a quiet and
The area is also part of a rare natural community in Vermont — a temperate calcareous natural community, which includes plants found only on calcium-rich outcrops, such as yellow lady’s slipper, hooker’s orchid, spreading juniper, and four-leaved milkweed, among others.
The 2.5-mile loop to Gettysburg Quarry is easy enough for kids and dogs and includes a nice viewpoint to the southwest.
More adventurous hikers can continue onward to the summit of Owl’s Head (2,474 feet). The trek to Owl’s Head doubles the length of the hike and is a steep trek through an enchanting hardwood forest.
Directions to the trailhead
From the junction of VT 7A and VT 11/VT 30 in downtown Manchester
Center, head north on VT 30 for 4.4 miles. Turn right onto Raptor Lane and follow it for 0.7 miles to a small dirt road on the left, marked by a trail sign. Follow this to the end and park just beyond the trailhead. The parking lot (space for about six cars) is on the right.
Detailed trail guide to Gettysburg Quarry
From the parking area, enter the woods over a small footbridge near the trail kiosk. Hawks Pass Trail is blazed with yellow diamond-shaped trail markers. This gradual uphill climb through a mixed hardwood forest showcases many of the diverse understory plants that are indicative of a Rich Northern Hardwood Forest — maidenhair ferns, wild columbine and Dutchman’s breeches.
You’ll quickly pass over the remnants of an old stone wall and turn left on a
holes, and abandoned industrial equipment.
Next page: The area is part of a rare natural community in Vermont.
Photos provided by Tara Schatz
Head Town Forest hides
rich geological and human history that includes old marble quarries, stone cellar
10 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2023
vermontcountry.com | 11
diverse, wooded landscape
farmed fields covered the hillside,
gravel road. This short section of trail brings you to a defunct parking area on private property. From here, the trail is blazed in both blue and yellow, heading uphill.
Continue to follow the yellow blazes, veering right off the blue-marked trail. The yellow-blazed trail ascends a wide, well-traveled path lined with wildflowers in the summer and shaded by young maple, white ash, cherry and beech trees.
After turning left at a grassy trail junction, you’ll pass a huge pile of marble slabs that appear as if they’ve been tossed carelessly down the mountain. This isn’t far from the truth — much of the marble found in this quarry dump wasn’t good enough for the retail market, so it was piled up and left behind.
The quarry dump gives way to a sheer rock precipice on your right, followed by a blue-blazed trail junction leading up to Owl’s Head. Bypass this trail, and continue straight to visit Gettysburg Quarry.
The diverse, wooded landscape you see here today would be unrecognizable 100 years ago when farmed fields covered the hillside, and numerous roads crisscrossed the hills leading to the quarries.
Workers have quarried marble in Dorset since 1785, and Gettysburg Quarry was in operation from 1866 until 1897. Most of the marble quarried at Gettysburg went to Philadelphia to be used for buildings and government contracts for cemetery headstones. From Gettysburg Quarry, follow the spur trail to another quarry dumpturned-vista. Art’s Bench, dedicated in 2016, honors Dorset resident, Arthur W. Gilbert, who worked for 30 years in Owl’s Head Town Forest.
The marble bench was built by members of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps. This spot provides excellent views of Mount Equinox (3,648 feet), Mother Myrick Mountain (3,361 feet) and Antone Mountain (2,600 feet).
From Art’s Bench, retrace your steps and take a right to head downhill on the blue-blazed Gettysburg Quarry Trail. The trail descends 0.5 miles and intersects with the yellow trail. Retrace your steps past the gravel road onto the yellow-blazed trail another 0.5 miles back to your car.
Extend your adventure in Dorset
After working up a sweat and an appetite on your hike, stop for a swim at the nearby Dorset Quarry, 0.2 miles north of the trailhead on VT 30. This is the oldest marble quarry in the United States, and you’ll be in good company on a sweltering summer day.
From there, head into the town of Dorset and visit Dorset Union Store, where you can grab a sandwich from the deli, a drink from the cooler or an ice cream from the creemee stand in the front of the shop.
For more Vermont adventures from Tara Schatz, visit backroadramblers.com and vermontexplored.com.
Photo provided by Tara Schatz
12 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2023
the quarry today would be unrecognizable 100 years ago when
and numerous roads crisscrossed the hills leading to the quarries.
Town has long, colorful history with America’s Pastime
By Bill LeConey
BRATTLEBORO — Springtime in Vermont can be a cruel tease of false hopes and delayed promises. Chilly nights give way to warm afternoons, which produce melting snow and windswept, muddy fields — not very conducive to outdoor sports such as baseball. But, somehow, America’s pastime has — if not thrived, at least survived — in Southern Vermont and the Brattleboro area, to produce distinctive ballplayers and unique moments that are remembered fondly today. Much like Vermonters, in general, the sport has persevered with stoic dignity in the
face of tough conditions, numerous doubters, “curveballs” and adversities.
Dana Sprague’s home in Brattleboro is a testament to the colorful history of baseball in the area. Sprague, a Brattleboro Union High School graduate who played for the Colonels when they won the 1978 state baseball championship, has one of the largest private collections of Vermont baseball artifacts in existence.
“I’ll preface this by saying that I know about 1 percent of what there is for history about baseball and Brattleboro,” Sprague said. “There’s so much history that goes back to the 1860s.” He sells himself short. Much of what
we know about the people and places that make up the history of baseball in this region are the result of Sprague’s curiosity, research, and a devoted interest in the game bordering on fanaticism. Brattleboro’s baseball history includes names such as Ernie Johnson, Dave “Boo” Ferriss, Frankie Taylor, John Henry Williams and Chris Duffy. Expanding farther afield, you have the likes of New Hampshire’s Carlton “Pudge” Fisk, who was born in Bellows Falls and starred for an American Legion team there before embarking on a Hall of Fame career with the Boston Red Sox and Chicago White Sox. There was Chuck “The Rifleman” Connors, who played for a semi-pro
Kristopher Radder — Vermont Country
14 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2023
Dana Sprague’s memorabilia collection includes jerseys and equipment used by baseball players in Brattleboro and throughout Southern Vermont.
team in Bennington before becoming a star on TV and movie screens. And there was Franklin Olin from Woodford, who starred at Cornell and played in early professional leagues in the 1880s before becoming a millionaire industrialist and philanthropist.
Southern Vermonters played ball in venues such as Island Park, a spit of land on the Connecticut River between Vermont and New Hampshire, and they plied their craft in reputable circuits like the Northern and West River Valley leagues.
Even the most basic element of the game — its baseballs — were once stitched together in a Brattleboro factory.
“Back in the late 1800s, early 1900s, Brattleboro was kind of a tourist town,” Sprague says. “They promoted the river, the mountain ... Having a team in the Northern League helped, and Island Park. In the 1800s, with Brattleboro being a really great business town, there were a bunch of town teams, and they had good players.” Brattleboro even has a connection to one of the earliest depictions of the game, by William Morris Hunt, a famous Boston portrait and landscape artist who was born and spent part of his childhood in the Southern Vermont town. His “The Ball Players,” c. 1871, showing three men playing baseball on a rough field, was painted in the year that the first professional league was established.
The Island game
Island Park, the entertainment complex that sat between Hinsdale, N.H. and Brattleboro, was the epicenter of baseball in Brattleboro in the 1910s and 1920s. The Park drew huge crowds for ball games, pageants, political speeches (President William Howard Taft spoke there in 1912), dances and other events.
“As time went on, (baseball) got so popular in Brattleboro they had what were called town teams, which is a lot like the softball leagues nowadays in Brattleboro,” Sprague said. “And it’d be four to six teams with the best baseball players in town and they’d be sponsored by businesses such as Estey Organ, the Vermont Wheel Club, that sort of thing. All the towns in the area had teams, and they got really popular from about 1900 into the ’30s.
“Any team that had a train ticket to Brattleboro found their way to Island Park,” said Sprague. “Few of the guys who played there were locals, they were all recruited, ‘ringers,’ that sort of thing. Officially, none of these guys got paid to play but there’s a lot of talk of these guys getting paid under the table, small amounts. My guess is some of the best players didn’t get paid at all.”
Sprague said that one game, between Keene, N.H., and Brattleboro for the league championship, drew a crowd of 3,200 people.
It didn’t last long, however. The
Photos from the Dana Sprague collection
This page, from top: An early Brattleboro semi-pro team, circa 1890.
Island Park, situated between Brattleboro and Hinsdale, New Hampshire, was a popular entertainment complex that included a baseball field and pavilion used by semipro teams in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Brattleboro native Ernie Johnson had a solid nine-year career in the major leagues with the Boston and then Milwaukee Braves, helping the Braves win the 1957 World Championship. He later became a legendary broadcaster for the team.
construction of the Vernon Dam led to a series of spring floods that eroded Island Park. The devastating flood of 1927 was the final straw, washing away most of the buildings and the pavilion. One of the men that played at Island Park was Brattleboro native John Foley, who was born in 1857 and grew up on Frost Street. Foley played on a team sponsored by the Estey Organ Company, established himself as one of the best pitchers in New England, and later made his professional debut for a team in Quincy, Illinois.
In 1885, Foley became the first Brattleborian to appear in a major league game, starting for the slumping Providence (R.I.) Grays in a National League game in St. Louis. He failed to stop the team’s bleeding, as the Grays lost, 7-3. He never played in another game.
The Northern League
After the demise of Island Park, the baseball action shifted to a sports complex constructed on the old fairgrounds on the sound end of town with the help of the Works Progress Administration. Completed in 1940, Stolte Memorial Field — named for Diedrich “Dede” Stolte, a longtime coach and physical education instructor at Brattleboro High School — hosted all levels of baseball for the next eight decades, beginning with the Northern League in the 1940s.
The Northern League was a semi-pro
vermontcountry.com | 15
Kristopher Radder — Vermont Country In rooms that would rival the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., Dana Sprague, of Brattleboro, hosts a collection of baseball memorabilia tailored to the history of baseball linked to Vermont.
baseball circuit, made up of mainly college players, that included teams from eight towns: Brattleboro, Bennington, Rutland, St. Johnsbury, Montpelier, Burlington, St. Albans and Keene, N.H. Many players in the Northern League had hopes of making it to the big leagues, and some of them did. Some were college players looking to earn a few dollars during the summer months, or journeymen who had already played for major league farm teams. Players would sometimes use false names in an effort to protect their amateur status. With the new sports complex, Brattleboro had one of the best facilities in the state. The Brattleboro Maples joined the Northern League in 1940, and won the league championship in 1949. “That was the heyday for baseball in Brattleboro,” said Sprague. Organizations in town would raise money to pay a manager and players to represent the town. The league salary cap for players was about $200 a month and most players received less
than that. During the pennant winning season, it cost 60 cents for an adult to attend a game.
With the Maples in town, the community had a connection with the big leagues. In 1948, three former Maples players, Dave “Boo” Ferriss, Chuck Stobbs and Les Layton, began the baseball season in the majors. Ferriss served in the Air Force from 19421945 and joined the Red Sox to start the 1945 season. He made an early splash, pitching a five-hit shutout against the Athletics and setting an American League record for scoreless innings pitched at the start of a career with 22, a record which stood until 2008. He pitched in the majors for six years and the Brattleboro Reformer closely followed his career.
Sprague said 62 future major leaguers spent some time in the Northern League, including notable players Robin Roberts, Johnny Antonelli, Vic Raschi, Jim Konstanty and Johnny Podres.
The Maples disbanded after the 1950 season. The rise of television and rules changes, which prevented college players from participating in semipro leagues, contributed to the demise of the Northern League.
Making ‘The Show’
According to Sprague’s research, nine Brattleboro natives have played professional baseball, including John Henry Williams, son of Red Sox legend Ted Williams, who was born in Brattleboro and grew up in Putney. BUHS graduate Chris Duffy, who played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers from 2005-2009, is the last to make “the show” as of today.
None accomplished more or did more to strengthen Brattleboro’s baseball connections than Ernie Johnson. An excellent pitcher at Brattleboro High School in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Johnson went on to a solid nine-year career in the major leagues with the Boston and then Milwaukee
16 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2023
Braves, helping the Braves win the 1957 World Championship.
He retired with a lifetime record of 4023 and an ERA of 3.77 in 273 games. “Maybe not the stuff of Cooperstown,” remembered former teammate and Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews, according to Sprague, “but damn it, the man could pitch.”
After his playing career ended, Johnson became a legendary broadcaster, calling Braves games on radio and television for 35 seasons. His 52-year association with the Braves was the longest of any person in the organization, and he is one of only three (along with Mathews and Hank Aaron) to move with the team from Boston to Milwaukee to Atlanta.
“We got together every year for like 20 years,” said Sprague, who became a close friend of Johnson and his family. “He always called Brattleboro his hometown, even though he was gone after the age of 20. But he always came
back. I think a light went on with some of these players who (previously) thought there’s no way someone from this area’s ever going to make it to the majors. And it was like, ‘You know what? Sometimes there’s people good enough to do that.’”
Stitches and seats
Perhaps the best player to emerge from Brattleboro was Frankie Taylor, who graduated from its high school in 1941 and went on to play four varsity sports at the University of Vermont. Instead of playing professional baseball, he served in the Navy during World War II and became an engineer and high school coach in Massachusetts. He may not have known it at the time, but the baseballs Taylor threw or batted were likely stitched together right around the corner, on Birge Street, by the Spalding Company. In 1943, the company moved the majority of its baseball sewing operation from Canada to Brattleboro. About 70 percent
of all professional league baseballs had their horse-hide covers sewn together in town.
By 1946, more than one million baseballs had been assembled in Brattleboro. That same year, the wooden grandstand at Stolte Field burned down. A concrete and steel grandstand — the one that still stands today, at what is now called Tenney Field — was built as its replacement. That grandstand has been closed to spectators since 2017, in need of repairs to modernize its seating and make it handicapped accessible.
Retired Brattleboro teacher and local historian Bill Holiday said there is an effort underway to replace the current bleachers with “hand-me-down” stadium seats from Fenway Park in Boston. If it happens, it would be one final, lasting connection between Brattleboro and the big leagues — at least until the next local star makes “the show.”
Kristopher Radder — Vermont Country
vermontcountry.com | 17
Dana Sprague, of Brattleboro, shows off a photo of the baseball stadium that used to be on the island in the middle of the Connecticut River.
Drink & Dine
in Southern Vermont
Outdoor dining is back in swing at the Mount Anthony Country Club’s restaurant, The Grille, in Bennington. Beer on tap and the lobster roll are popular orders. Club members pictured clockwise from center are, Johnny Bombard, owner of The Man of Kent Tavern in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., Scott Hurley, owner of Hollis Hill Flooring in Shaftsbury, Sue Rice, and Ann Slattery.
Outdoor dining is back in swing at the Mount Anthony Country Club’s restaurant, The Grille, in Bennington, open to the public everyday for lunch or dinner and Sunday brunch.
180 Country Club Drive Bennington, VT 05201
Vermont Country Owner, Maru Leon, second from left, serves a lobster roll, while her son, Andrew Griffin-Leon serves a cosmopolitan to Scott Hurley, Sue Rice, second from right, and Ann Slattery, right.
Stewart Cairns — Vermont Country
vermontcountry.com | 19
Miss Kitty’s ‘meow-meow’ summer picks
By Miss Kitty
This Kitty enjoys nothing more than summer weekends in the Green Mountains. Alas, she is not a hiking, biking, kayaking kind of kitty. She does not know how to forage for mushrooms or brew her own beer. In truth, this kitty is more of a city kitty: A pleaseput-those-chanterelles-on-my-filetand-cook-it-rare kind of kitty. An I’ll-skip-the-homebrew-and-take-anice-flecked-martini sort of kitty.
Naturally, it is difficult for such a kitty to survive in a state where North Face and Teva are thought to be formalwear. However, as one well versed in the art of not camping, this kitty strives to seek out even the humblest of pleasantries among the harsh landscape. In doing so, she has created an all-occasion libation archive, sure to make any summer weekend in Vermont a splash!
When Miss Kitty entertains ... Sometimes a kitty is forced to cook. That said, she should not let this exhausting imposition compromise the
quality of cocktails served at her summer soiree. In addition, any kitty worth her whiskers knows, all outdoor social events (even kayaking) require gin.
Before throwing any backyard bash, stop by Saxtons River Distillery in Brattleboro, play a quick game of shuffleboard, and purchase three bottles of Snowdrop Gin. Then purchase another bottle for your guests.
The distillery’s scrumptious signature summer cocktail is called “Sage Dog” and it is sure to put the bow-wow in your meow-meow! Sage Dog has fresh grapefruit juice, sage leaves, a small dash of bitters to bring depth to flavor, and a splash of soda for light, effervescence.
The Sage Hound Ingredients
2 oz Snowdrop Gin
2 oz freshly squeezed grapefruit juice.
6 sage leaves
1/2 oz of simple or demerara syrup
1 small dash of Angostura bitters
1 dash of soda water
1 sage leaf for garnish
Add the sage leaves and simple syrup to a shaker and muddle. Add Snowdrop Gin, grapefruit juice and bitters. Add ice and shake. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass, top with a dash of soda water, and garnish with a sage leaf.
2 oz. Village Gin
5 to 6 basil Leaves
1/2 oz lime Juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
In a cocktail shaker, lightly muddle basil. Add Village Gin, simple syrup, lime juice and ice. Shake for 45 seconds. Double strain over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.
If kitty should serve her guests enough of the delicious nectar at Village Garage Distillery in Bennington, guests may forget about lunch altogether, thus relieving a kitty of any culinary responsibility.
If one fancies afternoon entertaining, the lagniappe for her breezy backyard luncheon may be found at Village Garage Distillery in Bennington. Here a kitty may fall hard for “First Love,” the distiller’s signature summer cocktail, which uses their very own Vermont-made Village Gin.
Important to note, is that if kitty should serve her guests enough of this delicious nectar, guests may forget about lunch altogether, thus relieving a kitty of any culinary responsibility.
When Miss Kitty goes out with the girls ...
This Kitty is not a catty Kitty. She loves a night on the town with the ladies. A perfect place to begin festivities is Wunderbar in Bellows Falls.
Food: fab. Cocktails: fabber. Ambiance: fabbist.
This twinkling jungle of crystal decanters, macabre artwork and one plaster
Artwork by @SnowFairy29 on Twitter Miss Kitty shares her favorite summer drink spots in Southern Vermont.
vermontcountry.com | 21
cockatoo is a glorious midcentury mashup of Andy Warhol’s “Factory” meets Don Draper’s bachelor pad.
Drink: “Spice Bazaar” is ginger turmeric vodka, coconut milk, lime and tikka masala. (Three meows!)
Snacks: Fluffy Bao Buns stuffed with golden fried tofu, kimchi and topped with sriracha mayo. Also, one must try the Wunderbar mussels, as all kitties love (in addition to Don Draper) mussels.
When Miss Kitty is not paying (three meows!) ...
Obviously, one’s taste improves dramatically in situations such as this.
Put on that little black dress and head to the Oyster Bar on Elliot Street in Brattleboro. Get your love potion on with some fresh-shucked Price Edward Island oysters and be sure to ask Will about the lobster sliders because, well, you just must. For a cocktail, try “Elbow Beach” an ambrosial emulsion of Gosling’s rum, Pama liqueur, Campari, Prosecco, and lemon. Elbow Beach is a divine synthesis of delicate effervescence and Caribbean kick. Plus, it will get a kitty sauced!
The Reluctant Panther Inn and Restaurant has, paws down, a wine list to purr for. In addition to the usual Sanoma suspects, one may choose from a fabulous array of Spanish and New Zealand wines. However, France and Italy (as well they should) take the kibble. Yes, kitties, there are four (count them, four!) Barolos by the bottle, not to mention a sparkling brut rose, the latter of which is just plain summertime in fluted stemware.
Important to note: If a kitty’s date goes particularly well, or perhaps if she has simply drunk the place dry of Barolo, it is smart to remember that the Reluctant Panther is also a premier luxury hotel ... Oh my, what is a kitty to do?
C’mon kitties, you’ve all been there: Your new tom cat wants to spend Saturday afternoon sipping double IPAs at
When Miss Kitty must pretend not to count calories as to appear ‘low maintenance’ ...
The Diesel ’Stoner at The Station in Brattleboro. Photo provided
22 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2023
Miss Kitty recommends the Snowdrop Gin at Saxtons River Distillery in Brattleboro.
a rustic Vermont brewery where some flannel-clad brewmaster is sure to give a kitty the stink eye should she utter the words “vodka soda.”
When said kitty is faced with such an unsavory prospect, she has two options:
Option 1. Take one for the team and go to the stupid brewery. (This will likely not end well as many kitties — no matter how hard they try to appear low maintenance — cannot hide a general loathing for picnic tables, food trucks and beer bloat).
Option 2. Suggest an alternative: The Station in Brattleboro boasts a panoramic view of the West River (much better than kayaking in the river), a full bar (for all kitty’s spirited needs), a plethora of Vermont brewed craft beers (to appease your tom cat’s obsession with all things “hoppy”), and chairs with backs (it’s called basic civility). Worth mentioning: If a kitty maybe drank too many cocktails the night before, The Station opens at noon and offers a colossal Bloody Mary crammed with enough garnishes to call lunch — all of which can really help kitty get back in the game!
When Miss Kitty is low on funds ...
Sadly, this kitty’s taste is not always a match for her wallet. Alas, some kitties were meant for bigger things. Not to fret! If one has failed to acquire a sponsor for the evening, she must persevere. 421 Craft Bar and Kitchen in Bennington offers drink specials on Thursday nights. For a Kitty accustomed to the finer things in life, 421 maintains the elegant surroundings and quality cocktails she demands,
while also catering to her less than elegant purse strings. Thursday drink specials include: three-dollar drafts, five-dollar drafts, and craft cocktails for just 10 bucks (kitty like!).
When Miss Kitty gets all patriotic ...
July Fourth is one of the few occasions when a kitty may participate in the “picnic.” If one shares this kitty’s general distaste for cooking, Vermont Country Deli in Brattleboro is a perfect go-to for the classic American picnic lunch that requires zero time in the kitchen. Be sure to get a healthy portion of savory BBQ pulled pork with a side of bubbling mac-n-cheese, as this
will make one quite popular amongst children. In addition, Vermont Country Deli carries a wonderful selection of chilled wine and beer that will ease any injustice felt when a kitty is inevitably forced to dine at a picnic table, or (shudder!) cross-legged, in grass.
This Kitty hopes you have learned a few tips for surviving the summer in Vermont. For surviving autumn and winter in the Green Mountains, keep an eye out for new periodicals such as: “How not to ski: the art of sipping hot toddies from inside a warm lodge while other people freeze their arses off.”
Until next time fellow kitties, take care, drink well, and be thankful you are not camping!
— Xoxox Miss Kitty
Kathleen Hawes — Vermont Country correspondent Miss Kitty recommends putting on that little black dress and heading to the Oyster Bar on Elliot Street in Brattleboro.
For a night out in the Northshire
By Gordon Dossett Vermont Country
Bronwyn on Battenkill
Here, you’ll find a Bavarian beer hall vibe, with an outdoor area that opens in May. Bar manager Aaron Rushinski’s cocktail concoctions include the Taconic and Sour, a lovely mingling of tart and bitter with a luxurious egg white froth; the Czech Yourself, an excellent rendition of a Negroni; and the Liebestrank, a twist on a Moscow Mule with mint-infused whiskey and pomegranate shrub. Perhaps the best: Erdbeere Spritz, a not-too-sweet mixture of fig liquor, sparkling riesling, housemade strawberry shrub and lemon.
5403 Vermont Route 7A, Arlington, VT 05250
Yes, a Greek-infused Italian restaurant — not fancy, but good: beer, wine, pizza and pasta.
4931 Main St., Manchester Center, VT 05255
Copper Grouse at the Taconic Hotel
Patrick, the wizard behind the bar, offers for summer: The Thought of an Idea, Raindrops on Roses, and the dangerously delightful Last Word — lime juice, gin, Luxardo and Chartreuse (a nod to the nearby Carthusian order and use of an increasingly rare potion made by monks in France).
3835 Main St., Manchester, VT 05254
Since its humble openings as a taproom serving charcuterie, the Crooked Ram has gone full service, with outdoor/indoor dining, craft beers, tasty cocktails and food.
4026 Main St., Manchester, VT 05254
Curate at the Southern Vermont Arts Center
Small welcoming venue. Surround yourself with art. Try the Curatini.
860 SVAC Drive (off West Road), Manchester, VT 05254
The Hub at the Weston Theatre
A scenic half-hour drive from Manchester, you can eat in a converted farmhouse and stay for a show next door.
719 Main St., Weston, VT 05161
Old School. Decent wine list. Best duck in Manchester area.
10 Tollgate Road, Winhall, VT 05255 (off Route 30 toward Bromley)
The local spot for artisan cocktails, ingredients made from scratch. Freshmade pasta, exquisite bistro food.
4928 Main St., Manchester, VT 05255
Often cited as the town’s finest restaurant, Silver Fork is usually booking two months out. If you can, go!
48 West Road, Manchester, VT 05254
Great staff — ask for guidance! Try the Braised Short Rib Forestier.
1716 Depot Road, Manchester VT 05255
Only Thai for miles. Outdoor and indoor, with fancy cocktails; try “Pad See-U.”
4940 Main St., Manchester VT 05255
Ye Olde Tavern
An atmospheric 1790s tavern. Ask about occasional candlelight dinners.
5183 Main St., Manchester, VT 05255
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Photo provided by Mystic Restaurant and Bar Mystic’s octopus ceviche special.
Places to dine outside in Windham County
By Chris Mays Vermont Country
Windham County’s stunning, natural beauty and small-town charm provides a perfect backdrop for outdoor dining. There’s a place for everyone to eat after a day of boating, fishing, hiking or shopping.
The Station in Brattleboro, where Whetstone Beer Co. flows freely, offers outdoor dining and a beer garden on its roof deck. Views of the Connecticut River from one of the top spots in town are regularly shared across social media and from the company’s pages. Check out live music on the rooftop on Sundays.
Border Line American Pale Ale, Whetstone Beer Co.’s 13th core beer
released in April, celebrates how you can eat and drink in two states at the same time at The Station.
One of the top-selling items is Tim’s Famous Peanut Butter Burger, which comes stacked with maple glazed smoked bacon, Vermont cheddar and peanut butter. Cheddar ale soup made with Whetstone Beer Co.’s Amber Ale is another big staple.
Firecracker Chicken Tenders are back by popular demand. They’re tossed in cornmeal, which keeps them crispy but also gluten-free.
Dover Bar & Grill, right near Mount Snow ski resort and open seven days a week, has put a major focus on its outdoor vibes and food selections. In the backyard is the hidden gem of a
beer garden with picnic tables, a fire pit, and a stage, which hosts live music and a comedy festival.
Only customers who are 21 and older can enter the building, where orders for food can be made. The backyard is dog-friendly.
Shrimp tacos on Tuesdays have been dubbed “a local favorite.” Throughout the week, tacos can vary to include fresh fish, steak, chicken or pork. Smash Burgers and fried cheese curds are very popular as well.
The Marina in Brattleboro has a spacious deck overlooking the Connecticut River, offering customers breathtaking views of the water and surrounding mountains. The restaurant is known for its New England seafood dishes and lively bar scene. Lobster Mac n Cheese is a crowd favorite.
Pizzapalooza at Beer Naked Brewery in Marlboro, where the former Skyline Restaurant had been, celebrates all things craft beer and pizza with a sweet view of Hogback Mountain. Don’t miss live music at the spot. Last year, the property played host to a long lineup of jam bands for the Fall Foliage Festival.
The Gleanery in Putney, a farm-to-table restaurant serving up seasonal dishes with local ingredients, has a porch with views of the charming downtown. The restaurant’s atmosphere is touted by its customers. And it’s right near the performance venue Next Stage Arts, which keeps a consistent schedule of vibrant programming.
Retreat Farm in Brattleboro will be hosting its weekly Food Truck Roundup in its picturesque square starting June 22. The event features live music and a rotating list of seven to eight local food trucks in addition to the Thirsty Goat Bar and Vermont Gelato, which are open at the farm throughout the summer. While there, check out the farm animals — especially Carlos the Ox — and nearby trails.
26 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2023
Photo provided by Daimian Lix Firecracker Chicken Tenders at The Station.
A perfect weekend in Brattleboro
Culture mavens curate 3 days of delicious fun, experiences for you and yours with Gallery Walk, Food Truck Roundup and Bandwagon Summer Series
By Noah Hoffenberg Vermont Country
BRATTLEBORO — There’s something special happening in Brattleboro. Those in the know seek out this creative town every summer because the arts and culture scene is bananas. If you’re looking for international cuisine, world class music and visual stimulation on every corner — this is it.
Here’s the inside scoop on three back-to-back events that will take you from our best-in-class downtown to our natural green spaces, which will make for an interstellar weekend to remember.
Thursdays: Retreat Farm offers bucolic views, tasty treats
Do yourself a favor and make landfall in Brattleboro on any Thursday afternoon this summer. Follow your nose and you’ll soon find yourself off Route 30, surrounded by the smoking and sizzling of tasty food trucks and live music, at Retreat Farm’s Food Truck Roundup.
The farm — which includes nine historic barns on 500 picturesque acres — is on a mission to connect people to the land and each other. You can roll or stroll on the ample
trails that start and end at Retreat Farm.
Pro tip: Plan ahead, hit the trails early and finish at the roundup, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. There will be shuttle buses, too, to help with any parking overflow, so no need to worry about that.
The fare will be all about international flavors again this year: Mach’s Mobile Kitchen’s Wood Fired Pizza, Anon’s Thai Cuisine, Jamaican Jewelz and the HAngry Traveler, to name a few of rolling kitchens to expect.
Farm staples will also be there — Vermont Gelato and the Thirsty Goat — featuring the best of the region’s creamy goodness and Vermont craft brews, cider and wine. Children can get the ice cream and dance, while couples can sip and schmooze.
First Fridays: Downtown Brattleboro is THE destination for Gallery Walk
Jugglers tossing glowing batons. Faux archeologists digging for UFO remnants. Kids and grownups dancing in the streets to some of the best live music around. Brattleboro Flea — an uber-hip flea market featuring 30-plus local artisans. Nearly 20 art galleries with new exhibits.
To learn more...
• retreatfarm.org/ food-trucks
• brattleboro. com/downtown/ gallery-walk
This much buzz in Brattleboro can only mean one thing: Gallery Walk is back. And that means the downtown is bursting with art in every nook and cranny.
This monthly extravaganza celebrating art and community in the heart of downtown Brattleboro runs from May to December from 5 to 9 p.m. on the first Fridays of the month and truly has something for everyone. Join a queer square dance in May or the youth rock festival in June. Check out a food court packed with local food trucks slinging the dreamiest fare, or sip away in an outdoor Vermont beer garden … what’s not to love?
Pro tip: This year jump on the Brattleboro History Tour that highlights unique points of interest, departing from the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center at 5:30 p.m.
Ready for the kicker? This event is free. The music, the galleries, the activities, free!
Saturdays: Next Stage’s eclectic, pop-up food and performances delight
Simply put, the Bandwagon Summer Series offers the very best of summer in the Green Mountain State — live music with family and friends, Vermont cocktails in hand, while soaking up the good life in Southeastern Vermont. The series touts an eclectic mix of culturally diverse concerts, dance, puppetry and more, from a stage that rolls from venue to venue, all over Windham County. This ongoing event (like all of these described herewith) is all about access, too, for youngsters and oldsters. If you bring the little ones, they can enjoy a full children’s play zone. Vermont food and drinks are served for everyone, and the dance floor is always beckoning.
Pro tip: Organizers have budget friendly ticket bundles and season passes, because you’ll want to go more than once! Bonus pro tip: The series rolls out on other days, too, besides Saturdays!
These three curated events are timed perfectly to complement each other for spring, summer and fall. Make like the locals, and experience them all.
Sponsored Content vermontcountry.com | 29
This article is brought to you by the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance. The DBA supports and promotes the vitality of downtown Brattleboro through art, commerce, recreation and education. Visit brattleboro.com.
Unsung Vermont Towns and Villages: North Bennington
An occasional series
The ‘Three Ps’ make for a tasty day
By Jennifer Brandt
One of the best things to do in Vermont is to drive its stunning back roads and discover the hidden gems within the rolling hills of the Green Mountains. For Vermonters and visitors alike, it can be nearly impossible to know all the fascinating history, incredible food, whimsical stores and fantastic recreational opportunities of every small town in Vermont. That’s where we come in.
Exploring the Three Plucky Ps of North Bennington
Lani DePonte-Disorda and Nick Disorda run three community anchors in the village of North Bennington: Pangaea, Prospect Coffee House and Powers Market (all conveniently in the center of town). After partnering with the original owner of Pangaea, Bill Scully, in 2013, they became full owners in 2018. Together, with a crew working across all three businesses (that they are quick to credit with being an essential part of making their vision a reality), they provide the community with fantastic food, coffee, cocktails, live music, art, local food, groceries, artisan products and community gathering space.
Several times a year, DePonte-Disorda and Disorda host events like the Village Block Party, where they offer up free burgers and hotdogs along with live music, a weekly seasonal music series (every Thursday, check their Instagram for event updates), and pop-ups at Prospect Coffee house, where local chefs get access to a commercial kitchen, and neighbors get to taste new chef-driven creativity every week. Enjoy local history at the Park-McCullough House — home of a former Vermont governor — and visit the library built in his honor, enjoy a picnic curated by Powers Market, or spend time at Lake Paran, a local favorite for summer recreation.
Check out a suggested agenda below …
Start your day at the Prospect Coffee House (open daily 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.), which boasts coffee beans from Iron Coffee Co., teas from Saratoga Tea and Honey, fresh smoothies, breakfast sandwiches, baked goods and
sweet treats, with many vegetarian, vegan and other options for those with dietary restrictions. The space is welcoming to students, locals and visitors alike, and it acts like a de facto workspace and community center. You are in for a treat if you happen to be there on Donut Sunday, with various proprietary doughnuts made fresh in-house by Prospect Donut Queen Britni Becker. In addition to more traditional doughnut offerings (like the Bennington Cream: maple cream filled, with chocolate frosting), there usually are gluten-free and dairy-free choices, too.
Explore local history and visit the John G. McCullough Library. The library was built in honor of Gov. John G. McCullough, former governor of Vermont, legislator and businessman, by his wife, Eliza Hall Park McCullough. Finished in 1921, the library has served as a hub of village activities for more than eight decades. The building was designed by New York architect J. Lawrence Aspinwall of the firm Renwick. It’s open Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Take a picnic curated by Powers Market in conjunction with the Park-McCullough House, (home of the former governor) and enjoy the history, or stroll along The MileAround Woods and stop at one of the meadows to enjoy your delicious local goodies. Big plans are in the works with hopes to make the trails a little bit interactive, including digital maps and customizable playlists.
The extensively preserved Victorian-era mansion offers seasonal tours and boasts trails that used to be part of a working dairy farm until the turn of the century. The property is partly maintained by Bennington resident David Lively. Lively’s horses can often be seen grazing in the warmer months, making the trails all the more captivating. The grounds are also home to protected habitats for some ground-nesting birds, a dream for bird watchers.
Powers Market, built as Hathaway’s originally in 1833, is the oldest
Provided photo by Lani DePonte-Disorda
With both indoor dining and seasonal outdoor dining, Pangaea is the perfect place to end your North Bennington journey.
continually operating local market in Vermont. They offer basic grocery essentials featuring produce, dairy, bread, deli, prepared foods, and meat sourced as much as possible from local farms. It also features daily rotating take-home meals and fantastic house-baked goods. The market strives to cater to all customers offering many vegan, hearty vegetarian, and gluten- and dairy-free options. Store manager Sara Kipper sources local goods and bakes the most delicious treats, while Dave “the Butcher” Jarvis takes charge of meat and food prep. Think of Powers Market catering for your next backyard barbecue or casual event, and let the Powers team take all the hard food work out of the party preparations. You can find a catering request form on the Powers Market website and its weekly Take+Bake specials.
Lake Paran is a local favorite to while away a lazy summer day. Activities include a beach, floating raft, volleyball court, grills, canoe and kayak rentals, plus a concession stand with what it claims is the best grilled cheese around. There is something for everyone here. It’s a great place to work up an appetite for Pangaea, the final stop on your Bennington food tour. The lake is open from Memorial Day Weekend to mid-June, Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.
to 6 p.m., mid-June to Labor Day Weekend, open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $3.50 for adults and $1 for kids.
Pangaea, with a menu curated in collaboration with executive chef Nicolas Brunina, offers global cuisine using Vermont products whenever possible that are sure to please any palate. Its ever-changing menu aims to include all dietary restrictions, and staff are happy to accommodate diners whenever they can. Pangaea boasts a huge selection of local beers and a cocktail list that includes stylish mocktails for those who do not indulge in alcohol. Reservations are not required but are highly recommended, especially on the weekends. With both indoor and seasonal outdoor dining, this is the perfect place to end your North Bennington journey. Pangaea is open Tuesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m.
Contact … Pangaea: 802-442-4466, vermontfinedining.com
Prospect Coffee House: 802-753-7847, vermontfinedining.com
Powers Market: 802-440-0871, powersmarket.com
30 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2023 Sponsored Content
‘An enduring appeal’
Bennington celebrates Shirley Jackson Day
By Bob Audette Vermont Country
BENNINGTON — When folks mention the name of writer Shirley Jackson, what often comes to mind is “The Lottery” or “The Haunting of Hill House.”
“The Lottery,” published in The New Yorker in 1948 and written while she was living with her family in North Bennington, tells the story of a fictional small American community and a lottery the town holds each year. What is the winner’s reward? The winner gets stoned to death to ensure a good harvest and purge the town of bad omens.
“Setting a particularly brutal ancient rite in the present and in my own village [was meant] to shock the story’s readers with a graphic dramatization of the pointless violence and general inhumanity in their own lives,” Jackson wrote in a column published in the San Francisco Chronicle a month after the story was published.
In 1960, Jackson recounted how she received hundreds of letters following the publication, the majority of it hate mail. A year before that comment, in 1959, Jackson published what many consider to be one of the best, if not the best, ghost stories ever written. “The Haunting of Hill House,” which some say is based on Jennings Hall on the campus of Bennington College, is about a house apparently haunted by malevolent spirits that attempt to possess one of the characters.
For many years after her early death in 1965 (she was only 49), Jackson’s star dimmed, seemingly forgotten in the era of modern horror.
But in 2015, The New Yorker published a pair of her previously unpublished short stories, sparking a new interest in the writer.
In 2016, Ruth Franklin published a biography, “Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life” and two years later, a Netflix aired a miniseries based on “The Haunting of Hill House.”
For many years, Jackson fans have made a pilgrimage to Bennington on or around June 27, the date the lottery is drawn in the eponymous short story. About 15 years ago, Tom Fels helped to organize the first Shirley Jackson Day. “As a schoolmate of Jackson’s children, and visitor to their house, I was aware
that we had a treasure to share,” he told the Bennington Banner in 2018. Like so many things, the annual pilgrimage went on a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year, John G. McCullough Free Library in North Bennington is celebrating Shirley Jackson Day on June 24.
“Tom had been leading this event for years when he suggested this would make a great library program,” said Jennie Rozycki, director of the library. Rozycki had taken over the event prior to the pandemic, and even held it virtually for a couple of years.
This year she is looking forward to a whole slate of activities with real, live
vermontcountry.com | 33
Vermont Country file photo Shirley Jackson’s former home in North Bennington.
people in attendance.
“Usually some of Shirley’s children are in attendance as are authors who are nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award or jurors of the award,” she said. “We get together and read from Jackson’s work, and talk about what it means in our lives. It’s a really lovely evening.”
And while that might sound a bit weird, reading from disturbing yet fascinating books such as “We Have Always Lived in the Castle,” there are essays that are just as important, if not more important, to her fans.
In “Life Among the Savages” and “Raising Demons,” Jackson writes about barely controlled, but loving, chaos, as she raises four children in two rambling houses in North Bennington. In one of those houses, at 66 Main St., Wendy June Marie has been baking scones since 2022 for locals and intrepid travelers searching for Jackson.
“We’ve had some experiences that we can’t explain,” she said about the house Jackson lived in with her family for 12 years and where she wrote “The Haunting of Hill House.”
“If they’re are spirits here, they must be friendly, because they’ve never given us any sort of problem.”
The house has been in the family of
her partner, Stuart Aldrich, since 1969, and Wendy June Marie, a former English and history teacher sells her products most weekends, directly from the building’s front porch.
“’Life Among the Savages’ was the first Jackson book I read in the house,” she said. “I wanted to know what kind of secrets there are about living here. But what I found instead was a really wonderful collection of stories about her family, which was just so incredibly heartwarming.”
Wendy June Marie said Jackson had a talent for doing deep dives into her characters and that talent shows in her essays on family life.
“I am so glad that I’ve gotten to know her because she has a realism that is important for folks to be able to grasp and understand. It’s not really that she was a horror writer, really, she was a writer of psychological thrillers, in which she messes with your mind.”
Since moving into the house, Wendy’s gotten used to folks knocking on the front door, wanderers looking for traces of Jackson on walking tours of North Bennington.
She’s named her bakery moon scones, all lower case, she points out, because Jackson often wrote, as revealed in “The Letters of Shirley Jackson,”
Shirley Jackson (1916-1965) wrote “The Haunting of Hill House” from her home in North Bennington, where she lived with her husband, Bennington College faculty member and literary critic Stanley Edgar Hyman.
published in 2021, in all lower case.
“So my moon scones is a nod to Shirley,” she said.
Wendy June Marie said she’ll make extra scones for Shirley Jackson Day on June 24, and is thinking maybe she’ll make some blackberry scones, another nod to the former occupant of 66 Main St.
“In ‘We’ve Always Lived in the Castle,’ she writes quite a bit about blackberries,” she said.
Library director Jennie Rozycki said there is no stereotypical Shirley Jackson fan, other than a common interest in good writing that is engaging and sometimes humorous.
“There’s an enduring appeal for her writing,” she said, adding, “I am someone who has had a long fondness for her. It warms my heart to see the resurgence of interest in her work.”
She said it’s not a surprise that Jackson was influenced by the town she lived in for 17 years.
“A lot of writers are influenced by where they’re living,” she said, “but nothing would have prevented her from being a writer no matter where she might have been, though the flavor would have been different had she been somewhere else.”
For more details on the day’s events, visit the Facebook page of John G. McCullough Free Library.
Vermont Country file photo
From right to left: Local authors Michael Thomas Ford, Chandler Klang Smith, Karen Heuler and Paul Park attend a past Shirley Jackson Day in North Bennington. This year’s Shirley Jackson Day is June 24.
Illustration by Michelle Maher
34 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2023
A thrill for competition seekers
Vermont Fusion soccer lives up to its name in more ways than one
36 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY/JUNE 2023
By Tory Rich Vermont Country
MANCHESTER — The dog days of summer can feel like a bit of a dead zone in the sports calendar, not just nationally, but also locally. But fear not, sports fans — there is one show in town that can scratch that itch for competition-seekers.
The Vermont Fusion, which calls Manchester home, will kick off its third season as part of the Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) on May 20 at Applejack Field.
Who are the Fusion? Where do these young women come from? It turns out, just about everywhere. Most of the players on the Fusion, and across the league in general, are playing soccer in college and maintaining their amateur status. Don’t be fooled by the “amateur” tag, though. The talent pool the league draws from is deep.
According to a March news release from the team, the 2023 roster includes 10 international players hailing from Germany, Argentina, Spain, Norway, Ireland, Lebanon, Brazil and Denmark, as well as American players from Texas, New Hampshire, New York, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and South Dakota.
“Our roster, I would say, is probably one of the most diverse in the country,” said John O’ Keefe, assistant general manager for the Fusion.
The WPSL, now in its 25th year of operation, is the largest women’s soccer league in the world with over 120 teams. It is where some of the biggest names in the sport, past and present, played their summer ball. U.S. Women’s National Team stars Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Julie Foudy and Brandi Chastain are all WPSL alums.
One might think a squad from little Manchester, Vt., would be cannon fodder in such a competitive league, but nothing would be further from the truth. In fact, given the success the Fusion have had competing at such a high level, it might not just be the highest skill you’ll see in a team sport in Vermont all summer, but perhaps all year.
The Fusion has seen its own elite talent pass through in its short existence, as well. 2020 University of Vermont
Darren Marcy — Vermont Country file photo
vermontcountry.com | 37
The crowd in the grandstands at Applejack Field reacts to a big Fusion goal that tied the game in stoppage time back in 2021.
graduate Brooke Jenkins stayed in shape by playing in Manchester in the summer of ’21, and is now playing professionally in Sweden.
This year’s team will include Division I soccer players returning for at least their second year with the Fusion, such as midfielder Aki Yuasa (Stanford) — originally from Munich, Germany — and forward Blessing Kingsley (Southern Mississippi) from Ireland.
A local excelling at the collegiate level is forward Grace Pinkus, who graduated from Manchester’s Burr and Burton Academy in 2020. She just finished her junior season at UMass Amherst, notching three goals and two assists for the Minutemen. Pinkus was one of the inaugural members of the Fusion, along with her older sister, Hannah, who played at Colgate and Providence. Grace is not only grateful for the opportunity to continue playing soccer in her hometown, but for the experience of being an ambassador to — and playing with — other women from around the world.
“I’ve lived in this town my whole life, and so being able to have so many more people be a part of this community, as well, makes it so much more special for me because I can show them how amazing Manchester is and they end up loving it so much.”
Coming out to a game at Applejack isn’t just about seeing some of the future stars of the game. Fusion games have a little bit of something for everyone. Manchester isn’t your typical town for a WPSL team, and scenic Applejack isn’t your typical venue to catch one of their games.
“It’s like this last piece of wholesome, pure sport that you can go watch with your family … and nothing on or off the field is really geared towards somebody who has to be an expert. You don’t have to be a Nate, you can be a Ted Lasso and still enjoy the game,” O’Keefe joked, in reference to the AppleTV show.
The town has come out in force the past couple of years to support the team that bears the namesake of Manchester’s youth soccer club and camp, as well. The home games generally draw at least 500 fans, and have brought as many as 1,000. Between the fan support and the interaction with the players on the field after the games,
the Fusion experience is not a common one in the WPSL, according to O’Keefe. It’s not unusual to see teams in larger cities only draw a few dozen fans, as opposed to a few hundred.
“That’s just not typical for this league. None of these teams get 1,000 people for a game.”
“Being able to bring people from all over the country, all over the world, to this small town is really exciting for everyone to come see and be a part of,” Pinkus said. “And I feel like it’s exciting for all these people coming in from all over the world because they get to see how strong a sense of community Manchester has, and how much support that we get at the games.“
The players of the Fusion are undeniably part of the community for the several months that they are in town. O’Keefe says he ran into several players regularly last summer, including one who was his barista at Charlie’s Coffee House. Twenty-five players coming into town, becoming part of the workforce and enjoying everything the town has to offer is no small matter,
“Feedback we get from players is on another team, they’d be pretty lost in the shuffle,” explained O’Keefe, the former Manchester town manager of 16 years. “Here, people will come up to them on the street, see them wearing the shirt, and say, ‘Oh, we love you guys. We went to the game last week’ and have a whole conversation.”
For the past couple of years, the out-of-state and international players generally lived with host families over the summer. This year, they are renting a house together, which Pinkus expects will only form a stronger bond, which will also hopefully help the team take another step in year three. Last year, they fell one victory short of a trip to the final four in Stillwater, Okla., after a loss in the regional finals.
“We’re all from completely different parts of the world,” Pinkus said. “I think (the house) creates a really good place for us to be able to go back to and establish a sort of friendship based on being strangers. We’ve become really close.”
Darren Marcy — Vermont Country file photo
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A young fan looks to buy a shirt to support the home team at Applejack Field.
2023 Vermont Fusion schedule
Saturday, May 20, 5 p.m.: Home vs. Rhode Island Rogues (Opening night)
Friday, May 26, 7 p.m.: Away vs. Force FC
Sunday, May 28, 7 p.m.: Away vs. New York Shockers
Saturday, June 3, 6 p.m.: Home vs. Kingstown Capitals
Saturday, June 10, 5 p.m.: Away vs. Clarkstown Soccer Club
Saturday, June 17, 7 p.m.: Home vs. New York Shockers
Sunday, June 25, 6 p.m.: Home vs. Force FC
Friday, June 30, 6 p.m.: Away vs. Kingstown Capitals
Sunday, July 2, 5 p.m.: Home vs. Clarkstown Soccer Club
Saturday, July 8, 6:30 p.m.: Away vs. Rhode Island Rogues
Adam Samrov — Vermont Country file photo
The Fusion playing the NY Shockers against a picturesque backdrop at Applejack Field in 2021.
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Adam Samrov — Vermont Country file photo Grace and Hannah Pinkus celebrate after scoring a goal in a game during the Fusion’s inaugural season.
An outdoor art museum
... in North Bennington
BENNINGTON — In the village of North Bennington, you don’t even have to enter a museum for an immersive art experience.
Through summer and fall, sculptures of all kinds of materials by all kinds of artists will adorn outdoor spaces in the village during the 26th annual North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show. Sculptures are made of found objects, metal, wood, stone and more, with some incorporating parts of the landscape, such as trees.
“You can tell how artists are expressing differently,” said Ahmad Yassir of Vermont News & Media, who joined the show’s organizing team this year. “There is no big common theme. There is no limitation on resources or the materials being used.”
The show comes together through a partnership with Vermont Arts Exchange and the Bennington Museum in town. An opening reception with live music and food will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. June 17 at the Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) campus at 48 Main St., next door to the Post Office and across the street from the North Bennington Train Depot.
Joe Chirchirillo, in his 11th year curating the sculpture show, names one of his goals as putting sculptures in public places where people can interact with art in the course of a regular day. “We are interested in viewers who are art lovers and those who would never set foot into a gallery or museum,” he said.
Among Yassir’s tasks was bringing the show into the digital world with a new website — nbossvt.com — in hopes of casting a wider net of artists. He said
artists reached out from as far away as California.
“Pretty much the only requirement is that the sculpture needs to be standing up from June till November,” Yassir said. “If it survives outdoors, it’s in the show, basically.”
As a former art teacher, Yassir said he is especially excited about making art and its endless possibilities accessible to young children who might be intimidated by a quiet museum, or who think their drawing has to look just like a friend’s. He welcomes “the opportunity of being able to take them to an open space, where there is no anxiety.”
Matthew Perry, executive director of Vermont Arts Exchange, said as a
North Bennington resident and artist, he feels fortunate to live in a place that shares its Main Street with a creative outdoor presence.
“Without NBOSS, we’d still have a cute, little village but it would certainly lack the vibrancy, creativity and fun that NBOSS brings each year to everyone,” Perry said.
Bennington Museum has partnered with NBOSS for three years, and museum curator Jamie Franklin said the sculpture show enlivens the museum’s 10-acre property and draws visitors and neighbors to nearby native wildflower trails, a natural meadow and woodland brook. There will be an NBOSS party at the museum in September — exact date TBA.
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Vermont Country file photo Alisa Del Tufo, of North Bennington, working on her piece, “Whole Heart,” created from newspaper, chicken wire, bentonite clay, peat moss and vines, featured in a past North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show.
If you go ...
Opening date and reception: 4 to 8 p.m. June 17, Vermont Arts Exchange (VAE) campus at 48 Main St., North Bennington
Closing date: Nov. 11
Hours: selfguided, open 24/7
Show location: 48-66 Main St., North Bennington.
Website: nbossvt. com
This event is accessible, free and open to the public.
Bob Keating’s “Opera Basilica” at the North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show
“You could have pulled this up off the Titanic,” said organizer Joe Chirchirillo.
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Country file photo
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Words on the water
Literary history exhibit coming to new Amtrak station
By Lissa Weinmann Brattleboro Words Project
BRATTLEBORO — A new bridge over the Connecticut River linking Brattleboro and New Hampshire will open in 2024. The old Anna Hunt Marsh and Charles Dana bridges will be repurposed for pedestrians and bikes, a change expected to transform a woefully neglected riverfront in the center of Brattleboro’s historic downtown to something new, beautiful and accessible. Thanks to a new partnership, audio stories and a new exhibit focused on the area’s incredibly rich history will help animate that transformation.
The Brattleboro Words Trail is partnering with Amtrak to mount a permanent exhibit celebrating the town’s rich history of words on the track-facing exterior wall of a new Amtrak station, expected to open in fall 2024 on the river side of the existing tracks. People arriving in Brattleboro or waiting for a train will be able to listen to stories about sites on both sides of the river from their cell phones. Locals drawn to the new waterfront amenities will deepen their knowledge about and appreciation of their home.
“Stations are at the heart of the communities Amtrak serves, and introducing this new artwork in Brattleboro station will further enhance our customers’ experience while adding to that local community presence,” said Dr. David Handera, Amtrak vice president of stations, facilities, properties and accessibility. “It is a great fit for us to highlight Brattleboro’s unique and rich literary history by including the beautiful, locally created Brattleboro
Words Trail murals and maps as part of the design for the new Amtrak station.” Large ceramic landscape mural-maps created by Cynthia Parker-Houghton, lead designer at Natalie Blake Studios in Brattleboro, for the Words Trail will be the centerpiece of the exhibit. The award-winning Words Trail is one product of a National Endowment for the Humanities matching grant, which, with local support, continues to engage local citizens in researching and making short audio stories celebrating people and places important in Brattleboro and its surrounding area’s rich history in writing, printing, publishing and all things words. The Project also published “Print Town: Brattleboro’s Legacy of Words,” a richly illustrated, 247-page book that won a national design award last year.
You can download the free Words Trail app on a cell phone, grab a Words Trail map, and listen to over 100 stories as you walk, drive or bike around town. Many of the storied sites are centered around that waterfront area.
The westernmost Anna Hunt Marsh Bridge is named for the woman whose bequest formed the Brattleboro Retreat, one of the earliest mental health “asylums” known for offering humane care at a time when the mentally ill were subjected to “treatments” more like torture. Few people realize that it is thanks to Anna that Mount Wantastiquet is protected today.
The shorter Charles Dana Bridge on the east side of “Hinsdale Island” is named for the remarkable journalist who was Karl Marx’s editor in the United States. Stories on Thoreau’s
walk up Mount Wantastiquet, local circus personality Kevin O’Keefe’s account of the circuses that came to “Island Park” and Rich Holschuh’s piece on the native Abenaki language and their use of the river “Kwenitekw” are a few examples of Words Trail pieces that relate specifically to that area.
David Hiler, an owner of The Station brewery at the foot of the bridge, narrates a segment on Robert J. Flaherty, considered the “father of documentary filmmaking” who lived nearby in Dummerston.
Building the exhibit — and the case that will protect it — will also be a community project. “HatchSpace will work with the Words Trail team and local students to build a hand-crafted, durable exhibit honoring the rich literary identity of the area as part of a revitalized waterfront,” said HatchSpace’s Tom Bodett, himself an author featured on the Words Trail. Even after the Words Trail exhibit opens at the new station’s unveiling next year, the mural maps will continue to grow as each new community-created story gets a ceramic button placed on the murals. More signs and guided tours starting at the May and June Gallery Walks will further orient the community to these words on the water, and beyond.
Lissa Weinmann directs the Brattleboro Words Project and is lead producer for the Brattleboro Words Trail and a partner at 118 Elliot, a gallery and community space in Brattleboro where the Words Trail murals are currently exhibited. Learn more at brattleboro.com/downtown/words-project.
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the Brattleboro Words Trail on the Anna Hunt Marsh Bridge. Photo provided by Mike Kelly
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Realtor of the Year: Jacki Murano
John Hatton presents the Realtor of the Year award to Jacki Murano.
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By Chris Mays Vermont Country
Jacki Murano, owner of Southern Vermont Realty, loves meeting new people and helping them fulfill their home ownership dreams.
“Most of my clients become really good friends,” she said. “You spend a lot of time together through these processes and really get to know your clients. During COVID, when we were selling by virtual tour, it was a bit less fun and enjoyable but the process is mostly back to normal now and the face-to-face part of things with my colleagues and clients is what I really enjoy.”
Murano was named 2022 Realtor of the Year by Southern Vermont Board of Realtors for “exemplifying the best attributes of being a Realtor, community involvement, business accomplishments and being an ambassador of the Realtor spirit.” The award came as a surprise to her.
“There are so many Realtors who give so much time to their communities serving on boards, volunteering, donating time behind the scenes, so being recognized by those peers throughout the region was pretty special,” she said. “It has also given me some leadership and professional networking opportunities that have been invaluable.”
Currently, Murano serves as vice president/president elect of the board. She’s been traveling all around the state to meet with other leaders in the field.
Murano said the professional development that comes with the role has been “great” for her clients, office and agents. She described being grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow and then bring that knowledge and experience back to share.
Before branching out into real estate, Murano had been working as a paraprofessional and substitute teacher during the day then at the clubhouse at Timber Creek condos at night. She said she got to know Realtors who came in frequently to get keys for condo units.
Mark Linton, a well known local Realtor at the time, had opened his
own shop after decades of working for larger companies and asked Murano if she had ever considered getting her real estate license. That week, she signed up for a class. And within a few months, she was working for Linton.
“He had so much experience and taught me so much in those first few years,” Murano said. “He gave me a great base of knowledge.”
When Linton retired, Murano started working at Mount Snow Realty. She stayed for 14 years.
“That was also a great experience and I probably would have been there still,” she said. “But between COVID and the change of ownership from Peak Resorts to Vail at Mount Snow resort, it was time to make a move.”
When COVID hit, Mount Snow closed. Mount Snow Realty’s office, inside the resort’s Grand Summit Hotel, was shut down.
“Then real estate went wild,” Murano said. “I was working from home like everyone else and just couldn’t keep up with the volume of calls, emails and appointment requests.”
Murano said her husband had been “gently nudging” her to open her own brokerage, but the prospect seemed so daunting to her as she was so busy with clients.
Out of the blue, Murano received a call from Melissa Ellis, owner of Rentals Only in Dover.
“Rentals had tanked with all of the travel bans and real estate had taken off and she asked me, had I ever considered opening my own firm,” Murano said.
Within a few months, Southern Vermont Realty Group opened its doors in the building that shares space with Rentals Only.
“The rental agents all got licensed, Kelly Agrillo moved over with me from our previous firm and we basically went from a suggestion to a full fledged office of multiple agents in less than two months,” Murano said. “It was a whirlwind.”
Murano credited her family and real estate agents for supporting the effort. She’s the sole proprietor of SVRG but the group works hand in hand with Rentals Only to offer rental and sales services to our clients.
For those looking to join the field, Murano said she can’t stress enough the value of having a good mentor.
“Interview potential brokerages, meet the people in the firm and see what kind of structure and support they offer,” she said. “Not all offices are right for all agents. Find your people so that you love your career and going to work.”
In the last two years, Murano has trained seven new agents. That’s one of the parts she loves most about her job as principal broker.
Working in real estate can be stressful at times, Murano said.
“Having colleagues that are ready, willing and able to help you can make all the difference in a new agent’s level of success,” she said, recounting how she experienced that with her first few years with Linton. “And it is something I really value in my own firm.”
Regarding the surge of sales after the pandemic, Murano said, “the top of the market has definitely come and gone but that doesn’t mean it’s a buyer’s market yet. Inventory is still very low, values are still very strong but we are looking forward to the spring buying season with our primary home buyers as new listings come on the market.”
Murano advised potential home buyers to start preparing, as there will be some more room for them in the market in the next few months.
“There are so many Realtors who give so much time to their communities serving on boards, volunteering, donating time behind the scenes, so being recognized by those peers throughout the region was pretty special.”
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— Jacki Murano, 2022 Southern Vermont Board of Realtors Realtor of the Year
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10 food films that stimulate the palate
By Dan Tebo Vermont Country correspondent
According to the late Chef Gusteau in the impossibly brilliant Pixar film “Ratatouille,” “anyone can cook.” Food, more than just about anything else, is the universal language that everyone speaks.
As someone who has spent the last quarter-century working in the restaurant industry, I have witnessed the birth of a reality TV-influenced foodie culture that has negatively impacted people’s dining habits. What was once a venue for a night of escapism has increasingly become an arena to play amateur critic or to impart unsolicited wisdom gleaned from the Guy Fieris of the world.
Fortunately, filmmakers have historically showcased food as a source of joy and wonderment. The best onscreen depictions of cooking, be it a simple omelet or a seven-course French dinner, stimulate the palate as well as the soul. This month, we’re going to tune out the noise and look at some films that will send you scrambling to your refrigerator for the ingredients to make a late-night, last-minute timpano.
Tampopo (1985): The world’s first (and to date … only) “Ramen Western” follows a pair of urban cowboys as they work to transform a struggling widow into a world-class ramen chef. Come for slurps. Stay for the bizarrely unrelated vignettes, like the one where a gangster and his lover transfer a raw egg between each other’s mouths for an uncomfortably long amount of time.
Babette’s Feast (1987): An isolated group of ruthlessly devout 19th-century Danish villagers have their lives temporarily upended when a local housekeeper prepares them a seven-course French dinner with appropriate wine pairings. Pope Francis is reportedly a huge fan of this flick and, well, that guy is infallible!
Goodfellas (1990): Martin Scorsese’s mafia saga is not necessarily a food movie (at all), yet the sequence where some incarcerated wise guys prepare an elaborate jailhouse dinner has sent moviegoers scrambling for an emergency bowl of pasta for over three decades now. Just make sure you slice the garlic nice and thin so it liquifies in the pan.
Eat Drink Man Woman (1994): A Taiwanese widower and master chef with failing taste buds navigates his twilight years with the support of his three live-in adult daughters in this heartwarming film from Ang Lee. If it’s Mexican American cuisine you’d prefer, there’s a slightly inferior 2001 remake called “Tortilla Soup” that should have you covered.
Big Night (1996): Academy Award-nominated actor (and ersatz Tony Bourdain) Stanley Tucci co-wrote and directed this unassuming indie gem about quarreling Italian immigrant brothers and their last-ditch attempt to rescue their fledgling restaurant by hosting a “big night.” Their signature showstopper, the pasta timpano, looks like the most delicious dish ever created by a human person.
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Ratatouille (2007): Far and away the greatest food film of all time, “Ratatouille” follows the travails of a Parisian chef named Remy as he labors to impress a bloodless food critic. Worth mentioning: Remy is an animated rat who dictates his recipes while hidden inside a chef’s toque. Anyone who doesn’t like this movie doesn’t like happiness.
The Trip (2010): British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon confront the onset of middle age ennui and ad lib themselves hoarse while eating their way across Northern England. Italian, Greek and Spanish installments are also available depending on your appetite.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011): You’ll never look at a piece of raw fish the same way after sampling this spellbinding documentary about Jiro Ono (still active at age 97 at press time), a master chef so singularly and overwhelmingly focused on the art of sushi that he requires his underlings to apprentice for a full decade before they’re allowed to make rice.
Chef (2014): Modern-era Star Wars Universe overlord Jon Favreau returned to his indie roots with this winsome comedy about an acclaimed chef who reinvents himself as a food truck proprietor after flaming out of the fine dining world. Watching this film without having the ingredients for a Cubano sandwich on hand is strongly discouraged.
The Menu (2022): A ferry full of walking restaurant-adjacent stereotypes (the overzealous amateur foodie, the withering food critic, the boozy, affluenza-afflicted regulars, the expense account raiding tech bros) travel to a Noma-esque restaurant on a remote island to sample a tasting menu prepared by a militaristic chef. Cliches aren’t the only thing that end up skewered in this deliciously off the wall horror comedy.
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