Whenever we travel New England, images haunt us of the Green Mountain Villages, with their pointed steeples towering over a white-painted church in the center, with a cozy inn across the street and a covered bridge leading into town, through our minds. Somehow these clichés represent our image of New England. However, these ideas are not so clichéd, because they actually exist. We discovered particularly pretty villages during our drive through the Green Mountain Villages in Vermont last year. Even the Green Mountain Villages around Manchester - and Manchester itself - correspond to this image, only that gas stations and cheap motels on the outskirts of Highway 7 disturb the overall impression somewhat.
Grafton, one of the Green Mountain Villages that are typical of New England
It's very different in Grafton, a small village tucked away in the hills of the Green Mountains. We drive from Manchester. Our navigation device first leads us to ever-narrowing streets, where we encounter fewer and fewer cars. The path leads through dense forest up into the heights of the Green Mountains, and on the way we see little signs of human activity. Maybe it's the rough terrain we drive through: the narrow valleys we come through are not a place to farm, and the hillsides rise steeply right next to the road - a landscape that explains itself, why so few people have settled down here.
The villages are off the main routes
Then the navigation system instructs us to turn onto a gravel road and we begin to doubt whether we are still on the right path. However, a look at the map seems to confirm this. So we keep going! After a few miles, the gravel disappears from the road and our car rolls along on a slippery clay road because it started to rain. "After that, car washing is definitely the order of the day," I think to myself and am still skeptical whether this is the right way. I also have concerns because we haven't had another car in a long time.
But suddenly, there are fences along the road and an inconspicuous sign points the way to Grafton. So we are right! And indeed, after a last steep stretch of road, the clay road opens in the middle of the village center of Grafton: right next to us is the - painted white - village church with its church tower, opposite invites the long veranda with their rocking chairs for a leisurely rest, and if it Here also not directly in place a covered bridge, so kindly one of the homeowners has built his garage in the style of the Covered Bridges of New England.
It's raining, so not much is happening in town. From time to time, a car drives in front of the post office, and the housewives disappear quickly in the building to avoid the increasing rain. We make a short tour of the place and land in the Eatery, something like the village cafe. There are a few men in work clothes sitting at the table and look at us in surprise. A stranger immediately stands out here. And in the rain you obviously do not expect. They are not disturbed in their conversation of us and continue to tell of the events that move the people in the village: it's about the neighbor whose daughter has just married and the fence that someone else wants to build at the moment. Village gossip, suitable for a place like this. Somehow, the clocks slow down, and life goes its quiet course.
Woodstock, Vermont - parade of the Green Mountains
As the rain does not let up, we drive a few miles further to Woodstock. And as soon as we leave Grafton, we actually see the first covered bridge next to the road. Our stereotype has been fulfilled.
Even better, that's the case in Woodstock. As a village, I would not call this place anymore. He is too big for that. And with its Main Street, where shops and restaurants line up, it does not quite fit into the picture. However, Woodstock has a pretty little city park, around which the main street divides. Around these are neat villas in a variety of styles: magnificent Palladium-style houses as well as red brick buildings with white wooden windows. And of course, there is an inn here, surrounded by a larger garden with a white painted fence. Behind dense maple trees we see the spire of the white village church and on the other side of the park a covered wooden bridge leads over the Ottauquechee River, over which the cars loudly rumble into the town.
If you want to avoid the - highly recommended - detour to Grafton, Woodstock also finds what makes up the Green Mountain Villages of New England and does not have to drive over the narrow mountain roads. Woodstock is located on Highway 4, which connects the Connecticut River Valley with the route west of the Green Mountains, the 7 Highway.
Do you already know:
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Source: On-site research with support from Tourism Vermont and Discover New England
Text: © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Photos © Copyright Monika Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline
Video © Copyright Petar Fuchs, TravelWorldOnline