Chester: Gateway to the Green Mountains

By Bette Reynolds

The friendly and thriving village of Chester, established in 1776, is located northwest of Rockingham, VT on Route 103, near the Williams River.

Main Street today.

Main Street Chester today is alive with shops and eateries

Nearby off of Route 103 at Brockways Mills is Rockingham, VT, and on the Williams River Road is the Inn at Cranberry Farm. Just reaching the inn is a pleasure: one travels on a very well-maintained dirt road and through the Worrel covered bridge, and perhaps you will be lucky, as I was, and travel parallel, or in the opposite direction, with the Green Mountain Flyer en route to Chester.

Once one has climbed the gently sloping road, you will notice the cathedral-like presence of the structure. The exquisite building rests on 60 acres of meadow and forested hillside, which boasts a swimming pond.

The innkeepers Carl and Pam Follo with sister Josie Colarusso maintain 10 guest rooms and a separate addition of four suites with all of the amenities, such as massage tubs, telephone, TV, air conditioning, fireplace, and individual private decks

Main Street circa 1912.

Main Street circa 1912. Looking east from Carpenter’s Dry Goods store, Chester, Vermont. Historic postcard courtesy of Chris and Ann Curran.

While shopping in downtown Chester, stop in at the Hugging Bear Inn & Shoppe, owned by Georgette Thomas, who stocks over 10,000 teddy bears.

Across the street is another beautiful Victorian building which houses resident chef Keith Turner’s casual fare restaurant, Raspberries and Thyme.

A new business in town is the Chester Music Shoppe on Main Street, owned by Gary and Domenica Coger. They carry new and used CDs, vinyl, DVD and VHS in addition to instruments, sheet music, and accessories.

On Route 11, one mile north of Chester is a cozy, charming establishment, Motel in the Meadow, managed by Pat and Ron Budnick. A gift shop is on site and has many Vermont products up for sale.

Now what outing is complete without a stop at an antiques shop? The Stone House Antique Center with helmsman Andy Esser offers 20,000 square feet of a variety of antiques, collectibles, folk art, primitives, and much more.

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