By our backroads expert, Sharon O’Connor
This 15-mile backroad loop will take you through an historic village and one the most scenic areas in Vermont.
Starting at Depot Street & Route 7 in Danby (about 9 miles north of Manchester) proceed 500 feet on Depot Street noticing the historic buildings. Turn left onto Main Street going about 500 feet to the old-world Silas Griffith Inn (named after Vermont’s first millionaire) which has Vermont’s first phone on display in the lobby. Go back on Main Street for about 1000 feet to Brook Road. This area is listed in the National Register for Historic Places and is the place The Good Earth author Pearl Buck called home. Visit Vermont Country Bird Houses (Yankee Travel editor’s pick); have an ice cream at Sunnyside Cafe; look at the surrounding architecture. Nearby is the world’s largest underground marble (primarily architectural) quarry. However, it’s privately owned.
Proceed up Brook Road about two and a half miles until you see, on the right, a small dirt parking area then a guardrail. Look straight ahead (the road goes left) between the trees to a small opening. Park, walk a few feet to see a stunning Vermont waterfall.
Continue for another 1000 feet and take a left onto Keeler (dirt road) continuing for about half a mile to a T; make a left onto Edmunds. Keep on this dirt road for about one mile to a white house on the right. Look to your left. This is fabulous Vermont (no billboards, clean air, no noise). Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean apparently agrees; this view was featured on his website.
Go back down Edmunds going straight (don’t go right on Keeler or left on Danby Mountain), passing the Smokey House Center (this 5000 acre “outdoor classroom” helps teenagers)
At Brook (paved) go straight a half mile to Danby Four Corners and visit the general store for a Vermont experience. You are actually now in the Lake Champlain Basin with waters, fens, and rare plants that support the life of Lake Champlain.
Turn left on Danby-Pawlet Rd., go three quarters of a mile to Old Otis and turn right. Drive through unforgettable farms and beautiful scenery. After two miles (next turn after Fisk) turn right on Hoisington Cross (marked at the other end) for half a mile to a T . At the T take a right for 500 feet. Take Colvin Hill on the left for Vermont Valley views and the Green Mountain Lipizzans. After two and three quarters mile on Colvin Hill bear right. At the Stop sign go and stay left on Danby Hill (don’t go down Colvin Hill) for one and a half gorgeous miles back to Brook Road. Proceed into Danby making a right on Main and then left on Mt Tabor (on National Register) to Route 7. Try to visit the area studios, inns, farms & stables.
The “good earth” has blessed Danby with an abundance of architectural marble, water, clean air and the most precious of all natural resources – beauty.