By our backroads expert, Sharon O’Connor of Backroad Discovery ToursSavor your morning at Mount Snow Resort (Rte.100, West Dover, VT). The mountain rises to 3,556 ft. In 1954, Walt Schoenknecht, borrowed $20 to use as a down-payment; hence, the former Reuben Snows Farm was transformed into a ski slope. It has since evolved into a year round sports mecca & haven for special fun events. The resort offers scenic chair lift rides, Mt. Bike schools & trails, a climbing wall, BMX & skate park, & 40 mi. of hiking trails. The Grand Summit Hotel, on premises, has a year-round outdoor pool, gourmet restaurant & 400 beautifully appointed rooms. Mt. Snow airport provides private tours & Mt. Snow Country Club is a beautiful public golf course. From the entrance to Mt. Snow, take rte. 100N (9.3mi) to N. Wardsboro. After a general store on the left & Post Office on the right, Rte. 100 will make a sharp left turn, however, go straight across the bridge & turn right. Travel 2.7mi. & turn left onto Newfane Rd. Almost immediately to the right, look for a home with a variety of unusual lawn decor & a giant croquet set-up. On this bucolic dirt road, people will wave as you pass & you will enjoy Vt. at its best (8.1mi).
Enter Newfane, county seat or “shire” town. Explore the town Green & surrounds. The Village Market offers walking maps. Established in 1774, the village was called “Fane” & was moved from the hills to the flats in 1825, using ox-drawn sleighs. The entire village is on the National Register of Historic Places. Notice the Chittenden Bank. In 1884, bricks were hauled in by ox cart; the front bricks were 5 cents, the sides were 3 cents & the back were 2 cents (totaling $6,650). Since the town jail once adjoined a hotel, inmates got the same excellent food as the hotel guests! When visiting, Teddy Roosevelt remarked, “Some day when I’ve got a lot of reading to do & need a rest, I’m coming up here to commit some mild crime!” The Historical Society displays the famous people who were “bred & fed” here (Wed-Sun 12-5). Newfane Country Store has everything from penny candy to hundreds of handmade quilts & serves as the town’s original post office.
The Newfane Flea Market, 1 mi. north on Rte. 30, is the largest in NE & was started in the 1960s when the 5-acre parcel was offered as payment for a $500 grocery bill! (Open Sundays).
Travel north through Harmonyville & Townshend. The latter was twice devastated by fire; therefore many of the buildings are relatively new; a 2-acre village Green is the “happening” place. Grace Cottage Hospital (Vermont’s smallest) is located here. Mary Meyers Toy Factory/Showroom, 1 mile north, is VT’s largest stuffed toy maker & began as a family business over 60 yrs. ago.Beyond Mary Meyer, you will see the Scott Covered Bridge (VT’s longest single span bridge). Soon after the bridge, turn left & cross into Townshend Lake State Park, a 41-acre, recreation area with swimming, boating, sailboarding, & hiking. There is a 2.7 mi. steep trail leading to Bald Mt., which meanders past waterfalls, chutes & pools. Upon leaving the park notice the 1700ft. wedge-shaped dam built in 1961 by the Army Corps of Engineers.
Continuing north, you will enter the burg of West Townshend, ancestral home of William Howard Taft. There is a photogenic church just past the 3 corners. The Windham Hill Inn, located in one of Vermont’s prettiest settings, is 1 mile up Windham Hill Rd.
North of town (1.2mi), turn left onto Rte.100S, looping back to Mt. Snow. The road passes through mountain wilderness & by boulder-strewn streams, known for their brook trout. Robert Frost stated that residents of this area are “bilingual;” they speak Yankee & American. Evening meal is still supper & noon meal is dinner. Children can be seen playing dice or hopscotch, fisherman are out catching their evening meal & many residents are enjoying life, watching the world pass by, from their front porches. This is truly… unspoiled Vermont!