Robert Frost spent the second half of his life in Vermont. He came to live in South Shaftsbury, Vermont in 1920, “where if we have any money left after repairing the roof, I mean to plant a thousand apple trees of some ‘unforbidden’ variety.” He called his home “The Stone House,” today called the Robert Frost Stone House Museum located on VT Route 7A, now known as the Shires of Vermont Byway, perhaps a road less traveled but sure to make a difference to visitors to this lovely region of Vermont.
The house is one of the oldest in Shaftsbury built in 1769 of native stone, which is a geologic mixture of limestone and marble. It is rough hewn as Frost described, “pretty much the way it flaked off out of the quarry.” The house was used as a tavern during the American Revolution. The stone is almost two feet thick and the wide pine plank floors are original to the house.
Frost wrote “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” in the dining room of the house on a hot June morning in 1922. He brought out several books of poetry while living in Shaftsbury and won three of his four Pulitzer Prizes. His biographer called it “The Years of Triumph.” Along with the triumphs also came tragedy. Frost’s daughter Marjorie died in 1934 of childbirth and his beloved wife Elinor died in 1938 of a heart attack. Frost wrote to a friend, “She has been the unspoken half of everything I ever wrote.”
The Robert Frost Stone House is arranged with educational exhibits that make you feel as if you met the poet. The story of his life and poetry is displayed along with some of his family furnishings. “It’s a house of literature, not furniture,” says director and founder Carole Thompson. “The most interesting things about Frost are his ideas and the poetry. He lived very simply.” The dining room where he wrote “Stopping by Woods,” is completely devoted to the poem: the story of how it was written, a facsimile of the original manuscript, analysis of the rhyme and meter, a controversial comma, what the critics said and what Frost said.
You can find more about Robert Frost and the Stone House Museum at www.frostfriends.org. Open May 1 through October 31, Wednesday through Sunday; closed Monday and Tuesday. 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
We suggest an hour for your visit. Admission is charged. The museum has a small bookshop that sells books, posters, CDs and other Frostiana. Phone: (802) 447-6200.