From the Green Mountain Boys to Norman Rockwell…Robert Todd Lincoln to Robert Frost; here in Southern Vermont there’s plenty of fascinating history to explore. If you’ve come to the West Mountain Inn perhaps you’ve stayed in the Grandma Moses Suite, or the Dorothy Canfield Fisher or Booker T. Washington Rooms. In honor of the many great Vermonters we admire, we named each of our guest rooms after an important person in Vermont’s history. So when our guests are interested in spending a day exploring local history and sites, we have lots of suggestions. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Hildene – Manchester, VT
Hildene is the historic home of Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of President and Mary Todd Lincoln to survive to adulthood. The estate has beautiful gardens, restored 1903 wooden Pullman palace car, goat farm and cheesemaking facility, walking trails and cross-country skiing in winter.
2. Robert Frost Farm – Shaftsbury, VT
The Robert Frost Stone House Museum built in 1769 is a literary landmark, only minutes away from Frost’s gravesite in Bennington. It was opened in 2002 to honor America’s favorite poet. Frost lived in the Stone House in South Shaftsbury, Vermont from 1920 to 1929. Here, Frost composed many of the pieces that became part of New Hampshire, his first Pulitzer Prize winning volume that included “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”
3. Bennington Battle Monument – Bennington, VT
The Bennington Battle Monument is a 306 ft stone obelisk which commemorates the Battle of Bennington during the Revolutionary War From its observatory level at 200 feet, which can be reached by elevator (but not the stairs, which are closed), one can see Vermont, New York & Massachusetts – a particularly spectacular view during fall foliage season!
4. Park McCullough House – North Bennington, VT
The Park-McCullough Historic House is one of the finest and best-preserved Victorian mansions in New England. It is a thirty-five room mansion, set on 200 acres of grounds.The house was built in 1864–65 by attorney and entrepreneur Trenor W. Park and was designed by Henry Dudley, a prolific New York architect. The Park-McCullough house is an important example of an American country house in the Second Empire Style. It also incorporates architectural features of the Romantic Revival style popular at the time. The house is now owned by a non-profit organization and is open to the public. The grounds include a beautiful carriage barn and walking trails.
5. The Bennington Museum – Bennington, VT
The Bennington Museum housed in a former church in the historic district of Old Bennington celebrates Vermont art, culture, and history with the largest collection of Grandma Moses paintings and 19th-century Bennington Pottery, Battle of Bennington memorabilia and weaponry, and more. New in 2013 – Gilded Age Vermont Gallery highlights the industrial and cultural innovation of the late 1800s to the 1920s through objects that were made or owned in Bennington and the surrounding region, or created by artists with connections to the area.
In addition to these special sites, don’t forget to take a stroll through the historic areas of all our local villages – Arlington and East Arlington (the home of Norman Rockwell), Dorset, Shaftsbury, Manchester, and Old Bennington are filled with beautiful historic homes, churches, and other architecture. Happy history hunting!