Middlebury Vermont

Middlebury Vermont is home to one of the most elite liberal arts colleges in the United States, and it is Middlebury College that helps to give this small New England town a sense of sophistication. The college is one of fifteen similar small, elite schools (all in the Northeast) making up a group that is called the "Little Ivy League." The town is located in the western part of the state about ten miles from the southern end of Lake Champlain and about 25 miles south of Burlington. The town is a picture-postcard complete with village green and typically historic architecture.

The famous poet Robert Frost spent almost every summer from 1921 to 1963 in the town of Ripton a few miles to the west of Middlebury VT where he taught at the college's Bread Loaf School of English. Since 1926, one of the most prestigious writers' conferences in the country (the Bread Loaf Conference) has been held here. Today, the farmstead where Frost lived from 1939 until his death in 1963 is owned and maintained by the college. It is a designated National Historic Landmark. You can walk the Robert Frost Wayside Trail for a little more than a mile, "botanizing" as you go the way the poet did while he walked through these woods.

Those who craft things other than words have also been drawn to this area, and Middlebury Vermont is home to one of the state Vermont Craft Centers. The one here is called Frog Hollow and you can get to it by walking down the hill from Court House Square, over the bridge across Otter Creek, and down Frog Hollow Lane. John Deere (plow inventor and founder of the machine company bearing his name) did an apprenticeship here. You'll even find one of the state's covered bridges in town.

Also within walking distance of town center is the Henry Sheldon Museum, the oldest history museum in the United States (1882). Its Judd-Harris House was built in 1829 and contains a fascinating collection of objects depicting life in a nineteenth-century small New England town. It's just off Main Street on the eastern edge of the college campus. In the same neighborhood is the Vermont Folklife Center that works for cultural sustainability through apprenticeships and public programs. Well within the Middlebury College campus, but still just off Main Street is the institution's highly respected Museum of Art, with an impressive collection of American and European sculpture, paintings, and prints from the Renaissance through the nineteenth century, as well as a permanent installation of antiquities and Asian art.

If this isn't enough for you, you will find that Middlebury Vermont is bordered by the incomparable natural beauty of the Green Mountain National Forest where there is a wealth of outdoor activity available throughout the year. There is hiking, fishing, cross country skiing, and camping. There are several Vermont ski areas in the region, including the Middlebury Bowl, a small area that is big enough for novice, intermediary, and expert slopes. Because this is where the excellent college ski team trains, there are skiing lessons for all skill levels available. Middlebury hotels in this area consist of a number of inns and bed and breakfasts. Or you can opt for vacation rentals, as there are many available. If you don't want the forest and mountain, you can head to nearby Lake Champlain for swimming and sailing.

Virtually all Middlebury hotels are in the style of a New England village; even chain hotels. Most of the Middlebury hotels located right in town are smaller inns and bed and breakfasts. An example is the Inn on the Green, which is housed in a beautifully renovated Federal-style house built in 1803. Its address is 71 South Pleasant Street. There are eleven rooms and suites that can accommodate two, three, or four guests. In addition to breakfast delivered to your room, afternoon coffee and tea is served.

Image: cogdogblog (flickr)

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