Give a Gift Subscription, Get One Free!

Get a FREE subscription to Vermont Life when you give a gift subscription!

Meet Our Partners

Looking for a place to stay? A restaurant to try? A gift idea? Find links to all our partners' web pages.

Save up to 75% on 2015 Calendars!

Our 2015 calendars are now on sale!

Vermont Vacation Ad

The Awakening | A young Vermonter sees the family business 
in a new light

Written by Vermont Life on . Posted in Entrepreneurs, Taste of the Landscape

This article appears in the Spring 2015 issue of Vermont Life magazine. To enjoy more Vermont stories and photographs each quarter, consider subscribing to Vermont Life.

Editor’s Note: Maddie Baughman, an 18-year-old senior at Harwood Union High School, was asked as part of her college application process to write about “an event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community or family.” Though never intended for publication, her essay came to our attention at Vermont Life, and, with Baughman’s permission, we chose to share it with our readers.

Maddie Baughman at her family business, Grow Compost, in Moretown. Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur.

Maddie Baughman at her family business, Grow Compost, in Moretown. Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur.

By Maddie Baughman

Many 13-year-olds are mortified if their parents so much as get out of the car to pick them up from soccer practice. After all, parents ruin the illusion of independence. When I was 13, my dad would pull up in a 25,000-pound, iguana-green hook truck, filled to the brim with foul smelling, steaming cow manure. As much as I tried to pretend that my parents were mere accessories to my independent life,

Continue Reading

Engine Light Flashing | Changing times hit snowmobiling

Written by Matt Crawford on . Posted in Outdoor Recreation and Nature

This copyrighted article appears in the Winter 2014−15 issue of Vermont Life magazine. 

snowy Saturday will come this winter when one of the toughest tables to reserve in all of Vermont’s dining establishments will be in a rustic little structure near Walden Mountain. The walls are particleboard. Ketchup and mustard come in color-coded plastic containers. The napkins are paper. There’s not a sommelier, sous chef or valet on staff. The menu can best be described as “1950s drive-in” — burgers and fries, cheesesteaks and hot dogs. Hit it early enough, and there’s plenty of homemade zucchini relish to be had.

Situated in the hills just west of Lyndonville, The Coles Pond Sledders Cook Shack sits smack-dab on a snowmobile trail. Location, of course, is key to its success. It’s open for just a few months of the year and fills its 16-seat capacity on those weekend days when it’s snowy and cold and an estimated 00 snowmobiles zip by on their way to Hardwick or to a nearby lookout that offers stunning views of New Hampshire’s Presidential Range.

High winds prevented jumpers from going too big, but the crowd of about 150 people were impressed during an event sponsored by the Barre Town Thunder Chickens. Photograph by Bear Cieri.

High winds prevented jumpers from going too big, but the crowd of about 150 people were impressed during an event sponsored by the Barre Town Thunder Chickens. Photograph by Bear Cieri.

“We get fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends — entire families that stop in here for something to eat,” said George Peak of Walden, operator of the Cook Shack. “I like to think the food is part of the reason, but the reality is all those people come here to be part of something.”

A mix of adventure travel, outdoor exploration and social event, snowmobiling sees about 10 percent of Vermonters ride each winter, plus thousands more who come here from out of state to take part. Many businesses are along for the ride — hotels, gas stations, machine dealerships, clothing retailers, mechanics and restaurants — to the tune of an estimated $350 million a year generated for the state economy.

Yet, over little more than a decade, the number of participants has shown a steep decline. In the winter of 2002–2003, membership in the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers stood at about 45,000. By last year, the number had dropped to about 23,000, a plunge of almost 50 percent.

What happened?

As a winter tradition in Vermont, snowmobiling, in historical terms, is relatively new, and holds a tenuous place in the state’s imagination. If Vermont recreation had a Mount Rushmore, snowmobiling would not be on it. Hunting, fishing, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, cycling — all for various reasons connect more directly to Vermont’s identity, even though snow machines have been on the landscape, starting as backwoods workhorses, since the 1930s. It wasn’t until the late 1950s, when factories started manufacturing smaller gas-powered engines, that the first modern-day snowmobiles began to take shape. In the cultural backdrop of the time, with the emphasis on muscle cars, drag racing and powerboats, snow machines were a natural fit as a new recreational pursuit, and a boom time began.

Continue Reading

Contact Us

Vermont Life Editorial and Business Offices: (802) 828-3241
(8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., EST, weekdays)

Subscriptions: Please note, the subscription offices are closed New Year's Day, Easter, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Offices close at 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Address: One National Life Drive, 6th Floor, Montpelier, VT 05620

Letters to the Editor

Subscriptions

Advertising

Customer Service

Suggest a Product