Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site

This unassuming state park at the New York-Vermont border was the scene of an American military victory that contributed to the surrender of a British army and eventual American Independence.

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The Battle of Bennington was fought on August 16, 1777 between American forces commanded by Colonel John Stark and British and Hessian forces commanded by Lt. Col. Friedrich Baum west of Bennington, Vermont (in what would become New York State) during the American Revolutionary War. The battle ended in American victory when all British and Hessian forces fled the field.

In June 1777, British Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne desperately needed supplies to continue moving south in his bid to control the Hudson Valley and sever New England from the rest of the colonies. He sent Hessian Col. Friedrich Baum and 375 Hessian dragoons, 50 British infantry, and 375 Iroquois and Loyalist militia to gather supplies in nearby farming communities.

Baum learned there was a force of militiamen camped in nearby Bennington, Vermont and moved to investigate. After a brief skirmish around Sancoick Mill, Col. Baum sent for reinforcements and decided to fortify a hill and wait for their arrival.

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Diners of Vermont

Vermont is a hidden gem for diner enthusiasts. Quaint mountain towns dot the countryside, and classic diners await hungry travelers. Though Vermont wasn’t known for diner manufacturing, enough found their way to the Green Mountain State to make this an important detour on any culinary tour.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Chelsea Royal Diner, at 487 Marlboro Road in West Brattleboro, Vermont, is a 1939 Worcester Diner (#736) moved here from downtown West Brattleboro. The 1958 sign was discovered in a New Hampshire barn and restored in 1999. The staff takes pride in its locally sourced food and homemade “Royal Madness” Ice Cream.

Photo by Michael Kleen

Public House Diner, at 5573 Woodstock Road in Quechee, Vermont, is a 1946 Worcester (#787). It was originally the Ross Diner located in Holyoke, Massachusetts. It closed in 1990 and moved to New Hampshire for a few short years before ultimately coming to Vermont. Since then, it’s had a succession of names, including the Yankee Diner, Farmer’s Diner, and the Quechee Diner. It reopened as the Public House in 2017 at Quechee Gorge Village, a tourist’s trap outside Quechee State Park.

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The Birdseye Diner in Castleton, Vermont

The Birdseye Diner, at 590 Main Street in Castleton, Vermont, is a 1946 Silk City. It originally had a wooden exterior, but after 18 years was refitted with stainless steel and chrome. It has been known by various names, including The Campus Diner, Jim’s, and T.J.’s. John and Pam Rehlen renovated it in 1995.

An old advertisement for Silk City diners hangs on the wall; it promises “big profits, modest investment,” and “no experience needed,” “a depression proof business.” Simply find a space, hook it up to utilities, and watch the money roll in. What an American idea!

Look for a new diner every Tuesday in 2019! Click to expand photos.

Diner Resources

Vermont Toy Museum at Quechee Gorge Village

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Every generation has its favorite toys. When I was a kid in the 1980s, we had a lot of action figures and toys based on popular TV shows like G.I. Joe, Masters of the Universe, and My Little Pony. How those toys change decade by decade can be very interesting, even educational. Toys tell us something about the values of our society at the time, and what kinds of activities we want children to be interested in.

The Vermont Toy Museum at Quechee Gorge Village is a unique window into that world. The museum features action figures, dolls, comic books, lunchboxes, games, and more, plus a huge model train set. Display cases are packed with toys decade by decade beginning with the 1950s, so you can easily see how toys have changed over the years. It also has separate displays for Star Wars, Star Trek, and other popular franchises.

An entire display cabinet shows how prevalent toy guns were in the 1950s, and it’s incredible how realistic-looking toy guns were marketed to children (yet there were no mass shootings at schools back then). My favorite are the metal revolvers that fired caps, but my mom was totally against having any toy guns in the house, so I never got to play with them.

The Vermont Toy & Train Museum is located on the second floor above Cabot Cheese at Quechee Gorge Village, 5575 Woodstock Road, U.S. Route 4 in Quechee, Vermont. They are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call (802) 295-1550 Ext. 102 or email robin@quecheegorge.com for more information.

The Embrace Of Thanatos

“Thanatos,” a monument to John E. Hubbard (1847-1899), in Green Mount Cemetery at 250 State Street (U.S. Route 2) in the City of Montpelier, Washington County, Vermont. John Erastus Hubbard was a controversial figure. He allegedly duplicitously gained a sizable inheritance from his aunt, Fanny Hubbard Kellogg, who intended her wealth to benefit the City of Montpelier. The controversy surrounding the will tarnished Hubbard’s reputation.

John E. Hubbard (1847-1899)

Upon his death in 1899, Hubbard did leave the fortune to Montpelier, and some of his wealth went toward building a gate and chapel at Green Mount Cemetery. An Austrian artist named Karl Bitter designed his monument, calling it “Thanatos” after the Greek god of death. One side of the inscription reads:

Approach thy grave
Like one who wraps
The Drapery of his couch
About him and lies down
To pleasant dream

According to legend, bad luck will befall anyone foolish enough to sit on the figure’s lap (popularly called Black Agnus).

Public House Diner in Quechee, Vermont

Public House Diner, at 5573 Woodstock Road in Quechee, Vermont, is a 1946 Worcester (#787). It was originally the Ross Diner located in Holyoke, Massachusetts. It closed in 1990 and moved to New Hampshire for a few short years before ultimately coming to Vermont. Since then, it’s had a succession of names, including the Yankee Diner, Farmer’s Diner, and the Quechee Diner. It reopened as the Public House in 2017 at Quechee Gorge Village, a tourist’s trap outside Quechee State Park.

Look for a new diner every Tuesday in 2019! Click to expand photos.

Diner Resources

Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard

Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard

Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard at the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, 1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road in Waterbury, Washington County, Vermont. Ben & Jerry’s have discontinued hundreds of ice cream flavors over the years, but only a handful receive the honor of being interred in the Flavor Graveyard. Each headstone marks the dates the flavor was in circulation. Don’t despair, ice cream lovers, they’ve actually held “funerals” for our dearly departed favorites.

Windsor Diner in Windsor, Vermont

Windsor Diner, at 135 Main Street in historic Windsor, Vermont, is a 1952 Worcester (#835) originally located in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. It is cash only. Known as the “birthplace of Vermont”, Windsor is where the 1777 Constitution of Vermont was adopted.

Look for a new diner every Tuesday in 2019! Click to expand photos.

Diner Resources