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Vermont Local Secrets 2010

Vermont Local Secrets 2010
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by in May 2010

Best Literary Stopover
NAULAKHA, Dummerston
Rudyard Kipling wrote The Jungle Book not in steamy India but in the sober kingdom of southern Vermont. His former home has been restored and is available to groups. 707 Kipling Road. 802-254-6868; landmarktrustusa.org

Best Stargazing
STELLAFANE CONVENTION, Springfield
Quirky doesn’t begin to describe this annual convention of “amateur telescope makers.” Never mind the astronomy workshops; three nights of stargazing are divine (Aug. 5-8 this year). Breezy Hill. stellafane.org

Best Natural Respite
SPIRIT IN NATURE PATH CENTER, Ripton
In the heart of Middlebury Gap, 10 hiking trails incorporate bits of scripture from different world religions, all meeting in a grove symbolizing the interconnectedness of all faiths. Goshen Road (off Route 125). 802-388-3694; spiritinnature.com

Best Toy Shop
VERMONT TOY & TRAIN MUSEUM, Quechee
This portal to childhood highlights hundreds of toys, arranged by decade, starting in the 1920s. You’re guaranteed to find something that sends you into spasms of Proustian nostalgia. Quechee Gorge Village, Route 4. 802-295-1550; quecheegorge.com/vermont-toy-train.php

Best Scenic Graveyard
HOPE CEMETERY, Barre
Barre’s funeral-sculpture park celebrates life, death, and granite in elaborate headstones carved by immigrant stoneworkers. 201 Maple Ave. 802-476-6245

Best Look at the Green Mountain State
NEW ENGLAND VIA VERMONT, Alburgh
Hard by the Canadian border amid the Champlain Islands, this is one of those shops that makes jaws drop. Seemingly every kind of souvenir of Vermont shares space with fossilized shark teeth, Civil War-era bullets, and exhibits on Champ the Sea Monster. 4 Milk St. 802-796-3665

Best Swimming Hole
“THREE HOLES,” Montgomery
As the Trout River sluices down from the hills, it fills three natural basins deep in the woods, creating the swimming-hole trifecta: diamond-clear water, flat rocks for sunbathing, and freedom from raucous crowds. We’d tell you more about how to find it, but that would just spoil the joy of discovering it for yourself.

Best Inn Gardens
THE GREENHOUSE AT THE INN AT WESTON, Weston
This white-clapboard inn has all of the fine amenities you’d expect, plus one you wouldn’t: a year-round greenhouse filled with hundreds of species of orchids. 630 Main St. (Route 100). 802-824-6789; innweston.com

Best Bookstore
SEASONED BOOKS AND BAKERY, Rochester
The cozy smell of lentil soup from the adjoining cafe season the musty odor of used books in a labyrinth of shelves, irresistible for browsing. Long focused on sustainable living, the shop now offers fiction, kids’ books, and Vermont-made toys. 30 North Main St. 802-767-4258; seasonedbooks.com

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