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Montpelier, Vermont's Valentine's Day Phantom

Montpelier, Vermont’s Valentine’s Day Phantom
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Photo/Art by Erick Ingraham

As a newcomer to Montpelier, Vermont, I’ve often wondered why no one has stood on Main Street during the night before Valentine’s Day to find out who the city’s mysterious Valentine Phantom really is.

For the past seven years, he, or she–or they?–has crept around the state capital in the dark, taping thousands of red paper hearts to the windows of stores and homes. In the morning, residents wake up to wonder whether they’ve been “hearted” and marvel at how their humble downtown has been transformed into a street from Candy Land.

What if I hid behind a snowy lamppost at midnight this year to see who’s behind all this joy? It’d be like Christmas Eve when I was 6, staying awake to catch a glimpse of Santa. But when I asked my neighbor Wendy to join me, she insisted that she likes not knowing who the phantom is. And when I asked Montpelier’s mayor, Mary Hooper, why no one has revealed the Phantom’s identity, she talked about people’s delight in “having a secret admirer.”

But the Phantom admires everyone, doling out hearts to anyone with a window and turning Valentine’s Day into a holiday that everybody can enjoy, not just people with a date or a wedding ring. Maybe that’s all I need to know about our Phantom, who brings equity to the least equitable of holidays. So perhaps I’ll just sleep through Valentine’s Eve this year, and hope I’m “hearted” by morning.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

Updated Friday, December 19th, 2008

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5 Responses to Montpelier, Vermont’s Valentine’s Day Phantom

  1. Marylee Tharp February 3, 2009 at 2:53 pm #

    Just gives me a warm “fuzzy feeling” to know someone loves to give joy to other people!
    God Bless them! In this day in age, we really need some extra love and attention.
    Feel lucky to live in a town that has some angel that takes time to give of themselves.

  2. Shirley Chaisson February 3, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    I think it’s great! Almost makes you feel like a kid again on May basket day. Didn’t that used to be fun? God Bless that Little Cupid that’s running around, wish it was all over the world.

  3. Jean Antinarelli February 3, 2009 at 5:14 pm #

    What a great thing to have done- & do- for the moral of all in the town-I love it! Yes a tv movie should be made to find this kind & thoughtful soul….how about it guys…or as you say NOT KNOWING IS ALMOST MORE FUN!
    We do have some die hard romantics among us still! Thanks for sharing the story Caroline!

  4. Marjorie D'Annunzio February 3, 2009 at 7:18 pm #

    When I was a little girl ” Jimmy Valentine ” used to come to our house, leave all kinds of goodies at the door step and ring the bell and run away. None of my friends ever heard of him. He never went to their houses. When I got older I found out it was my father whose name was Jimmy and he added the Valentine for the occasion. He’d go out the back door, come around the house and ring the bell and run back around. Consequently when I had children I repeated this tradition and my children did the same with theirs. Maybe there is a Jimmy Valentine running around the streets in Montpelier. What a wonderful thing for someone to do. I say keep the identity a secret. I was dissappointed when I found out who Jimmy Valentine really was even though it remains a wonderful memory.

  5. Joyce Ashurst February 3, 2009 at 10:10 pm #

    What a wonderful story! It’s great to know there are still some romantic at hearts out there!
    Keep it a secret…that’s half the fun!!! I wish I lived in Montpelier!

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