One of my favorite expressions when I try to describe what life is like in rural Vermont is this: We drive to work, but come home to play.
By this time of year (December 20, or so) I am generally up for skiing, but sometimes Mother Nature does not bless us with enough snow to go sliding, and that includes downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, and sledding. And if you’re not into sliding, there’s always snowshoeing. But snow will come, it always does, and in the meantime there is always some sort of outside entertainment to be enjoyed!
Little River History Loop
Today there was just a dusting of snow and just enough frozen ground showing to make it perfect for a walk in the woods with my good friend Kate Carter and her two border collies. With Pheobe and Brewster leading the way, Kate and I enjoyed a two-hour hike through Little River State Park, located in Waterbury, Vermont.
Once I start walking or hiking I don’t want to go back inside. I absolutely love being outdoors, no matter what (okay, I don’t like hours in the rain, I admit it). Little River State Park has scenic camping sites overlooking the reservoir, but today I enjoyed a great history lesson as well. The Little River History Loop is a journey through time. The miles of stone walls, cemeteries cellar holes, jeep trails, and orchards give evidence of life one to two hundred years ago!
The walk started uphill and we walked and talked and took pictures with my phone, as neither of us had brought our cameras. The dogs were running around and barking at each other and I kept seeing these little posts with numbers on them that I thought indicated camp sites. I finally commented to Kate that the camp sites looked awfully hilly. She chuckled and told me that they were not camp sites but part of the history walk of Little River, and the numbered posts marked the different family farm plots that made up an active community over one hundred years ago. Well, that made a lot more sense, and gee, perhaps if I had read the signs I could have figured that out myself!
As we came close to the end of our hike we saw this old house and I gave my phone to Kate to take a photo of it (she is, after all, the photographer, and she trained me but she is still better!!). The following is a description of that house, which is one of the family farms that existed long ago:
Almeron Goodell (14 acres)
Almeron Goodell bought this land around 1863. The house frame is made of hewed timers.
Goodell hand-split the original shingles during his evening hours. This is the only farmhouse still standing in the Little River area. All other buildings were destroyed or moved when the land came into public ownership.
On November 3 and 4 of 1927, torrential rains caused local rivers to rise and drove residents to their roofs. A second flood in 1934 spurred the construction of Waterbury Dam. Between 1935 and 1938 the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, constructed Waterbury Reservoir. The CCC camp here was a fully operating, thriving community with more than 80 buildings, and housing 2,000 men at its peak. Now, half a century later, only a few solitary chimneys and concrete foundations remain.
So, today was not only a wonderful hike with a friend, but a history lesson as well! This is a perfect example of what can happen in A Day In The Life in rural Vermont, where we drive to work, but come home to play!
Please contact me if you’d like to move to rural Vermont, where we sure do play a lot!