Vermont 100: Wilmington & Wardsboro

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Vermont’s Route 100 is well known for being an ideal fall drive.  The highway runs almost the entire length of the state, and on its southern end, it flirts with the edge of the Green Mountain National Forest.

My fall excursion up Route 100 began at the town of Wilmington, where Route 9 (from Bennington) crosses Route 100.

Businesses crowd around East, West, North, and South Main Streets (all four meet at the intersection of Routes 9 and 100).  The Deerfield River also cuts through town here, with restaurants like Dot’s (with the neon sign in the photo above — obviously popular!) and the Old Red Mill overlooking the water.

One of the town’s old churches, on South Main Street, now houses a gallery filled with glass.

The circa-1934 Parmelee and Howe building at the town’s main intersection is filled with more galleries.

Don’t leave town before you’ve paid your respects to Molly Stark.  She was the wife of Revolutionary War General John Stark.  He made her famous with his battle call:

There are your enemies, the Red Coats and the Tories. They are ours, or this night Molly Stark sleeps a widow!

Fortunately, she wasn’t left a widow, because with 11 children, her life would have been pretty difficult.  In addition to being a busy mother, she also served as a nurse, and opened her home as a hospital during the war.  Nowadays, her name appears all over Vermont, including on Route 9, the Molly Stark Trail, which runs from one side of the state to the other.

Wilmington wasn’t originally located here.  The old town square, site of the original town, is at the end of Lisle Hill Road (off Route 100, just north of the 9-100 junction).  A park and commemorative plaques mark the town’s original location.

In winter, Wilmington serves the popular ski resort of Mount Snow, which is 9 miles north of town, on Vermont Route 100.  Another ski resort closer to town, Haystack Mountain, operated from the 1960’s until 2005.  After it closed, investors purchased the property and made plans to open Haystack as a “members only” ski area.  As of 2010, that plan hasn’t come together, and Haystack remains closed.
Here’s a time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive up Route 100, starting in Wilmington:

I know Vermont 100 is often regarded as one of the most beautiful Autumn drives in the country, but I must not have hit it at exactly the right time — or perhaps the fall colors were a little dull this year (2010).  Either way, as you watch the video, you’ll notice that I didn’t make many stops after leaving Wilmington.

About 25 minutes north of town, I stopped at this pond, hoping for a good reflection in the water.  But, I couldn’t get close enough, and the leaves weren’t very brilliant here.

So, I continued up Route 100 to…

Wardsboro, VT

Wardsboro is just a dot on the map, but it does have one building that you can’t miss.  The Wardsboro Country Store is decked out in red, white, and blue.  Inside, you’ll find a real general store, with groceries and supplies.  It’s not a place made up for tourists.

After buying a beverage at the country store, I continued up Route 100.

About 25 minutes after Wardsboro, I snapped this view of the mountains, looking south.  And 15 minutes after that…

… I finally found a picturesque barn to photograph.  You wouldn’t think it would have been much of a challenge in this part of the country, but most scenes I spotted had power lines running in front of them or right through them, or I wasn’t able to pull off the highway at the right spot.

More than an hour and a half after leaving Wilmington, I finally found a satisfying stop, at Weston, Vermont.

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