I love AZ…….. The weather is lovely… I do not miss the freezing north….but I will say this……… I do miss the unique quaintness of Vermont.
Of course many of the things I miss are no longer there….I can remember weekends with my mom just driving about, wandering and exploring, seeing what we could find…. one of my favorite places was TheCandle Mill in East Arlington, VT. An old wooden huge 2 story building that had the feel of a renovated barn with all kinds of nook and cranny rooms to explore. As soon as you opened the door the intoxicating scents of a multitude of candles would hit you like a wall of “Ahhhh”. It was right on a river and had several small alcoves you could sit in over top of the water and just enjoy it.
They had every kind of wonderful candle you could think of and you could even dip (color) your own in big vats of colorful wax. Huge candles bigger than me, and candles that looked like ribbon candy that were carved. Interesting boxes, bags and a whole floor of music boxes including one I was totally enamored with that hung on the wall there for years. It was a mirrored box, 2ft wide by 1ft high. Had it been in a home rather than on display it could have been mounted in a wall to look like an ornate flat normal mirror. The switch on the side though, when flipped on, was amazing. The mirroring faded away and revealed a ballroom with several figures inside dancing.
This was back in the day when kids were well behaved enough at shops like this still allowed you to explore and touch things without signs everywhere yelling at you before you even did anything.
This was an amazing little “plaza”, and I use that word loosely. It was a series of connected buildings, all that had their own interest. Right next door was the Rosebud Toy Company and RAH Earth. Rosebud was filled with stuffed animals and toys that required imagination to play with – cool interesting and out of the box.It was an amazing place for gifts. RAH Earth was owned by a lovely woman named Roseanne who made beautiful custom pottery including music boxes, one of whichI still have. It is little clay me and my dog pumpkin sitting on a park bench.
Next door to them was a cheese shop that had cheeses from all over the world and samples galore. At the end was a hat shop where you could play dress up and see how you looked in just about every kind of hat there was.
In the neighboring town of Manchester was the world famous Jelly Mill. This monstrous converted barn was enormous and had heavy welded artistic metal doors. This is the single most unique “shop” I have yet to find. It was an indoor mall of sorts, in that it housed 20 or so individual shops. The building was old and creaked when you walked. It added character, and also made you wonder if one day someone wouldn’t just simply disappear, falling through the floor while shopping.
There were gift cards, amazing unique jewelry collected from all over the world, crystals, plants, hand made figurines, a huge collection of fancy soaps that smelled wonderful, candies, pastries, candles, trinkets,boxes, cookware, toys, and a fantastic little café restaurant called TheButtery. I loved having lunch there, as a kid I guess that was my version of a tea party and it made me feel import and “fancy” as I only got to go there on special occasions. You could stay in there for hours and still not see everything. I do distinctly recall liking to go there with my dad better because he would buy me jellybeans.
The more you wandered around Vermont, the more eclectic tiny mom and pop shops you could find. We never knew what we might come home with and it was always an adventure.
Especially in retrospect, Vermont was a lovely place to grow up.
Wishing all my VT friends warm thoughts on this cold day!