Gene, our RealtyWorks Division Director, headed north to Starksboro, Bristol, Lincoln, and Monkton for a day as part of NeighborWorks of Western Vermont’s Town Treasure Hunts.
Roots in the area
You could say Gene is familiar with Addison County; his wife grew up in Starksboro, like seven generations of her family before her. Even though he’s traveled the road frequently, Gene appreciated the natural beauty of Vermont heading up Route 116 from Rutland County.
“The beauty of the towns… it’s a gorgeous part of Addison County. They’re small, historic communities hidden in the Green Mountains.”
Gene and his wife took the trip together, enjoying the spring weather and the views. Visiting with town clerks, Gene was able to chat with them about our services while updating the brochure racks.
Some town clerks were familiar with NeighborWorks, but since our lending, HEAT Squad, homeownership, and home repair services are always changing and expanding to better serve Vermonters on the path to sustainable homeownership, Gene still had plenty to talk with them about.
The town clerk of Lincoln, Sally Ober, was busy with the construction of the new town offices but when she heard about NeighborWorks of Western Vermont’s services, she took a break to learn more, recognizing the value in what NeighborWorks could offer her residents.
In Monkton, Gene caught the ear of the entire town hall staff by mentioning NeighborWorks. NeighborWorks’ HEAT Squad has been a hit there, and the staff had compliments to offer Gene about the energy audit service. It was no problem for Gene to get them to spend a few minutes of their time talking about our Home Repair, Lending, and HomeOwnership services as well.
Treats and eats
They frequented a café next to the popular Cubbers Pizzeria in Bristol, called (fittingly) the “Bristol Bakery and Café.” It’s been a staple of the community for over 35 years and boasts “Vermont made from scratch” bagels, breads, and morning pastries every day.
“They make their own pastries, and they’re really good,” he says, recommending it enthusiastically.
Visiting four towns in one day, Gene was surprised to learn the different levels of communication between the residents and their town offices, and the different mediums used to disseminate information.
“Monkton, a town of 1,980, has a town paper, and Bristol, population 3,894, has nothing!”
All four towns are covered by the Addison County Independent, a family-owned community paper that focuses on town events. If you’re in the area and want to know what to do, make sure to pick up a free copy at any local coffee shop.
Additionally, as Gene learned from Sharon Gomez, the Town and School Clerk of Monkton, the town’s website offers a way to sign up for email updates for everything from upcoming energy committee meetings to reminders of which days the recycling center is open (every other Saturday!).
In Starksboro, residents keep in touch through “The Gazette,” a newsletter produced by the town and mailed to all residents which includes a community calendar of events, worship services, advertisements from local businesses, and updates from the town clerk, Cheryl Estey.
Don’t miss it…
Between talking to town clerks, they also stopped in Rocky Dale Gardens in Bristol.
“It’s like a museum with the gardens! You make a turn and all of a sudden… there’s a landscaped pond. It’s a beautiful place to walk around.”
The Bristol Town Clerk and Treasurer, Jen Myers, also mentioned “The HUB.”
Gene has grandchildren, and he instantly loved the idea: a renovated bingo hall turned nonprofit teen center that provides “teens a place of their own to socialize, study, access the internet, hear music, explore interests like visual arts or videography, feel safe and experience the support and supervision of adults.” The HUB boasts a skate park, a garden, and a living room space.
Leaving Bristol, the couple made sure to stop at the Village Creeme Stand on the outskirts of town. If you’re not from the area, “creeme” is often used to describe any soft-serve ice cream, and can be spelled “kreemee,” “creamee,” or “kreamie.” Gene’s flavor of choice? Chocolate creeme with chocolate sprinkles.
On the way home, Gene was once again floored by the beauty of Route 116, zipping along the two-lane road through lush green valleys bordered by mountains.
Town Treasure Hunts
To learn more about NeighborWorks’ service territory, check out our other blogs on Brandon and Leicester.