An alternate, but nearly all-gravel route from Middlebury to Burlington is by way of the charming Bristol village, past the Lord's Prayer cut on a rock...Charles Edward Crane

I took a sharp right at Route 17 and headed up Stark Mountain, a winding, ear-popping climb past the Appalachian Trail to the summit's microwave tower at Buels Gore (getting out of the car there for a chilly look at the valley far below) and then a fast roll down the back side of Sugarbush into the town of Bristol.

Bristol feels to me like a humble, hidden Green Mountain Shangri-La tucked away at the end of a circuitous climbing path. The downtown rewards the adventurer willing to bypass the speed of the valley roads with an excellent breakfast (herb and spinach egg scramble) at Snap's Restaurant, and some interesting poking around in Main Street shops (though oddball Folkhearts with it's red facade is alas no longer there.)

Shopping in a small town is a pleasure rather than a chore: park your car, grab your market bag, and stroll from store to library to farmer's market, exchanging greetings with neighbors along the way. The news and opinions in a five minute conversation on a town street are like lines moving through a painting, connecting part to part and creating a strong whole.

And there's a place on Main Street in Bristol to sit in the sun and gossip, complain, analyze and laugh with friends on a warm autumn afternoon.

Bristol facts and figures


  1. Susan --
    Periodically, when I was a member of Vermont Chapter of the Piano Technician's Guild, I would find myself in Bristol for guild meetings and was delighted to roll into town in all seasons. It is indeed a gem -- and we would adjourn after our meetings to Snap's. I especially loved browsing in the Deer Leap bookshop.

  2. Hi Susan,

    I enjoy receiving, reading and viewing you wonderful art. I just wanted to make a historical note, that if todays post is from Bristol, Vermont, it's history is tied directly to Bristol, England. I wrote a story awhile back about a couple that were from Bristol, Indiana and how they were also connected to Bristol, England. Most of the towns and cities named Bristol had descendents from that shipping center.

    Of course, you may have also had it as a note about the paper "bristol" used to draw on.

    Your posts and blogs are great, thank you.

  3. Kendra Gratton12/10/08, 10:24 AM

    I've lived in Bristol all my life and it was fun to "stumble across" your blog. If you're ever back this way, you'll want to check out a stunning waterfall (if you head up the mountain towards Lincoln) known as Bartlet's Falls. One of the best swimming holes in VT in the summer, and breathtakingly beautiful all seasons... it's one of our favorite places. Also, a great hike is to "The Ledges"... a trail that takes about 40 minutes and looks over entire town. Hope you get a warm welcome!! Best of luck with Art of Action.
    Kendra Gratton

  4. Thanks, Kendra, glad you like this and thanks for the tips--I'll look for the waterfall and trail on my next drive through. You've reminded me that I want to put up a survey for people to tell me their favorite places in their towns. How did you find you way to my blog?