The “draw” to Vermont (and indeed, New England) for me as a photographer includes its signature quaint villages, often replete with park-like commons in the central part of the village, surrounded by churches, post offices, courthouses, and town halls. This image of Craftsbury Common is illustrative. However, what is fun and interesting about traveling around the state is that, while each Vermont village and common has a distinctive “New England feel,” each is also unique.
One of the most impressive I have visited is the town of Strafford. Unfortunately, I reached this picturesque Vermont village well after peak foliage, and on a dreary day. Knowing it would be many years before I could return, I spent a few moments photographing memories, anyway. I could only imagine the images resulting from those large stately Maples around the Meeting House and along the Common in full Fall foliage!
The Village of Plymouth, near the top of the Plymouth Notch, the homestead of President Calvin Coolidge, is now a State historical Park. There is no common at this village, but it still has the quintessential “Vermont” village feel to it.
The Common in Townsend is another example of a “Vermont” village common, with with church, school, gazebo and park. It sits in the middle of the village, with businesses across the streets surrounding it. Warm weather monts often see farmers markets and craft shows on the Common. We visited on a Thursday evening and families, children and dogs played and relaxed on the Common.
Vermont is saturated with great Commons and Villages. Stowe, Woodstock and Nanchester are perhaps among the most famous (but also perhap the most commercial). Smaller, more picturesque villages include Jeffersonville, Grafton, Chester, Townsend, Weston, Craftsbury, Arlington, Sharon, Brandon and South Royalton, among many others. However, my hands down favorite is Newfane. The Newfane Common includes historic buildings including a Union Hall, Church and the Windsor County Courhouse, all nestled in a small, u-shaped Common. The main road passes by the common, but a u-shaped drive sweeps around in front of the Union Hall and Church, behind the County Courthouse and back to the main street. There are small neighborhood homes behind, and the main business district on the main street to the North of the Common. We were there during the Newfane Fall Foliage Festival, so it was difficult to get a “clean” photograph of the Common or surrounding buildings.
I am sure that I will continue my focus on these villages, commons and traditional New England architecture with each new visit to Vermont and to any other New England states.