Travels with Sissy: Country Stores and Simpler Times


On a crisp fall morning in New England, I enjoyed a cup of coffee, while waiting for a photo of the perfect sunrise against  the steeple of a quaint Vermont church. Does anything say more than typical New England in the fall? Maybe the country stores.

I hadn’t planned on visiting the Vermont Country stores, although growing up in New England I certainly heard about them. The story of Vrest and Mildred Ellen Orton mailing their first catalog in 1946 with thirty six items was one I heard from my grandparents many times. Their selection of products would continue to grow, but always had to pass the criteria of being useful, work and make sense. I guess children of the Depression never let go of this criteria when buying items for their household.


The Vermont Country store in Weston is nestled among a village of quaint shops and the Weston General Store. The merchandise is a collection of clothing, food, household gadgets, and holiday items. There are a few items not for sale, but remind us of a time when daily tasks required more time and ‘elbow grease’. Does anyone still use a push lawnmower or butter churn?


Upon purchasing a few items at the Weston Country Store, I asked the shopkeeper which Vermont Country Store was better- the one in Weston or in Rockingham? He responded, ‘the one in Rockingham is on the main road, so more folks from the city visit that one. Gets more crowded. Don’t care for crowds.’ I agree with him. Capturing photos while standing in the middle of the road, or enjoying a relaxing meal at the Bryant House without the noise of traffic sounds good to me, too. However, my curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to take a day trip to Rockingham.


The Vermont Country Store in Rockingham is just off I-91. Although it’s only 25 minutes from Weston, I did feel like I was in more of a tourist stop, than relaxing in a quaint Vermont village. The shopkeepers were all pleasant, and the wheels of cheese were being sliced and sold quickly to families preparing for lunch by the Water Wheel. I thought that was a great idea, and did the same. Tip from a frequent traveler….always have a blanket in your car to enjoy an unplanned picnic.


As I enjoyed the people watching while eating my assortment of Vermont cheeses, I reflected on my ‘plan’ for the day of taking photos of the sunrise and Vermont foliage. How did I end up visiting country stores and watching couples pass through the Kissing Bridge? Maybe I felt nostalgic to reflect on a time when our country made products that lasted, people worked hard & lived honestly, and everyday life just made more sense.



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