browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.
Our Great American Adventure Website Logo

Wilmington, Vermont…

Posted by on October 1, 2015

OCTOBER 1, 2015

MY STORY CONTINUES. My story continues with another close call about some pretty frightening weather conditions. You’ll recall thathurricane1 when we were in the Boston area last June, we had a tornado warning…not an advisory but a warning. There’s a big difference! After we scurried to safety, it turned out to be a false alarm. So did the forecast for this area a couple of days ago. But last Tuesday evening, the local weathermen warned of torrential rainfall in the following 24 hours, almost sure to deposit about 5 inches of rain! Whew! Then, just last evening, meteorologists at the National Weather Service predicted that Hurricane Joaquin would likely make landfall in New England this weekend.

P1030294A FRIGHTENING WEATHER FORECAST. That would have been a catastrophe for a bunch of reasons. First, its common knowledge that in a motorhome is absolutely the very worst place to be during a hurricane. And second, hurricane-force winds would surely obliterate any chance we’d otherwise have to see fall colors on the trees. Hell, after a hurricane we’d probably be lucky to even see intact trees…much less trees with any leaves remaining. But it appears that we’ve lucked out…to an extent. Although we did have a good dose of heavy rain, it wasn’t nearly as much as had been forecast. And Joaquin now appears less likely to make landfall. We’re still on the lookout through the weekend for lots more rain, serious flooding and sustained high winds, but at least it doesn’t look as if our motorhome will get blown off the map! All of this is quite an experience for a couple of Southern Californians…we don’t have weather anything like this back home!

WILMINGTON, VERMONT. As I mentioned a day or two ago, Fall has definitely arrived in New England. Colored leaves are beginning to make the hills and mountains look like patchwork quilts. So even though it was overcast today, we drove to the town of Wilmington, where we’d been told the colors would already be pretty evident. It was well worth the 1/2 hour drive. And the promise of “peak fall foliage” in just a few more days has now become almost an obsession with us.


The fall colors are now rapidly emerging. I’m told by the Vermonters we’ve met that on a scale of 1 – 10, the photos on this post are about “3.” The season is just getting started. Lot’s more color still to come! 


It won’t be long before the foliage “peaks.” 


Fall is high season for country inns like this one in Vermont, where legions of “leaf peepers” flock to the area to witness nature’s annual display of colors. 















Of all the different types of trees that change color in the fall, these maple trees are perhaps the most dramatic.  

A QUINTESSENTIAL NEW ENGLAND TOWN. Wilmington is a quintessential New England town where folks have deep-seated roots in the community. Most seem to know one-another. And they’re very welcoming, as well. Here’s an example. As we drove around this afternoon pursuing photo ops, I turned on what I thought was a small side-road in hopes that I’d find a vantage point for some great off-the-beaten-path pictures. Turns out that the “small side-road” was actually a long private driveway which led me directly to a lady picking apples from a tree in her front yard. I try to think quickly on my feet, so rather than greeting her with a sheepish apology for my intrusion, I pulled right up next to the tree and said, “Looks like you might need some help picking those apples. Where shall I begin?” She laughed and proceeded to give us about 15 minutes of local lore and suggestions befitting our status as tourists. What a nice gal…she even gave us a handful of apples right off her tree. I didn’t press my luck and ask her to pose for a picture, but here are some shots I took in and around the town.


I love poking around old musty second-hand bookstores.


The bookseller transformed this old home into a store. It’s a cozy two story place where it’d be easy to “loose yourself” for an entire afternoon.















A little Italian restaurant in Wilmington. New Englanders adorn all their homes and shops with beautiful blooming flowers, I suspect to compensate for the long winters without any colorful plants.


Farmstands are a familiar sight in New England. We enjoy supporting local farms, and shop at these roadside stores all the time.  


Florence and I love Halloween. It’s just about time for us to “dust-off” our costumes and prepare for our first Halloween ever in Alabama. 

DOT’S RESTAURANT. The “star of the show” in Wilmington’s downtown district is a little diner called Dot’s Restaurant. The moment we stepped inside, we felt the small town ambiance this place exudes. After enjoying a homemade turkey dinner and chatting with the friendly staff, we learned about a tragedy which happened here five years ago, which threatened to close the restaurant. “No way,” said the townsfolk, who saw to it that the place was rebuilt.  Here are some excerpts from a New York Times article about the event. It says a lot about the diner, the town of Wilmington and the folks who call it home.


This little diner is very special. I know, I think lots of little diners are special, but this one really is one-of-a-kind. Read about how the townsfolk simply refused to let it close after Hurricane Irene destroyed it in 2010.  

“THE TOWN THAT WOULD NOT LET ITS DINER GO.” -New York Times. 12-14-13. “In the months after the Deerfield River overtook their diner, Patty and John Reagan began to imagine letting it go after more than 30 years of greeting people for breakfast, saying ‘good night’ after the dinner shift and hearing their stories during the many hours in between.  ‘We once entertained the idea of not opening ’til 6:30 am, but knew our regulars would be here at 5:30 anyway. They’d break in! It actually happened once, when we were late during an ice storm.'”


This old photo is fuzzy, but you can see the flooding that completely destroyed Dot’s Restaurant in 2010, when Hurricane Irene pummeled Southern Vermont. Two and a half years later, the restaurant finally re-opened. 


Townsfolk raised more than $200,000 to help the owners rebuild the diner, after it was destroyed by Hurricane Irene in 2010. AP Photo. 8-28-13. 

“The Reagans are Dot’s owners, but everyone, it seems, has a claim. Patrons dissect local issues here, and travelers count on it. Not long ago, a couple passing through on their second honeymoon were able to order the same Dot’s breakfast they had enjoyed on their first, 50 years earlier.” So even though it meant going heavily into debt despite the insurance proceeds and a massive fundraising effort in the community, the owners rebuilt the restaurant. It took two and a half years, but the diner stands again today. And it stands for something special. We felt it today when we stopped for lunch. Bravo!

















Comments are closed.