Happy Vermont

Happy Vermont

Stories about Vermont places you love, told by the people who live here. Visit www.happyvermont.com.


September 14, 2023 29 mins

If you’ve ever been to Shelburne Orchards, chances are you’ve seen or been lucky enough to meet owner Nick Cowles. Nick has spent most of his life at the orchard, which his father purchased in the 1950s. Nick loved growing up there, and when you visit, it’s easy to see why.

Host Erica Houskeeper met up with Nick to talk about apples, brandy, and how running the orchard changed his life for the better.



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The summer she turned seven years old, Charity Clark's first outing on Vermont's Long Trail was at Little Rock Pond in Mount Tabor. Years later, she completed the 272-mile footpath across the Green Mountains, the oldest long-distance hiking trail in the United States.

Today, Charity is Vermont's first female attorney general. Even with a busy schedule in Vermont’s highest law enforcement office, she spen...

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Happy Vermont podcast host Erica Houskeeper shares ways to explore Vermont this summer and fall. She also weighs in on why we can't take Vermont communities for granted. 


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June 28, 2023 28 mins

Terri Armata of Bennington is one of Vermont’s most dedicated butterfly watchers. A retired hospital employee, Terri has seen about 100 species in Vermont, nearly every kind ever found in the state. 

Host Erica Houskeeper met with Terri at Merck Forest in Rupert to talk about good places to find butterflies, her passion for butterfly watching, and Vermont's second Butterfly Atlas Project survey.



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Spencer Potter created Woodchuck Golf in his backyard in Waitsfield in 2004. The six-hole course, which runs on donations, attracts golfers from near and far looking for an offbeat and challenging experience.

Happy Vermont podcast host Erica Houskeeper met up with Spencer to find out what motivates him about running a public backyard golf course in Vermont's Mad River Valley.



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Most of Vermont's forests and hillsides were clear-cut in the late 1800s. But in a few places, like Gifford Woods State Park in Killington, old trees were spared and continue to stand tall today. Host Erica Houskeeper talks to Vermont State Parks regional manager Rebecca Roy about ancient trees—some more than 300 years old—that visitors can see up close at Gifford Woods State Park. 


Visit Happy Vermont: happyvermont.com

Learn m...

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May 1, 2023 13 mins

A question host Erica Houskeeper often asks people is, how did you end up in Vermont? 

As she gets older, Erica thinks more and more about how she ended up in the Green Mountains more than 40 years ago. In this solo episode, she shares some personal memories of her family's early days in southern Vermont (a bittersweet, challenging time), and answers a few lighthearted questions from Happy Vermont reader...

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April 4, 2023 25 mins

After moving to Vershire in 2020, Justin Willeau was eager to find ways to meet people in town and contribute to the community. 

Vershire, a hard-to-get-to place in Orange County, doesn't have a coffee house or a bar. So Justin decided to create weekly get-togethers revolving around coffee and beer.

Justin started a Coffee Bar on Saturday mornings and a Beer Exchange on Thursday nights at the Church Orr House on Route 113.

In this ...

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Butternut Mountain is the tallest peak that falls entirely within the town of Johnson. On the mountain's southern slope, the Marvin family owns 600 acres where they produce maple syrup for their business, Butternut Mountain Farm.

David Marvin started Butternut Mountain Farm in the early 1970s on land owned by his father, Dr. James Wallace Marvin, a botanist and the co-founder of UVM's Proctor Maple Research Center. 

In this podcast...

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March 7, 2023 24 mins

Tony Clark found his way to Vermont in the late 1960s. He bought an old farm in the middle of nowhere in Goshen and eventually turned it into an inn and cross-country ski center. One of his greatest legacies was helping to establish Vermont's 16,000-acre Moosalamoo National Recreation Area in 2007.

Tony died a year ago in March 2022. Host Erica Houskeeper met with his daughter...

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Johnathan Croft, who leads the mapping section at the Agency of Transportation, loves everything about Vermont roads. Johnathan met with host Erica Houskeeper to talk about the history of the McCullough Turnpike and the App Gap, as well as Vermont's toll roads, turnpikes, shunpikes, and the dirt roads of East Barnard.

Read more: https://happyvermont.com/2023/02/16/podcast-mccullough-turnpike-app-gap/

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Stratton Mountain may not be Vermont’s oldest ski area, but its history is iconic. Tucked away at the resort is a collection of Stratton Mountain signs, photos, and posters that tell the story of this Southern Vermont ski area that opened in 1961.

Over the past 54 years, Kimet Hand has collected everything from a bronzed tennis ball served by Ivan Lendl at Stratton’s Volvo International Tennis Tournament to signs made by ski school...

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If you spend enough time in any Vermont town, you'll likely come across Vermont place names like Maple Corner in Calais, Snowsville in Braintree, and Hortonville in Mount Holly. These places are not official villages but rather unincorporated areas that are deeply rooted in the fabric of these communities.

Jackson Evans, president of the Braintree Historical Society, has lived in Braintree for over a decade.

“Place names are a real...

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The Vermont Old Cemetery Association (VOCA), founded by the late Leon W. Dean in 1958, is a volunteer organization that restores and preserves public and private cemeteries that are neglected, abandoned, or in need of repair.

His granddaughter, Dianne Leary of Charlotte, is vice president of VOCA. She talks about her grandfather's legacy and what volunteering in cemeteries mea...

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Open Mic Night, held twice a month, was started in 2018 by East Dover resident Linda Sherman. A singer, songwriter, and guitar player, Sherman has been passionate about music since childhood. For years, she's wanted to create a performance space in the community.

In this episode of Happy Vermont, host Erica Houskeeper asks Linda Sherman about her lifelong passion for music, why she started Dover Open Mic Night, and the importance o...

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Vermont is gearing up for another foliage season. If anyone can talk about fall foliage in Vermont, it's Mike Snyder, Commissioner of Forests, Parks, and Recreation.

Host Erica Houskeeper recently met with Mike in Mount Mansfield State Forest to discuss this year's fall foliage forecast. In this episode, Mike also shares the Vermont county with the most sugar maple trees, dives into details about big trees, and weighs in on private...

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August 25, 2022 29 mins

It’s tempting to describe Brattleboro as a mini-Burlington, but the town is very much its own place. Brattleboro’s Main Street is a vibrant place that's home to places like the Latchis Hotel and Theatre, which dates back to 1938, and Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters, a mainstay since the 1930s. A few doors down is the Brattleboro Food Co-op, which has been going strong since 1975.


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Along the Canadian border in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom is Lake Wallace, a small international lake in Canaan. There’s an area known as the slash–a treeless zone of land–that runs along the entire US-Canadian border. You can see the slash from the southeastern shore of Lake Wallace, where Jackson’s Lodge is located.

Jackson’s Lodge is a family-owned vacation spot that’s been ...

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If you’ve ever visited the Dene Farm at Hildene in Manchester or driven by a small farm in Vermont, perhaps you've come across some unusual black and white cattle that look a bit different from Holsteins or Jerseys.

These beautiful, speckled creatures are Randall Lineback cattle. Randalls originated decades ago on a farm owned by Samuel Randall and his son Everett in Sunderland. 

When Everett Randall died in the 1980s, the cattle w...

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Basin Harbor along Lake Champlain is a family-owned resort that’s been around since the 1880s. The resort has weathered the Great Depression, wars, pandemics, and recessions, and through it all managed to thrive.

Descendant Sarah Morris grew up at Basin Harbor, where she made lifelong friends and developed a strong work ethic under the guidance of her parents, Pennie Beach and the late Peter Morris. Now a fifth-generation host at t...

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