Happy Vermont

Happy Vermont

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

Episodes

May 10, 2022 33 min

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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Inside Erskine’s Grain & Garden, a fixture in Chester since 1952, customers will find flower seeds, chicken feed, farm tools, and everything in between.

The store, started by the Erskine family, is now owned by Janessa Purney and her husband, Burleigh Sunflower.

The building, located in Chester Depot, is a reason alone to visit. With its creaky floors and sliding wooden doors overlooking the railroad tracks, Erskine’s is one of...

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April’s Maple in the small town of Canaan is located on the Canadian border in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. April Lemay grew up in Canaan, left home for college, and worked in the corporate world before deciding to return to her hometown. She now owns and operates April's Maple, a Vermont maple farm and cafe along Route 114. 

"I was anything but a farmer. I always thought I was destined to live in Boston or New York or some...

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In Vermont's Champlain Islands, where the land is flat and surrounded by water, ice fishing is a big deal this time of year. For Vermonter Bruce Batchelder, ice fishing has been an important part of his life for as long as he can remember.

A former educator and school administrator, Bruce and his wife Joanne have owned Holiday Harbor Lodge in North Hero for the past 16 years.

On a recent mid-February weekend, Bruce was partic...

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Town meeting has been the basic system of governance for Vermont towns since the 1760s. But participation has been on the decline for several decades.

Former Governor Jim Douglas talks about the importance of town meeting, and shares why he is worried that this powerful local tradition might fade away.

www.happyvermont.com

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Duncan Murdoch, a former actor, is a certified nature and forest therapy guide. He started forest bathing workshops in Central Park before returning to his home state of Vermont in 2015.

Forest bathing, which first originated in Japan, is a research-based practice for supporting healing and wellness through immersion in forests and other natural areas.

In this episode, Duncan talks about leaving acting behind, the beauty of natur...

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Russell Farm in Starksboro has been in the Christmas tree business for 40 years. Located off Route 116 in Addison County, the family-owned former dairy farm is where locals and visitors flock to every November and December to cut their own Christmas trees.

A visit to Russell Farm includes a horse-drawn wagon ride, hot chocolate, homemade cookies, and lots of holiday cheer. 

Host Erica Houskeeper talks with Russell Farm owner Dave...

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Host Erica Houskeeper returned to her home state of Vermont in November 2006. In this episode, she shares some of her favorite areas of Vermont and talks about a few places she's come across and fallen in love with in recent years. 

You can find more Vermont stories by Erica on www.happyvermont.com.

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Host Erica Houskeeper attended the annual Stellafane Convention of Amateur Telescope Makers in Springfield to see telescope makers in action. She also picked up some stargazing tips along the way. 

 

 

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Host Erica Houskeeper meets up with Mike Snyder, Vermont's Commissioner of Forests, Parks, and Recreation to talk about how Vermont's fall foliage season is shaping up.  They also compare notes about scenic Vermont state lands to explore this season and why fall foliage in the Green Mountain State is better than the rest. 

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Patrick Fultz and Leslie Browne intended to buy a house in Woodstock, Vermont. Instead, they end up purchasing and renovating a motel outside the center of town. Host Erica Houskeeper interviews the couple about why they decided to move to Vermont and what advice they give to guests who are visiting the area. 

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The small town of Wardsboro is where you’ll find a country store, local library, post office, and town hall. High on a hill just outside of the center of town is the farm where John Gilfeather developed the Gilfeather turnip, which is now the official Vermont State Vegetable. 

In this episode, host Erica Houskeeper talks with Wardsboro residents about John Gilfeather, the tight-lipped farmer behind the turnip and why the this heir...

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Not only is Susan Shashok an environmentally conscious entrepreneur, she’s also civic-minded. Susan served on the Middlebury selectboard for seven years and is the town moderator for Middlebury’s annual Town Meeting—a position vacated a few years ago by former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas.

In this episode, host Erica Houskeeper talks to Susan about Caroline's Dream, the skincare company she founded 20 years ago. Susan shares t...

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If you’ve ever driven down Route 100 through the town of Rochester, you’ve likely noticed the Rochester Café. Constructed in the 1880s, the building has been used over the years as a drug store, a bank, a dentist office, a barber shop, and even a funeral parlor.

For the past 30 years, the building has been home to the Rochester Café. Last year, Rochester native Stephanie Lary returned to her hometown to be the general manager of t...

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June 9, 2021 15 min

Paulette Staats and Paul Shriver of Braintree have explored more than 40 Vermont dirt roads by foot ever since they became empty nesters. The retired couple share some of their favorite dirt roads and what they've learned about each other and themselves on their walks. 

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Winemaker Kendra Knapik spent part of her childhood in Vermont's Champlain Islands, where her grandfather operated a dairy farm and later a golf course. 

Kendra is a veterinary oncologist, and her husband Rob is a full-time professor and chair of the physics department at Norwich University. The vineyard is located in Grand Isle, while their winery – where they produce natural wine – is at their home in Stowe. 

In this ep...

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March 26, 2021 8 min

It’s March in Vermont, and those 60 degree days we’ve been having all week won’t last. They never do. 

Still, the first week of spring in Vermont turned out to be one of the warmest and sunniest in recent memory. Host Erica Houskeeper talks to neighbors, kids, and other Vermonters about what they love most about the spring season. 

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Nancilee Kennedy arrived in southern Vermont in March 1971 and moved to Danby a decade ago. In recent years, she began to worry about her small community.

After the local general store in the heart of town closed its doors, Main Street became eerily quiet.

She decided to do something about it. In November, she opened Danby Village Shops, a local marketplace selling food, toys, home decor, self-care products, clothing, and more. 

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Artist Katharine Montstream is a driving force behind the Red Hot Chilly Dippers, a dedicated group of adventurers that meet at Oakledge Park, Perkins Pier, or the Burlington waterfront for icy winter swims in Lake Champlain.

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Amy Richardson is a UVM alumna, mother of three, and Vermont dairy farmer. For 25 years, she's been part of the Richardson Farm, a dairy farm in Hartland that dates back to the early 1900s. 

In this episode, Amy talks about balancing farm life and family, the heartbreak of losing a parent, and everyday things that bring her joy.

(recorded in August 2020)

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