When picking the ideal vacation destination, personal interest inevitably plays a major role in selecting the ultimate place to unwind. Finding a versatile location to get away from the daily routine begins with selecting that one-of-a-kind destination where all of the activities a traveler loves collide. Whether you’re one for inspiring outdoor adventure, off-the-beaten-path excursions, or simply love making the most of destinations where scenery and history pair seamlessly with options for fun, Hartford, Vermont boasts some of the best options around.
The town of Hartford is home to five unique and distinct villages including Hartford, West Hartford, Wilder, Quechee, and White River Junction. While a vast number of visitors head to Quechee each year in the name of downhill adventures on the slopes or time in the great outdoors year-round, nearby White River Junction sits a mere 10-minute drive away. Here, travelers will find a village that offers up much in the way of lively fun that’s definitely worth adding to the itinerary.
A Brief History of White River Junction
Today, White River Junction thrives on a reputation of being a lively and rather eclectic place to come and explore, but its story is very much grounded in the history of the railroad. White River Junction sits conveniently close to the confluence of the White and Connecticut Rivers, long having made it a destination well suited to the development of business, industry, hospitality, housing, and of course, transportation.
As early as 1847, both the Connecticut River Railroad and the Vermont Central Railway began building lines through the area with the first train traveling through in 1848 from White River to Bethel. By the 1890s, White River Junction hosted 14 tracks, making it one of New England’s most important transportation hubs. As trains passed through, the village began to grow leaving in its wake a wonderful collection of architecture that has been restored and is still in use to this day. From restored hotels and businesses to bakeries and homes, White River Junction that has carried its past seamlessly into its future.
The Artist Scene
While modern White River Junction is home to a wide variety of intriguing restaurants and shops that are worth exploring, it’s truly the Bohemian artist community that’s driven the destination’s impressive revival in recent years. A visit to White River Junction comes with ample options to explore a collection of local galleries, studios, shops, and theaters that speak to heightened attention to creativity in this area. A great example of a destination that has turned history into artistic inspiration is the Tip Top Building. Located in the heart of downtown, this building is in fact a collection of historical buildings that date back to the 1800s. In the late 19th century, the vast majority of this building was utilized by the Smith Baking Company as a bakery through the 20th century. In 2000, the buildings were purchased by a group of local investors with the idea that the complex could be restored and transitioned into a central hub for artists and creative businesses to thrive. Today, the Tip Top building is home to more than 40 resident artists and businesses ranging from filmmakers and painters to photographers and puppet-makers!
In addition to the Tip Top Building, those visitors to White River Junction hoping to make the most of the artistic scene will want to be sure to check out local highlights like The Long River Gallery and Fraglets Art. For those guests to White River Junction with a heart for live theater, both Northern Stage and the Briggs Opera House host incredible, local performances throughout the year to be enjoyed.
Points of Interest
If you’re the type of traveler to White River Junction that looks to connect with the past in unique ways, a stop at the historic village train station is bound to please. While this bustling hub once saw 50 trains a day run through, it currently functions as the village information center and is a great place to learn more about the area’s past and present endeavors. White River Junction is also home to a variety of unique stores and shops that are worth checking out. Vermont Salvage Exchange is a great choice if you’re looking for eclectic pieces to purchase. Located on Gates Street, this store operates out of a warehouse and specializes in quirky architectural elements like bowling lanes, mantels, multi-paneled doors, and even old prison cells! If you’re strolling along Main Street, be sure to swing by historic Hotel Coolidge which has found its place on the National Register of Historic Places. Step back in time when you visit this destination, but also make the most of options to visit the on-site Yarn Store, Zollikofery Gallery, or enjoy a bite to eat at BoHo’s Restaurant.
Vermont is Calling Your Name
When you’re in the area to explore the best of Quechee, White River Junction, and beyond, you’ll want to be sure to have accommodations that keep you close to it all. Contact Carefree Quechee Vacations today to learn more about our many vacation rentals in the area and to begin planning your next adventure!