Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

THE Longest Day of the Year – thank goodness - Vermont Country Store

Friday June 21, 2013
Site 27, Winhall Brook COE Campground
South Londonderry Vermont


We needed every bit of the Summer Solstice daylight to do the Lowell Lake paddle and THEN stop at the Vermont Country Store.


Tom and Diane told us that The Vermont Country store was just up the road a bit.  The store has been sending me their catalog for years after I purchased some elastic dish covers and parts for our butter churn from them in the early 80’s.   The catalog is always fun to look through.  Blasts from the past.  Sometimes the WAY past.  So we think it will be great fun to top off our wonderful solstice celebration paddle with a visit to see all the “practical and hard to find” merchandise they carry.


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Although the parking lot is in the back and there is a back entrance with several things to see there, including the “dairy bar”, we want to come in through the front door.





This store is the original location opened in 1946 by  Vrest and Mildred Orton.  

It is right on the main road through Weston, Vermont and if you aren’t going the 25 mph speed limit, you may well get a ticket and you will probably drive right by the store and have to turn around.



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We park the car, walk down the entry drive and come around the corner to find this wagon looking mighty picturesque in front of the Bryant  House Restaurant which was also co-founded by Mildred Orton.

The restaurant is in the 1827 home next door to the gray addition to the original red Vermont Country Store.  It is still open for business and has a new menu they say.   I think the colors choices on the buildings are excellent -  red to indicate the historic buildings and grey for the expansion section.



What a fun house this store is even for someone who normally HATES to shop.


If you’ve ever read the catalog, which is a hoot to do even if you don’t buy one thing, you’ll know that the Vermont Country store has a little bit of everything.   All those games from your childhood.  Coke in tiny little original bottles.  6 oz.  Compare that to our 2 liters of coke now.  No wonder we have such obesity.


Here you can actually still get Penny candy.  Is there anywhere else in this country that can still be done?


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The entire store looks like an old general store inside as well as out. 


The walls, the wooden floors, many old framed photographs, ads, signs like this one below of the founder.


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As most of you know, I’m not much of a shopper so I am glad to see a couple of chairs for those like me who might just prefer to sit a spell.  Today though I have a great time browsing through the amazing array of goods.  I know a true shopper could spend an entire day in here and still not look at everything.  I am content to just look here and there for an hour or so.

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Lots of old things, many newer things but as they say in their catalog, all practical, useful and in many cases hard to find.

I find a nice display of Blue Willow dinner ware.  My great aunt Carrie had a set as her wedding china in the 1920’s.


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Also in the “house wares” section I find this newer great beagle cup.  $25 for a cup is out of my budget but I can take its picture home for free.


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David’s been having some minor stomach trouble lately and I think perhaps a REAL hot water bottle might be the thing.  He declines this precursor to the heating pad.  Good for boondocking  though I remind him.  Still no sale.


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If I lived in a cold clime, I might be very interested in this smart red felt hat with automatic ear warmers.  Lots and lots of gramma looking nighties behind me.   They do have the warmest Lance nightgowns in the land I believe.  I bought one years ago and wore it for more than 20 years in the cold Virginia winters.   Well worth whatever the price given how long they last.


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One thing we did want to get was some real Vermont Maple Syrup.  They have it set up so that you can taste test all 4 grades.  We opt for a quart of the Grade A Dark Amber.  YUM!!   Pancakes here we come!!


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In this gorgeous old ice chest they have every kind of old soda you can even imagine.  Carrie and I have just read Stephen King’s novel 11/22/63 so I was surprised to see the Moxie soda and wanted to take a picture of it for her and any of you who have read the book.   I buy one and David and I agree that it tastes like a cross between root beer and cough medicine.  Not sure why it was so popular back in the day but I can see why it went out of fashion.   One was enough.


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Speaking of Carrie, another thing that brought her to mind was an entire display of Gummy worms, bears and stringy gummy ropes.  She likes those gummy things although heaven knows why.  She didn’t learn that at the farm.  :-))   Sure wish she’d been with us though.  What a great time we would have had.


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Speaking of great time.  Don’t you think David would look terrific in a pair of these long johns?  Just the thing to take care of the damp chill from all this rain.  Although if truth be told, I’ll take it over the 90+ degree version of summer.


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But all the rain has made me wonder if we should have some rain boots.  How about these?  I do love cowgirl boots and look at those colors.   They are very well made and could definitely weather the storm.


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While putting this post together, I notice that a lot of my pictures are of the huge candy section.  I didn’t post them all but am proud to say I didn’t buy one thing although I did a lot of looking and smelling.


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So what did we buy?  Even we couldn’t leave this store empty handed.
We bought a quart of maple syrup, a bottle of Grandpa’s Pine Tar Shampoo which I love and have a very hard time finding, a bottle of Clearly Confident Anti-fungal cream for David’s toenails which are turning white for some reason (TMI??) and that bottle of Moxie which you must already have some amount of moxie to drink. 


We later find that we could have bought a half gallon of Maple Syrup at the Farmer’s Market for less than we paid for the quart here.  The quart price was about what we pay for it at home.  Word to the wise if in Londonderry, buy your unique things at VTCS but your Maple Syrup at the Londonderry Farmer’s Market.

Still, the Vermont Country Store is a trip down memory lane even further back than many of us remember.  We had a great time!!


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On our way home we see two more great sights.  Not only are the wildflowers in bloom  along Lowell Lake but they are also blooming in the fields and meadows.  We pass by this corner filled with Lupine.  What a beautiful spot.


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And finally, for years at the farm, Summer Solstice meant time to cut, rake and bale the hay in the fields.  It seems odd to see the spring wildflowers and the hay on the same day but it was fun following this hay truck down the last bit of our journey home.  Looks like good hay. Glad he’s doing it and not us.   It is just the right ending for our 2013 Summer Solstice Celebration.



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  1. I remember getting their catalog years ago, but I moved enough times in the meantime that I didn't keep up with changing my address. Isn't there a curtain store in Vermont also? I used to get their catalog also and buy good curtains from them - that was back when I was working and could afford it.

  2. I love country stores like that...the boots are my favorite thing you showed us today. :-)

  3. I always liked looking through their catalog when I had a house. I've ordered bag balm from them, and it's about the only place I've found where you can get Tweed perfume/toilet water in the States. I would have enjoyed that store.

  4. Looks like you and David enjoyed traveling into the past. Happy to hear you finished the book. I would like another like it with a different future. It was a fun read for me.
    Alaska News..Forrest fire fighters have worked hard and saved Skinny Dick's Half Way INN. It is an gas stop/ cafe half way between Fairbanks and Nenana and the source of many jokes.

  5. Their catalog is a lot of fun. I didn't know they had an actual store, too. You showed more restraint than I would have with all that candy.

  6. It is one of my all time favorite catalog, gosh that does really date me doesn't it. YUP I would have been done in at the candy counter.

  7. The water bottle + the union suit ought to put David in good shape. Good shape to be left in Vermont!

  8. Looks like so much fun - I get their catalog sometimes but don't recall ordering anything.
    Glad you stopped at their market! I will be at ours tomorrow :)

  9. The Vermont Country Store is something I had only heard of, don't recall ever seeing their catalog, etc. Your post made me feel like I was there. I liked the "smart red hat" and I think you know about my cowgirl boot obsession--are those cowgirl rainboots? They are something. I also love my maple syrup and have a hard time finding some for a reasonable price other than Costco. I can't bring myself to put any other kind of syrup on good pancakes (on the rare occasion when we have them). I probably would have given in to some of the penny candy too--especially Bit O'Honey.

  10. Those boots were you! Hope you're not going to be sorry they didn't come home with you. :c(

    I was first introduced to Moxie years ago by Marti's dad, I actually developed a taste for it. Didn't know it is still made, I wonder if I could now get it down. It was sort of like a Coke that the syrup didn't quite make it in.

    Thanks to you, now my mouth is watering for maple syrup. I guess I have to go on a quest for some tomorrow.

    I bet following that hay truck made you glad you weren't itching from all the hay anymore. ;c)

  11. Used to love their catalog and even ordered a few things over the years. Those are some wild looking boots!

  12. Love those kind of stores... if I wasn't in that one... sure looks familiar and so does Londonderry ... got to fetch my emails from 2007 when I was there... no blog ... rats

    I could and have spent all day in shops like that ... walk around the little town... went to a maple factory ... omg the pure maple sugar candy... love the syrup. Maple is my favorite flavor period.

    hahaa... red long johns and a red hot water bottle.. I grew up with that sort of stuff.

    what fun!

  13. Oh, I'm so disappointed you didn't get the boots! That, and the hat. You would have defiantly made a fashion statement all of your own. Joe and I both have hot water bottles. And Joe has white toe nails. His diagnosis........a fungus. I think he's used every concoction on the market. Nothing works. We both have a good podiatrist and he agrees, not much you can do abouot it.

  14. well, I must say I do NOT like your red hat more than mine.. think the ear flaps do it for me ;0

  15. That looks like almost as much to shop at as a Thrift store. The boots are great.

  16. Great post and fun day!!! That would be my kind of shopping;o)) Hope you don't regret leaving without the Hat and the Boots...weather looking a bit cool and wet in these parts;o((

  17. Those old country stores are just fun! I think you needed the boots and hat.

  18. I guess I'm old, because I swear I remember going into stores like that. What an interesting way to spend a little time. What's the deal with the pine tar shampoo? I've never heard of it.

    Those were sure some colorful boots! David should have gotten the hot water bottle.

  19. Love that catalog! Used to order from it too when had a big house a life ago :-) George has fungus toes too and used Vick's vapo-rub on each one. That worked for awhile. I keep telling him to wear cotton socks!

  20. I think I used to get their catalog, too. It's one of those things that you don't miss when it stops until someone reminds you. There's a similar store not far from me in Dahlonega--maybe not quite as big. I rarely buy anything, but it's fun to browse through such a variety of goods. I love New England. Will you be getting over to the coast?

  21. Yes yes yes to the rubber cowboy boots and no no no to the red felted hat!@##! And WHAT????? No candy!!!!! I wouldn't have been able to get out of there without some of that. Love the lake and the turtles and the frog. I'd like a copy of the picture of the dragonfly (the blue one). Maybe you can email it to me and I could get a print made of it. I have never seen Venus flytraps in the wild. Very cool. We are back from Farmer's Market with some beautiful tomatoes, a purple and white eggplant and some peaches. I love going there.
    xxxooo Pam

  22. I have to say that I love the hat. My mother wore a similar one in black when she was young and very beautiful. She had very sensitive ears to sound and cold. The ear flaps were perfect for her. And I have been tempted several times to buy the boots for my daughter-in-law. I think she'd like them, but I always talk myself out of the purchase. I could not have passed up some of the candies. It was fun experiencing the store from your visit.

  23. Quite the store. I loved the way the Coca-Cola was kept cold on ice. It reminded me of the old coolers we used to have where the coke was stored in ice cold water. Fun blog!

  24. Albeit, a picture in a catalog is worth a thousand words, but when you live in Vermont , and only a little over an hour away from the Vermont Country Store, who needs pictures?! I try to make the trek at least two or three times a year if only to discover something I didn't see during previous visits.

    Of course whenever we have company come visit us from out of town, the VCS is where we take our guests first. It's a wonderful introduction to New England for sure. And they usually echo the above commments, "We've always loved going through their catalog....."

    One thing is for certain, you cannot walk out of the store empty handed. (Sshhhh. Don't tell anyone, but you can almost make a meal out of the samples of meats and cheeses they offer..... just don't make yourself obvious - aka a piggie. )

    Sherry's description of the store and what there is to see and do is spot on. But, for you old-timers, like me, who still have your hair, be forewarned you won't find Brylcreem on any shelf. I wonder why that is..... and I've even requested it via the in-store suggestion box. Oh, well. instead I just pick up a new bottle of English Leather and move on to the next aisle.

    Plan on spending a few hours meandering and reminiscing. Then, yall come back and see us now, ya heah?

  25. I remember the catalog! This post made me laugh aloud. I LOVE the rain boots :) And, the gummies - I would have had to buy at least a few - I have no idea why I like gummies (especially sour) so much...??!! I wonder who actually buys some of that stuff - like the red PJ suit and the grandma jammies and hat? I'd buy the Goodnight Moon Game - I loved that book :)

  26. I must be in the minority as I don't remember ever seeing the catalog or hearing of the store. An oversight that I can fix when we get up into the NE someday.


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