Embracing the Maple Magic: 5 Southern Vermont Sugar Houses

Each spring, just as winter begins to loosen its grip and the wooded paths start to dry, we kick-off sugaring season here in Vermont. During this time, sugar makers diligently collect sap and boil it down until it thickens into maple syrup — the sweet, sugary goodness we all know and love.

It’s an exciting time for Vermonters, and an age-old process that speaks to the core of Green Mountain culture. Below, discover six Southern Vermont sugar houses producing some of the finest maple syrup in the country.

Boiling sap during sugaring season at a Southern Vermont Sugar house.
Photo: Doug Kerr / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

1. Robb Family Farm (Brattleboro, VT)

Situated on the outskirts of Brattleboro, Robb Family Farm has been in the sugaring business since 1920. This sixth-generation farm boils sap over a traditional wood-fired arch, selling three delicious grades of maple syrup in classic glass jugs. They also craft maple candy and ice cream in an on-site kitchen in an old milking barn.

2. Paradise Farm Sugarhouse (West Brattleboro, VT)

Maple cream, candies, and homemade pies are just a few of the sweet treats awaiting you at Paradise Farm Sugarhouse. The farm (including its 200-year old farmhouse) sits on 55 scenic acres along the banks of Whetstone Brook. During your visit, get a glimpse of the sap-boiling action and pick up some goodies at the farm’s country gift store.

3. Collins Tree Farm and Sugarhouse (Westminster West, VT)

Maple sugaring and snow in Southern Vermont.
Photo: Eliza Youngson.

Up in the rolling country landscapes of Westminster West, you’ll find the Collins Tree Farm and Sugarhouse set back from the dirt road, and nestled comfortably at the edge of a large open field.

The Collins family has an interesting backstory — the family purchased the land in 1936, planning to open a ski school there; a snow-sparse winter caused them to change course, however. Martin Collins developed an affinity for sugaring at the early age of five, and now taps over 4,500 maple trees each year at this whopping 200-acre farm.

While the Collins Tree Farm and Sugarhouse does not offer tours, the their pure Vermont maple syrup is available for purchase online.

4. Dwight Miller Orchards (Dummerston, VT)

As one of Vermont’s oldest sugaring operations, Dwight Miller Orchards has been producing pure maple syrup for eight generations (and counting). The Miller family also grows and harvests organic apples, among other orchard fruits, and makes fresh-pressed cider. May through October, the Miller family brings their goodies to the Brattleboro Farmer’s Market, so you can taste the magic without leaving town.

5. Bunker Farm Sugar House (Dummerston, VT)

Sap runs sweet in Dummerston, where The Bunker Farm runs several springtime tours and sugaring demonstrations at their sugarhouse. In addition to making wood-fired maple syrup, The Bunker Farm maintains a plant nursery and enough cows, pigs, and chickens to make Old MacDonald jealous.

Sugaring from a maple tree at a Southern Vermont sugar house.

The sugaring hype culminates in March with the annual Maple Open House Weekend (although depending on the weather, the season can extend into mid-spring), when many farms and sugar houses throughout Vermont give the public an inside look into the proud process of sugaring.

For a dive into an authentic Vermont tradition (plus a little catering to your sweet tooth), don’t miss out on these Southern Vermont sugar houses and a trip to the Latchis — our own personal slice of Vermont history as storied as the long tradition of sugaring.

A Latchis Love Story: The Dixon’s Latchis Theatre Wedding

It was love at first screening. From their first date to their wedding vows, the Latchis has become a key player in Alison and Mike Dixon’s love story. Last October, they tied the knot underneath a gallery of painted murals, gold-washed friezes, and ethereal signs of the zodiac. The Latchis is a hotel, a theater, an arts venue, and for folks like Mr. and Mrs. Dixon, a sentimental place that helped to write the perfect love story.

Alison and Mike Dixon during their wedding at the Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Photo: Meghan Fagley Photography.

FIRST DATE IN AN ART DECO THEATER

Mike was born and raised in Brattleboro, while Alison moved to town in 2004 from White River Junction. They both attended Brattleboro Union High School, but didn’t meet until years later when they had their first date at the Latchis Theatre in 2011.

“Alright, so we saw a really terrible movie,” Alison laughed. “But we had our first date in one of the small theaters, and we just love the Latchis.”

RETURNING TO THE LATCHIS TO SAY “I DO”

Alison and Mike Dixon under the Latchis Theatre marquee.
Photo: Meghan Fagley Photography.

After the couple got engaged and the time came to choose a wedding venue, the Latchis wasn’t the first to come to mind. The two were focused on finding a place that would hold their long guest list of about 150 friends and family members.

“It was tricky to find a place around here that would hold that amount of people,” Alison says. “A friend of ours that works at the Latchis recommended it to us, and it turned out to be perfect because that’s where we started.”

Alison and Mike’s wedding was everything they’d dreamed it would be. While their big day was met with gray clouds and spotty showers, it only made their wedding experience at the theatre all the more warm and cozy, with a team of Latchis employees ready to see the day to perfection.

“They were great to work with,” Mike said. “And they made sure all our needs were met.”

The couple said their vows in the Main Theatre, keeping the decor simple and clean: vibrant ribbons and fall mums to complement the theatre’s art deco interior.

A NEW CHAPTER IN A LATCHIS LOVE STORY

At the end of their perfect day, the newlyweds were brimming with gratitude for their one-of-a-kind Latchis wedding. With the Latchis as host for their big day, their love story came full-circle in Brattleboro’s historic art deco theater, with more chapters yet to be written.

“It was definitely a no-brainer to have our wedding [at the Latchis],” Alison says. “It has a historical value to Brattleboro, and means a lot to us, too.”

5 Reasons to Travel to Brattleboro by Train

From the loud whistle that announces its arrival to those rolling countryside landscapes through its windows, the train is a nostalgic and enjoyable travel option for many. With a station stop just steps away from downtown, there’s more than a few reasons to skip the wheels in favor of hopping aboard a train on your next trip to Brattleboro.

The Amtrak Vermonter is the main train to Vermont, with a station stop in Brattleboro.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

1. HANDS-FREE TRAVEL THROUGH SOME SCENIC SPOTS.

When you’re behind the wheel, your eyesight mostly belongs to the road… at least, we hope so. Not the case on the train. Depending on where you’re coming in from, you’ll get to see the cascades of Bellows Falls, or the mountains just north of Greenfield, Mass., all while sipping on a hot cappuccino from the café car.

2. THERE’S A VIEW WAITING FOR YOU.

View of the Connecticut River and NH mountains from the Union Station in Brattleboro, VT.

Many station stops are located in desolate patches or busy junctions — not the case in Brattleboro. When you step outside the train, expect to be welcomed by a spectacular view of Mount Wantastiquet and the Connecticut River. Start your vacation off right by trading in the taxi ride for an unbeatable view.

3. YOU’LL LAND RIGHT IN THE HEART OF DOWNTOWN.

Brattleboro’s Union Station is located at 10 Vernon Road, a whoppin’ 400 feet from the Latchis Hotel. By electing to take the train, your adventure in Brattleboro starts the minute you step out onto the platform. Not to mention you probably won’t have to worry about missing your train on the way back!

4. GETTING AROUND IS NO PROBLEM.

Don’t worry about journeying through town without your beloved wheels. Most of downtown Brattleboro’s sights and attractions are well within walking distance of the Latchis, including restaurants, local shops, and art galleries like the Vermont Center for Photography. There are even plenty of hikes nearby, with trails just on the other side of the Connecticut River and just up the road.

If you’re looking to venture a little further afield, catch The Current bus, which has three in-town bus lines and routes that access surrounding towns. Sites set west towards Mount Snow? You can hop aboard the DVTA MOOver for service right to the base of the mountain.

5. EXPECT A WHOLE NEW EXPERIENCE ON FOOT.

Brattleboro is a town unlike any other, and ditching the car lets you take in 100% of its unique style and quirkiness. By spending more time on foot, you’ll get to take in more of its remarkable downtown buildings, locally-sourced restaurants, and artisan shops. After all, Brattleboro isn’t a town where you just want to take the express lane from one destination to the next. It’s a place to relax, explore, and enjoy the experience in its entirety.

The train tracks outside the Union Station in Brattleboro, VT.

Clearly, there’s no shortage of reasons for us to advocate train travel. It doesn’t hurt to save a little gas by relying on public transportation, but there’s also a little nostalgia for us when it comes to Amtrak’s Vermonter. Here at the Latchis, it makes our day to hear that train roll by each and every afternoon, just as it has for many years.

Romantic Places in Vermont: 9 Spots to Feel the Love Near Brattleboro

From horse-drawn sleigh rides to vibrant performances of music and theatre, southern Vermont is truly the heartthrob of romantic getaways. While in town, you’ll certainly fall in love with the best of Brattleboro as you and your sweetie embark on an unforgettable Vermont journey for two.

A horse-drawn sleigh ride for two is one of the most popular activities in southern Vermont for a romantic getaway.
Photo: Creative Commons – CC0.

1. ADAMS FAMILY FARM

At the Adams Family Farm in Wilmington, embark on a journey through the woods in a horse-drawn sleigh for two, around the perimeter of the farm on the ridge of the mountain. Don’t worry, you and your honey will stay nice and snug under the thick wool blanket, courtesy of the farm.

2. MOUNT SNOW

The number of attractions featured at one of southern Vermont’s most popular ski areas are many, you’ll find there are countless activities for those who have caught the love bug: dog sledding tours, scenic trails for snowshoeing, and sleigh rides, to name a few.

3. WHETSTONE STATION BREWERY & RESTAURANT

One of the area’s most popular restaurants, no romantic night out can beat a meal by the warmth of the fireplace at Whetstone, just steps away from the Latchis. Planning a summer visit? The waterfront location offers outdoor dining with a beautiful backdrop of the Connecticut River and New Hampshire mountains.

4. DUO RESTAURANT

Duo is one of the most romantic places in Vermont, with an extensive list of cocktails and craft beer.
Another spot to enjoy an incredible meal for two,
Duo Restaurant’s high-end menu offers not only the best in meat and seafood, but an extensive list of wine and cocktail options.

5. HONORA WINERY & VINEYARD

Looking to enjoy a some fine wine tasting with your special one? Honora Winery & Vineyard offers public tastings at their quaint tasting room in Jacksonville, featuring fine wines, craft beer, and a wide variety of custom-cut Vermont Artisan cheeses.

6. VERMONT JAZZ CENTER

Brattleboro is home to the Vermont Jazz Center, an organization dedicated to the music of love. Stop by for a classy performance event, or sit in on one of the ensemble’s many workshops or jam sessions.

7. LIVING MEMORIAL PARK & CREAMERY COVERED BRIDGE

The Living Memorial Park over in West Brattleboro features an indoor rink for ice skating, a couples’ classic. When you’re done skating (or falling, skill-dependent), you can take a short walk over to the Creamery Covered Bridge, the quintessence of Vermont beauty.

8. MAGIC WINGS BUTTERFLY CONSERVATORY

Down in South Deerfield, MA, Magic Wings is a popular destination for couples (and well worth the short drive from Brattleboro). Explore an 8,000-sq. ft glass conservatory of colorful butterflies and a serene waterfall ambiance. Outside the conservatory, warm up from winter’s cold with a cup of coffee and the crackling fieldstone fireplace.

9. MADAME SHERRI’S FOREST

Just across the Connecticut River in Chesterfield, NH, Madame Sherri’s Forest is the jumping-off point for several trails that loop around brilliant views of the East Hill, Indian Pond, and the spooky remnants of Madame Sherri’s Castle that’ll definitely make you want to hold your darling a little closer than usual.

With trails of all difficulties and a variety of sights to see along various loops, Madame Sherri's Forest trailhead is a popular hiking destination for couples near Brattleboro.
Madame Sherri’s Forest. Photo: Shannon McGee/CC BY-SA 2.0.

As you look around for romantic places in Vermont, consider the advantages of Brattleboro’s simple charm and scenic sights, as well as its long list of couples-oriented restaurants and attractions. At the Latchis Hotel, our hearts are set on the magic of Brattleboro, and first-time visitors have a way of falling in love with it too.

Quirky Brattleboro Defined: 6 Things That Make Brattleboro Unique

If there’s one town that embodies the phrase “Keep Vermont Weird,” it’s Brattleboro. Where does that distinct personality come from? From the vibrant nature of our arts scene to an annual parade of heifers (a cow who has yet to bear a calf, in case you’re not down with the dairy lingo), we throw around the term “quirky” with pride and affection here in Brattleboro.

The downtown Brattleboro Food Co-op's extensive selection is part of a town-wide commitment to eating locally-sourced fare.

1. A HIPPIE HISTORY LEFT ITS MARK (LIKE, EVERYWHERE).

The back-to-the-land movement caused Vermont’s population to increase by nearly 15% in the 1970’s, and the counterculture influence over the course of that decade endured, and can be seen in Brattleboro today. From a deep-rooted commitment to the environment and a fantastic food co-op, to an artistic bent that includes a monthly Gallery Walk through local shops and businesses, it’s easy to see how Brattleboro’s hippie history has helped shape its personality.

2. WE HAVE A THRIVING ARTS COMMUNITY.

Brattleboro runs a number of arts-related events and programs throughout the year, including Jazz Fridays at The Lounge and the annual Brattleboro Literary Festival. Supporting the arts scene are more galleries and studio spaces than your average American small town. A few of them include the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, River Gallery School, and the Vermont Center for Photography, whose exhibits display work from both local and world-renowned photographers.

Art and performance festivals are abundant in Brattleboro, adding to its quirky character.
Photo: Matthew Ragan/CC BY-SA 2.0.

There’s also no shortage of incredible spectacles to enjoy in the Brattleboro area. Between the Vermont Jazz Center, the Vermont Theatre Company, and high-flying performances at the New England Center for Circus Arts (NECCA), you’ll always have a place to be entertained.

3. WE HAVE AN ANNUAL PARADE OF COWS.

The Strolling of the Heifers parade.
Photo: Jeffrey M. Lewis/CC BY-ND 2.0.

Holy cow! Each June, hundreds flock to downtown Brattleboro for the Strolling of the Heifers Parade, the main event of the annual Stroll Weekend. Heifers of various breeds and sizes, adorned in hats and colorful flowers, march up Main Street and Putney Road to the Brattleboro Common, while folks chow down on delicious fare from local farmers and moooove to some jammin’ live music.

4. THROWBACK SHOPPING.

Did someone say vintage? Downtown Brattleboro is lined with shops that have survived the test of time, and have proved themselves staples of Brattleboro’s offbeat identity. Bragging artisan shops, used bookstores like Brattleboro Books, and a vast collection of old-fashioned housewares and furniture at Experienced Goods, Brattleboro is truly a destination for anyone seeking a throwback shopping experience.

5. A LOCALVORE DINING SCENE.

Unapologetic foodie? Downtown Brattleboro is loaded with restaurants, bakeries, and cafes that support a strong sense of community and commitment to small-town living. Catch river views and artisan treats at Amy’s Bakery Arts Cafe, or grab a bite at the aptly-named and ever-delicious Brattleburger. Farm-to-table meals at Duo Restaurant and the craft beer bar at Whetstone Station are also very popular.

Whetstone Station in downtown Brattleboro is a popular location for craft beer and locally-based fare.

With a personality that manifests the “Keep Vermont Weird” philosophy, there’s no place quite like Brattleboro. At the Latchis, we embrace our town’s quirky character. (After all, what’s more unconventional than an 18th-century art deco hotel?) Being steps away from everything that makes Brattleboro special, we’re more than just a great place to stay in an amazing town — we get to be part of the magic.

Growing Up at The Latchis: An Interview with Anne Latchis

According to her portrait in Christopher Irion’s PhotoBooth installation, she’s the “Latchis genetic memory keeper.” She is currently a member of the Latchis Arts Board, and General Manager of Strolling of the Heifers. She is a film lover. An art deco fan. She is Anne Latchis, granddaughter of Spero Latchis, one of the original brothers who built the hotel.

Anne Latchis, on the photo wall in the Latchis Theatre as part of Christopher Irion's PhotoBooth Project.
From photographer Christopher Irion’s Latchis PhotoBooth installation, now on display in the Latchis Theatre lobby.

Growing Up in The Latchis

Anne has a truly unique, lifelong connection to the Latchis, having grown up in and around the hotel and theatre. It’s where some memorable childhood birthday parties were held, proud to share this special place with her friends — one of her fondest memories is of a terrific Latchis sleepover of 10 girls; she remembers digging into a hearty banquet dinner in the Latchis Ballroom (now known as Theatre 2) before a movie and a late night of giggles camped out in adjoining hotel rooms.

An old photo of the Latchis Theatre.

For Anne, her story is reminiscent of her favorite book, Eloise, about a six-year-old girl who lives on the top floor of the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Anne likes to call herself “Brattleboro’s Eloise.”

“I could go anywhere in the hotel,” she recalls. “It wasn’t like ‘Bring Your Child to Work Day’ at the office or something, where you just sit in a chair.”

The Family Business

Being a Latchis meant working just about every job in the building at one point or another. From selling sweet treats at the candy counter to greeting guests at the hotel desk, and even running towels upstairs if needed, Anne had a hand just about everywhere.

She recalls travelling back to Brattleboro in 1985 after living in San Francisco: the folks at the Latchis hardly offered a greeting before telling her she was back on the frontlines of the hotel.

“I had just walked through the doors after driving cross-country,” she said. “They told me, ‘oh, by the way — you’re on the desk at eight tomorrow.’”

A Timeless Experience

Latchis Theatre Artwork
Photo: Wayne Fawbush.

Most of Anne’s childhood memories of the building involve exploring the premises — wide-open spaces, impressive ceilings, and countless nooks and crannies create the perfect setting for a kid to run wild. Mirroring her experience, Anne observes the way the Latchis invokes a sense of exploratory wonder in all of its guests, young and old.

When Anne is off traveling and she mentions that she’s from Southern Vermont, the majority of the time, someone will mention the Latchis Hotel or Theatre — if not by name, then by description. The Latchis is not easily forgotten.

“[The Latchis] was a place I was always proud of as a kid,” she says. “It’s just a part of my identity.”

Hit the Slopes: 5 Spots for Skiing Near Brattleboro

One of Vermont’s biggest claims to fame, after our affinity for maple syrup, is hosting some of the greatest skiing in the Northeast. Make no mistake, skiing and snowboarding are proud pastimes for native Vermonters and out-of-state visitors alike — and our favorite spots for skiing near Brattleboro, VT, allow for some great times out on the mountain.

Mount Snow in Dover is a ski resort near Brattleboro, Vermont.
Mount Snow. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

All-around Ski Lovers: Mount Snow

With 87 trails, an all-park mountain face comprising nine ski & ride parks, and out-of-this-world bubble chairs, it’s no surprise that Mount Snow attracts mountain enthusiasts from all over the country. It’s about a 45 minute drive from The Latchis, and if you aren’t bringing your car, you can hop on a MOOver shuttle from downtown.

After conquering Mount Snow by ski or board, you can do a little tubing, snowshoeing, or head out for a scenic snowmobile tour. To top it off, wind down with a little hot chocolate at the lodge, enjoy a number of dining options, or relax at the resort’s natural wellness spa.

Casual Athletes & Beginners: Living Memorial Park Snow Sports Ski Area

Just a few miles away in West Brattleboro, the Living Memorial Park Snow Sports Ski Area grew up with The Latchis, being a spot for local skiing since 1938. This non-profit, volunteer-run ski area offers the perfect spot for casual athletes or newcomers to the mountain, with a price tag of only $5 for an all-day pass and free lessons at a set time each week. There’s also an ice rink at the park, with a concession area to enjoy some snacks and drinks after hitting the slopes.

Extra-Adventurous Types: Stratton Mountain

At an elevation of 3,875 feet, Stratton Mountain in Londonderry is southern Vermont’s highest peak. Less than an hour from Brattleboro, Stratton is short trip worth taking, especially for those who want to enjoy adrenaline-pumping activities in addition to top-notch snowboarding and skiing (even cross-country). You can slide around at the Coca Cola Tube Park, race on a fat bike at the Nordic Center, enjoy a dog sled tour with the Green Mountain Mushers, and much more.

Stratton Mountain is a ski resort near Brattleboro, Vermont.
Stratton Mountain. Photo: Art01852 / CC BY 2.0

Stratton also prides itself in its grooming, making it a great place to go for smooth cruising — with a summit gondola and a mid-mountain lodge for warm escapes on chilly days (with a view)!

Night Skiers & Advanced Athletes: Berkshire East Mountain Resort

The 45 trails that comprise the Berkshire East Mountain Resort, less than an hour from Brattleboro in western Massachusetts, are well worth the short drive — especially when you factor in the exciting snow tubing park and the coaching programs for advanced skiers. Berkshire East is also the only ski area near Brattleboro that offers night skiing.

With a solar facility and a 900 kilowatt wind turbine, Berkshire East is also noteworthy for being the first ski area in the world to generate 100% of its power from onsite renewable energy.

Families: Bromley Mountain Ski Resort (Peru, VT)

Bromley Mountain is a big hit with families, thanks to its extensive program for ski instruction and variety of terrain. With many mid-week ski deals, you can usually find a spot to get away from the crowds and enjoy your family vacation. Bromley have both private and group lessons, kids programs, and even lessons for specific techniques like telemark skiing. Off the mountain, Bromley hosts a number of events throughout the season that includes everything from live music to fireworks displays.

Bromley gets the nickname “The Sun Mountain” because it faces south, catching winter rays all day — perfect for keeping a little more warm on those colder days.

Skiing is a classic Vermont pastime — there are many ski resorts near Brattleboro, Vermont.
Photo: Robbie Shade / CC BY 2.0

It’s no secret that our neck of the woods has a lot to brag about when it comes to mountains — and whether you’re an expert on the trail or you’re looking to learn, the options for skiing near Brattleboro, VT, have something for everyone. Let the Latchis Hotel be more than just your favorite Brattleboro hotel — but your go-to guide for the best nearby slopes.

Greek Art & The Stories it Tells: 4 Art Styles at The Latchis

The art displays in The Latchis tell a story of family, tradition, and history. From the terrazzo floors beneath your feet to the high-hanging murals in the main theatre, The Latchis boasts eye-catching displays that depict a storied legacy.

1. Murals

Greek murals and art in the Latchis Theatre.
Photo: Wayne Fawbush.

By nature, murals tell stories. Around the time The Latchis was being built, artists across the country were producing murals depicting American life, encouraged by Roosevelt’s New Deal program for artists. The Latchis embraced the trend.

The main hall of The Latchis Theatre features murals painted by both designers from New York City, and a Hungarian immigrant by the name of Louis Jambor. In his design, Jambor sought to evoke the classical imagery of Athens and the Greek culture, while simultaneously offering insight into the heritage of the Latchis family.

2. Terrazzo Floors

Terrazzo floors in the Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Photo: Wayne Fawbush.

When you walk through the front doors of the Latchis Theatre, you can’t miss the two stunning terrazzo panels at your feet. Terrazzo floors are made by creating outlines on concrete with metal strips, then filling them in with colored stone slurries and allowing them to set before polishing. The end result yields beautiful, lyrical images upon the ground.

The terrazzo floors of the theatre’s outer lobby include portrayals of Diana, Bellerophon and Pegasus, and Hercules and the Lion. The center lobby features an eighteen-foot circle depicting the twelve zodiacal figures.

3. Caproni Sculptures

Caproni Sculpture and Greek art in the Latchis Theatre.

Within the Latchis Theatre are four sculptures that represent Greek legends — on either side of the main stage, you’ll find Clio, Muse of History, Thalia, Muse of Comedy and Poetry, and Athena, Goddess of Wisdom, Courage, Inspiration, and the Arts. Hebe, Goddess of Youth, presides over the main foyer.

The four sculptures were crafted in the Caproni Brothers Studio in Boston while the theatre was undergoing construction in 1937. Peter Latchis, Louis Jambor, and the artisans from Premier Scenery Studios chose figures that would represent the nature of the Latchis’ artistic pursuits, from history to poetry.

4. Friezes

The interiors of the main theatre and foyers are adorned with a number of plaster friezes. Some are painted in varying colors, others washed with a royal golden hue. These friezes showcase important elements of Greek and Roman mythology, such as Cupid’s awakening of Psyche and Aurora flying across the sky to announce the coming of the sun.

Friezes in the Latchis Theatre.
Photo: Wayne Fawbush.

The artwork in the Latchis Theatre is the foundation of its storyteller identity. The Latchis’ establishing vision was to have an inspiring, historical atmosphere full of classic mythological elements. When staying at The Latchis, don’t forget to look around and take in your surroundings — the pace is a relic and a true time capsule of art and culture.

Meet The Latchis Crew: The PhotoBooth Project

If you’ve stepped foot in The Latchis Theatre lately, you’ve probably noticed the enormous array of faces that have consumed the wall opposite the concession stand. This colossal collage is more than just something to stare at while you wait in line for popcorn — it’s an homage to the dedicated leaders of The Latchis, and part of a wider mission in Brattleboro. They’re not just Latchis leaders; they’re pieces of the local community.

The PhotoBooth Project at The Latchis Hotel

The wall consists of 39 black-and-white portraits, each individual being connected to The Latchis in some way. They’re board members, dedicated employees, and even a Latchis descendant — anyone who plays a part in helping The Latchis grow and thrive.

Each photograph is captioned with the name, role, and a special quote or fact about the community member. If you passed them on the street, would you know that one individual is an experienced juggler and another is a recreational gamer? The members also include parents, culinary lovers, and even an independent filmmaker.

Bringing The Latchis to Life

Jon Potter and Chris Irion in front of the Latchis PhotoBooth Project

It’s easy to understand what the project is, but why? Jon Potter, Executive Director of Latchis Arts, hopes for the wall to accomplish three goals:

1. Put a human face to The Latchis, allowing the opportunity to see who is helping to keep The Latchis alive and well.

2. Show the public that The Latchis is being maintained by their friends, neighbors, and community members — some of them can be surprisingly-familiar faces!

3. Allow Latchis staff and board members to become more familiar with each other through a linked display of portraits.

Enhancing the Community Through the Arts

To tackle this project, we reached out to Christopher Irion, a professional portrait photographer who has worked with around 26 communities nationwide. His work ranges from businesses to schools, including University of California Berkeley and HBO Creative in New York.

The Latchis community was the perfect fit for the project’s next installment. Irion built his national PhotoBooth Project to “enhance community through photography,” overlapping with the main mission of Latchis Arts, which is to enhance the community through the arts.

The PhotoBooth Project at The Latchis Theatre.

However, the scope of the project stems beyond The Latchis community itself. We aim to piece together parts of the community that may be seen as distanced or disparate, and show how each and every person in the town contributes to the town’s identity. The faces on the wall may operate The Latchis, but more than that, they’re our friends and neighbors. They’re Brattleboro community members like everyone else, whose quirkiness and individualism contribute to what we know Brattleboro to be — a town with a big heart and character like none other.

One thing’s for sure: the photo wall is a real showstopper. Be sure to take a swing by the theatre to see some familiar or not-as-familiar faces — and if you see them “off the wall” as you explore Brattleboro, don’t be afraid to say hi!

Haunted Places in Vermont: 3 Brattleboro Area Spooky Spots

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? This time of year is ripe for scary specters and terrifying tales. Whether you’re looking for a spooky area to explore or you’re just in need of a hair-raising tale to tell, there are more than a few haunted places in Vermont whose eerie histories will send a chill up your spine.

1. The Retreat Tower (Brattleboro, VT)

One of the most haunted places in Vermont: The Brattleboro Retreat Tower.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Brattleboro Retreat is a 1,000-acre mental health facility, built way back in 1834. Most of its buildings are now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but there’s one stone structure that stands out in particular: the Retreat Tower.

The tower was constructed in 1887 by the patients themselves; their doctors believed that physical labor could be a healing activity. The aim was to create a spot for patients to have a scenic lookout, but rumor has it that many patients perished as a result of the tower’s construction.

While it has since been sealed off and remains so today, the tower is just a short hike away along the Retreat Trail. Several reports from onlookers detail sightings of ghostly figures atop the tower — this urban legend makes the tower one of the most haunted places in Vermont.

2. Hogback Mountain Lost Ski Area (Wilmington, VT)

There’s always something creepy about abandoned places, and the lost ski area on Mount Olga in Wilmington is no exception. A once-bustling ski resort, Hogback Mountain was sold in the fall of 1978 with plans to build an enormous snowmaking system. The project was never completed, however, and the resort itself was shut down in the mid 1980’s after a series of financial issues.

The resort is still visible up on the Mount Olga hiking trail, where rusty equipment and dilapidated lodges are the delight of many an adventurous traveller or supernatural aficionado. If you listen very, very carefully, you might be able to hear the echo of the busy crowds that once swarmed the ski lifts and flooded the lodges.

Madame Sherri's Castle in New Hampshire is almost in Vermont.
Photo: Manuel Portela/CC BY-ND 2.0

3. Madame Sherri’s Castle (Chesterfield, NH)

Well… it’s almost Vermont! Just across the New Hampshire border lies sweeping, arched staircases of stone and crumbling pillars, resembling what was once Madame Sherri’s Castle: an extravagant mansion that was the site of countless festivities in the mid-1900’s. Owned by the affluent costume designer Madame Sherri, the castle was left to rot after her fortunes ran dry, eventually burning down in a fire on October 18, 1962.

The desolate remains of the once-lavish palace now live on as a prime location for photographers, nature lovers, and plenty of ghost fanatics — some claim to have spotted Madame Sherri herself atop the grand staircase, dubbed the “stairway to heaven.” Others even say they’ve heard the faint, yet joyous, sound of laughter and music, reminiscent of the sumptuous celebrations she once held.

As the temperatures grow colder and the nights get longer, spooky stories become more and more appealing. Add these frightening tales to your collection, and if you’re feeling brave enough, try exploring these haunted places in Vermont for yourself! The Latchis Hotel will proudly serve as home base for your ghost-busting adventures.