Take a Dip: A Guide to Southern VT Swimming Holes

You may think Vermont summers are mild, but don’t be fooled — once June rolls around, it can get pretty hot here in the Green Mountains. Luckily, Brattleboro has the fortune of not one, but two rivers, offering many a scenic spot for you to beat the heat. Grab your bathing suit, and get ready to make a splash at one of these southern VT swimming holes.

The Cornfield is a popular southern VT swimming hole.
Photo: Rebecca Siegel / Flickr CC BY 2.0.

1. THE CORNFIELD (BRATTLEBORO, VT)

Scenic mountain views, lush trees, and privacy from residential homes make The Cornfield one of Brattleboro’s most popular swimming holes. This spot on the West River is located just five minutes north of the Latchis, behind several professional buildings off Route 30.

2. UPPER WEST RIVER (WEST DUMMERSTON, VT)

If you travel just a bit further north on the West River, you’ll encounter some lesser-known southern VT swimming holes. Stroll down the gravel beach and get a enjoy a view of the ever-charming Town Lattice covered bridge. A bit further up the river, you’ll encounter a giant rock and another deep swimming hole.

3. HARRIMAN RESERVOIR / THE LEDGES (WILMINGTON, VT)

If you happen to be out and about in the wild west (as in, paying a visit to Mount Snow or the Molly Stark Trail), make a stop at the Harriman Reservoir. The reservoir is the largest body of water located entirely with the state of Vermont, stretching about 10 miles from Wilmington to Whitingham. The most popular swimming area here is The Ledges, which offers sandy beaches and leap-able cliffs alike.

4. STICKNEY BROOK (DUMMERSTON, VT)

Southern VT swimming holes are perfect for summer exploring.
Photo: Brian Flanagan / Flickr CC BY 2.0.

In the mood to explore? Take a hike alongside the Stickney Brook in Dummerston and hunt for deep pools in the brook where you can dip your feet. Large, flat islands in the stream make ideal spots to enjoy a picnic while taking in Vermont’s natural beauty.

5. INDIAN LOVE CALL (NEWFANE, VT)

With sandy beaches on one side and a jumping rock on the other, it’s easy to fall in love with the Indian Love Call swimming hole, located on the Rock River just off Route 30. Serene beauty and spacious sands make this swimming hole well worth the short drive.

6. TIMBER CRIB DAM (GUILFORD, VT)

About 20 minutes southwest of downtown Brattleboro, you’ll find the Timber Creek Dam, a National Historic Site with two designated swimming areas. Here, you’ll be able to swim right under one of the most Vermont-y sights of all: the Green River Covered Bridge.

The Green River Covered Bridge at the Timber Crib Dam in southern VT.
The Green River Covered Bridge at the Timber Crib Dam. Photo: Brent Soderberg / Flickr CC BY 2.0.

Taking a dip in Vermont’s rivers, brooks, and reservoirs is about as refreshing as that fresh mountain air. We’ve only skimmed the surface of southern Vermont swimming holes, so take some time to explore on your own! Drive along any river or stream and look for cars parked on the side of the road — it’s a surefire way to know you’ve come across a stellar swimming area.

Keep close to Brattleboro area swimming holes by making a reservation here at the Latchis Hotel — we’ll be your resident guides to the most splash-tacular spots in southern Vermont.

Mud, Maple, and More: 6 Things We Love About Spring in Vermont

Each spring in Brattleboro, we count our blessings in the midst of vibrant flowers and newly-dried wooded paths. Winter’s thaw paves the way for outdoor adventures, spirited spring festivals, and sightseeing galore to name a few. Strap on your mud boots for spring in Vermont, the quiet season that has our hearts.

Spring flowers in Brattleboro, Vermont.
Photo: Matthew Ragan / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

1. FOOT TRAFFIC RETURNS TO SCENIC TRAILS

Warm weather means fresh treks through those rugged, picturesque Green Mountains. There’s nothing like taking in that crisp mountain air, feeling the squish of mud under your boots, and seeing the trails burst into life with mini-streams produced by melting snow. From an invigorating jaunt on the West River Trail to a summit-bound journey on Mount Wantastiquet, southern Vermont’s trials are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream.

2. MAPLE IS IN THE AIR

In the early days of a Vermont spring, you can hardly go anywhere without passing a maple sugaring farm (or six). Many of these sweet spots will let you see the sugaring process from sap to syrup. If you don’t get the chance, the sweet fruits of their labor are always availble for purchase in downtown Brattleboro.

3. FROM BREW TO COWS, SPRING FESTIVALS START SWINGING

Brattleboro festivals are always a source of excited chatter, as soon as March rolls around, we begin to buzz about two in particular. The first one is the Brattleboro Brewers Festival in May, a celebration of Vermont’s local breweries and all things craft beer. Like a one-two punch, early June sees the annual Strolling of the Heifers Parade & Stroll Weekend; a jamboree that involves a downtown cow parade, jamming to some moo-sic, guided farm tours, and more.

4. THE FARMER’S MARKET IS BACK OUTSIDE

The outdoor Brattleboro Farmer's Market is a sure sign of spring in Vermont.
Photo: Matthew Ragan / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

In early May, after months of cramming cabbage and carrots into the indoor River Garden, the Brattleboro Farmer’s Market finally relocates to its outdoor turf on Route 9 near the covered bridge. Sample some artisanal cheese, some ultra Vermont-y maple candies, and newly-picked spring greens and veggies from southern Vermont’s finest farmers.

5. LOCAL EATERIES BRING OUT SOME FRESH FLAVORS

Winter visits to You’ll notice some menu shifts to reflect in-season vegetables at downtown restaurants like Superfresh! Organic Cafe and Duo Restaurant, Brattleboro’s farm-to-table finery. Seasonal spots also begin to open their doors in May, like Guilford’s Blueberry Haus, an ice cream parlor and country gift store that radiates with southern Vermont charm.

6. IT’S LIKE SUMMER… BUT A LOT QUIETER

From early May to mid-June, the signs of summer’s forthcoming are everywhere. Mountain views grow greener by the day, Whetstone Station opens up its deck for live music shows, and local restaurants bust out the outdoor seating. In the spring, you’re beating all of the lines while reaping the rewards of a warmer Vermont as we defrost from winter’s grip.

Winter's thaw leads to outdoor adventures and scenic attractions to enjoy during spring in Vermont.

Spring in Vermont is more than just mud season; it’s a time to refresh and reanimate within the natural beauty of the Green Mountains. Beat the bustle of summer and stay at the Latchis Hotel this spring — we’ll be your resident guides to Brattleboro’s springtime sights and attractions.

Vermont Scenery In A Snap: 5 Photo-Ops in Brattleboro

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, Brattleboro must be a library. Rugged mountains, eye-catching architecture, and serene streams make southern Vermont a photographer’s delight. Grab your DSLR and stop by these five spots ripe with Vermont scenery, perfect for expert and amateur photographers alike.

Mountain view from Bellows Falls, VT.
Photo: Collapse The Light / Flickr CC BY 2.0.

1. Mount Wantastiquet Trail (Just Across the River)

It’s our favorite downtown mountain and the closest source of southern Vermont natural beauty. The top of the ledge summit oversees downtown Brattleboro, the Connecticut River, and the faraway Green Mountains. Bring your wide-angle lens — the landscapes you capture are sure to knock the socks off your friends and fellow photographers.

The trail to the ledge summit usually takes around two hours, but, with several paths to choose from, you can document a new route each day.

2. Living Memorial Park (West Brattleboro)

A popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, Living Memorial Park has it all. Throw on your telephoto lens to capture some fine details on the park’s charming picnic benches, gazebos, and ski lifts. Crank your shutter speed, because the perfect action shot can ski by in a snap at the 20-meter ski jump in the winter. Also, several hiking trails make perfect places to capture fall foliage at its finest.

Living Memorial Park is right next door to the Creamery Covered Bridge that crosses over the Whetstone Brook, a picture-perfect example of Vermont country charm.

3. West River Trail (Brattleboro)

The West River Trail in Brattleboro is a perfect place to see some stellar Vermont scenery.
The West River Trail in Brattleboro is a perfect place to spot some superb Vermont scenery.

If you’re looking to add some water shots to your photography reel, take a riverside stroll down The West River Trail. In the spring, melting snow creates little waterfalls and creeks that run down the adjacent mountainsides — it’s the perfect opportunity to crank your shutter speed and catch some stellar running water shots. The West River Trail begins behind The Marina’s parking lot, just a quick drive up Route 30 from downtown Brattleboro.

4. Fort Dummer State Park (Guilford, VT)

If you’re looking for variety in your nature photography expedition, the Sunrise and Sunset Trails at Fort Dummer State Park are for you. This park offers some of the most beautiful vistas in southern Vermont, ones that only an ultra-wide lens can fully capture. The trail, covered in sturdy oaks and birch trees, overlooks the site of Fort Dummer and crosses serene views of the Broad Brook.

5. Bellows Falls Canal (Bellows Falls, VT)

About a half-hour north of Brattleboro, Bellows Falls is a photographer’s dream — it has captivating mountain and river views, train tracks, and historic architecture that includes an old-fashioned Opera House and an impressive clock tower. Position yourself from either side of the Arch Bridge for a variety of angles on the train station and river bank. While you’re there, also try your hand at nature photography with a quick expedition through the Bellows Falls Village Forest.

Bellows Falls Historic District
Photo: Doug Kerr / CC BY-SA 2.0.

The proof is in the printing. Southern Vermont’s natural beauty and one-of-a-kind architecture are enough to set any photographer’s heart a-flutter. If you’re looking for a place to stay as eye-catching as Vermont’s beautiful scenery, come stay at The Latchis — our art deco facade is every bit as photogenic as the rolling Green Mountains.

Traveling to Vermont: How to Get to Brattleboro From Every Direction

You’re probably eager and ready to get eyes on Brattleboro’s scenic sights and attractions, but first thing’s first: you need to consider how to get here. We’re still working on our teleportation unit, so until then, you have a few other options. Daily buses and trains allow you to get to Brattleboro from east, west, north, and south. Here are some choices for traveling to southern Vermont from your city or region.

The Brattleboro, Vermont train station.
Photo: Adam Moss / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

NORTHBOUND: BOSTON, MASS. / WASHINGTON D.C. → NEW YORK CITY →  HARTFORD, CONN. → BRATTLEBORO, VT

Amtrak’s Vermonter train is a transportation staple. With complimentary Wi-Fi and a food cart, you can plan your Brattleboro itinerary during your ride to the Green Mountains. The train leaves from Washington, D.C., at 8:00 a.m. and passes through Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Trenton before its late morning stop at Penn Station. If you’re coming in from Hartford, your train will leave around 2:00 p.m. You’ll arrive in Brattleboro just before dinnertime, so don’t forget to pick a restaurant by the end of your journey. Alternatively, you can ride on the Megabus if you’re coming in from Hartford, Amherst, New Haven, or the Big Apple.

Just a little over two hours from Brattleboro, Bostonians are within perfect proximity to make a weekend getaway to southern Vermont. The MAX Regional Bus runs to and from Brattleboro each day, with stops in Worcester, Fitchburg, and Greenfield. The bus arrives at the Brattleboro Transportation Center, just steps away from The Latchis.

SOUTHBOUND: MONTREAL, CANADA via BURLINGTON, VT.

The Brattleboro, VT train station.
Photo: Adam Moss / Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0.

If you’re looking to visit Brattleboro from Montreal, drive the distance down I-91, or take the Amtrak going southbound. The northernmost train stop on Amtrak’s Vermonter route is the town of St. Albans, Vermont — you can park there and catch the morning southbound train.

If you’re situated near Burlington, you can catch the train at the Essex Junction station around 9:30 a.m. for a mid-afternoon arrival in downtown Brattleboro. The Megabus can also take you to Brattleboro from Burlington or Montpelier.

EASTBOUND: ALBANY, NY.

Upstate New Yorkers, there’s no railroad to connect us. Instead, you’ll be heading eastbound on Route 9 — you can make the drive yourself, or take a Greyhound if you don’t mind waking up a little early. It’s one of the most scenic drives you’ll encounter; the rolling Green Mountains never disappoint.

WESTBOUND: PORTLAND, ME / MANCHESTER, NH

There are two ways to venture through New Hampshire and into our neck of the woods: make the drive yourself, or take the bus. The Greyhound departs from Portland just a couple times each week, while offering daily transport from Manchester. Either way, you can count on a scenic ride through New Hampshire right before crossing the Connecticut River and landing at the Brattleboro Transportation Center.

The bridge over the river in Brattleboro, VT.

Travel doesn’t have to stand in the way of a great experience. Whether you’re driving yourself and making a road trip out of it, or taking a bus or train for a relaxing trip, be sure to make travel part of the experience as you plan your getaway to southern Vermont.

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.”