Vermonters are known for liking things the way they are and oppose people who come in and try to change how life works in our little state. Thankfully our favorite things are usually nature-based, so land trusts, state parks and forests will always be our natural playgrounds. However, sometimes change is inevitable and it does make us think back about the past. Here are a few things that we may or may not miss, but we certainly remember them.
Before there was Walmart, there was Ames. OK, maybe Ames isn't the top of your wish list of places to go, but it certainly brings back memories!
2. Earth Peoples Park
This 592-acre parcel of land in Norton was purchased in 1970 for $38,000 and was bought sight unseen from Strout Realty, a mail-order land catalog. Some of the down payment came from donations raised at the 1969 Woodstock Music & Art Festival. The underlying principle was that the land would be legally open to anyone who wished to visit, camp, or homestead upon it, rent free for as long as one desired. Life at the Earth People’s Park welcomed all those who wished, rent free, from 1970 to 1994, until the land was returned to the State of Vermont and is now Black Turn Brook State Forest. This life isn’t for everyone, but those who share the original ideals miss their former lifestyle here.
3. Roller rink skating
Roller rinks were once a popular place for kids and adults alike. If you're missing this retro activity you're in luck! Skateland in Essex is a blast from the past and is a huge indoor roller skating rink with a state of the art light show, music, snack bar and good times had by all!
4. Affordable ski passes
Remember the good old days when ski lift passes didn't break the bank? Me too. However, there are still some smaller mountains that offer specials, such as Cochrans who offers $5 night skiing on Friday nights.
5. Drive in movies
Nothing beats a drive in movie when it comes to nostalgia. The Sunset Drive-in Theatre in Colchester still provides movies on 4 different screens and all the same excitement as you remember. The sound is better these days as you can tune into the screen via radio station instead of the scratchy speakers you'd put in your window!
6. Our favorite eateries
It has been said that if you want to make a million dollars in the restaurant industry, spend $2 million. This may be more true than we would like as some of our favorite restaurants all over Vermont are closing. Pictured is Gracie's in Stowe, a family favorite place for over 25 years which closed its doors this spring.
7. Hot Dog Lady
The Hot Dog Lady, whose real name was Lois Bodoky, provided hot dogs for over three decades on Church Street in Burlington and passed away at the age of 91. Distinctly known for her beehive hairdo and cat eye glasses, Bodoky sold her first hot dogs for 55 cents and soda for 5 cents. This picture is from the Queen City Ghostwalk in Burlington, which was called the "Best Scary Stroll" by Yankee Magazine. Oh the ghosts of hot dogs past...
8. Alpine slide
The alpine slide in Stowe may be closed and replaced by zip lines, but if you're looking for some old fashioned sliding on concrete you can still head over to Bromley Mountain. Don't worry, you can still have hours of fun getting road rash!
9. Small ski areas
Small ski areas can't compete with the big resorts these days. We have fond memories of places like Ascutney Mountain in Brownsville closed its doors, or rather their lifts, in 2010.
10. Santa's Land
Many good times were had at Santa's Land in Putney, but the upkeep became too much and the park suffered. Now it is permanently closed.
It’s our duty to make changes in Vermont if they’re for the better. But, if it ain’t broke, by Jeezum, don’t fix it!