The term “weird” can be used to describe many things. What’s weird to some might not be to others. But I think Vermont has a variety of weird things that we can all agree are… well, weird. And sometimes a little creepy too!
1. Hope Cemetery - Barre, VT
Cemeteries can be eerie all by themselves, but this one goes a step further. Many of the 10,000+ monuments are master crafted not only to remember the deceased, but their hobbies too! Statues include a soccer ball, a half-size replica of a race car, a home bay window, a carved family portrait, a soldier smoking a cigarette and an elderly couple sitting up and holding hands in a massive bed.
2. Rock of Ages Granite Quarry – Barre, VT
Many of the monuments at Hope Cemetery are made from the granite here. In the 1950’s, they constructed a granite bowling alley but it never really took off. You can play with plastic pins and a rubber ball though. Where are Fred and Barney when you need them?
3. World’s Tallest Ladderback Chair - Bennington, VT
This town won’t let this 19 foot chair go! Built in the 1940s, it stood in front of a furniture store until 2000 when the chair had enough of the brutal Vermont weather. A 3,000 pound replica replaced the original, where it stood for 20 days before it collapsed in a windstorm. Once again it was resurrected and then the store burned down! The chair has been moved to the store’s current location, which is still in Bennington. What will be next for this beloved ladderback?
4. Lord’s Prayer Rock - Bristol, VT
In 1891, Joseph C. Greene hired a carver to engrave the Lord’s Prayer on a giant rock. Some believe that Greene always said a prayer when reaching this point on the dangerous road when he worked as a log deliverer. Others say Greene was upset by the cursing and swearing of passing wagon drivers so he had the prayer carved so the drivers would think before taking the Lord’s name in vain.
5. Monument to a Lake Monster – Burlington, VT
Many Vermonters will swear they have witnessed the infamous monster who allegedly lives in Lake Champlain. All Vermonters still look for him, despite no concrete evidence he exists, and a monument was erected in his honor. A gravestone for a monster who may or may not have existed? Weird.
6. A Nod to Phineas Gage – Cavendish, VT
A plaque has been placed on a rock to honor one of Vermont’s most bizarre celebrities, Phineas Gage. Why was he famous? He had a 13 pound iron rod blown into his skull, through his brain and out the top of his head. Not only did Gage survive, but he never even lost consciousness.
7. Bread and Puppet Museum – Glover, VT
There is so much creepiness going on in this place. Founded in the 1960’s, the original theater got its name by distributing bread to the audience, because good art should always accompany good food. These aren’t cute, little fuzzy puppets you’d find in a toy store. No, these are life sized puppets who often were used to display political agendas. The puppets were eventually moved to a 150 year old farm where both the barn and its contents are highly flammable, as noted by the plethora of “No Smoking” signs. The sign out front says “Enter at your own risk” and they’re not kidding! Old puppets, paper, glue, scrap lumber and stray animals are housed in this barn. I’m going to have a nightmare tonight of a life-sized, Donald Trump puppet chasing after me with a baguette!
8. Tree Full of Bras – Killington, VT
While riding up the chair lift on Skye Peak at Killington this winter, be sure to look down to spot a tree covered in bras. You would need to be on the chairlift to add to the collection, but you have to wonder: Who started this and why?
9. Queen Connie Statue - Leicester, VT
Yes, that’s a real Volkswagon Beetle that the gorilla is holding over its head. I don’t know what more I can say about this…
10. Taxidermy museum – Marlboro, VT
Taxidermy is a little weird (in my humble opinion) but this museum has three extinct birds and an albino porcupine among its stuffed collection of critters.
11. Grave of the mummy – Middlebury, VT
The Henry Sheldon Museum was delighted to get a mummy, and not just any old mummy. This was the two year old son of an Egyptian King! The remains, however, came in such a state that it was never displayed and stored away to be forgotten in an attic. When the curator found it in 1945, the body was cremated and given a proper Christian burial.
12. Grave with a window – New Haven, VT
Timothy Clark Smith feared being buried alive, so he arranged for a square of glass in the ground to lead straight down to his face.
13. Dino-wood - Post Mills, VT
Vermonters are known to be great recyclers, but one group of volunteers took a pile of scrap wood and turned it into a huge dinosaur.
14. Giant ship in a landlocked Vermont - Shelburne, VT
The Ticonderoga, the last vertical beam sidewheel steamship in the United States, is located on the grass surrounded by 45 acres at this eclectic museum. It’s an impressive sight at 220 feet long and weighing 892 tons.
15. Bug Art – St. Johnsbury, VT
We’ve seen all kinds of things at museums – paintings, sculptures and even steamships, but never, EVER, did this medium to come to mind. At the Fairbanks Museum you can see the artwork of John Hampson displayed. His medium? Dead bugs and bug parts. Moths, beetles, butterflies alike are painstakingly arranged into a colorful picture that can be hung on a wall. Each picture is made up of between 6,000 and 13,000 bugs and took 3-4 years to complete. Eewwwwww!
16. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Graveyard – Waterbury, VT
Vermonters like to go out with a bang, and Ben & Jerry’s is no exception. They are constantly churning out new flavors with clever names… but what do they do about the ones that didn’t make the cut? They make an Ice Cream Graveyard, of course! You’ll be able to pay your respects to flavors such as “Miz Jelana’s Sweet Potato Pie” and “Coffee! Coffee! Buzz Buzz, Buzz.”
17. Junk Locomotive – West Rutland, VT
You can’t miss the Art Park in West Rutland since the full-size steam locomotive made of junk is right off the highway. The train is made of Vermont steel castoffs from other projects. It’s titled “Across Time and Space,” but a train made out of junk may warrant a more clever name.
18. Knight's Spider Web Farm - Williamstown, VT
Caution: Spiders at work! At this farm, Will Knight, now in his 80's, houses many spiders in his barn. When he sees a particularly interesting web, he sprays it with a white spray paint and then passes a wood plaque through the hole to save it. After a few coats of lacquer, Knight has perfectly mounted and preserved each web as a spectacular piece of art. More than 16,000 webs have been collected since 1977. Would you like to buy one of these spectacular webs? You're in luck! They are all reasonably priced and you can have a delightful chat with Will Knight himself.
What kinds of things do you think are weird (or creepy!) in Vermont? Share with friends and see if they agree that Vermont is the most wonderful kind of weird!