Sunday, March 28, 2010

My spot

Last week my husband was reading the NY Times and noticed that there was a front page article (at least in the online version) about our area in VT. This area is a very literary and artistic community and we have had our fair share of authors living and writing here. The article talks about Naulahka, the house that Rudyard Kipling lived in and wrote The Jungle Book.

One of my favorite quotes from the article about this area:
During a trip overseas, he confessed to a friend “a desire to be back on Main Street, Brattleboro Vt. U.S.A. and hear the sody water fizzing in the drugstore ... and get a bottle of lager in the basement of Brooks House and hear the doctor tell fish yarns.”

An epicenter of local culture, Main Street is only four miles from Naulakha and retains the architectural patina of Kipling’s time while offering engaging contemporary diversions. Dragonfly Dry Goods, in the old Brooks House, the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, the Latchis Art Deco cinema, and innovative boutiques, bookstores and restaurants make for fine excursions.

I didn't grow up in this area (although I do have family from here going back to the 1800's and spent many a vacation here). I grew up in the city, but somehow I turned out a country girl through and through. A couple of years ago though I was wondering about moving, as there aren't exactly many jobs in epidemiology around here and I had a recent Yale degree in hand. I found a site called where you answer some basic questions about what you like and what's important to you. They give you 10 or so towns or cities and a nice 4 page write-up about each place. And guess where one of my spots was? Brattleboro! ... exactly where I was already living. You can read it here: page 1, 2, 3, 4. Then a few weeks ago, I went and answered the questions again just for the fun of it to see where it would lead me. And same thing! This is a little quote from it:
Framed by towering Mt. Wantastiquet to the east and the foothills of the Green Mountains to the west, Brattleboro exudes New England charm, and has struck a perfect balance between big city culture and small town charm. 

Here are some of my photos from around town... my ABC's of Brattleboro (and surrounds) :)

We have numerous art galleries and on the first Friday evening of every month we have gallery walk, where the shops often have live music playing and sometimes some nice munchies too!

Only a few places in town... but lots in the area.

Lots of orchards, cider-making, apple-cider donuts etc. Yum. This tree was in  my yard.

Ok.. this doesn't really symbolize the area... but every year the sugar houses open their doors to the public and one I went to last year has an Alpaca farm too. So cute.

This town likes to bike. Every 4th of July, the kids all decorate their bikes for the parade too.

Bridges (Covered)
Our state is known for them

We have at least 3 used book stores and some very nice rare book stores as well. For the last 9 years, we've also had an amazing literary festival. This year its October 1 - 3rd.

Skiing. Need I say anything more?

Some great places to chill. Good food, good wine, good beer, good friends.

One of many very funky stores on Main Street

Lots of places to grow spiritually... whether its in one of these buildings or not.


Every year we have a parade called Strolling of the Heifers. I know it sounds strange, but its very fun and brings people from all over. Lots of free ice cream, yogurt, and cheese samples too!

Vermont is well-known for our colorful trees in autumn.

More coffee

Country stores

I'm sure there's more I could share, but I think thats plenty for now. I think you get the idea... Brattleboro is my spot.

I also wanted to include the book,
The Naulahka, in this post. You can read the full thing here. I've never actually read it... but it sounds like I probably should at some point. It was written with Wolcott Balestier, Kipling's brother-in-law. I'm also including a poem written by Kipling.

To Wolcott Balestier

by Rudyard Kipling

Beyond the path of the outmost sun through utter darkness hurled --
Further than ever comet flared or vagrant star-dust swirled --
Live such as fought and sailed and ruled and loved and made our world.

They are purged of pride because they died, they know the worth of their bays,
They sit at wine with the Maidens Nine and the Gods of the Elder Days,
It is their will to serve or be still as fitteth our Father's praise.

'Tis theirs to sweep through the ringing deep where Azrael's outposts are,
Or buffet a path through the Pit's red wrath when God goes out to war,
Or hang with the reckless Seraphim on the rein of a red-maned star.

They take their mirth in the joy of the Earth --
they dare not grieve for her pain --
They know of toil and the end of toil, they know God's law is plain,
So they whistle the Devil to make them sport who know that Sin is vain.

And ofttimes cometh our wise Lord God, master of every trade,
And tells them tales of His daily toil, of Edens newly made;
And they rise to their feet as He passes by, gentlemen unafraid.

To these who are cleansed of base Desire, Sorrow and Lust and Shame --
Gods for they knew the hearts of men, men for they stooped to Fame,
Borne on the breath that men call Death, my brother's spirit came.

He scarce had need to doff his pride or slough the dross of Earth --
E'en as he trod that day to God so walked he from his birth,
In simpleness and gentleness and honour and clean mirth.

So cup to lip in fellowship they gave him welcome high
And made him place at the banquet board -- the Strong Men ranged thereby,
Who had done his work and held his peace and had no fear to die.

Beyond the loom of the last lone star, through open darkness hurled,
Further than rebel comet dared or hiving star-swarm swirled,
Sits he with those that praise our God for that they served His world.

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