By Gena Mangiaratti, Vermont Country
I recently realized I am among the many who claim their mood is not affected by the weather until suddenly winter ends (knock on wood) and my antidepressant apparently starts to kick in.
Until then, I forget what it’s like to step outside and not feel like the outdoors are angry with me. I’m not a skier or snowboarder, so winter merely becomes a time where everything I do is harder.
With the sun finally shining and no more piles of snow atop my two-wheel-drive vehicle and no more avalanches from the roof onto my walkway, life will now happen with so much less resistance, I think.
Enter: wasps, pollen and road work.
Fortunately, if you can brave all that, hiking, picnics, outdoor dining, outdoor drinking and even an outdoor art museum in North Bennington await on the other side of our new challenges. And we here at Vermont Country have selflessly tested it all out, especially the dining and drinking parts.
This issue introduces our newest columnist, Miss Kitty, who shares her top picks for cocktails, cocktail dresses, a July Fourth picnic and appeasing your tom cat’s preference for IPAs and general rusticness. Staffers Chris Mays, Gordon Dossett and Stewart Cairns also share some favorite spots around the region for eating and drinking, in and out of doors.
For a hike that’s scenic, educational and suitable for bringing the kids, Tara Schatz of Back Road Ramblers recommends the 2.5-mile hike to Gettysburg Quarry — plus some spots to hit in Dorset afterward. If you’d like to combine hiking and outdoor dining, staffer Bob Audette recommends some picnic areas and local food stops for filling your basket.
Ever explored North Bennington? Jennifer Brandt, Vermont Country correspondent, provides a full day’s itinerary of places to check out in this historical, unsung village that inspired the horror writer Shirley Jackson. Be sure to be around June 24, when the village celebrates Shirley Jackson Day, of which Bob Audette explores the history.
Also in North Bennington is the annual outdoor sculpture show, which kicks off June 17 with a family-friendly celebration. Vermont Country provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the show and the local organizers who make it all happen.
For sports fans, staffer Bill LeConey delves into Brattleboro’s long history of baseball, introducing us to a town resident with one of the largest private collections of Vermont baseball artifacts in existence. In addition, staff writer Tory Rich gets to know Vermont Fusion, the soccer team in Manchester that kicks off its third season as part of the Women’s Premier Soccer League this May.
For those of us who enjoy the kinder weather by reading on beaches and mountaintops and are intrigued by the region’s literary history, Lissa Weinmann from the Brattleboro Words Project shares what she can tell us about a new, words-related exhibit coming to the Brattleboro Amtrak station expected to open in 2024.
And of course, our favorite film columnist Dan Tebo is back, with a list of films that fit this issue’s theme — food.
From Vermont Country, we lift many glasses to warmer temperatures, and to the strength to push through the challenges of every season to find what’s good on the other side.
Gena Mangiaratti — whose first name is pronounced “Jenna” — is arts and entertainment editor for Vermont News & Media. When not newspapering, she can be found running, drawing and writing fiction. She lives in Brattleboro with her cat, Theodora.