My first fall in Vermont I looked online for things to do and found lots of them. But then I read the open hours. “Open May – October” was posted on nearly every website I visited. Many people who come to Vermont in the winter, come for winter sports, not to visit museums and such. But then I found the VT 251 Club.
The purpose of the VT 251 Club is to visit and document your visit to all 251 towns and cities in Vermont. It was started 64 years ago, by Dr Arthur Wallace Peach. Dr Peach wrote a popular column in Vermont Life magazine and in this particular column, he invited “the native born and those born elsewhere, but with Vermont in them” to veer from the beaten path “to discover the secret and lovely places that main roads do not reveal.”
Shortly after that I met a woman from Springfield, VT who had come to the library with her VT 251 binders and wanted to donate them to the library. After she retired she decided (along with her sister) to become a member of the VT 251 club and take photos of all the places they visited in Vermont and write about the people they met. I sat and looked at the binders and they were wonderful.
We’ve been “doing” the 251 club unofficially as we camp around Vermont, but have decided to get a membership ($10 a year) and do it officially. Now because I’m a librarian I also do my own Library Club and visit the library in each town and get a photo of myself and the librarian. I’m a total library geek.
Vermont is a very small state, but I would think other states could do something like this county-wide (and maybe they have). I grew up and lived in Massachusetts for many years, but I know I hadn’t visited all the towns in my county. I never had a reason to. The VT 251 Club gives me a reason to explore places I never would have traveled to in the state. I can’t think of one trip that was uneventful or not interesting in some quirky way.
And if you love books and the thought of just visiting towns doesn’t do it for you, find all the libraries in your county and visit them. Ask the librarians about the history of the library (I know many people are intimidated by librarians, but we LOVE to be asked questions – especially questions about our libraries.) We want to share the love with you.