Art & Culture
There are many opportunities in the Montgomery Area to enjoy a variety of local Arts and Culture, including local Festivals, Museums, and more! Below are several ideas to help you start planning your next visit to the area. We also have many more ideas to share in our in-room Guest Books, and we’re always glad to give you some pointers, so just ask if there is something in particular that interests you.
Our area has many wonderful auctions each weekend, usually on Sundays. Our favorite is Degre Auction House in Westfield, Vermont, just over the mountain from us. It is owned by Richard Degre, one of the area’s most reputable auctioneers of fine antiques and collectibles, as well as a lot of fun junk, and is an absolutely wonderful auction service to go to for low prices, and great fun.
Montgomery July 4th Parade
Every July 4th at 10 am, Montgomery celebrates the 4th in style with local floats, marching cows, horseback riders, and the local famer’s guilds all parading down Main Street. The day continues with a day-long chicken BBQ with live music and a livelier crowd at Montgomery’s Recreational Center Pavilion on the northern end of Main Street. “Mayberry” Never Had It So Good.
The Godfreys go back generations and believe in the traditional approach to doing business with your neighbors. If they are not there – just pick up your syrup and leave what you owe them in jar on the counter. This where we buy the syrup we serve with our breakfasts at the Phineas Swann.
Montgomery Annual Prom
To heck with the high school kids having all the fun! For over 30 years now, on the last Saturday in May, Montgomery residents have put on their dancing shoes to dance the night away in our Town Hall (“The Historical Grange Building”) –down the road on Main Street.
Current, former residents and visitors either put on their finest or dress in keeping with the annual theme. Some of our more memorable themes were Arabian Nights, Hawaiian Evening, Lost in the 60”s and Mad Men. There is always a wonderful buffet and great live music! We have several guests who come back every year just to attend our annual prom.
Annual Harvest Festival
Held at the end of August, the Garden Club also organizes a Harvest Festival held on the Town Common in Montgomery Village. There are always items for sale from our local artists, home baked goods, homemade jams and jellies, and one our favorites – a “A White Elephant Table” filled with donated items that someone no longer loves, but often finds a new home where it is treasured again (at least, for a while).
Montgomery Annual House & Garden Tour
Usually held in July, our local Garden Club organizes an annual tour of some of wonderful historical homes and the gardens which surround them. (Many of the stunning homes you see date back to the 1800’s.) The tour is organized to raise funds for the club and includes a buffet lunch. Last year, the lunch was held here at The Phineas Swann. You will have to ask when this year’s event will be held.
Montgomery’s Covered Bridges
Our town’s unique geography required many bridges, and as recently as the 1940s there were thirteen covered bridges within the town’s limits. Sadly, as modern requirements for larger loads, better safety, and cheaper maintenance required the replacement of wooden bridges, many of these wonderful structures were lost. It was only in the latter half of the last century that preserving them became an important priority.
Today there remain six covered bridges within the Montgomery town limits plus one which straddles the town line with Enosburg, making it the “Covered Bridge Town of the Green Mountains”. In fact, there are 7 bridges if you count the one awaiting restoration! This is the largest number of covered bridges of any town in the country. We now know these beautiful bridges link us to our heritage – a time when life moved slower and, though often harsh, was also a time far less complicated.
Bread and Puppet Theater
Many hundreds of puppets and masks, ranging in size from miniature cut-outs to towering giants, arranged in groupings by size, colors, and themes, often reenacting past Bread and Puppet Theater productions, are housed on 2 floors of a 130 year old barn. Activities in July and August include paper-maché workshops, woodcut printing, bread making, and outdoor performances in the summer on Sunday afternoons. They have a variety of posters, books, and booklets.
PLEASE NOTE: We have received feedback from our guests that although Bread and Puppet remains a facinating Vermont attraction, it is best to see them in performance. The barn that houses their collection has become rickety and less guest-friendly over time.
Sew in Our Monthly Quilters’ Circle
Held every second Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at St. Isidore’s Parish Hall.
There is a participation fee of $3.00.
Museums, Theaters, and Art Galleries
Within driving distance of the Phineas Swann, Northern Vermont and Canada offer a wide variety of museums, theaters, and art galleries for your enjoyment. Visit our page on Museums, Theaters, and Art Galleries for a sampling of these local treasures that you will want to add to your itinerary on your upcoming visit.
Weave With Our Fiber Folk
Across the street at the Mountain Fiber Folk store, you will find a loom sitting in the middle of the large and inviting space filled with locally made handmade crafts. Residents and visitors alike are invited to add to the growing mosaic weave entitled, of course, “The Montgomery Weaving Project.”
Montgomery Annual Art Auction
Held in September and organized by the village recreational center board, residents sit down to a wonderfully elaborate catered dinner followed by an auction of art donated by local residents. As you can see from the décor at the Phineas, the items for sale are as rich and varied as our community itself.
Historical Society Concerts
We also have a local historical society who works to preserve our local history and architecture. To raise funds, the society brings in professional musical entertainment (choruses, classical musicians, or vocalists) four or more times in the year. The concerts are held in Pratt Hall – the beautifully restored former Episcopal church which sits at the edge of the town common in Montgomery Village. Be sure to ask us for this year’s concert schedule.
Open Studio Weekend
Each year, artists throughout the State of Vermont open their studios and doors to the public. Drive around and follow the many roads leading to Vermont’s talented artists. We have a brochure in the front hallway which details all of the artists who open their workshops and studios on Open Studio Weekend, since many of the artists listed are open to the public year round.
Open Studio Weekend takes place yearly in May. Please call us to confirm the scheduled dates – these are dates when you have the greatest chance of seeing artists in their working environments.
Mountain Fiber Folk Cooperative
Mountain Fiber Folk Cooperative are purveyors of specialty materials to fiber artists, spinners, weavers, knitters, and crocheters. These women raise their own sheep, shear them, spin the wool, and use local flowers and shrubs for the dyes. They are a real Vermont Cultural Heritage find and they are literally across the street from us! They have handspun and hand dyed yarns, quilts, fiber dolls, clay buttons and pottery, needle felted pieces, luxury knitwear, pastoral art, mixed media art papers and hangings – both materials and finished goods.
Dog Mountain and Stephen Huneck Galleries
The “Dog Chapel” is one of Vermont’s most unusual, and for the dog-lover, interesting attractions. Built in 1999 by artist, author, and “hand-carver” Stephen Huneck, Dog Mountain is dedicated to dogs and their owners. Stephen Huneck’s home and studio are located on Dog Mountain which, until his untimely death in 2009, he shared with his wife, Gwen and his five dogs: Sally, Heidi, and Artie his Labs, Dottie the Dalmatian, and Molly, a Golden Retriever.
The Huneck home is furnished with Stephen’s artwork. Huneck is known for his whimsical hand-carved furniture, sculpture, and woodcut prints. The artist is author of “My Dog’s Brain,” “Sally Goes to the Beach,” and “Sally Goes to the Mountains.”
The inspiration for building Dog Mountain came when he was recovering from a bout with Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, an often fatal illness. Huneck says “I wanted to build a chapel, one that celebrated the spiritual bond we have with our dogs, and that would be open to dogs and people. People of any faith or belief system.”
Huneck continues, “I built that chapel on Dog Mountain, our mountain-top farm in St. Johnsbury … and styled it in the manner of a small village church built in Vermont around 1820. It is important to me that the chapel looks like it belongs with its setting of rolling mountains and pasture. The white steeple points up to the heavens and on the top is a Lab with wings that turns in the wind and proclaims this place has a special affinity with dogs.”
To get there, take I 91 to exit 19, onto I-93 then take exit 1 to US Rte. 2. Turn left onto Rte. 2 West, go 7/10 mile to Spaulding Road and turn right onto the road up “Dog Mountain”.
Although we do have a semiannual flower show, and Maple Festival, most of the fairs and festivals of Vermont center on the diary industry. Fair season runs from January through mid October and serves as an annual reminder of Vermont’s long and proud agricultural heritage providing a critical link between our farm heritage and the food on our tables. Vermont’s dairy industry generates over a billion dollars annually. Our dairy farmers produce more milk per capita than any other state in the U.S. except Idaho and account for 58% of all milk produced in New England.
Our dairy farmers help preserve the working landscape and give Vermont an international reputation for scenic vistas and rural splendor.
The Shelburne Museum
While Jay and I are very proud of all the many, many things to do in Northern Vermont, and have kept all of the suggested “Things to Do” shown in this guest book within about an hour of The Phineas Swan, there is one place in central Vermont that is so spectacular and unique it would be a real shame not to take the time to see it – The Shelburne Museum. It will take about 90 minutes to drive there and you will want to leave early since it is absolutely impossible to see everything in the Shelburne Museum in one day – even if you just wanted to walk past it! We are including a lot of details about the museum below so you can plan out what you would like to see, so you can ensure you can see the items which would interest you most.
Located in Vermont’s scenic Lake Champlain valley, Shelburne Museum is one of the nation’s finest, most diverse and unconventional museums of art and Americana. Over 150,000 works are exhibited in a remarkable setting of 39 exhibition buildings, 25 of which are historic and were relocated to the Museum grounds.
Electra Havemeyer Webb (1888-1960) was a pioneering collector of American folk art and founded Shelburne Museum in 1947.The daughter of H.O. and Louisine Havemeyer, important collectors of European and Asian art, she exercised an independent eye and passion for art, artifacts, and architecture celebrating a distinctly American aesthetic When creating the Museum she took the imaginative step of collecting 18th- and 19th-century buildings from New England and New York in which to display the Museum’s holdings, relocating 20 historic structures to Shelburne. These include houses, barns, a meeting house, a one-room schoolhouse, a lighthouse, a jail, a general store, a covered bridge, and the 220-foot steamboat Ticonderoga.
In Shelburne Mrs. Webb sought to create “an educational project, varied and alive.” What visitors experience at Shelburne is unique: remarkable collections exhibited in a village-like setting of historic New England architecture, accented by a landscape that includes over 400 lilacs, a circular formal garden, herb and heirloom vegetable gardens, and perennial gardens.
PLEASE NOTE: The Shelburne Musuem does not allow dogs.
Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM Daily, May 18 – Oct. 26, 2008
Admission: Adults: $18; Children (6-18): $9; Children under 6: FREE
|American Paintings||Impressionist Paintings|
|Folk Art||Historic Houses|
|Decorative Arts||Steamboat Ticonderoga|
|Quilts, Hooked Rugs, and Textiles||Decoys|
|Toys, Dolls, Dollhouses, and Automata||Tools|
|Miniature Circus Figures and Circus Posters||Carriages|
|Native American Artifacts|