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Visiting Stowe, Vermont: Mount Mansfield and the Green Mountains & Their Historiography & Even 18th Century Mystique

Updated on March 9, 2020
State flag of Vermont
State flag of Vermont | Source
Mt. Mansfield from north of Stowe, VT.
Mt. Mansfield from north of Stowe, VT. | Source
The Stark flag, commonly attributed to the Green Mountain Boys, also used by the Vermont National Guard.
The Stark flag, commonly attributed to the Green Mountain Boys, also used by the Vermont National Guard. | Source

Mountains projecting symbolism that runs deep

Mount Mansfield, overlooking Stowe, Vermont (see photo, above), is the highest peak of the Green Mountains, a range which immediately evokes allusions to the state's 18th century history. While geographically not all Vermont's mountains are strictly part of the Green Mountain range, the term 'Green Mountains' has sometimes come to signify Vermont itself (1).

In the Revolutionary Wars, the exploits of the Mountain Boys gained them a respected reputation with the Continental Congress; and elements of the Mountain Boys at times formed a de facto part of the Republic of Vermont (which existed from 1777 until Vermont's statehood in 1791). Today the men and women of the Vermont National Guard call themselves the Mountain Boys and indeed use the flag of the Mountain Boys (see also above), as did also the Republic of Vermont.

Thus, in their broadest definition, it is not always easy to say exactly who the Mountain Boys are — without further context — yet as a general term they denote something close to Vermont itself.

Just as the 18th century militia identified with the Allen brothers rose with a view to defending the interests of the people of this mountain territory, and, just as the Vermont National Guard is recruited for defensive needs among Vermonters, so the term Mountain Boys has come to be redolent of a perennial watchfulness among the citizenry of this highly distinct and special mountain homeland: a watchfulness which may be said metaphorically to radiate from its Green Mountains.

As if to say that experts may rationally quibble about niceties, but the mountains — the Green Mountains — from which the Mountain Boys emerged and which have endured as a common identifying symbol among Vermonters, are perennially there.

Thus Vermont's statehood, forged through the 18th century episodes of the Mountain Boys and the Vermont Republic, endures doggedly to the present.

Here in the Green Mountains...

March 9, 2020


(1) Vermont's nickname is 'the Green Mountain State'.

NB: Hikers in the Green Mountains are strongly advised to go well prepared. (See also: )

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

View east from the Long Trail on the Forehead of Mount Mansfield within Mount Mansfield State Forest within Stowe, Lamoille County, Vermont
View east from the Long Trail on the Forehead of Mount Mansfield within Mount Mansfield State Forest within Stowe, Lamoille County, Vermont | Source

Also worth seeing

Picturesque Stowe attracts many visitors especially during the skiing season, given its proximity to the slopes of Mount Mansfield, at 4395 feet / 1340 metres, Vermont's highest peak; the Stowe Mountain Resort includes nearby Spruce Peak; the Community Church, dating from 1863, has a prominent spire; the Neo-Colonial-style Town Hall dates from 1902; the Shaw General Store dates from 1895.

In Montpelier, (distance: 22.7 miles / 36.5 kilometres) notable visitor attractions include: the golden domed State House, dating from 1859; the former studio of artist Thomas W. Wood. Christ Episcopal and Saint Augustine's Churches are significant examples of ecclesiastical architecture.

The Vermont Marble Museum, Proctor (distance: approx. 75.8 miles / 121.9 kilometres)

The Frost Place, Franconia, New Hampshire (distance: 73.9 miles / 118.9 kilometres) is a museum and poetry centre based in the former home of poet Robert Frost (1874-1963).


How to get there:

Burlington International Airport (distance to Stowe: 33.5 miles / 53.9 kilometres), where car rental is available from various companies, is served by a variety of airlines, including Porter, JetBlue, Delta and United, which fly to a number of North American connections. Stowe lies on Route 100, north of Junction 10 of the I-89. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Visitors to the United States are advised to refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

Map of Vermont towns with Stowe highlighted
Map of Vermont towns with Stowe highlighted | Source

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