A few of you may remember I weighed in on the subject of our neighbors in the next-door town of Arlington undertaking a local civic initiative to bring a little “shine” back to the town some feared it had lost. In case you missed it, you can find it here:  https://xmasdays.com/2018/04/14/arlington-aims-for-renewal/.

So I won’t revisit some of those themes again. The group has continued meeting and has heard from some interesting statewide speakers. http://gnat-tv.org/the-news-project-arlington-renewal-project-plans-ahead/.

And things seem to be moving forward. A significant milestone was reached this past week when the group launched its website: https://www.arlington-vermont.com. And we were happy to be listed under the shopping tab. We encourage you to visit the site and check out some of the other interesting places to visit around here.

Back in the “good old days” – oh, about 20 or so years ago – we had our own local chamber of commerce and many more small, locally owned, independent shops which catered mainly to the tourist trade, but also provided some jobs and merchandise of interest to their neighbors. I haven’t drilled down to the data to check actual numbers, but between motels and gift shop there have to be fewer.

I remember we used to participate in marketing that  emphasized to visitors how you could drive over here and find five or six gift shops, restaurants or places to visit, and you were guaranteed to have a good day if you made it to all of them. It would be hard to build that sort of campaign now.

So hopefully the environment around small entrepreneurship – it doesn’t have to be gifts shops or restaurants but basically someone’s dream – gets sparked up again. Not that it has vanished , and on a breathtakingly beautiful afternoon like this one you couldn’t miss – right now I’m fantasizing about a float down the Battenkill on my kayak. Maybe tomorrow.  So along with our friends at the Cheese House and the others, plus some of the cool inns and B&B’s like the nearby Ethan Allen House and the Hill Farm Inn, we hope you circle your map or set your GPS for our spot.

Up next: The Four Freedoms, a festival highlighting the work of one of Arlington’s most famous residents, the illustrator Norman Rockwell. You can find out more here:https://www.arlington-vermont.com/events/2018/6/30/4-freedoms-festival.

And before that, a cool sounding music festival on June 24:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/southern-vermont-music-festival-tickets-46271982746. I’m going.