As I write this, the Sunday of Marin Luther King weekend, we’re in the middle of a good old fashioned snowstorm that’s dumping between 12-20 inches of snow on the area. We’re either in the midst of the “bleak mid-winter, with snow on snow on snow,” as the old Christmas carol goes, or it’s a winter wonderland, depending on your perspective.

Fortunately, the forecasts of cold weather and heavy sleet haven’t panned out (yet), so the prospect of going out to plow the parking lot doesn’t prompt feelings of why are we here and not in Florida?

We basically decided to not open today with the roads still on the dicey side and folks probably happy to not go out and drive if you really don’t need to. Tomorrow we’ll re-open for one more day before our winter hiatus, when we shut down for three or so weeks until President’s Weekend, when we’ll reopen on Friday, Feb. 15. We’ll be open Fridays – Mondays from 10-5 pm over the rest of the winter and spring.

Which seems like the right time for a reflection on the year past, but better yet is a look forward to the coming year ahead. I just finished writing an article for Vermont Magazine on Arlington, the small village just south of us on Route 7A and I’ll try to post a link or something to share it with you when it’s published in a few months. But it got me re-interested in the local history of the area, which is actually quite fascinating. Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys were a presence here in Revolutionary times, and since then some interesting folks, such as the world-renowned illustrator Norman Rockwell and writer Dorothy Canfield Fisher, have hung their hats here. Regular readers of this page may recall me writing about the Arlington Area Renewal Project, which is seeking to breathe some new life and energy into the town which has seen, like many other places in rural America, small locally owned businesses close, and a sense of — stagnation is probably overstating it – but a perceived need for some fresh thinking is maybe due. It will be interesting to follow as it goes along.

Meanwhile, it set me to thinking that some of the interesting historical bits of Sunderland would be fun to share with you, like some of the historic inns and things to do and visit around here. I’m hoping to start with our next-door neighbors up the road at the Ira Allen House, where as the historic marker points out, the Allen family used to live. That would be Ethan and his less famous, but in some ways, more influential brother Ira, resided back in the 1770s-90s. Ira had a very checkered life but was one of those personalities who had a big influence on Vermont and its early statehood. Meanwhile the folks who now own the Ira Allen House have done a great job with it and if you want a cozy New England B&B experience, seek no further.

Ditto for the Hill Farm Inn, just around the corner, which has undergone a tremendous transformation and is one classy place to spend your Vermont getaway weekend or vacation.

More on both of them, and more, in future blogs.

Time to go out and shovel some more. Sun’s out!