By the time we’d finished our visit to the University of Vermont Middlebury’s Morgan Horse Farm, it was time for lunch so we headed back into town to find a restaurant and to see what there was to see.
As we approached Middlebury we had to stop to take a photo of this 2-lane covered bridge over Otter Creek. The Pulp Mill Covered Bridge was built sometime between 1808 and no later than 1853. Based on local records and the type of construction, the latter date is most likely.
The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is over 195 feet long and, unlike the 2-lane covered bridge at Vermont’s Shelburne Museum, this one still carries regular traffic. It was refurbished in 2012. This is one of only 7 two-lane covered bridges remaining in the entire USA. The separate pedestrian walkway at the right of the bridge was added when the bridge was updated.
In 1891, the Middlebury Railway Depot was located on the west side of the tracks but in 1911 it was moved to the east side to allow an overpass to be built. This depot served as a Rutland Railway passenger and freight station until 1953 during a strike by railroad workers.
All service was discontinued in 1961 after even more bitter strikes. Much of the Rutland Railroad was abandoned, but this section of the railroad was purchased by the State of Vermont in 1963. The State subsequently leased the line to a new operator, the Vermont Railway, and freight trains still move up and down the line.
The depot was rehabbed ca. 2011 and it’s now the home of Top Floor Business Computer Solutions and chrismorse.net – Computer Sales and Service. New tech in a 128 year old building!
I did find an article dated 10/25/18 that was all about plans to build a new passenger rail platform across the tracks from the old depot. The Vermont Agency of Transportation will design and build the new platform in anticipation of an expanded Ethan Allen Express train route that Amtrak is planning to operate along Vermont’s western rail corridor beginning in 2021 or 2022. Currently, the Ethan Allen operates from New York City to Rutland. This plan would extend the route to Burlington VT.
Upon arrival in the downtown Middlebury, we found a parking space at the bottom of the hill below the main street that runs through the central business district. I took this photo looking back at the parking lot. I have no idea what that old building’s history is but that clapboard siding and huge stone foundation combine to create an eye-catching structure.
This is the Frog Hollow Stone Mill and it’s located at 3 Mill Street on the banks of Otter Creek. It was built in 1840 and it’s a historic reminder of the town’s industrial past. Industrial use of the mill site began in 1789 when a grist mill was built here. Later it was converted to cotton textile production and then, in 1835, the Middlebury Manufacturing Company occupied the space.
This striking sculpture of an Elk dominated the grounds on one side of Frog Hollow Stone Mill. Part of the old mill is occupied by M Gallery. Its stated goal is to aid the professional development of artistically inclined students at Middlebury College. The gallery maintains rotating exhibits of art work from a plethora of mediums. Performing arts productions, lectures and other activities relevant to Middlebury’s arts culture are also held here.
However, since we visited Middlebury, things have changed. Middlebury College, the owner of Frog Hollow Stone Mill, has agreed to sell it to a local company for $500,000. If a deal is made, the new company plans to redevelop the building into “a new daily destination for the greater Middlebury community”. The college had owned the building for more than a decade.
The first photo is an upstream view of Otter Creek from next to Frog Hollow Mill. Note the pedestrian bridge. The second photo is a downstream look at the ‘creek’. By my standards this is a river…its too dang big to just be a ‘creek’. In any case, this is a pretty place, that’s for sure.
Otter Creek is about 112 miles long and it is the primary stream running through both Rutland and Addison Counties. It is one of the largest streams in the State. Because it’s called a ‘creek’, an unusual situation exists, with several rivers emptying into a creek several times along its length.
Laurie and I loved this beautiful Cedar Waxwing who posed for us on the rocks along the banks of Otter Creek.
Before we ventured into The Storm Café, our restaurant of choice for lunch, I took this photo of diners having lunch on the deck alongside Otter Creek. Looks like a popular venue…and it was past the lunch hour too.
Indoor dining wasn’t too popular on this beautiful sunny day!
For my beverage, I chose a Blueberry Lemonade. ($4.00) It just didn’t work for me but my palate isn’t too adventurous either. Laurie ordered a Sangria and thought that it was pretty good. I thought that $10.00 for Sangria was a bit much…
For my lunch, I made an exception to my norm…no meat! Instead, I continued with the blueberry theme, ordering the tall stack (3 pieces) of Challah French Toast with Vermont Maple Syrup plus blueberries. ($12.00) It was a tasty lunch if a little pricey…
Laurie ordered from The Light Lunch options. This was Combo III, a half sandwich and a cup of soup. ($11.00) For her soup she chose Potato and her half sandwich was The Dude. It consisted of North Country apple wood smoked bacon, Vermont sharp cheddar cheese, baby spinach and local tomato on toasted ciabatta bread with a zesty chipotle ranch aioli. She was very happy with her meal!
After lunch we began exploring a bit. This is a view from the nearby footbridge over Otter Creek. It shows Frog Hollow Stone Mill and The Storm Café’s outdoor patio dining area where we ate.
Apparently, The Storm Café has been in its space for quite some time. That may change soon so check ahead if you’d like to dine here. As per the owners of the café, as of late last fall, they’ve been unable to extend their lease…
The Storm Café is at 3 Mill Street in Middlebury Vermont. Phone: 802-388-1063. Their website is at http://www.thestormcafe.com/.
“Our” Cedar Waxwing decided to fly up and pose for me along the railing of the pedestrian bridge over Otter Creek. These birds are native to North and Central America, breeding in open wooded areas in southern Canada and wintering in the southern USA as well as parts of Central America and South America. They do live year around in parts of the center of the USA.
Cedar Waxwings eat cedar cones, fruit and insects. This is one bird that isn’t endangered. Their populations are increasing because fields are growing back into forests and shrub lands and a number of fruiting trees are being planted as landscaping.
This is Middlebury Falls as viewed from the pedestrian bridge shown in an earlier view of Otter Creek. The Falls are an 18 foot sheer drop just below the VT Hwy. 125 Bridge (built in 1903) in downtown Middlebury. Note the local fishing at the right of the photo. He caught something too!
Next we wandered up into the center of town to see what we could see…but that’s another story.
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for a visit!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave