We missed the Strolling of the Heifers, a yearly event here in Brattelboro, Vermont, and by all accounts Vermont’s answer to Spain’s frenetic running of the bulls.
And a much preferred, more gentle event.
But we didn’t miss the contra dancing at Pierce’s Hall, tiny hall in a brick building unchanged since it was built early 1800’s
It was off a dirt road, dusty and remote. There was an obscure but lovely waterfall and an outhouse for a bathroom..
The dozen or so folks that came to listen to the fiddlers and dance the caller’s steps were mostly long time neighbors.
This was authentic rural community life, as real and as fun and friendly as it gets: foot stomping, family oriented with no alcohol. Just country dancing, great music and home made quiches.
Chesterfield Inn just down the road, and our home base, is barely over the Vermont border in Chesterfield, New Hampshire.
It’s an inn born of the spirit of the region.
Like so many things around here, this very family friendly inn is unpretentious with huge swaths of deep green fields to run and play in, stretching from the inn’s lazy porches.
The common rooms are big with none of the preciousness some New England inns have. There’s nothing that would have families hushing their kids, praying they won’t knock something over.
That’s not to say the place is carelessly put together.
Innkeepers and owners, Judy and Phil Hueber, have designed and decorated the inn and its rooms carefully, with touches of class that don’t compromise the informality and friendliness.
Chesterfield Inn is one of the ten historic, some romantic, inns that make up the Distinctive Inns of New England.
The 15 room Chesterfield is quite pet friendly. Dogs and of course cats are welcomed, and the broad, sweeping fields are a canine’s (and kids’) delight.
Dining at Chesterfield is probably too formal for most families, but there are plenty of options nearby.
Breakfasts (included) are impressive. There are juices, muffins, eggs of all kinds, side dishes and two or three specials each morning
Brattleboro, Vermont, is about ten minutes away, and there’s always something happening there from Morris Dancers to crafts’ fairs and fun farmers’ markets.
It’s a “crunchy” town, a good, honest place for family fun and adventure.
Chesterfield Inn has WiFi throughout, complimentary tea and cookies every afternoon with access to hiking, cycling, and if you luck out, as we did, contra dancing.
The inn is a good beginning to a family New England travel experience.