I am a native Vermonter raised on a diary farm in Rutland Town until I was 13. For entertainment, I had my 5 brothers, sister, our dog (a boarder collie/shepard mix), numerous cats, 120 head of dairy cattle and 300 acres. I would wake up in the morning and could literally see cows looking in my window. I have only in recent years come to realize just how much living on a Vermont farm influenced my appreciation for the beautiful scenery we are blessed to have all around us in the Green Mountains.
One of my favorite memories growing up is that of climbing to the top of the hill behind my home. While the elevation was probably only 200 feet higher then the main road below, the view of the valley, with the Otter Creek running through it, just seemed more special. I had imagined this was what it was like to be in a high-rise building.
In my high school and college years I would travel the back roads on my motorcycle. The advantage of traveling back roads by motorcycle is that you don’t have to worry about going down a road and getting stuck where you can’t turn around. While you can tell when to turn around on most roads, there are some roads that, depending on the time of year, may have been passable the month before but due to recent weather are now impassable.
A couple of years ago I was heading back to Rutland, Vermont after skiing at Okemo with a friend of mine. Bill is 65, lives in the Washington DC area and has been coming to Vermont for the past 25 years. He comes here at the end of each November and stays until the skiing season wanes down around the middle of April.
I took some short cuts through a couple of the mountainous towns between Ludlow and Rutland. As we drove up the hillside we passed by many elevated roads that possessed amazing views. Bill commented that he had never been on these roads before. In that instant I had the thought: “If this guy has been coming to Vermont for a quarter century and never traveled these scenic roads, what about the occasional visitor to the area? Do other travelers miss out experiencing these unique country views that you don’t see staying on the main roadways?”
It was at that time I began to think of a motor tour that would allow me to share the hidden vistas of the Rutland region. I envisioned tours that would introduce visitors to 200-year-old farms, hidden lakes and valleys between mountain ranges, and roads that may not have changed much since the advent of motorized travel.
The mission of Vermont Backroad Tours is to take visitors to Vermont on roads they might never have traveled. Most of these roads are marked on road maps as 2nd or 3rd class roads. These are the roads that a typical tour bus cannot travel because of weight restrictions. These are side roads, paved and unpaved, that may not list any ‘official’ tourist attractions. However, once you venture down these roads you discover the real tourist attractions Vermont has to offer. Go to the tour list to get a greater understanding of what awaits your next visit to Vermont when you take a couple of hours to experience the Vermont Backroad Tour adventure.
Kelly M. Socia