The eleventh of fifty fictional places to visit in Vermont you won’t find in any travel guide, because even the locals don’t know they don’t exist.
Get Lost in Vermont – Vermont General Store Portal
Every once in awhile, there’s a story about a general store going out of business around Vermont. The kind of place with uneven floors, and good coffee. These stores carry only a few dozen items but somehow has everything you’ll need. They’re often in the states smallest towns and when they threaten to close it’s a big deal.
Pay attention to what happens next. Despite being on the brink of closing, the stores seldom do; someone or something almost always saves the day.
It got me to wondering. What’s so important with these old dusty stores that they can never close? I investigated. Deep in the Green Mountains, I found a shop that had been saved three times over the last decade; a general store, with Rockwell charm and fresh maple donuts.
Inside, I avoided being noticed, not easy in a place with three employees to every customer. I felt the eyes following me when I slowly moved to the back of the store. When a family of campers swarmed in, I moved quickly. In the back of the store, I found three doors. One leads to a poorly lit bathroom. It was clean and decorated like Grandma’s.
The second door was a closet with cleaning supplies and holiday displays stored for Christmas. The last door was marked employees only. Unlike the other rooms, the third door made from dense wood and held closed with a combination lock.
I had to get in there and fast. With the lock in my hands, I had one or two chances to open it before being noticed. Fortunately for Vermont pride, I nailed it the first time – 8-0-2. I slid the lock off the door and shimmied in.
I found myself in an earthen room, walls, and floor made of dirt. The room defied logic as it was larger than the store itself. Scattered in all directions were a dozen wooden doors. Above the door written on signs were the names of other small towns around Vermont. I was close to discovering the mystery of the Vermont General Store.
I opened the door marked Ripton as quietly as the old door would allow. I peeked my head in. Unexpectedly I was looking in a similar earthen room. I entered and then moved quickly to a door marked – Store.
When I opened that door, I was looking at a different General Store. This one is an hour’s drive from the first. I saw two men dressed in Civil War uniforms shopping for snacks. It’s a time machine, I whispered.
Except it wasn’t. I walked into the store and figured out immediately it was just two guys dressed for a reenactment. I wandered through the store and out the front door. I was indeed in Ripton. I took twenty steps and moved twenty miles.
I discovered the Vermont General Store Portal. A way to travel around Vermont unknown to us flatlanders, most locals, and physics. The portal is a way to move around Vermont instantly, a network of 10 stores built over wormholes. It’s the best way to get around the Green Mountain State, especially during those cold snowy winters.
If you do try them, don’t make the mistake I did and forget where you parked the car. It’s a long walk.