And as evidence of White River Junction's efforts, the village recently earned a distinctive seal of approval when named one of the ten “coolest” small towns in the U.S. by Budget Travel.
White River Junction, once a thriving railroad town, has successfully re-purposed many of downtown's fine buildings. Northern Stage Theatre operates to rave reviews in the 1890s Briggs Opera House. Tip Top Media and Arts Building, a former industrial bakery, is home to more than 30 artists, movement studios and small media businesses. Over in what was once the Colodny Surprise Department Store, The Center for Cartoon Studies teaches programs in comic art and graphic novels, and hosts exhibits of internationally famous cartoonists. This impressive range of creativity is open for all to experience at any of the monthly first Friday art walks.
Dining, lodging and shopping are downtown too. You’ll find such shops as Revolution that specializes in independent designers and vintage clothing. Among the cafes and restaurants is the upscale dinner spot, Elixir, in a renovated 1889 railroad freight house.
The freight house and train station once saw as many as 50 trains a day. Today the renovated historic train station is still operating and passengers travel daily to and from New York City’s Penn Station with stops in southern Vermont, Massachussetts and Connecticut along the way. The train station information center also offers extensive travel information about the region.
Numerous events keep the town lively, including White River Indie Films, Glory Days of the Railroad festival, and the “Gory Daze” a Halloween Parade and Ball. In summertime be sure to paddle or float the town's two rivers: Take in the surprising and eclectic collections at the Main Street Museum, then head next door to rent from Northstar Canoe and Kayak.
For more information: www.whiteriverjunction.org , www.ctrivertravel.net/white-river.htm , www.hartfordvtchamber.com/ , www.hartfordvermont.org and www.hartford-vt.org .