I was headed to Vermont, a state I’ve been infatuated with since I was a kid. I’ve visited many times and never seem to get enough of The Green Mountain State. I love the towns with their white steeples, the farms with their maple syrup stands, the rivers with their covered bridges, and the Green Mountains with their hiking trails. Route 100 might be the best road in the US to drive, at least it was on the afternoon I drove it. The lilacs were in full bloom and their fragrance filled my car from the moment I crossed the border. I wandered the road for a couple of hours but did diverge to stop in Arlington to pass by the Robert Frost home and the home of children’s author Dorothy Canfield Fisher.
I drove through Middlebury and Rutland, the birthplace of John Deere as I made my way to Jericho and the Old Mill where the Jericho Historical Society had an exhibit on Wilson A. Bentley. “Snowflake” Bentley, a farmer, spent his entire life in Jericho, devoted to the study of snow, frost and rain. Using a camera-microscope apparatus that he built, he took more than 5,000 photomicrographs of snowflakes. This self-educated man argued that no two snowflakes were alike and had works published in National Geographic, Nature, and Scientific American. I first learned about Bentley in 1999 when the Caldecott Medal was awarded to the illustrator Mary Azarian for the book “Snowflake Bentley”. That particular year my good friend, JJ and I were reading Caldecott award books to our third-graders’ class during library time. The book fascinated us both; this Vermont farmer capturing and photographing individual snowflakes throughout the cold winter the whole of his life. When I learned that Jericho had an exhibit to their native son, I was anxious to see it. There were two rooms dedicated to Bentley that included his unique camera, several letters, and many photomicrographs. There was a short film of him taking pictures that had been done in 1925. Jericho was off the beaten path, but well-worth my effort and Vermont as in my previous visits, exceeded expectations.