Earlier this summer, we had the opportunity to travel to Vermont for the very first time. One of the days of our trip that stands out in my mind is the day we spent visiting beautiful Barre, Vermont. Pronounced “Barry” by the locals, the town is just large enough to have a few neat stores and restaurants without feeling like a city.
One of my favorite things about Barre was its old churches. Several of them were congregated (get it?) around a little square at one end of town. The one pictured at the top of this post struck me as particularly pretty with its white wood siding and its tall white bell tower.
Another thing I liked about Barre was its public art. The pieces I saw were all made of granite, presumably in a nod to the area’s long history of granite mining. One piece of the town’s public art was a whimsical bike rack, and another was a surprisingly comfortable granite armchair.
The most fun piece of public art in Barre was this 68-foot-long zipper planter. The piece, called “Unzipping the Earth,” was created by sculptor Chris Miller, and it was recognized in the Vermont Public Places Awards. It was such a fun piece of public art that really challenged you to see the Earth from a different perspective. I just loved it!
Barre’s historic downtown is just a few blocks long, but it’s filled with churches, a museum, an arts center, flowers, art, and businesses. There’s even a bar and grill downtown that’s in a converted firehouse, brass pole and all.
I appreciated Barre’s pretty downtown while we were there, but had no idea how long and hard the community had worked to built the pretty downtown until I researched the town for this blog post. Barre spent 25 year working on a renovation project for its downtown, and that project was only been completed about a year before our visit.
“The finished product replaced century-old water and sewer lines, buried power links and reconstructed the street and sidewalks from the Route 62 intersection all the way to City Hall Park,” according to Studio Place Arts.
When the functional renovations were finished, the town cleaned up sidewalks, adding both safety features (like make pedestrians at crosswalks more visible to drivers) and aesthetic ones, like the public art I described and pretty rod-iron street lamps.
As a first-timer visiting beautiful Barre, Vermont, I left with a little imprint on my heart from this pretty old town. If you ever find yourself in the area, you should definitely carve out a few minutes to stroll down this diligently and beautifully renovated historic downtown’s streets.