A human town crier was fine in the colonial days, but this modern replacement in Woodstock, Vermont is a lot more convenient — and doesn’t require a salary or benefits, either. It announces the time, tells the temperature for the weather-obsessed among us, and allows everyone to announce their upcoming events.
Every town should have one.
At the recommendation of the Retired Wolverine Kish and I have stopped for lunch in Woodstock, Vermont — a pretty colonial-era town with a nice, grassy village green. It’s a testament to the solitude of the last few days that this town and its two-lane traffic seems like a teeming metropolis by comparison. The fact that a steel drum band is getting ready to play probably has something to do with that perception.
Our cottage at Rockywold-Deephaven Family Camp — like every other cottage here — lacks a refrigerator.
Instead of the large, humming, ice-making and food-chilling machine found in all of our kitchens, we have an old-fashioned, noiseless icebox. It’s a green wooden piece of furniture with a snug, metal-lined compartment where blocks of ice are placed. The ice is used strictly for cooling, not consumption. The cold radiating from the ice and metal keeps the other contents of the icebox, like Kish’s bottle of diet root beer, chilled.
The ice is made with lake water and comes from the Deephaven Ice House. Every morning male staffers use huge metal tongs to haul blocks of ice out of the ice house and put it in green wheelbarrows, then they hustle from cottage to cottage to replenish the ice in each icebox. It looks like quite a workout. Our iceman who cometh is named Peter, a pleasant young man from the Czech Republic who has worked at the camp for three summers and is looking forward to a fourth next year.
The dining room at Rockywold-Deephaven provides three meals a day, so you really don’t need a big, bulky refrigerator clogging up your cottage space or making noise that interferes with enjoyment of the morning solitude — and it’s kind of nice to live in an appliance-free zone for a while. It’s one of the distinctive touches of this remarkable and very enjoyable place.
Another day dawns over Squam Lake, and there is absolute silence as the sun rises. It is so quiet that the sound of stones crunching underfoot seems to echo to the ends of the earth.
Every city dweller should make a trip to a place like this to learn and appreciate the meaning of quiet.