Monday, September 28, 2009

Country Store, Vermont-Style!

Article and photo (of Bailey's and Burke country store) by Eric H.

Bookmark and ShareEveryone loves a good New England country store with the exception of those who don't love a good New England country store.

Not exactly a statement of Mark Twain-caliber there (more like Yogi Berra, perhaps), but the reality is that many country stores remain quite popular in an otherwise modern, "superstore" retail generation. Most people we know especially love going to country stores in Vermont, with the fall being the most popular time to visit these "trip-back-in-time" destinations -- given the accompanying fall foliage colors, community events, a little apple cider and that unmistakable great-smelling autumn mountain air. Yes, some people would rather go to the shopping mall for convenience and love of the modern retail trend of the week, but we believe most New Englanders embrace a country store as part of a New England way of life. It is just part of our traditional fabric.

In Vermont, the Vermont Country Store in Weston, Vt., stands out, arguably, as the most popular country store in the state (and probably New england) with its rustic, rural presence and "everything but the kitchen sink" variety of merchandise. The Vermont Country Store is best known as the "Purveyors of the Practical & Hard to Find" with thousands of items that you'd thought you'd never see again -- that could mean anything from a manual typewriter to Lifebuoy soap! It's a great experience, one that could take up the better part of a morning or afternoon.

Country store life in Vermont does not end at the Vermont Country Store, however. We particularly like Bailey's and Burke in the high and lonesome Northeast Kingdom town of East Burke. Another quintessential country store, Bailey's and Burke carries a lower profile but with no less the charm and character of the best Vermont country stores with two stories of delightful "nooks and crannies." Built in 1897, the look and feel of an old country store resonates at Bailey's and Burke with each step on the creaky, narrow hardwood floorboard. Downstairs, you'll find fresh baked breads and pastries, Vermont specialty foods, homemade pizza, deli sandwiches, homemade fudge, more than 40 varieties of bulk candies, and a very unique wine cellar. Upstairs, you'll come across casual clothing, Vermont crafts, baskets, country linens, kitchen treasures, pottery and Christmas inspirations. Lending authenticity to the store is the work of many Vermont artisan's handcrafts for sale.

Of course, all of Bailey's and Burke indoor country store glory would be no good if it was located in a crummy-looking town. East Burke, on the other hand, is scenic, quaint,small-town in nature, and with beautiful views nearly right outside its doorstep with Burke Mountain and other Northeast Kingdom vistas (along with nearby beautiful Lake Willoughby). Why, you'll feel like you're in Vermont! Once again, not exactly a Mark Twain-caliber statement of wisdom, but you get the picture, and it's a beautiful one -- Vermont/New England country store-style!

Bailey's & Burke
466 Route 114
East Burke, VT 05832
Tel. (802) 626-9250

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