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Our Town

Bradford, Vermont 05033

Bradford, VT is a town of 2,600, located on the eastern edge of theTown state, mid-way between St. Johnsbury and White River Junction, VT / Hanover, NH, the home of Dartmouth College. Bradford is part of the Vermont and New Hampshire region known colloquially as the Connecticut River's “Upper Valley”. Bradford is also part of the "Cohase" region - a native american Abenaki word referring to the broad meadows created by the many oxbows in the river.

Bradford is the commercial center for several surrounding small communities such as Corinth, VT and Piermont, NH, and the town economy is still primarily based on retail and service businesses. Many of the surrounding towns have become centers of artistic and craft activity. There are many locally owned restaurants, and the local industry includes engineering, veneer production, and furniture manufacture, as well as several large dairy operations in town. Bradford was recently designated a “Preserve America” community by the National Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.

Village Shops

Downtown Bradford is a compact collection of almost exclusively locally-owned retail shops occupying buildings that have been in place for more than 100 years. Shops and restaurants we enjoy (all within a block or two of us) include:

  • Bliss Village Store - a classic country store and good deli (Facebook Page)
  • Star Cat Books - large selection of used books
  • The Local Buzz - right next door, great coffee & local foods (Facebook Page)
  • Copeland Furniture Factory Store - locally made fine furniture
  • Colatina Exit - in another of the "old timer" buildings, delicious Italian food, great deserts!
  • Chan’s House - wonderful Chinese food
  • Subway - good for a light meal
  • Alexander's - a wonderful restaurant in the old Mill building, Lebanese offerings, great deserts!

 

Parks and Activities

Belly full and shopping finished? Bradford offers many places to visit and things to do both downtown and in the surrounding area.

 At the foot of Wait's River Falls, Boch Park is popular for taking pictures. In the summertime, you can hear local music groups play at the Gazebo in Denny Park at the north end of downtown. A block further north along Rte 5 behind the old Bradford Academy (now the municipal offices and locally known as the "BA"), you can find Memorial Field and Bugbee Landing, great places for a stroll along the Waits River or access to launching small boats on the river itself. The Bradford Golf Club's entrance is behind the BA as well. Elizabeth's Park has an absolutely wonderful playground including a grand wooden castle. You can find it about a half mile up North Main then left for a half mile on Fairgrounds Road.

 Out of the center of town is the Bradford Town Forest just up Goshen Road, with several hiking trails. West on Route 25 to Wright’s Mountain Road takes one to the Wrights Mountain / Devils Den conservation area, with many miles of maintained hiking trails, including caves and mountain-top overlooks.

History

Located at the junction of the Waits and Connecticut Rivers, Bradford was first settled in 1765. It was chartered by the state of Vermont in 1788. Originally called Mooretown, the Vermont General Assembly later changed the town's name to Bradford in honor of Governor William Bradford of the Massachusetts Bay colony when Vermont became the 14th state of the United States in 1791.

Bradford was the home of James Wilson, first globe-map maker on the North American continent (1810), Roswell Farnham, governor of Vermont (1880-82), Admiral Charles Clark, active in both the Civil War and the Spanish American War, and General Ernest Harmon, WWII commander.

Architecture

Many buildings in the town center are on the National Historic Register. The Bradford Mill is located just below the Falls on the Waits. Built in 1847 as a grist mill, today it houses several businesses. The Bradford Public Library nearby was the first public library chartered in Vermont. Its Richardsonian Roman-esque building was designed in 1895 by Vermont architect Lambert Packard. Another Richardsonian building, the Bradford Academy (“BA”), was built in 1893-94, served as Bradford's secondary school until 1971, and is now home to Bradford’s municipal offices, the Historical Society, the local Journal-Opinion newspaper, and the studio of well-known artist Bert Dodson.

The four frame structures on the east side of the Main Street commercial block (this includes us) were all constructed in the mid-1800’s, and are the only survivors of what was once a solid row of similar buildings, most destroyed in fires in the mid-1900’s. Across the street, three brick commercial buildings, all constructed in the 1890’s, form a nearly uniform Victorian façade. Of these, the Bank Building is noteworthy for its three-story, copper-clad turret.

The village residential area is very walkable from our store, and contains many fine examples of Federal, Greek Revival and Victorian architecture with a Vermont flavor. The Congregational and Methodist churches are both classic white-steepled New England houses of worship and face each other across North Main Street.