Outdoor activities with a healthy dose of curiosity, brought to you by Laure Latham
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I was dreaming of a white Christmas. And a white Christmas I got. All the members of my family (eleven of us) were meeting half way through between France and the West Coast. Stowe was our place of choice. Stowe, Vermont, is a early settlers New England village tucked away in the mountains near Mt Mansfield. Average December temperatures are way below freezing level and our hopes for snowfalls were high. Naturally we were supposed to get there by plane but snow storms closed off all the North East coast airports right after we met at Washington Dulles. So from Washington D.C. we drove to Stowe overnight. Thirteen sleep-deprived hours later, we finally made it to our rental house and unpacked.
Among the highlights of our Stowe stay, we went on a candlelit ghost walking tour by Stowe Lantern Tours to hear about local ghosts Emily and Boots Berry. The tales of local deceased haunting the presents tickled our curiosity, though the walking tour by 14 degrees (Farenheit!) outside froze our toes and had us rush to the Green Mountain Inn to hear more about the ghosts.
Berry Boots was an employee at the Green Mountain Inn. He worked there as a young lad, became a local hero after he averted a horse-stomping tragedy, became an alcoholic, was kicked out of the inn and toured the states. After a jail period in New Orleans, he came back to Stowe. Eventually the Green Mountain Inn employed him again.
One December night an eight-year old girl looked out the window of her bedroom at the Green Mountain Inn. She opened the window and set her dollie on the window sill. The dollie was blown away by the wind. Picture that. It’s December. Snow falling. Freezing temperatures. The little girl decides to venture out on the steep slanted roof to fetch her doll. Slippery as it is, she starts to slide and screams. Boots Berry is lodging next door. He hears the screams. Boots gets out on the roof, saves the little girl and falls to his death. The ghost of Boots Berry haunts that portion of Main Street and has been related to trees falling, steps in the inn, bedside table items moving places, tap dancing sounds and faucets turning on at night. Boo.
Emily is a romantic tragic figure who could well be part of Nick Cave’s Murder Ballads. A sixteen year old girl is in love with a boy. Her family disapproves. One night she dies at the site of a covered bridge. Both her burial site and the covered bridge are said to be haunted to this day: hand prints, ghastly shapes on photos, visitors getting locked in their cars.
Spooky New England, who could have guessed from a white Christmas dream?