Charles Kuralt's America for October in Woodstock, Vermont:
You could argue that Vermont is democracy's natural home, but it wasn't always. There is a maverick tradition that goes back to the Founding Maverick, Ethan Allen. For fourteen years after the Declaration of Independence, Vermont was a sovereign republic. Some residents favored union with New York, some with New Hampshire.
This wishy-washy state of affairs didn't sit well with Ethan Allen and his private band of armed bullies, the Green Mountain Boys. They hadn't fought the British for New York or New Hampshire. They demanded that Vermont remain Vermont, and they saw to it by intimidation and violence. Allen rode into one secessionist town and blustered, "I, Ethan Allen, do declare that I will give no quarter to the man, woman, or child who shall oppose me. Unless the inhabitants of Guilford peacefully submit to the authority of Vermont, I swear that I will lay it as desolate as Sodom and Gomorrah, by God!" In 1791, not without misgivings, Congress invited Vermont to enter the union with its own name and borders. There is still a little of the independent republic about the place.
Woodstock, which I made the center of my October wanderings, is one of America's ten prettiest villages. (The other nine are also in Vermont, probably.) Woodstock's green was laid out in the 1790s, and the handsome federal houses that face it were built at about the same time, but in the preservation of the village to the present day can be detected the fine hand of Laurance S. Rockefeller.
I have never met him, not being one who moves in such circles, but I have driven on the Palisades Parkway along the Hudson River, and gone hiking in Acadia National Park in Maine, and sailed to St. John in the Virgin Islands, and appreciated the wildlife on the range in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. These, among many other places, were saved by Laurance S. Rockefeller. When he looks around, he must be happy with the way he has spent his money.
Tags: Charles Kuralt, America