Retreat Trails, Brattleboro

Posted By on September 16, 2017

Retreat Trails, Brattleboro

7.17 miles; Brattleboro, VT

The hubs and I took a short, 2-night trip up to Brattleboro, Vermont, to do some recreating and eat at our favorite restaurant, TJ Buckley’s. The B&B we stayed in, 1868 Crosby House, backed onto a big property called The Retreat Farm, and it had 9 miles of hiking trails. Sold! I saw some pretty cool stuff, bought some cheese, and climbed UP a 90-meter ski jump.

Morning Fog from the Top of the Ski Jump

The first amazing sight was the Vermont hills shrouded in morning fog from atop the Harris Hill Ski Jump, which was at the end of the Lower Woodland Trail from our B&B. It was beautiful. And this is not the last you will be hearing about the ski jump.



Slugs and Puffballs


Slime Mold (I Think)

Amazing sight #2, there were so many mushrooms! I mean, so many different kinds. I did come across a few varieties that I knew to be edible, like golden chanterelles and puffballs, but decided to leave them in place. And did you know that slime molds have a kind of rudimentary intelligence? Seriously.

Enormous Hayfield

Because I’m that person, I decided to get as much mileage as possible out of this hike, so I went all the way to the northern terminus of the trailhead. I’m very glad I did, as the very end of the trail circles around an enormous hayfield, and as I hiked I counted probably a dozen Monarch butterflies, which made me very happy. I wish there were more, but I’ll take what I can get. Sorry that I’m not a skilled enough photographer to get photos of the butterflies.

Stone Tower

After returning down the trail I decided to visit the Retreat Farm. I had been told there was a cheese shop. Like, you were so NOT going to stop me visiting the Retreat Farm after I heard that. The Grafton Village Cheese shop was, dare I say, orgasmic. They were holding a cheese tasting, so every variety sold was set out on little trays with toothpicks for sampling. There is a long gap in my trail history at this point. You will see lots of circling around. Can’t miss it. I tried a bunch of stuff and it was all wonderful, but I came away with a piece of the clothbound cheddar. Amazing finish!

Enough said about cheese (but really, can there ever be enough said about cheese?). I finally tore myself away from the trays filled with tiny cheese samples and continued my hike. I really wanted to see the trails on the other side of the Retreat property (see map, link below), which included a stone tower that was built by people who were staying at what was at the time an asylum, built in 1888. It was quite spectacular. Unfortunately, it was also quite locked up. Sorry, no view from the top.


I meandered a bit more around the trails on this side, where I saw this nifty little painting of woods on wood, but finally figured that it was about time to head back to the inn and get changed for dinner. I brilliantly chose to get back to the main trail system by going up the ski jump. Yeah, that’s what I said. I climbed UP the ski jump. Not literally, there were stairs… but still, so. many. stairs.

Up there. I climbed up there.

It doesn’t look too bad from the photo, does it? Trust me, it’s really a TON of stairs. There are many more flights of stairs than pictured. It occurred to me that I could have a heart attack. But no, I survived.

You can find out more about the Retreat Farm from their website, link above, and trail map here. As always, click on the image, above, for details about this section and to download the GPS track.


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