Thursday, October 8, 2009


I grew up just outside the small, and perfectly formed town of Weston, Vermont. Here is where you will find the original Vermont Country Store, owned by the Orton Family. They are specialists in the niche market of being "Purveyors of the Practical and Hard-To-Find". From kitchen gadgets, toys and hardware, to clothing, lotions and potions, the store holds thousands of vintage classics. More than that, it is a perfect example of the tradition of Country Stores in New England. With creaky wooden floorboards, antiques and curiosities hanging from the rafters and the most passionate and informed apron-clad staff, you could spend all day soaking up the spirit of this place.

Vrest and Ellen Orton opened The Vermont Country Store in 1946. Vrest had his roots in the traditional Country store, his father having owned the Orton General Store in Calais, Vermont from 1897. The Vermont Country Store is the first restored and fully operational country store in America, and is a jewel in the landscape of Vermont. Lyman Orton and his three sons are experts at discovering forgotten items and reintroducing them to the market. Their mail order catalogue "The Voice of The Mountains" is still a black and white publication that evokes the era of the products it showcases.

Since I was little, my favourite place in the store is the Candy section, naturally. The apothecary jars filled with many coloured classic hard candies, assorted licorice and chocolate of every kind, are just too enticing to pass by. I prefer to use the paper bags with pencils to tally up my goodies, but you can always just weigh out your picks.

My top tip is the pastel melty mints, kind of mint chocolate but in delicious shades of pink, green and yellow. Yum!

The Apothecary is a treasure trove of long forgotten tinctures, soaps and cosmetics given a new lease of life and introduced to new generations!

Interior images from Facebook

The Vermont Alliance of Independent Country Stores is a vibrant membership list of the best examples of this form of retail. If you are in our neck of the woods (Southern Vermont), make sure you stop by in Weston, and at the H.N.Williams General Store in Dorset to see the very best in the business. For further reading on the history of the Country store, start here, and here.


  1. awesome helgs. where is the pic of you and ben round the stove?

  2. I know, I thought that, can't find it. Listen to the bit in Lyman's piece about the stove, the station jewel! Brilliant. Thought I should have a stove in my gaff, like in the Hapgood Store too...

  3. Hello there! So pleased and flattered that you still enjoy visiting the store as much as we love running it. Thanks for posting the kind thoughts. Ran into your dad at the Peru Fair and we had a wonderful chat. Hope you are well and would enjoy a chance to catch up someday! -Cabot

  4. Thanks so much Cabot, it's a pleasure to have you stop by! Can't wait to see what you guys have been up to when I get back. Dad sad he bumped into you and would love to get a chance to catch up when I am back from November. I love the little image montages you have done, I think they perfectly reflect the spirit of the Store.
    I will have some spare time on my hands for a while until January so will get in touch soon.


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