Coming home to Colchester colors

By Inge Schaefer

Every time I think the foliage is prettier elsewhere, I find myself turning around and coming home through beautiful Colchester. In my neighborhood alone, across from Airport Park, there are single trees that are just spectacular, as must be the case in your neighborhood as well. Take the one in front of my neighbor Pat Brennan’s house — a big old maple whose burnt orange leaves slowly turn a pastel yellow before falling, right about now.

In my yard, there are some younger soft red/orange maples, but there is something about a big old tree that is breathtaking. Anyway, before traveling all over the countryside, try driving down East Road, or even Holy Cross Road, or Lakeshore Drive (on the west end, you’ll see two red maples that frame the entrance to the Malletts Bay Congregational Church that are just now coming into full color). Take a stroll around Colchester Pond off Depot Road, on the path that circumvents the pond, or walk out on the causeway. Granted, there are not a whole lot of maples there, but when is the causeway not a gorgeous place to be? You get the picture – enjoy Colchester in the fall (or anytime)

If you are a senior (62 years old or older) or a veteran, consider buying a discounted Green Mountain Passport at the Town Clerk’s office. It allows you FREE admission to Vermont State Parks (overnight camping and other park fees are excluded), Vermont State Historic Sites and events that are fully state sponsored. I mention this because Niquette Bay State Park down Raymond Road in the Clay Point area of town, is one of the parks that you will be able to access free when you buy this pass. And, the best part: The discounted passport fee is just $2! Can you imagine?

Another neighbor, Donna Quinlan, hikes the trails over there at least two or three times a week — that’s how much she loves that park. Have you been there yet? It really is pretty and all the trails bring you right down to Lake Champlain. They vary in degree of difficulty (rougher terrain or a steeper grade) but there is the gentle half-mile Allen Trail that most everyone can tackle. There’s also the more challenging Ledge Trail (the word ledge gives you a clue) and a couple in between. A complete loop is 3.5 miles, a manageable distance especially given the reward at the end: a pretty view of Malletts Bay. For more information on the passport, stop in or call the Clerk’s Office.

The Park offers predominately forested land, but also sheer cliffs of dolmitic limestone, a brook, a flat sandy terrace, rocky areas and the lovely sandy shoreline. The State of Vermont purchased the 553-acre parcel in 1975. It’s pet friendly, so Jack and I have been there on occasion for a little jaunt during the cooler days this summer and now, of course. Walking on fallen leaves also has its own magic, don’t you think? See you on the trail.

If you are reading this on Thursday and are unaware of what will be going on tomorrow, Friday night, read on because you are in luck! Forget cooking at home or spending big-time in a restaurant to celebrate the end of the work week, come instead to the Wellness Fair and Harvest Dinner at the high school. To kick things off, there will be live music beginning at 4:30 p.m., followed by the Harvest Dinner, which is guaranteed to be fresh, healthy, nutritious AND delicious, so you can’t beat that. Oh, but yes, you can – it is all free – including a Marionette Show (by No Strings Marionette Company) that begins at 6 p.m. Can this be? Well, now that you ask, the Colchester Community Wellness folks who are sponsoring this event (they include the Lions Club, Fletcher Allen Health Care, Shaw’s, Rotary, and local wellness professionals), do ask that you bring non-perishable food and used eye wear as a donation. Now that’s not asking too much, wouldn’t you agree? It sounds like a great deal. See you there!

The Colchester Historical Society just took a field trip to Hildene in Manchester on Oct. 13, which was lovely. As you know, Hildene was the home of Robert Todd Lincoln, the only child of Abraham and Mary Todd to survive to adulthood. He built Hildene in 1905 and it would house Lincoln descendants until 1975. If you are a history buff (or even if you are not, but just like to learn), you should think of joining the town historical society. Their Monday night speaker meeting next month features Jerry Fox, who will be speaking on Nov. 10, on “Suzie Wilson: Her Life and Her Myth.” You’ve probably driven on Suzie Wilson Road a thousand times — now you can learn why a road is named after her. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Parsonage (next to the Town Meeting House and Burnham Library) on Main Street, and refreshments are served. The society’s holiday party on Dec. 15 will feature our CHS Chamber Choir in concert in the Red Brick Church (the United Church of Colchester) with the time TBA – probably 7 or 7:30 p.m. The meetings are free and open to the public. Call Suzanne Furst for more info – 658-3706.

Speaking of upcoming holidays, Cub Scout Pack 655 will once again be selling decorated wreaths for your home. Not only do you support them when you buy one, you get a great wreath at a reasonable price. An 18-inch wreath is just $19, and the 22-inch size is $23. You can contact to order or for more information, and I believe they will also deliver. Not a bad deal!

Lest we forget, VOTE Nov. 4. Absentee ballots are available now (call the Town Clerk’s office, 264-5520). There are 11 articles on the ballot that will make changes to the town’s charter. You will remember we celebrated the 250th anniversary of the signing of the town charter last year – the charter having been signed on June 7, 1763. Some of the changes to this 250-year-old document are minor, such as using gender neutral language – going from selectmen to Select Board, for example. But some are not, like appointing or hiring the Town Clerk/Treasurer instead of voting in a person to fill that position, as it is now.

Not that it matters what I think, but that job has changed enormously since 1763. Technology alone has impacted the office tremendously, so I don’t have a problem with that suggested change. Now, Article 6 that asks voters to remove a comma — that one might need some more study. Only kidding. It’s more serious than that . . . but not really by much.

I believe the Town Clerk’s office has a copy of the town charter; I even have some copies from last year’s celebration if you wish to read the original. What’s important, of course, is that you vote, so see you at the polls on Nov. 4, 7-7 p.m. (9-1 Village at the Town Meeting House, 9-2 Malletts Bay at the high school). If you don’t know where you belong, and the districts have changed on occasion causing folks to be unsure, call the clerk’s office. It seems in every election, at least one resident shows up at a polling place at about 6:55 p.m., only to be told they are registered in the other district so, because of the hour, they lose their chance to vote.

If you have news to share, drop me a line –, or call me at 658-4776. In the meantime, enjoy the foliage in Colchester and God bless!