Living By Instinct: Discovering Plainfield, Vermont


Plainfield Vermont Food CooperativeNot Just Aimless Wanderers

Not having to watch a clock has given us the really precious gift of being able to go with the flow, follow our intuition and just let things happen. How sad that life as working fools, we are all too busy to meander down streets of different places, or stop to chat and get to know people. Why should this great learning experience be reserved for retired folks only?

Not charting a strict course is less about aimlessly wandering around the map, and more about listening to intuition, so that we can open ourselves up to what lies ahead. Doing so has brought us many adventures, and helped us to learn tons about where we might want to set down roots.

We Found a Contender: Plainfield, Vermont

Recently, after leaving Burlington and moving toward New Hampshire, Jim and I were completely starving for some grub. We kept looking for a good place to turn into, but the countryside’s driveways don’t give much room to stop an 8,000 pound trailer. Finally, we spotted one of Vermont’s unobtrusive roadside business announcement billboards (Vermont, Maine, Alaska and Hawaii are the only four states that have outlawed billboards).

Vermont’s Scenic Countryside Bans BillboardsA road sign just before Plainfield said:

“Turn right at the blinker for Positive Pie New York Style Pizza.”

Positively Plainfield

So we did. We turned off the main highway and into small town that had one main street, no traffic signals, a great looking bookstore, and lots of old houses – many of which had some kind of leftie poster in the window, or art in the front yard.

We walked the tiny main street and looked around for a sandwich place. I spotted a Co-Op down the street. It was so tiny on the outside, we weren’t sure if it was an actual food Co-Op. We went up the stairs of the old house and entered the Plainfield Co-Op, a super nice grocery store with a huge selection of local produce and products.

A bushy-beared clerk seemed really friendly, so after asking him where to go for a meal, I then asked, “How could a town this small have such a great co-op?” His eyes lit up, and he explained that by stopping in Plainfield, we had stepped into one of Vermont’s best counterculture lifestyle arts communities. It’s where Phish got it’s start, as students at ultra-liberal Goddard College. That should explain it all.

Positive Pie Pizza, Plainfield VermontHassle Free Living

After leaving the Co-Op, we wandered into Positive Pie Pizza. A really friendly guy named Scott was practicing the art of pizza crust throwing. He was busy but friendly and super talkative. We wanted the scoop on Plainfield. What was this place like? Everyone is so nice. Why is the vibe here so different from other places we’ve been to?

Scott the Pizza Guy filled us in on Plainfield. About everyone there is some kind of creative type. Neighbors pitch in to make this little rural town a fun place to be. There’s always a concert or weird parade or event happening. It’s a small place, but everyone stays out of eachother’s business as long as nobody’s getting hurt. There’s a small medical and dental center, many local farms, and they’re within a 15 minute drive of Montpelier, the capital. Plainfield is a completely hassle free environment — they don’t even have a sheriff. Gotta love that. You can see some of what he had to say below:

15 thoughts on “Living By Instinct: Discovering Plainfield, Vermont”

  1. I grew up in Plainfield in a house with no electricity that my parents built. Oh, simplicity. Plainfield is one of the best places on earth. (and Positive Pie has the best pizza of course!)

    • Thanks for the comment! Best pizza indeed … almost worth heading back, but it’s a long way from Texas and much colder right now I’m sure!

  2. Hi…We love it here. Yes, spend a winter and see if it works for you. It’s not for everyone, but we who have taken root appreciate the “great weather” so much, and, the definition of “great weather” changes after awhile—if it’s above zero and sunny, it’s a great day!–probably don’t even need to wear more than heavy sweater unless going outdoors for an extended amount of time. Abundant fresh air, easy lifestyle…works for me/us…Anyway, I’ll tell Scott he’s on the video…and maybe he’ll hook me up with a free slice of the barbecue chicken pizza–my favorite! Take care!

  3. You make it sound so beautiful. It’s exactly what we want in a place to live, but I guess we’ll have to find out for ourselves what it’s really like and spend a winter there.

    Humboldt County, where we are from, is a lot like Vermont during the rainy season. There isn’t much to do outdoors, so we’d spend it inside, crafting, knitting, etc. It was a very creative community, like Plainfield.

    Positive Pie ROCKS. Be sure to tell that guy that he’s on our video, I don’t think we ever told him.

  4. Winter…the bane of transplanted Vermonters existence…many start complaining how much we loathe the snow and cold by mid-January ..(though we love the first snows in Nov/Dec, whenever it arrives and then melts, and signals the change of seasons) and are groaning when will it ever end? by mid Feb… and are relieved when mud season arrives, hopefully in March and then you smell the boiling maple syrup in the air…and the days are longer and brighter by March, so we are almost a little relieved when we get a few more flurries…all’s right with the world…and the cold keeps Vermont small and cozy, it’s not for everyone and we like that, alot! that’s what keeps it special and unspoiled…we get into a winter routine of sitting by the woodstove in winter, putting on a pot of soup, keep the tea kettle ready, and there’s reading, writing, etc., and dreaming about spring, summer, and fall…it’s not all bad and in fact, you become one with nature and appreciate the seasons all the more…we have a window on the world…that is, south facing sliding doors overlooking a meadow surrounded by trees and a mountain view and it’s gorgeous in every season including winter, though I appreciate the view more sitting near the woodstove and watching the wildlife roaming in the field…and there’s always something to do, especially on the weekend, (Goddard often has writers giving readings and musicians in the Haybarn Theater) keep thing and friends are more than willing to journey out in most any weather for a get-together…for those feeling trapped, you can always take off for a week or two or more to shorten the season…but Positive Pie is open year round as is the River Run restaurant…Maple Valley is fab fab fab …great homemade healthy breads and baked goods, great breakfast and lunch…but they close for a few months end of Dec–they go to FL…the food co-op is also great and meals at Goddard are good, too, and it’s a great way to get in touch with people from all over the country and world.

  5. Ooooh, Gannie, you are so lucky. Out of all the towns we’ve visited, that one is still on my favorites list. It is very live-and-let-live. We like that.

    You and your family are hearty souls for living through the winters there. I don’t know if we can do it.

  6. Plainfield..have loved living here since 1980…raised 3 kids here and they love it, too.…you can breathe who you truly are and it’s okay..people respect uniqueness/creativity however it manifests itself…Goddard College..great place and is on the rise again..check out their website…can’t think of a better place to live and work and just be creative…dream love read write paint mow grass grow grass whatever you want you can be one with the earth here one with nature one with the happy friendly people..

  7. Peter and I won a week at a cabin in Greensboro, VT. We’ll keep this place in mind for when we make it out that way. It sounds like a wonderful place!

  8. Wow…sounds so great! I think we’ll have to make a stop there ourselves! We’re looking for smaller colleges to do presentations at…if you come across some good schools, let me know!

  9. Hi Jerry-
    I can’t believe how close you are to Troy- I already picked up your scent with my sleuth doggy nose. Don’t be surprised that after travelling the nation your humans would fall in love with New England. But don’t let them jump to any conclusions (must read “the Phantom Tollbooth” again) before they see Troy.

    While in Vermont check out Yestermorrow. I’ve not been there yet but a good friend has taught there. I’d be interested in your impressions. Google it. I have also heard that Grafton Vermont is wonderful and the Shelburne Farms Museum is amazing. You can spend quite a few days there and barely see it all.

    Mariclair and Rick will be here on Oct 10 11 12 and leave early on the 13th. We certainly don’t mind everyone converging here at the same time and if we don’t have contractors excavating the back yard for our little renovation project you can park the RV in the driveway for as long as you like. Once we see it we can determine whether it’s ok to just pull it onto the side yard for a while. Give us a heads up on your approach so we can get the cars out of your way. We live on a dead end street that leads to a cemetery (S King has nothing on us). If you can clear the headroom at the cemetery gate then you can turn probably around in there.

    To find our house look for the dog made out of monstrous collosal zuchini’s – we are the only house on the block with a veggie dog. Hurry up cause it’s eyballs are shrivelling up. The cemetery has access to a creek where we can run around like goofy dogs. Be careful of ticks in New England. They are sneaky little devils. And be careful of my cats when you meet them. They’re even sneakier. They wig me out.
    see ya soon!


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