Hello, my name is Katherine and I’ll be your guide on this tour of Windsor, Vermont – the birthplace of Vermont – presented by Insight Guides. This tour takes approximately one to two hours to complete, not including any time spent touring museums or any buildings, and requires a car to get from each point. Feel free to pause whenever and start again at the same spot later. You can follow the route on your phone or simply listen as I guide you from one sight to the next. I’ll be giving you clear directions and the audio will automatically start playing when you get close to the next sight on the tour. Don’t worry if you need to skip a sight as the tour will pick up at the next location. One more thing before we get started – always be aware of your surroundings and be sure to obey all traffic signals.
The story of Windsor, Vermont begins in revolution, but not quite the way you’d expect. Rebuffed in their efforts to become the 14th State of the United States thanks to resistance by powerful New York and New Hampshire, both of whom claimed dominion over the lands between Lake Champlain and the Connecticut River, Vermonters decided to go it alone. They declared independence from everybody (Britain and the United States included) in 1777. Later that year, state delegates came to Windsor to hammer out the new Vermont Republic’s constitution – the first in North America to outlaw slavery and provide universal suffrage for men, regardless of property. Windsor remained the capital until 1805, when the reins of government were moved to the more central Montpelier. With politics removed, manufacturing, especially of guns and machine tools, took over throughout the 19th and early- to mid-20th centuries. Today, however, the machinery has grown quieter than the birds chirping and kettles steaming on the stove each morning, and the bucolic landscape and rural Vermont lifestyle are once more Windsor’s main attractions.
On this tour, you’ll hear stories of revolution, industry, historical and natural preservation, and quests for inner peace. Through all of it, the Vermont state of mind – stubborn, independent and ecologically conscious – rings clear.
Our tour begins five miles south of town at Mt. Ascutney, which sets the natural backdrop of Windsor and, along with the Connecticut River, is the landscape’s dominating feature. From there, we’ll drive into town, park the car, hit the main sights before getting back on the road for the newest industries north of town. Please check opening hours for point 6, the Windsor Farmer’s Market, in advance, as it is not open year round. Ready to begin? Then let’s get started!
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