Heading south on Vermont Route 30 from Wells to Manchester you’ll discover five general stores – four of which are still operating! What makes them so interesting? First, it’s the simplicity and thoughtfulness of early New England architecture. Then, it’s the incredible variety of goods and services from one general store to the next that make each so fascinating – mostly locally-sourced products you’d never find anywhere else and the ice cream is simply local. But, writing a treatise about their varied product and service offerings is no substitute for discovering them yourself. I always like seeing the hoof cream not far from the deli counter… makes me curious about the extent of vertical integration here in Vermont. Below are two farther afield general store standouts and the five you’ll discover leaving Pond Mountain Inn on your way to Manchester. Pursuing Vermont’s Historic General Stores is a great way to spend a day or an afternoon!
F.H. Gillingham General Store, Woodstock; since 1886 this store is renowned throughout New England. A quintessential Vermont General Store! Step back in time when you visit this 131 year old store and find both traditional and latest products all in one place. See why they have always been the “source” for gift boxes of all shapes and sizes for any occasion throughout Woodstock and New England and don’t miss a visit to the archives of the building that has a vast collection of artifacts and documents about the Gillingham family and Woodstock’s social history. https://www.gillinghams.com/
J.J. Hapgood & Eatery, Peru; is the longest continuously running general store in the state. Over the past 150 years it has been a post office, market, hardware store and a meeting place for friends and neighbors. Well known for their creative lunches (a must have is the authentic wood-fired pizzas) and dinner is enjoyed with their fine wines or beer. They also have exceptional dry goods and is far more polished than its general store counterparts. The interior is wonderfully decorated with exceptional local artifacts since its renovation in 2013. A fun fact from their website: “The store—and a local cow—was famously featured in the 1987 film Baby Boom, staring Diane Keaton and Sam Shepard.” http://jjhapgood.com/
From Pond Mountain Inn Heading South on Route 30…
The Wells Country Store, Wells; people from all over including our guests come for the baked goods! The sandwiches, homemade pizza, soup and ice cream is incredible! But what makes this place so special is Juli & Tim’s love of community. Funny story… Juli & Tim once drove to our inn to return one of our guest’s packages that had been left behind – they met our guests, joined the party and stayed for a glass of wine! https://www.facebook.com/TheWellsCountryStore/
Mach’s General Store, Pawlet; closed last year is said to become a microbrewery and eatery was originally the Franklin Hotel, built in 1808 that gave way to Mach’s Store in 1945 has a brook and waterfall running through its center, which is visible from inside. We look forward to its opening.
Sheldon Market, Pawlet; the only gas station on Route 30 between Wells and Manchester. The store is small, but don’t underestimate its contribution – the parking lot is always full for a reason.
The Dorset Union Store, Dorset; celebrated its 200th anniversary last year, the owners succeed with staying true to its authentic character and is exceptional in every way! Purveyors of Necessities and Frivolities since 1816 they offer a Deli with made-to-order sandwiches, soups and more. A Bakery with breakfast treats such as freshly baked muffins, scones, croissants, and donuts. Their wine room offers a wide selection of wine, champagne, a selection of local, domestic and imported beer. Their Dinner to Go menu offers entrees such as grilled chicken, fresh salmon or veggie lasagna, with sides and salads. If your looking to take home some Vermont treasures then you must visit their grocery store and don’t leave without picking up what Vermont is known for, Vermont maple syrup and maple candies. https://www.dorsetunionstore.com/
H.N. Williams General Store, Dorset; is the quintessential Vermont country store dating back to 1840 is where we always buy our Vermont Darn Tough socks! A simple and unassuming appearance gives way to a rich product offering from animal feed to hunting and fishing supplies! They have it all including a great deli! https://www.hnwilliams.com/
A cursory glimpse at our local Vermont’s general stores is more about harkening back to a time when life was far simpler. Join us in Vermont for one of the many things that make this place so special. We have a complete listing of all Vermont Country and General Stores.