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Vermont Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities & Other Offbeat Stuff (Curiosities Series) Paperback – October 14, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Bernie Sanders, lone independent in the U.S. Senate, wrote the foreword. Senator Sanders concludes by saying, “This book is a pleasurable compendium for those who want to travel Vermont and see things not found in most guidebooks, and will be a delight to those who enjoy the quirkiness of Vermont’s ‘curiosities.’”As an example of this quirkiness, Wilson points to Vermont’s only professional basketball team, the Frost Heaves. “Any state serious enough of purpose to name an athletic team in honor of indigenous phenomena rather than mammals of prey earns points for originality.”

This user-friendly book is organized geographically, the first chapter dealing with

statewide matters–historical, geological and cultural. The remaining chapters cover the state’s eight regions. Each “curiosity” is pictured and includes clear directions for getting there, accompanied by hours of operation, if applicable, and a phone number for more information.

–Martha Slater

The Herald of Randolph

"The new book Vermont Curiosities sets out to find the interesting people, places, and historic quirks that make Vermont unique. They include tidbits like the sale of a counterfeit Norman Rockwell painting, the history of a horse-drqwn garbage service in Bristol, and where to find a covered bridge museum inside a covered bridge. Author Bob Wilson traveled the state to uncover and research the stories collected in his book, but he found one of them in his own backyard. . . ." (From the introduction to an audio review, August 18, 2009.) --Jane Lindholm, Host, "Vermont Edition," Vermont Public Radio

From the Back Cover

Your round-trip ticket to the wildest, wackiest, most outrageous people, places, and things the Green Mountain State has to offer!
Whether you’re a born-and-raised Vermonter, a recent transplant, or just passing through, Vermont Curiosities will have you laughing out loud as it introduces you to the most fascinating characters in the Green Mountain State, and takes you places you never could have imagined―some of them right around the corner!
Among the stimulating sights and spectacles you’ll find inside:
• Brattleboro’s annual Strolling of the Heifers
• Indian carvings that may or may not be prehistoric
• America’s only covered bridge museum (itself a covered bridge)
• The architectural wonder of the 32-room Wilson Castle
• The Bread & Puppet Theater, where sourdough follows politics
• The world’s largest marble museum, complete with forty-one carved presidents and an award-winning
bathroom
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Product Details

  • Series: Curiosities Series
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Globe Pequot Press; 1st edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762746696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762746699
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.7 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #506,600 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert F. Wilson has worked as a promotion writer for Reader's Digest, and as an editor for McGraw-Hill, Macmillan, Houghton Mifflin, and the sadly swallowed Silver Burdett and Follett publishing companies. In his younger days, assigned the unfortunate pseudonym Pamela S. Bell, Wilson was National Secretary of Scholastic's Teen Age Book Club, during which time he took numerous member calls in falsetto. He has written 14 books, written and produced two instructional videos, and written articles for the New York Times Magazine.com and "New York" and "Tennis" magazines. He is a member of the Authors Guild, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and LinkedIn.

Wilson also runs Wilson McLeran, Inc., a small career management company that in its first 20 years completed executive recruitment or outplacement assignments for General Electric, The New England Corporation for Television, Signet Bank, Mt. Sinai Medical Center and others, as well as for hundreds of individual clients. Today the company specializes in executive coaching, career and transition counseling, and producing books and videos to complement these activities. On its website (www.job-bridge.com), it also publishes "Career Clinic," an interactive blog featuring the best new career-related books and magazine articles, as capsulized by their authors.

Finally, Wilson regrets using the quaint but annoying convention of referring to himself in the third person, and vows never again to do so, beginning . . . now.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I live right near Vermont in upstate NY but never bothered to visit because I always thought Vermont was all picturesque little towns with white churches that was only worth visiting when snow was on the ground. Turns out there are lots of things to see and do in Spring and Summer that I'd never have known about if it weren't for this book. I might take in "Strolling of the Heifers" in early June (since I'll never get to Pamplona for running of the bulls) or Curtis Barbeque (I'm a barbeque fanatic and I sure won't get to Texas) and who knew the Bennington Museum had the largest collection of Grandma Moses, one of my favorite folk artists. I might even take in the covered bridge museum because I've always been a huge fan of covered bridges. What I liked best about the book was the author's emphasis on history. Seems Vermont has a lot of it.
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Format: Paperback
I read Vermont Off the Beaten Path® by Robert Wilson last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, which is what prompted me to pick up Vermont Curiosities. That said, I was worried that Vermont Curiosities would simply be feeding me information I already knew, especially since I've visited the state half-a-dozen times, but I'm pleased to say that I couldn't have been more wrong.

Vermont Curiosities takes you off the beaten path and a little bit further, guiding you through all the wonderful quirks of Vermont and introducing you to the most unique places that state has to offer. Wilson steers his readers away from the commercialized areas of the state and introduces them to some of the state's hidden gems. With chapters like "Indian Carvings that may or may not be Prehistoric" it's immediately obvious that you're not reading your usual guide book.

I was pleased to find that the book was organized geographically opposed to alphabetically as this made it much easier to plan my upcoming trip and saved me having to skip frustratingly through chapters. While Wilson's writing painted a wonderful picture of the state, the lack of color pictures was a bit of a let down for me.

If you are planning to visit the Green Mountain State any time soon, I'd highly recommend this book as some of the stories Wilson tells and the things he teaches you are not to be missed. May I suggest that you also bring a nature guide, like Vermont Nature Guide: A field guide to birds, mammals, trees, insects, wildflowers, amphibians, reptiles, and where to find them because this State is filled with beautiful living things!
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Format: Paperback
Having lived in Vermont for 17 years, I am still learning all the cool little out of the way places. What I liked most about this book was that it avoids all the commercialized tourist areas and gives suggestions for some unique places that are often overlooked by the occaisional visitor. If you are tired of the crowds at Ben and Jerry's and have done the Teddy Bear factory one time too many, then pick up this book and start discovering some of the smaller out of the way attractions. You will not be dissappointed.
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Format: Paperback
This book is great. My mom and stepdad live in Vermont and although I've visited them numerous times over the years and been to many parts of the state, there are many cool things about Vermont that are in this book that I never would have known about otherwise. Plus there is fascinating information about a lot of places and people that I thought I knew, but it was really just superficial knowledge until now. Robert Wilson is funny and very thorough. A must read for anyone visiting The Green Mountain State.
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Format: Paperback
Last fall I was given a copy of Vermont Curiosities. I thumbed through it.
It looked like a tourist guide, something Wilson did for the State Tourist
Bureau. Interesting, I thought, I'll look it over when I get time. I put it on the table next to my easy chair and there it sat until yesterday. I did the thumb-through again and this time a name caught my eye--Lake Bomoseen. I thought the Lake was featured for its scenery. Wilson is too young to remember the Algonquin Round Tablers' sojourns to Alexander Woollcott's island in Lake Bomoseen. But he did. He had it all down: Dorothy Parker, Harpo Marx, Ethel Barrymore,Irving Berlin, all the heroes of my college days. God, life was easy then.

But there was more.Vermont's history is not entirely about stone quarries, covered bridges and the Green Mountain Boys. It includes stories about Calvin Coolidge, Norman Rockwell, the von Trapps, Robert Todd Lincoln, Rudyard Kipling...and they're all fun to read. I now skip from story to story each time I sit down. And I'm always picking out choice bits to read to my wife.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am greatly enjoying this book for its entertaining and informative stories about unique places and events in Vermont. I have visited Vermont many times, and quite a few of the spots covered here are familiar to me, but in most cases I had no knowledge of the individuals who made these spots famous.

It's perhaps worth knowing ahead of time that this book isn't really a "guidebook" in the usual sense. It is full of long stories--interesting ones, but certainly not thumbnail sketches for tourists. I think it's most fun to read it after you've visited the places, as a reminder of the historical, political, or scenic significance of each one. It's arranged by "area" within the state, so you can read a portion of it if you're planning a trip there, and at the end of the book, there's a list of major highways and the "sights" on each of those roads. Apart from those features, the rest of the book is prose, a few black and white pictures, and a few small maps.

As long as you're not counting on a tourist guide, this book is great. It gives much reading pleasure, and it's guaranteed to present quite a few "curiosities" worth exploring.
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