Riding north from Amherst, MA into Vermont comes the first stop of the Amtrak Vermonter in Brattleboro, VT. Here the Connecticut River and the West River converge. In this Connecticut River Valley, the story of the Abenaki Indians, British and French soldiers and settlers from Europe unfolded. The Abenaki often found themselves at battle in this river valley. Fighting for land, safety and sometimes, pure survival, these Indians have left an indelible mark on the landscape here. Notorious for their efforts to accommodate and join with rival groups and tribes so as to preserve themselves and their progeny, the Abenaki Indians enjoyed a rich connection with the wildlife of the Connecticut Valley as they sustained themselves by fishing the rivers and hunting the surrounding hills.
French settlers also staked their claim in this region. With great appreciation for the courage and skill of the Abenaki, the French settlers likewise shared a deep love for the natural beauty of this region which the Abenaki had been enjoying for decades, even centuries.
The French and Abenaki also shared a painful and exciting history of conflict over this territory and its abundant resources. In the 1760s the French were driven out resolutely by the British. With the French, the Abenaki retreated to the Quebec area of Canada where the French and Indian cultures and people continue to coalesce to this day. In Brattleboro, the influence of these converging British, French and Abenaki cultures remains the cornerstone and their influences are deeply held and transported to the world via a vibrant community of artists and artisans.
The Brattleboro Museum and Art Center (BMAC) houses some of these local artistic offerings. On the fourth Friday of each month, the Gallery Walk (see Gallerywalk.com) shares further expressions of the life and culture of the Abenaki, the British and the French cultures in what is now the Brattleboro community. Musical, visual, and theatrical presentations abound as the town of Brattleboro offers the gifts of this community culminating in the "Strolling of the Heifers Parade" through downtown Brattleboro on the first weekend of June each year. This event is part of the Slow Living Expo which celebrates the wonders of local farming, local food, local music and sustainable living in the 21st century. Take the Farm, Food and Fiber tour. And if you missed the "Running of the Bulls" in Spain this year, join us for the alternative. Stroll thru Brattleboro, and enjoy the Beauty, the Art, and the Culture preserved and presented in the numerous galleries. Walk from the "Vermonter" Amtrak train station and take in the delights of southern Vermont. Stop at the new Whetstone restaurant across the train tracks and spend the night at the Latchis Hotel or one of the many Bed and Breakfasts in the area. We'll get you thereby Brattleboro Taxi or one of the public transportation services available!
From Brattleboro, voted one of the top 10 small towns in the nation by many tourist publications. Come see for yourself. You are sure to find a warm welcome from Brattleboro and Marshall, the station attendant.