Clarendon

by Susan Abbott
No, there is still much unmapped character left here, and I find it more interesting than studying the crowds in the subway to drift among our people, never ceasing to wonder that there is some indefinable overtone in their character which somehow spells Vermont...Charles Edward Crane


Heading north out of Wallingford towards Rutland on Route 7 I saw a sign for Clarendon, and since an objective of this Vermont exploration is to try and fight my natural inclination towards inertia, I made a u-turn and drove back down the road in search of another town on my life list. But Clarendon proved elusive, and after finding the beautiful brick house with the satellite dish pictured above but no town center, I was back on the highway again driving north.

I found out later that this mysterious, hidden town of Clarendon has over 2,500 citizens, and is split between five villages. It began as Clarendon Springs, once one of the most popular spas in the region, and one of the few that was founded by a psychic. Asa Smith in 1776 dreamed the exact location of the healing waters right down to the details of their mineral composition. As he was a victim of "scrofulous humor", he had to stagger a painfully long way through deep forest to find the waters of his vision. But there it was as dreamed, and a drink did cure his ailments, and another thriving resort was born.

Clarendon Springs Hotel is still there, even if the crowds of elegant vacationers have vanished, and according to my google search looks to be for sale. Hopefully this graceful building will live to see another century.