We are now nearly a century away from the days of the first railroad boom in Vermont, and far, too, from the days when the Vermont poet wrote:
"Singing through the forests,
rattling over bridges,
Shooting under arches,
Rambling over ridges,
Whizzing through the mountains,
Buzzing o'er the vale,
Bless me! This is pleasant,
Riding on the rail." ...Charles Edward Crane

Randolph makes a good impression: comfortable neighborhoods and an active downtown that offers shopping, banking, eating and a library (what I think of as a total "park and carry basket for morning of errands and then books and coffee reward" experience). Randolph also feels like it's connected to the outside world, sitting in the path of major north-south roads (though the commerce once brought into town by Route 12 was drained by the nearby interstate) and an active Amtrak line. How exciting! The Vermonter runs between St. Albans and Washington, DC, with stops in Phillie and New York, and one member of my family makes that entire run frequently. Fortunately he's a stoic, because it's a very long trip over very old rails. Bring on the public works rail upgrade infrastructure program, President-elect Obama!

Randolph affords lovely views from quiet crossroads looking up the railroad tracks and down tree-lined residential streets. Its houses are detailed and varied, and I could easily spend a month standing on the sidewalk with my french easel, painting all those different facades, and the sunlight moving across Vistorian roofs and windows.

Many of these 19th century homes have carriage houses that sheltered the horse and wagon, or maybe provided a place to milk "Bossie" the family Jersey. These structures still serve a function protecting the family car, bikes and mower, and they also are a pleasure to look upon, elegant links to a living past.

Randolph facts and figures