About Brattleboro, Vermont
Brattleboro dances on the edge of Vermont- an urban arts oasis nestled in the foothills, where you can find cows on parade, the Metropolitan Opera, and world-class aerial circus arts all living comfortably in a vibrant, historic downtown. The heart of Brattleboro is the thriving downtown community of independent merchants offering the most unique combination of local and global retail, dining, and service experiences in a compact 3 block footprint. Brattleboro is consistently recognized as a top destination with arts and entertainment that rivals any big city and draws thousands of visitors every season.
Bordering the Connecticut River, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, Brattleboro is closer than you think. An easy drive from NYC, Hartford, Boston, and Burlington, take Exits 1, 2, or 3 off I-91.
Named #11 of the “20 Best Small Towns in America” (Smithsonian Magazine).
One of America’s Top 25 Destinations for 7 years in a row (The American Style magazine).
One of the Ten Best Small Art Towns in John Vilanni’s book, “The 100 Best Art Towns in America.”
Named “The Best Tourist Spot in Southern Vermont” by the Valley Advocate.
Won 2012 EPA National Award for Smart Growth Achievement for Main Street project.
One of “Eight Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of”, citing arts, covered bridges, food, and ‘civic activism to preserve the quality of life’ (Mother Earth News).
A few other unique things to know about Brattleboro
On July 1, 1847, Brattleboro postmaster Frederick Palmer had the bright idea of putting adhesive on the back of postage stamps and thus sold the first gummed postage stamp in America.
The Brattleboro Retreat, founded in 1834 as the first American institution to provide humane treatment for mental illness, was and is a pioneer in recognizing mental illness as a disease and not a character defect.
Brattleboro is the birthplace of the Brattleboro rat, a strain of rodent first found here, which is used in labs all over the world because of its unique inability to produce the anti-diuretic hormone vasopressin.
As the result of a teenage prank that “went viral”, Brattleboro gained some global notoriety for tolerating public nudity. But rest assured- the town passed an ordinance requiring clothing; you won’t encounter anyone au naturel, unless you visit an isolated swimming hole.
The Brattleboro area was host to a number of hippie communes in the 60s and 70s. Many of the hippies stayed here and have contributed so much to the community. It is not a stretch to say this whole town is an intentional community.
Can you feel the literacy and cultural vibes around here? Not only are there more than 20 bookstores of all stripes in the county, but the Brattleboro area has long been a magnet for writers, poets, and artisans, including writers Rudyard Kipling, Robert Frost, Sinclair Lewis, Pearl Buck, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Grace Paley, Craig Nova, Jamaica Kincaid, renowned artist Wolf Kahn and architects Richard Morris Hunt and William Rutherford Mead.
At Naulakha,a unique shingle-style house built by Rudyard Kipling near Brattleboro in 1893, the novelist wrote Captains Courageous and The Jungle Books, along with short stories and poetry.
Strolling of the Heifers, which happens annually on the first weekend in June, is the world’s first and only parade featuring a procession of flower-bedecked heifers led by future farmers. Speaking of cows, every black-and-white Holstein-Friesian cow in America is registered at Brattleboro’s Holstein Association, the world’s largest dairy breed association.
In Brattleboro, the circus is always in town! The New England Center for Circus Arts, one of the few training centers for circus aerialists anywhere, attracts students from around the world to its Brattleboro circus school.
For more than half a century music has drawn thousands of visitors to festivals such as the Marlboro Music Festival, the New England Bach Festival, the Yellow Barn Music Festival, the Friends of Music at Guilford, the Brattleboro Music Center, and the Vermont Jazz Center.