Saturday, November 30, 2013


Ice cream. Hippies. Cows. Socialists. Cheese. I mean, what else is there to say?

10. Chippenhook

After the dancers, right?

Actually, no. We do have several choices for this one though:

  • “Great steep banks" in Algonquin
  • Abenaki for "extended run of water" 
  • From the Dutch "Shippen's Hoek" 

Other than that, there’s not a whole lot on – or to – this place. Looks like a number of houses strung out across several crossroads just a little southwest of Rutland (i.e., not too far from the center of the state).

By the way, Vermont also features a Chittenden, Checkerberry, and Chiselville.

9. Adamant

Adj, “refusing to be persuaded or to change one's mind.”

Hmm, do you think this was what they really had in mind? Sounds like a fancy synonym for intransigent, rigid, stiff, stubborn, inflexible …

Well, of course, this is a quality that call also be admired, giving us determined, resolute, and unshakable. It all depends on how you look at it, I guess. Indeed, the town’s Wikipedia entry states that the place has no set boundaries or government and is, in fact, “a state of mind.”

Give all that, it’s also something that you might say of rocks. Hard rocks. Like granite. And this place was once famous for its granite quarries. 

Well, however it came about, it certainly beats what the town was originally called – Sodom. Yup, they petitioned the state legislature for the name change way back in 1905.

Adamant’s just a little northeast of the state capital, Montpelier (i.e., in the north central part of the state). It claims the state’s oldest co-op, a prestigious music school, and an experimental theater.

Having some fun practicing

8. Winooski

This suburb of Burlington was named after The Big Winooski, a Cohen brothers film starring Jed Bridges as an unemployed Seattle slacker and avid mahjong player, nicknamed "The Guy." 

Nah, nah. It’s just some Indian name. It’s from the Abenaki, and means “where the wild onions grow.” There’s a river of the same name (and which was originally called the Onion).

Winooski is an old mill town, busily trying to revitalize itself. It had its fifteen minutes of fame for some hare-brained scheme to erect a dome over the whole place back in the ‘70s. There are 7,000 Winooskians.

An artist’s rendition

7. Queechee

I remember this stuff. It was real popular back in the ‘70s. It wasn’t all that bad actually. They spelled it a little differently back then though.

The town’s actually named after a nearby river, the Ottauquechee. Which is how you say “swift mountain stream” in Natick, by the way.

This place has 650 people, and is just west of White River Junction (where 89 and 91 cross, on the Connecticut River). The local claim to fame is the Queechee Gorge, “Vermont’s Grand Canyon.”

Said Gorge Canyon

6. Weathersfield Bow

It’s all so simple, when you think about it. Weathersfield Bow is a part of the larger town of Weathersfield, along a bow in the Connecticut River. Really, that’s all there is to it.

I count about 20 buildings. There’s a cute, old, very New-England-looking church there, as well as a cemetery that seems to be very popular with genealogy types. It used to be big-time sheep country.

God, it gets cold there
(yup, that’s the Connecticut)

5. North Hero / South Hero

This one is equally straightforward as well. Basically, the area was granted to Revolutionary War heroes, Ethan and Ira Allen. It was originally called Two Heroes.

We’re way up in the northwest for these two, on some islands in the middle of Lake Champlain. South Hero is double the size of North Hero (1,700 to 800), but North Hero is the county seat. SH also claims a Miss Vermont and a Nevada governor. North Hero? Nobody!  And guess who has the airport, huh? Yup, Allehnholm Airport is in South Hero.

And where is the 
4th of July parade held, huh?

4. Joes Pond

Well, I guess this is an improvement on the original name – Sozap Nebees. “Joe’s Pond,” though, is merely a direct translation from the Abnaki – Sozap is Abnaki for “Joseph,” and nebees means “pond.”

It was named after a Micmac Indian named Joe who was friendly with the early settlers. They named a neighboring pond after Joe’s wife, Molly.

The denizens of Joes Pond are famous for something called the Ice Out. Basically, they bet on when the ice on the pond melts. They take it all very seriously.

If this isn’t proof of global warming,
I don’t know what is

3. Passumpsic

This is from a Native American term meaning “backed-up septic tank.”

Actually, it means “flowing over clear, sandy bottom,” which is really kinda the exact opposite. The name was originally applied to the nearby river.  

The town is in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, and is just south of St. Johnsbury. Anne Morrow Lindbergh once lived here.

2. Tinmouth

Isn’t this what they call kids whose parents send half their paycheck to the orthodontist?

This one’s probably after Tynemouth, England. And that merely refers to a town at the mouth of the river Tyne. By the way, both are pronounced “TIN-muth.”

This town of 600 or so has somehow managed to produce a couple of governors, a senator, and Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

(Solarfest, Tinmouth, VT)

1. Pompanoosuc

Just in case Passumpsic wasn’t enough for ya.

This baby is from the Abnaki, and means “mushy, quaky land.” It’s from the Ompompanoosuc River.  

The town is located where said river meets the Connecticut. It’s is just up the river from Hanover, NH, home of Dartmouth College.

BTW, if you go Googling for this place, most of your hits will be for Pompanoosuc Mills, a big custom furniture company. Their factory is up the river a little ways, in the interestingly named town of East Thetford.

… in Pompanoosuc, VT!

Honorable Mention: 
  • B-o-r-i-n-g – Middletown
  • Short & sweet – Ira (after Ethan Allen’s brother), Ely, Jay
  • Just a little out of place – New Haven, Albany, Rochester, Newark, Washington, Baltimore, Richmond (round church), Charlotte, Charleston, Georgia, Jacksonville, Kansas, Texas, Bakersfield, Jamaica (from the Natick word for “beaver”), Peru, Holland, Berlin, Moscow, Florence, Athens, Corinth, Troy, Jericho, Jerusalem, Egypt, Eden
  • Just a little off color – Gaysville, Smutty Corners
  • Orthographically challenged – Bragg, Fairlee (drive-in movie motel)
  • Atypical adjectives – Orange, Wilder
  • Unconventional verbs – Prosper 
  • Abnormal nouns – Victory, Downers
  • Fun to say – Alfrecha, Hortonia, N. Pownal, S. Pomfret, E. Poultney, Putney, Ascutney, Lympus
  • Just plain weird – Warners Grant, Dummerston Center, Underhill Center, Chimney Point, Derby Line (library split between US and Canada), Morses Line, St. Rocks, Hartland Four Corners, Hardscrabble, Puckershire, Westminster West, Butternut Bend, Lost Nation, Notown, Podunk, Bread Loaf, Smugglers Notch, Averys Gore, Brimstone Corners, Satans Kingdom, Skunks Misery
  • Just plain weird, ville division – Hectorville, Cuttingsville, Tarbellville, Beansville, Mosquitoville 
  • I’d like to introduce you to – Pearl, Sharon, Sheldon, Vernon, Warren, Randolph, Rupert, Ferdinand, Mary Meyer, Warren Gore

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