Highway rest area for woodworkers
Fine Woodworking editors take a lot of road trips, visiting authors all across the country. I’d rather drive than fly because, well, I’m a control freak and like the idea of being in charge of starting times and stops along the way. I’ve worked with contributing editor Garrett Hack a few times over the past couple years, and the trip to his shop in Vermont is one of my favorites because I don’t need a boarding pass and the directions are pretty straightforward: hop on interstate 91 and head north, through Massachusetts and into the Green Mountain State. Not too many twists and turns.
It’s about a four-hour drive, door to door, but I’ve found the perfect rest area along the way. Now, I’ve stopped at many rest areas along the eastern seaboard, but this is the only one I’ve visited that’s worthy of a blog (although some of the others could’ve gotten blogs on the CDC’s web site).
Nestled into a sunny spot off the highway, about five miles across the border from Massachusetts, the rest area is more than just a bathroom stall. It has a country feel, with barnlike structures, and a meandering walking path out back, with antique farm equipment scattered about. The path is just the right size for a quick stroll (although my kids have sprinted through the area like it’s a track) to relieve my creaky back and crunchy knees from the cramped space of my car.
There are lots of picnic tables and a good size play area for kids. On a few of my trips I’ve seen various youth groups pitching caffeinated beverages and snacks under the pavilion, to help drivers stay awake as they head into the mountains. Inside, the men’s room is actually clean (sorry, ladies, I can’t speak for the women’s room), the vending machines are always well-stocked, and best of all, the change machine actually works. And if you need directions or other information about Vermont, the folks behind the main desk are knowledgeable and friendly.
What does this have to do with woodworking, you ask? Well, while your kids are climbing the playscape or scorching the trail out back, you can stroll the warm lobby, checking out furniture made by an assortment of Vermont woodworkers. So pack a lunch and plan to stop if you’re passing through the area.
A warm welcome
A view of the back
Playscape and picnic area
A country path