2016 Summer Retreat - Evading the heat? travel blog

Quechee Gorge at sunset

US 4 bridge over the Quechee Gorge

Low head hydro dam on the Ottauquechee River forming Dewey's Mill Pond

Dam at the village of Quechee

Simon Pearce Glass Company

Quechee covered Bridge

Tall pines

Moon rise over the Quechee Covered Bridge

Simon Pearce restaurant overlooking the covered bridge and Ottauquechee River

The Parker House Inn & Restaurant

Simon Pearce Glass Manufacturing


Down the road from our campground is the "Little Grand Canyon" of Vermont. We're beginning to find out that almost every state where there are mountains has a "grand canon". Vermont is no exception the Quechee (Kwee chee) Gorge is 165 ft. deep and the deepest in Vermont. It was formed 13,000 years ago when the Laurentian glacier began retreating north and the Ottauquechee River formed from the melt water cut the gorge into the landscape.

As with most of the rivers in New England there are low head hydroelectric dams that have been built over the years to harness the power of the rivers. Just upstream of where US 4 crosses the river is one of these that forms Dewey's Mills Pond. Dewey's Mills was the site of a booming industrial village in the 1800's that included a woolen mill, Dewey and Company, that provided fabric for making baseball uniforms for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Upstream is another dam and a covered bridge at the village of Quechee. The dam provided a mill pond for the J.C. Parker and Co. that developed a fabric called "shoddy". It was made of new wool and reworked soft rags was used to make some of the country's finest white baby flannel during the 19th Century. The area thrived until the 1950s when a shortage of an affordable labor force forced many of the mills to move south and, the mills started closing. When Quechee lost the economic base that had existed for almost 200 years the once booming community became a village of abandoned buildings with broken windows, fallen roofs, brush and bramble covered walls, crumbling foundations, a ghost town of what it had once been.

The village underwent a renaissance of sorts in the latter part of the 20th Century when the Quechee Lakes Corporation purchased all available land for a planned community for seasonal and year-round owners. The Parker Mill is now the home of Simon Pearce Glass Company that includes a showroom, restaurant, and glass-blowing demonstration facility. The operation is powered by electricity from the old dam. Adjacent to the Simon Pearce Glass Company is an 1857 Victorian-style Inn that was the home of Senator Joseph Parker - the original owner of the mill. There is also a covered bridge in Quechee that was recently rebuilt because the original bridge was destroyed by widespread flooding from Hurricane Irene. In the "quest for light", I was trying to get to a location to photograph the colorful sunset last night, and I accidentally got to Quechee at the time the full moon was rising over the Quechee covered bridge and reflecting into the mill pond. I never got the sunset image, but was rewarded with some nice moon pictures.

We found the cool weather we were looking for last night as the temperature got down into the 50's making for a comfortable night although I kept waking up because my feet were cold.

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