Town and Village

Around the Towns

Former owner tells diner tales at RFPL

BELLOWS FALLS - Charlie Jarras, former owner of Miss Bellows Falls Diner and host of Travels with Charlie on FACT-TV, offers an evening of stories and anecdotes from employees and customers alike on Thursday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m., at the Rockingham Free Public Library, 65 Westminster St.

In just over five months, reviving, restoring, and rejuvenating the Miss Bellows Falls Diner, built 80 years ago and shuttered since the pandemic, has gone from a mere idea to a fast-moving project. Project organizers now invite interested citizens to continue the conversation.

In early 2023, community organization Rockingham For Progress (RFP) reached out to the Preservation Trust of Vermont, Windham Regional Commission, and the Brattleboro Area Development Corporation. These groups helped RFP develop a plan for a community-supported enterprise, whereby a nonprofit purchases the building, oversees renovations, and then leases it to a qualified operator. The business stays on the tax rolls, the new operator is provided a viable operation unencumbered by debt, and Bellows Falls keeps its diner.

The Rockingham Free Public Library, the Historic Preservation Office of the town of Rockingham, and RFP join together in a series of conversations about the diner's past and its future with free events at the library. It is hoped that by the beginning of 2024, restoration work will be underway, and by May of 2025, the diner's 81st anniversary of arriving in Bellows Falls, the diner will reopen.

Rockingham For Progress invites interested persons to follow their story at or on their Facebook page.

Vernon Historians present program of historical photographs

VERNON - On Sunday, Nov. 12, at 2 p.m., the Vernon Historians will present a program of photographic images at Vernon Union Church illustrating the history of the area around the church along Fort Bridgman Road that was once known as Vernon Center.

The slides show buildings and the surrounding area, including the Whithead Building, which served many functions in town until the 1950s, the "Tea House," Central Park, and the Central Park train stop, Bushnell's Museum, the ferry to New Hampshire, the original Vernon Union Church before a fire destroyed it, and many other interesting scenes of that part of town.

The Historians have collected many photographs of Vernon that they want to share, along with brief stories about the places and people they depict and the part they played in Vernon's history. Everyone is welcome, admission is free, and refreshments will be served. Vernon Union Church is located at 2631 Fort Bridgman Rd. The program will immediately follow a brief annual business meeting of the Vernon Historians membership.

Interfaith Youth Group meets for fellowship and service on Nov. 12

BRATTLEBORO - The Brattleboro Interfaith Youth Group is seeking young people ages 13–18 to join its monthly Service & Fellowship meeting on Sunday, Nov. 12, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., at Centre Congregational Church, 193 Main St.

At this gathering the group will enjoy the fellowship of a spaghetti supper (vegetarian and gluten-free options provided on request), perform a Service Project to benefit Carry Me Home (a refugee clothing and home supply shop at Centre), followed by a game of hide-n-seek called Sardines. According to organizers, this is an ideal time for any interested youth to check it out and bring a friend.

The goal of this group, explain organizers, is to build leadership skills and friendships among young people who care and want to make a difference in their communities. Past groups have tackled community service projects, social justice issues, learned about different faith traditions, canoed and camped together, held overnight "Lock-Ins" locally, attended youth leadership conferences, and explored New York City's diversity and rich traditions.

In the past decade, youth in the Brattleboro Interfaith Youth Group have taken an annual service trip to places as diverse as New Orleans, Kenya, St. Croix, El Salvador, and the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, with the group fundraising to support each venture and to ensure its affordability. Affiliation with a congregation is not expected, though various local faith communities are involved in supporting this group. For information, contact Nanci Leitch at 802-258-8348 or email [email protected].

'Accidental American' by Shin and Jim Freedman discussed at Brooks Library

BRATTLEBORO - Readers and adventurers are invited to join Jim and Shin Freedman on Tuesday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m. in the Community Meeting Room at Brooks Memorial Library, 224 Main St., as they present Accidental American, their compilation of essays and tales, drawing from the authors' extensive travels as seasoned explorers, educators, and consultants.

Readers can learn of journeys through cities like Beijing, Boston, Brattleboro, Holliston, Seoul, Shanghai, and numerous other locales around the globe.

As described in a news release, Accidental American is "a celebration of love, inquisitiveness, and the profound sense of amazement inspired by the remarkable individuals encountered by Shin and Jim during their odyssey. Their reflections on the invaluable lessons gleaned from these encounters and how these experiences enriched their lives imbue these stories with a truly distinctive and captivating quality that beckons readers to immerse themselves in this exceptional narrative."

Books will be available for sale and signing. The event is free and open to the public. The venue is accessible to people in wheelchairs. For more information, call 802-254-5290 or visit

Grange serves turkey dinner on Nov. 15

DUMMERSTON - Evening Star Grange and Senior Solutions will present their annual Turkey Dinner on Wednesday, Nov. 15, with takeout meals available between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., and an in-house meal served at noon. This will be their only meal in November.

The menu for this meal will be turkey with gravy, dressing, mashed potatoes, corn pudding, and winter squash, with pumpkin upside-down pie for dessert. Reservations are requested so they know how much food to prepare. Meal requests can be made by calling the Grange at 802-254-1138 with name, phone number, the number of meals needed, and whether eating in or taking away. A donation of $3 for those 60 and older and $4 for the younger set is suggested.

Trio Amphion Baroque presents the history of the sonata

BRATTLEBORO - Trio Amphion Baroque will present a chamber music concert, "The History of the Sonata," on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7 p.m., at The Brooks House Atrium, 132 Main St.

Trio Amphion Baroque is a group consisting of Jesse Lepkoff on baroque flute and recorder, Reinmar Seidler on cello, and Gregory Hayes on harpsichord and organ. All are performers specializing in the style of baroque music through historical instruments and techniques.

The concert surveys the progression from the first named sonata composition early in the 17th century to the pre-classical style from late in the 18th century. Music by Cima, Purcell, Corelli, Leclair, Telemann, and Lanzetti will be featured.

Admission is $20 in advance through Eventbrite at or $25 at the door. For more information, call 802-254-2273.

Silent auction benefits NewBrook Fire and Rescue

NEWFANE - The 21st Annual Silent Auction to benefit NewBrook Fire and Rescue will go live Saturday, Nov. 25, through Monday, Dec. 6. This year's auction will be dedicated to the current fundraising effort to help pay for the new fire truck that has been ordered to replace aging equipment.

The auction has received tremendous community support over the years, and the committee is confident this year will be no different. However, in addition to the new/gently used/vintage/collectable household items, furniture and furnishings; gift certificates for goods and services; gift baskets; holiday items; specialty foods/beverages; art; crafts; the committee is seeking unique, creative donations to make this year's event as special as the need it is helping.

Organizers say donations such as a weekend/weekly vacation home stay, stays at area inns/bed and breakfasts, a pair of tickets to a regional sporting event, or gift certificates for local classes or venues would go a long way to help the auction and NewBrook Fire Department's efforts.

For more information or to arrange a pick-up/drop-off, contact Samantha Wilson: 802-258-0614; Lauri Miner 802-365-4194; Angela Litchfield 802-579-3143; or Ruth Daigneault 802-258-1898; or email [email protected].

Input sought for proposed new Townshend gazebo

TOWNSHEND - Residents are asked to add their ideas and opinions to a town poll on the gazebo design that is running through Dec. 1.

The public can cast votes for their design at the Town Hall, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. (closed Thursdays). If you have questions, feel free to contact Selectboard Assistant Connie Holt at 802-221-2051 or [email protected], or Town Clerk Ellenka Wilson at 802-365-7300, ext. 1, or [email protected].

This Town and Village item was submitted to The Commons.