Chester Vermont

This month’s featured town – Chester, VT

Chester Town Hall

Chester is an amazing town in Vermont. It is a town of churches and some of the most interesting and colorful vistas in New England. You can enjoy the quaint town of Chester with the historic Village Green and the Stone Village, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places – livable structures made from local granite.
Just a month after the devastation of Tropical Storm Irene, Chester held the 37th Annual Fall Festival on the Green, sponsored by the Chester Rotary Club. Over 60 Vermont and New England Artisans, Crafters and Food Concessions gathered in booths spread over the Green in the center of town. Mark your calendars for next year -this is a great fall event to attend!
New Businesses are opening too. The Inn Victoria expanded their business by adding a retail outlet, “Ye Olde Shoppe at Inn Victoria” which will focus on Vermont foods, Vermont made jewelry and other types of goods their guests are looking for while staying in Vermont. There is a new gallery, museum and art school in Chester as well! The Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts (VTica) hosted an open house at the beginning of this month. Located on Depot Avenue across from the Jiffy Mart just off the Chester Village Green, there was a timely photographic essay of 50 images from professional and amateur photographers chronicling the destruction and rebuilding of south/central Vermont in the aftermath of the storm.
There are well established businesses also contributing to Chester’s charm. Bill Austin’s Antique Store has the largest collection of Antiques around and he refurbishes many items himself. It’s quite an experience walking through all the rooms of his store! After antiquing at Austin’s, step into MacLaomainn’s for lunch!
MacLaomainn’s is a Scottish style pub located at 52 South Main Street and Deb and Alan Brown opened their doors in 2008. Their Scottish style menu is unique to this area featuring traditional fish pie, haggis, mince and tatties and steak pie. They also offer pizza, Angus burgers, hot dogs and more! The atmosphere is just what a pub is intended to be – a community living room where everyone can feel at home.
This year the Browns added to their offerings by opening the Great Hall – a conference room, event and music hall which can seat up to 95 people comfortably and is located directly behind the pub. Their hope is that the Great Hall becomes a place where people will comfortably gather with family and friends.
Chester is a delightful town to visit and I’m sure you will discover the warm and inviting atmosphere coming from the local businesses and local people. Come see – you can’t get away from that Vermont spirit!

Chester Depot

Until next time, Irene

The Vermont Institute for Contemporary Arts Is Coming To Chester, VT

Written by:  Joseph E. Milliken, 
Publish Notes: 

Valley Business Journal Chester, Vt. April, 2011

The Vermont Institute for Contemporary Arts Is Coming To Chester, VT
The Vermont Institute for Contemporary Arts Is Coming To Chester, VT

CHESTER, VT.-The Vermont Institute for Contemporary Arts(Vtica)in Chester was realized last year and is the creative dream of colleagues Robery Sarly and Abby Raeder, who have a vision to help breathe life into and enlighten the South Central Vermont arts community. “We have been living in Andover(near Chester)for over a decade and realized that somehow, something was missing from this part of the local Arts community,” Robert Sarly said in a recent interview. The center is currently being constructed at 15 Depot Street, and is currently targeting a summer “soft opening.”

Photos courtesy of Vtica

“Chester is simply essential New England… charming, with a town green and many quaint inns, restaurants, crafts and antique outlets, and great proximity to some of the finest foliage and skiing in New England,” Sarly said. “Also, all around the Chester area there are scores of brilliant artists who had come to inhabit the raw beauty of the Green Mountains and simply escape the maddening crowds.” The institute will offer exhibit space and a performance stage, as well as space for artist workshops and other support facilities to encourage and promote creativity.”Many local artists are indeed, a little like ourselves and having found God’s green acres and have settled down to creating spiritually meaningful interpretations of their lives… and ours. Created in stone, on canvas and fabric, in colors and textures that seduce the imagination and remind us of the deeper meanings of life that is all around us.”

One of the focuses of Vtica is to provide local artists the creative center to reawaken us with deeper meanings, and have assembled a wide circle of interested supporters including watercolor and acrylic artists and oil painters, sculptors and craftspeople, live performance artists, local business leaders, in keepers, restaurateurs and others. “These are the avant garde of the new creative economy that Vermont needs to stimulate a revitalization of not just art, but the broader business community as well,” Sarly said.

Another of Vtica’s focuses is to help bring people back in touch with the power and meaningful spirit of the creative imagination. “We all have this aspect buried within our hearts and souls, but it has sometimes been suppressed or forgotten in the business of our modern, materialistic life. Vtica offers us all a place to experience and learn how important the imagination can be to survive in modern life.”

Vtica will serve and assist artists and anyone interested in exploring new ideas, or to view the various works on display, see a scheduled performance or to seek available instruction. “The impact of Vtica will grow through networking with all people with an artistic sensibility, along with other galleries, museums and art schools,” Sarly concluded. “Especially those on the State of Vermont Arts Trail, that crosses through the middle of Vermont from New Hampshire to New York.

“In our own modest way, we intend to change the world for the better by bringing the creative imagination back to the heart of life experience. We will feature local, Vermont artists, but all artists will be welcome, and the cross-fertilization of contemporary art ideas and techniques from around the country and the world should make the Vtica even more exciting than a local art gallery or museum would otherwise.

“There are already many artists who satisfy the market for classic bucolic transcription; what Vtica is trying to support is more cutting edge. We intend to strengthen and make accessible the kind of artistic interests that are more reflective of the spiritual. This is a journey of self-discovery.” To learn more about the Vermont Institute for Contemporary Arts, visit their web site at