Story by Phil Jordan Photos by Lily Mellor
Surrounded by mountains and the towns of Ira, Poultney, Wells and Tinmouth, Middletown, VT was founded in 1784. The popularity of mineral springs discovered there, circa 1811 (later commercially bottled for consumption) led to the construction of the grand Montvert Hotel to accommodate visitors, and the town was re-named Middletown Springs. The hotel, and spring house that covered the springs fell into disrepair, and the lodging was dismantled circa 1906. The Great Flood of 1927 covered the springs, but in 1970 members of the Middletown Springs Historical Society dug out the springs and recreated the elegant little spring house. Located in a park behind the town post office. They are a must-see.
Come autumn, when it’s time to ramble in search of both fall colors and great food, there’s no place finer for a diner than Sissy’s Kitchen in quiet, rural Middletown Springs. Established in 2009 by former innkeeper Sissy Hicks, this unique country kitchen - just a few steps west from the town’s crossroads - offers limited seating, but the rewards in tasty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners are amazing. (Sissy’s even makes both fresh and frozen dinners to go.) An array of desserts and goodies (ginger snap and orange zest cookies are favorites) raises the temptation level to “impossible to resist”.
Sissy’s is open
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays,
and accepts cash and checks only.
Twice each year, in May and in October (on the weekend prior to Columbus Day Weekend) the Vermont Open Studio Weekend takes place. In Middletown Springs, woodworker David Munyak’s shop will open its doors to visitors, as will Peter Huntoon’s studio and Rising Meadows Pottery. David’s business, begun in 2004, focuses primarily on turned wooden objects: bowls, vessels, ornaments and more. His shop is about a mile east of Sissy’s Kitchen.
To learn more about Vermont Open Studio Weekend:
A bit farther west on Route 140 are the studio, workshop, gallery, teaching facility and kilns of Rising Meadow Pottery, owned by Diane Rosenmiller and Nicholas Seidner. Their artistic work, created for everyday enjoyment, is influenced by historic pottery and the nature of the Slate Valley Region. Nicholas’s work is primarily in utilitarian stoneware pottery. Diane’s is in hand-thrown utilitarian pottery, utilizing fine porcelain clay and influenced both by her love of gardening and also medieval Asian pottery.