Robert Frost In The Shires of Vermont: Robert Frost was here. Moreover, he still is.

Photo by Phil Holland

Photo by Phil Holland

It was national news on Jan. 1 when the 95-year-old copyright expired on the poems in Robert Frost’s 1923 Pulitzer Prize-winning volume New Hampshire, including “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” You can now buy a $15 dollar mug on Etsy with the famous concluding quatrain overprinted on a photo of a pine forest. But if you’re in search of a more authentic Frost experience this year, come to The Shires of Vermont.

Stop first at the Robert Frost Stone House Museum in South Shaftsbury right on Historic Route 7A. Frost and his family moved to this 1769 farmhouse in 1920. It was here on one June morning in 1922 that Frost wrote “Stopping by Woods.” It came to him as dawn broke, he said, “like a hallucination.” The Museum has attractive exhibits on Frost’s life as a poet and Vermonter, and the grounds are worth a ramble too. Frost loved orchards, and he said that he planned to plant a thousand apple trees “of some unforbidden variety” on his new purchase. New plantings reproduce the varieties that he did plant.

Next stop: the Frost gravesite behind the Old First Church in Old Bennington; the path is signposted, and you’ll be passing by beautifully carved 18th-century stones to get there. Frost purchased a family plot in 1940. He was interred there following his death in 1963 at the age of 88. He had already suggested an epitaph in one of his poems, and the words appear below his name: “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.”

Phil Holland is the author of Robert Frost in Bennington County and A Guide to the Battle of Bennington and the Bennington Monument.

Photo by Phil Holland

Photo by Phil Holland