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VPR Cafe: Vermont's General Stores

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Dorset Union Store circa 1884, courtesy of Cindy Loudenslager. Photo of the store today by Brooke Wilcox.
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The Dorset Union Store was one of the stops on food writer Julia Clancy's road trip this summer. She joined the "VPR Cafe" to talk about her experiences and the cultural significance these stores still have in the state.

A native of Boston, Seven Days food writer Julia Clancy grew up with the notion that Vermont general stores were more nostalgic than useful; buildings full of fudge and flannel rather than ones still used for everyday needs and as a hub of community.

Recently, Clancy took off on a summer-long road trip to visit several general stores throughout the state and found just how vital these stores still are to their communities.

"I was fascinated by the general store," Clancy says. The writer found the stores to be true representations of the culture in Vermont. "I was intrigued that these lasting institutions still existed. People were very attached to their general stores ... I wanted to figure out why," she adds.

You can read more about Clancy's summer road trip, which began in Putney, in her article, "How The Putney General Store Survived Fire - Twice."

The VPR Café is made possible by Otter Creek Kitchenware in downtown Middlebury, offering over 70 lines of kitchenware, and by Kimball Brook Farm, organic milk and cream from Vermont grass-grazed cows.

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