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Art Gallery in Visitors Center Worth Visiting

Capital Region Visitors Center. Photo by Carla Occaso.
Some use Montpelier’s Capital Region Visitors Center to ask for directions and find a good restaurant. Some use it for the bathrooms during the Capital City Farmers Market. But local artists and craftspeople use it to display and sell their wares. 

On a recent sunny Saturday morning the center buzzed with activity. One woman said she was visiting from Florida and admired an antique sled on display. A man from Connecticut shared sledding stories from his childhood. And around the corner on the walls, windowsills, shelves, and other displays were ample examples of the center’s featured artist, Nancy Schade. 

Winter landscapes, interior still lifes, and autumn harvest scenes were part of her repertoire. But the most striking pieces of art were her bronze statues, numbering about six, including a depiction of a horse, a bust of Maria Von Trapp, a person snowboarding, and a whimsical depiction of a person sitting on the front of a horseshoe crab wearing a horseshoe crab hat. And, in the main reception room with the welcome desk and display case, a little bronze baby in a bucket was on display.

“The Worcester Range” landscape painting by Nancy Schrade is on display at the Visitors Center. Photo by Carla Occaso.
Sitting in the main reception room was Vermont Ambassador Meg Fuller, who offered a welcoming smile and answers to questions. She told The Bridge artists have promotional displays for two months at a time in the off-season, and every month from July through October. The pieces are for sale, and all proceeds go directly to the artist. 

Other artists and craftspeople on this late June day included NEKWood Turnings, Annie Caswell (kissedbyfirecreations.com), Tracy Gillespie (kitchentableprinter.com), Stephen Huneck galleries, soijen.com, and more.

Additionally, each new promotional display features a Vermont maple producer. The Bridge saw a display by Templeton Farm. This family-owned farm, in operation since 1810, according to templetonfarm.com, is currently being run by Bruce Chappell — a seventh generation descendent. The East Montpelier farm taps 2,700 trees using a pipeline with a vacuum system. Much of the syrup is canned right in the sugarhouse moments after it is produced. Also for sale are knitted items, hand-painted wooden clothespins, a wooden rocking chair, and other Vermont-based items.

Of course the center also has a large selection of maps, brochures, and travel guides. Information is available on maple sugarhouses, cheesemakers, breweries, wineries, farmers markets, skiing, golfing, camping, hiking, hunting, boating, bicycling, music, theater, museums, art galleries, antiquing, lodging, dining, bookstores, and shopping.

Hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Capital Region Visitors Center is located at 134 State Street and was developed to boost the economic development of Montpelier to bring visitors off Interstate-89 to the downtown. Call 802-828-5981 for more information.