The Appalachian Trail

The Postmark Adventures of Kelvin Kindahl, Part 12

June 23 -- Manchester Center, Vt., has become a huge outlet shopping center in the past decade or so. This part of Vermont, like many other parts, has been a tourist Mecca for a long time, and the outlets are yet another attraction. What it does mean, though, is that the post office vastly outgrew its old building, and several years ago moved to a much larger building away from town. After doing that, they opened a contract station on Main Street, at the Village Valet Dry Cleaners. The station is apparently called Village Valet Station, but the present postmaster is unwilling to supply a postmark with the station name on it.

June 25 -- Over to the lower (or upper, but southern) Lake Champlain Valley, mostly on the New York side. Went to Poultney, Vt., site of the 1971 PMCC Convention, which I assume was at Green Mountain College. Whitehall, N.Y., continues to use its round dater with "Birthplace of the U. S. Navy" in the bottom half. It is one of the very few, if not the only, round dater I have seen with a slogan contained in it.

North of Whitehall I went to Huletts Landing, a small resort community on Lake George that is accessible only by a dead-end road from the highway. This is a ways up Lake George's eastern shore, farther away from the town of Lake George and Interstate 87, and is much less developed than the southern end of the lake or the western side.

Ticonderoga, known to the locals as "Ti," and Crown Point are both significant historical towns, but I only had time to visit the post offices.

July 2 -- Back to Vermont. The town of Thetford currently has four post offices -- Thetford, Thetford Center, East Thetford, and North Thetford. From the looks of the buildings, the postal service plans to keep Thetford and close the other three when it can. Thetford is in a good-sized new building with the latest USPS styles. It is substantially larger than the others, and it is on the road toward Thetford Center.

Thetford Center is the smallest of the four, in a small general store. North Thetford has its own space in a larger building. East Thetford is in a small building of its own.

A number of postmasters have asked me if I am a part of the "251 Club." That is a group of people who make a point of going to every town in Vermont and spending some time in the town doing something, rather than just driving through. Apparently some of these folks get postmarks in their travels.

For the first time I found a postmaster in Strafford who was a member himself and could give me a club contact. Hopefully, that information will reach me at my next mail stop.

Although there are 251 cities and towns in Vermont, there are actually 255 civil divisions, if you include the three gores and one grant. The grant, one of the gores, and two or three towns are a bit of a challenge to visit because they are not only completely unpopulated, but they have no roads in them.

The Topsham post office closed several years ago. Driving through town I spotted its replacement, a DLBU (Detached Lock Box Unit). Sitting near the center of town is a tiny building with a small bank of post office boxes inside along with a few parcel lockers and a bulletin board for local news and a few USPS memos. Outside is a blue collection box. The sign on the building says "Topsham, VT 05076" but does not say post office.

A few days later, at Lake Elmore, I saw a photo of a very similar DLBU at Riverton, Vt., which I had gone through a few days earlier, but didn't notice the DLBU.

McIndoe Falls is soon to move to a new building. The present one is pretty old, and is heated by a wood stove, cooled by a fan. The postmaster says she sometimes works with gloves on in winter because the stove heats the lobby pretty good, but not behind the counter.

The Ryegate CPO, East Ryegate, is located in a town office building and is open one hour in the morning and again for one hour in the evening. I didn't get there during either hour.

July 3 -- The Glencliff post office is about half a mile from a trail road crossing and a lot of through-hikers use it as a mail stop. They have a trail register and a chalkboard with information for hikers on the front porch.