North Bennington, Vermont

Shirley Jackson moved to North Bennington with her husband Stanley in 1940. There the two literary stars entertained an impressive list of up and coming authors while all the time suffering the disapproval of their very conservative neighbors.

The Powers Market was the place to go in North Bennington for both groceries and gossip. A trip to this market reportedly pushed Shirley into writing The Lottery. The gossip today is that Powers (now a coffee shop) has not been open for over a month.

North Bennington today does not appear that conservative. Celebration of their most famous author however is limited to a single brick within a time line walk.

Next door to Powers was North Bennington’s only restaurant, The Rain Barrel. One time artists such as Bob Dylan and Joan played their back stage. Today the place is a coffee shop/cafe with Kurt Vonnegut prints on the wall. In 1970 Shirley’s husband Stanley passed away while eating his dinner. He was 51.
Two of the homes lived in by Shirley and her family. Above the house where she wrote The Lottery and also her first novel The Road Through The Wall. The house below was purchased by Shirley and Stanley and is where Shirley passed away in her sleep at the age of 48.
Sculpture Park within North Bennington

We skipped Walden Pond in order to have time to savor North Bennington. No disrespect to Henry Thoreau, but I think we made the right choice. However romantic writing in isolation may be, Shirley’s path of speaking uncomfortable truths to an oblivious hometown seems to be the more admirable way forward.

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