Recently, the editor of the editorial page of the Valley News received a letter from a student named Izzie in “Mrs. B’s Class” at the Langley School of McLean, Virginia. As part of a “state fair” project, his third-grade class had been given an assignment to study various states of the union…

I’ve taken to wandering the night lately — one of the pleasures of having a puppy. Willow, my pup, and I walk at all hours, from twilight to midnight and into the shadowy early morning. Some nights we walk under the cover of stars and moonlight, and other nights the world is so dark, my blac…

The classic tune by John Denver could have just as easily been about Vermont instead of West Virginia. When it comes to country roads, Vermont has a lot of them — more than most other states, thanks to its rural development pattern over the past few hundred years.

Somewhere around the middle of the night at about the 90-mile mark, the course of the marathon fell in with a “seismic line” — a straight swath cut through the bush and used by energy companies to explore for oil with bulldozers and explosives — and began to follow it up and down hill regard…

Like most people, I thought I knew where to find fireflies: in back yards and fields on summer nights, flickering on and off like dollhouse-sized lanterns or like Tinker Bell, the tiny fairy that the author of Peter Pan invented while observing fireflies near a Scottish lake.

One foot in front of the other is my mantra when hiking, whether it has been the short trek to the height of Stowe Pinnacle Trail, hiking the full stretch of Long Trail from Massachusetts to Canada, three weeks on the John Muir Trail in California, or my 1,200-mile journey covering half of t…

With the change of seasons just weeks away, we decided to do some early spring cleaning of our eating routines. We don’t mean dieting. We mean taking stock of what we eat and why we eat to optimize health, wellness and energy. For guidance, we turned to Kate Bean, a registered dietitian, cer…

With the change of seasons just weeks away, we decided to do some early spring cleaning of our eating routines. We don’t mean dieting. We mean taking stock of what we eat and why we eat to optimize health, wellness and energy. For guidance, we turned to Kate Bean, a registered dietitian, cer…

Act One opens in a forest on the western slopes of the Taconic Mountains in southwestern Vermont. A man in his 40s is walking with his former high-school geology teacher, a man now in his 70s. Amid the towering trees, they come across a VW bus-sized boulder, sitting alone and somewhat out of…

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Many Vermonters received a confusing postcard from the Department of Motor Vehicles in January. The card thanked readers for their participation in Vermont’s new statewide electronic inspections program, called the Automated Vehicle Inspection Program, or AVIP.

If I’d known what I was getting into, I’d’ve brought the Delorean instead of the Prius. The Prius was fine for getting me here — I just typed “Black Mountain Ski Area, Jackson, NH” into the GPS route-finder, and the lady with the precise accent took care of the rest. But once I got out of th…

It was sort of a mutual curiosity society: The wolves were watching us from perches on hillsides, and we were watching them from our canoes as we passed. We lads of the Geriatric Adventure Society’s Arctic Division were a long way from anywhere, on the Hayes River in Nunavut; coordinates rou…

I love trees, and find them endlessly fascinating. Each is unique, much as we are. One winter I attempted (and failed) to read all of Michael Dirr’s authoritative “Dirr’s Encyclopedia of Trees and Shrubs” — all 950 pages of it. I only read about trees that are hardy here, and still only foun…

A few winters back, there was a doe who frequented our compost heap. The garden fence around it proved an inadequate barrier, as she simply hopped over it to nosh on the rotting shards of jack-o-lanterns and the latest veggie scraps tossed atop the pile. Not far from the garden sits an old o…

Let’s face it. It can be hard to get outside during a Vermont winter to get some exercise and activity every day. The good news is that the Rutland region is brimming with programs, new and old, to make it easy and fun to play outside in the snow. So, let’s talk about all of the outdoor acti…

When we’re filing out our income tax returns, most of us are focused on how much money we’re going to get back. But when it comes to the Vermont state income tax return, there is an invitation to donate some of your refund to a good cause.

As part of a campaign in support of nuclear cardiac imaging, The Rutland Health Foundation, the fundraising department at Rutland Regional Medical Center, recently launched a campaign to raise $500,000 in support of a new nuclear medicine camera for the Rutland Heart Center.

A husky, dark-haired man, looking to be maybe in his 50s, stands at the edge of a freshly frozen black-ice lake, wearing a bathing suit and a pair of ice skates. He steps onto the ice carrying a short-bladed chain saw. He starts the saw and, squatting down, touches it to the ice between his …

Did you know that heart disease affects one in three women? That’s one in three of our mothers, wives, aunts, sisters, and best friends. In honor of American Heart Month this February, we are sharing tips from seven employees who are committed to living heart-healthy. Some of these women hav…

Looking out the kitchen window the other evening, before I turned in for the night, I was amazed to see a temperature reading of 16 below. The next morning, just before 7 a.m., it was a jaw-dropping 23 below zero. I think we can say that the two big February ice fishing derbies, set for late…

When I’m skiing or skating across a pond, I observe the shoreline, surrounding hills, islands, maybe a woodpecker or blue jay winging its way to the opposite shore. I look up at the sky, the clouds, swirling snowflakes. But there is a world beneath my feet that I don’t see, in what Henry Dav…