Searching for Snowflake

The soup lover’s mystery series is set in the imaginary village of Snowflake, Vermont.  Needless to say, I’ve spent an awful lot of time in that village . . . in my mind . . . and I can only hope the village I’ve created for readers lives in their imaginations as well.

This suSnowflake_Vermont_0003mmer, I decided to go searching for Snowflake and all the things that might exist there – village greens, white steepled churches, small shops and restaurants, gingerbread houses and all those elements that create the charm of small New England towns.


Did I actually find Snowflake?  Well, not exactly.  I found many of the things I’ve imagined and remembered from growing up in New England, but more importantly, I discovered so many other beautiful places and met a lot of welcoming people.  Here are some memories of that trip:



Flying into Burlington Airport from JFK was the first surprise.





An absence of crowds, signs in English and French and an airport filled with rocking chairs!


X.Clouds (Small)

Burlington sits on the shores of Lake Champlain.  Via the Champlain Canal, it’s possible to travel from the St. Lawrence Seaway in Quebec to the Hudson River and New York Harbor.  This strategic waterway was the scene of several important battles against the British during the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.



X.Lake (Small)X.Bird (Small) The lake was named after the French explorer Samuel de Champlain, who came upon it in 1609.  Champlain also claimed that he spotted a monster five feet long, a creature with silver scales that “a dagger could not penetrate” and jaws with sharp and dangerous teeth.




Native Americans also claim to have seen similar X.Champ (Small)monsters, some as long as eight to ten feet.  Vermont’s lake monster, named Champ (that’s Champ with a French pronunciation) still receives considerable attention.  A replica is on display near the shore.




X.Ferry.2 (Small)

For a very reasonable fare, it’s possible X.Ferry.1 (Small)to commute back and forth across the lake from Vermont to New York on ferries.





CupIn town, Church Street is a Church.Stpromenade of shops and restaurants.







Church Street leads to a white steepled church from which the street derives its name.





My first stop was at Phoenix Books in Burlington.

PhoenixPhoenix Books is at 191 Bank Street
Burlington, VT 05401
T:  (802) 448-3350
A second branch of Phoenix Books can be found at Essex Junction.  It’s a wonderful store and if you’re in the area, stop by to browse or visit them online at



Tod Gross, ManagerTod Gross, the store manager, was there the day I arrived.  I was thrilled to discover they were carrying the soup lover’s mystery books and I was able to sign my books!
Here’s Tod . . .

Tod led me to a display of Archer Mayor books, a well known Vermont author.  I had been meaning to check out Mayor’s series for a long time and this was the perfect opportunity.   I picked up a copy of Open Season and loved it.  I hope to read all the rest of Mayor’s books in the near future.


MelissaA huge highlight of my visit to Burlington was actually getting to meet and have lunch with Melissa La Pierre, whose blog, Melissa’s Mochas Mysteries and More, hosted me for one of my first guest blogs, aptly named “Creating Snowflake.”

And then earlier this year, Melissa was kind enough to host my blog on The Missing of Vermont.

Melissa’s a life long Vermonter who was excited to learn of a village mystery series set in Vermont.  We had a great time chatting but our lunch ended all too soon.  I felt I made a friend and I know we’ll stay in touch in the future!

X.Flag (Small)

Driving through other towns, I found village greens, white steepled churches and lots of streets named after trees, just like the streets in Snowflake — Spruce, Maple, Elm, Birch and Chestnut.


And I was excited to see a lot of unique widow’s walks, by the lake and even inland.  I posted a X.WW.4blog several months ago about other widow’s walks I’ve found in my travels.


Here are a few more I found in Vermont



X.WW.7               X.WW.3 X.WW.6

Just south of Burlington is the town of Shelburne.  In 1947, a former resident, Electra Havemeyer Webb. founded the Shelburne Museum to house her collections:



Historic buildings





Colonial Gardens     X.Garden.3Picture 384







Folk Art





At this sprawling indoor/outdoor museum, you can view priceless works of Impressionist art, the steamship Ticonderoga, completely restored down to the last detail, carriages, costumes, circus figures, quilts, weathervanes, pewter, china, and early American furniture, to mention just a few categories.



Picture 474Shelburne Museum
6000 Shelburne Road
P.O. Box 10
Shelburne, VT 05482


In Burlington, a ten minute uphill hike Tower.(Small)leads to the Ethan Allen Tower with views of the Green Mountains, the Adirondacks and Lake Champlain.  The site is maintained by the Tower Keypers, area residents who keep watch over the park and lock and unlock the Tower daily.


X.Cemetery (Small)


No visit to a New England town is complete without a walk through a local cemetery.


Lakeview Cemetery is at the town’s new North End.  X.Marker.1 (Small)


The Victorian Gothic Louisa Howard Chapel opened to the public in 1872 and is available for memorial services, weddings and other public gatherings.

X.Chapel (Small)

X.State.House.1Next stop was Montpelier, the smallest state capital in the United States.


One of my other goals on this trip was to say hello to Gwen Roolf of Montpelier who allowed me to use her amazing photos of the town for my website.  You can find several of them on my website.


X,LibraryThe Kellogg Hubbard Library is located at 135 Main Street, Montpelier VT.  You can view their events online at






I was lucky enough to catch Gwen there.  Here’s Gwen with her friend George at the library.



X.Interior.Library X.Frieze
And here are more pictures of this wonderful building.





X.HeartsMontpelier is a delightful town.  Everywhere I went I saw another photo opportunity.  These hearts in a window caught my eye.

And more hearts on a tower:







Then, it was on to Stowe via Smuggler’s Notch, a very narrow passage at the top of the mountain.  Here’s a shot of a ski run sans snow,    X.Ski.Trailjust like the Snowflake Resort.



At Middlebury, I discovered the impressive Otter Creek Falls.

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There is a river near Snowflake, but I couldn’t help wondering why I didn’t think of giving Snowflake its very own falls.




X.Demon (Small)

X.Angels (Small)And of course, window
shopping . . . .

X.RubberDucky (Small)


The week was coming to a close.  I was happy Picture 329to be heading home, but sad to leave Vermont and Lake Champlain with all its changing moods.

Picture 365Picture 241.X

Did I find my Snowflake?  Not exactly, but I found elements of Snowflake wherever I traveled.  Best of all, I’ll savor my photos and memories for a long time to come.



When the Dead Rise
September 11th

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