On the surface, Cabot looks like a picture-book New England village, nestled among wooded hills on the banks of the Winooski River, with a general store, church and schoolhouse facing a spacious common. But, on closer examination, it turns out to be a hive of cultural and commercial activity. Tucked inside Harry’s Hardware, the store with the gas pumps out front, is The Den, a craft beer and wine bar that features take-out cuisine, live music on Saturdays and old-time jam sessions on Sundays. Next door are the Cabot Café (boasting the best grilled cheese sandwiches and cinnamon rolls in the county) and the factory outlet shop for the Cabot Cooperative Creamery, located on the village outskirts, maker of award-winning cheese and dairy products.
If you visit Cabot on July 4th, you’ll find yourself one of thousands who come from all over to watch the Main Street Parade, with floats and Morris dancers and enormous hand-made puppets from the world-famous Bread and Puppet Theater. In October, The Cabot Community Association mounts its Fall Foliage celebration, in December a Winterfest; and in January Cabot Arts -- which produces musical events throughout the year -- presents a unique Twelfth-Night Festival to chase away the darkness.
Artists abound in Cabot, and for the past ten years, painters, sculptors, photographers, craftspeople and artisans of every kind have shared their works-in-progress at monthly Show and Tell gatherings. Until recently, a small gallery space was available for them to display their finished pieces, but this autumn the Cabot Art Barn will open its doors to visual artists and their admirers and patrons.
The Cabot Art Barn stands at the rear of the Wiswell House, one of the most striking examples of Victorian architecture in Vermont. Built by Dr. S.L. Wiswell and his wife Seraphine in 1868, remodeled in 1898 and preserved with great attention to period authenticity, this historic home remains a family residence and the property of Dr. Wiswell’s great-great-granddaughters. The barn that once housed Dr. Wiswell’s carriage and horses will be open to the public for these two weeks with a curated exhibition showcasing the work of Cabot’s visual arts community.