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About St. Albans

ABOUT SAINT ALBANS

St. Albans Town was chartered on August 17, 1763, and one of only two towns to which Benning Wentworth gave a “saint” name, the other being St. George, and the two were granted on successive days. The town of St. Albans and the city of St. Albans were separated in 1902. References to “St. Albans” prior to this date generally refer to the town center, which now belongs to the city.
The northernmost engagement of the Civil War, known as the St. Albans Raid, occurred here on October 19, 1864. On Oct. 19, 1864, about 25 Confederate soldiers based in Canada raided the town of St. Albans, Vermont, killed one man, robbed three banks, and then retreated to Canadian territory.
St. Albans District manifest records of aliens arriving from foreign contiguous territory : arrivals at Canadian border ports from January 1895 to June 30, 1954, are online at FamilySearch . A centennial history of St. Albans, Vermont, organized July 28th, 1788

A HISTORIC DOWNTOWN
Downtown St. Albans is known for its heritage and momentous events of the past, such as its railroad history, the famous St. Albans Raid, and historic Taylor Park. But it is also becoming known for a 21st Century rebirth of prosperity and activity, from its revived streetscape and welcoming sense of place, to fine specialty shops and award-winning restaurants, to the rising star of the downtown brewery. In summer and fall, the farmers market boasts fresh produce, specialty foods and fine handcrafted goods. St. Albans’ close proximity to Lake Champlain provides for boating, hiking and biking opportunities with spectacular views, especially during the fall foliage.
Historic buildings on Main and Church Streets grace Taylor Park, one of Vermont’s largest downtown greens, where community events are held throughout the year. In the spring, visitors can experience 40 years of tradition and fun at the Vermont Maple Festival. Come summertime, local bands and artists step up to perform in the gazebo. The St. Albans Raid, the Age of Rail, and more can be explored at the St. Albans Historical Museum.
Whether downtown St. Albans is your destination or just a stop along the way as you explore the farms and rural centers of Franklin County, you can be sure to find something worthwhile around every corner.
For more information, visit St. Albans for the Future or call (802) 524-1500.

SAINT ALBANS, VERMONT
RAIL STATION INFORMATION
Station Building (with waiting room)
40 Federal Street
St Albans, VT 05478
For travel itineraries and details about what to do and see in St. Albans, click here.

Attractions:
(0.1 mile): Fine and fun dining on Federal Street and Main Street
(0.1 mile): Beautiful Taylor Park on Main Street
(0.2 mile): St. Albans Museum
(0.3 mile): 14th Star Brewing Co.
(1.0 mile): Hard’Ack and Aldis Hill bike and hiking trails, located just off Congress Street near Route 105
(1.0 mile): Missisquoi Valley Rail Trail
Lodging:
(0.4 mile) walk or bike to Back Inn Time bed and breakfast or arrange a ride: (802) 527-5116
(0.1 mile) walk, bike, or take a shuttle to Hampton Inn on Lake St. – COMING IN APRIL 2017

Local Transportation:
(0.1 mile) walk to Downtown St. Albans dining, shops and services. Information at DowntownSaintAlbans.com
St. Albans Taxi: 802-524-2712, Rick’s Taxi: 802-370-1442, additional taxi services are also available
For public bus service, take the St. Albans Downtown Shuttle




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Things To Check Out In St. Albans

ST. ALBANS, VERMONT — Amazing what a makeover can do.

Just a few years ago, St. Albans was a community struggling to hold on to its identity. After a long fight to keep the giant out, a Walmart store was set to open on the fringe of town. Many downtown storefronts were empty. Was the historic town doomed, people wondered?

Quite the opposite: downtown St. Albans has never looked so good. An ambitious  $3-million Main St. overhaul — a project that brought together city hall, residents and businesses — has re-energized this 253-year-old city of 7,000 people. All summer and fall, sidewalk garden boxes cascade with flowers, and people linger at street-side restaurant terrasses.  There’s a Wednesday evening summer concert series, a lively Saturday-morning farmer’s market, public art exhibits and a new crop of businesses housed in the grand, historic red-brick buildings lining Main St.

St. Albans is a perfect destination for a day trip from Montreal, an hour and a half’s drive, 25 kilometres south of the Canada-U.S. border. It’s closer than Burlington, which is a perennial favourite among Quebecers. St. Albans is friendly, easy to navigate. Most of what there is to see and do is clustered along Main St. facing Taylor Park, the green space that features one of the prettiest fountains in New England. Stroll, browse in the shops, picnic in the park, have lunch. Nature-lovers might also want to head to the waterfront. St. Albans is set among rolling green pastures. But it also happens to sit right on the shores of Lake Champlain, with a beach and state park within city limits.

What to do on a day trip to St. Albans? Here’s a sampling.

An ambitious overhaul of Main St. has re-energized St. Albans, a 253-year-old city of 7,000 people.

Architecture
Just wandering the streets is a treat. St. Albans is a compact city covering no more than 2 square miles. Many of its beautiful and well-preserved Victorian and Craftsman-style buildings date back to the city’s heyday as a railway hub in the 1800s.

The historic downtown district is clustered along Main St., and around Taylor Park, with its benches, lawns and flower gardens. The park’s centrepiece is one of the most beautiful fountains in all of New England — a 129-year-old, three-tiered cast iron and zinc sculpture (nicknamed “The Ladies” ), which was recently restored.

Owner Nancy Hudak stocks a great selection of organic teas, dried fruits and other foods at her dog-friendly Rail City Market.

Shopping
There’s a TJ Maxx on the outskirts of town (in the Highgate Shopping Plaza, 255 Swanton Rd., 802-524-7212) for those who need their discount fix. But meandering along Main St. in St. Albans downtown commercial district is more pleasant. There are no chain stores here. Instead, Main St. is lined with small, independent restaurants, cafés and shops like The Eloquent Page (70 North Main St., 802-527-7243), a used and new bookstore where you might pull a $3 book of Basho haikus out of a bin. A few doors down, there’s a world-class kitchen shop called As The Crow Flies (58 North Main St., 802-524-2800), which has locally made cutting boards and textiles and a brilliant and useful collection of kitchen essentials — from table linens and glassware to utensils and pots and pans.

At the other end of Main St., Rail City Market  (8 South Main St., 802-524-3769) is a natural-foods store housed in a most extraordinary old building. Owner Nancy Hudak stocks a great selection of organic bulk teas, dried fruits and other foods, as well as local Vermont maple products plus a section of locally made jewelry and crafts. This might also be the most dog-friendly place on Earth!

Elaine Jones’s antique shop Vintage Vibe features furniture, glassware and several rooms of clothes and collectibles.

One of my favourite shops is Vintage Vibe (44 South Main St., 802-752-9464), an antique shop filled with stuff from the 1920s to the ’80s at reasonable prices (even for Canadians factoring in the exchange rate.) Owner Elaine Jones is a lifelong collector of all things quirky, cool and colourful who quit her job to open this shop. (She’s the woman behind the counter wearing the fabulous vintage clothes.)  Rugs, table linens, glassware, art, barware, vinyl. Also several rooms of clothes and collectibles on consignment from other vendors. Open Wednesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment.

Twiggs American Gastropub, which faces Taylor Park, has a lively atmosphere and good pub food. CHRISTINNE MUSCHI / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Food
There are quite a few restaurants to choose from along Main St., most of them boasting a sidewalk terrasse.  Try Twiggs American Gastropub (24 North Main St., 802-524-1405), with a lively atmosphere and good pub food like burgers, nachos, burgers, mac ‘n’ cheese and fish and chips. The funky interior boasts a rotating exhibit of local art and great music.

Mimmo’s Pizza (22 South Main St., 802-524-2244) is a family-run Italian restaurant with great old-school Italian-American pasta, heroes and calzones, plus what is widely recognized to be the best New York-style thin-crust pizza outside of the 212 area code.  Or if it’s a nice day, consider a picnic lunch. Head over to Evelyne’s Fine Foods (15 Center St., 802-782-1852). Evelyn Martin is the baker and pastry chef behind this tiny shop serving salads, sandwiches on freshly made baguettes and pies, tarts and cakes (cream puffs, maple latte cakes and pineapple cheesecakes are among the popular draws.)

The Traveled Cup Coffee House is a popular place to hang out.

There are two great cafés downtown The Traveled Cup Coffee House (94 North Main St., 802-524-2037) is a popular hangout, with comfy sofas and armchairs, serving coffee and fresh-baked sweet and savoury goods. Down the street, Catalyst Coffee(22 North Main St., 802-393-9808) is a newer venture serving fair-trade coffee roasted in Vermont. Espresso and lattes, of course, but also siphon coffee and maple milk and maple limeade (St. Albans is after all, the maple capital of Vermont and host of the spring Maple Festival.)

Craft beer fans should stop at  14th Star Brewery Co. (133 North Main St #7, 802 528 5988), located in a former bowling alley. Try the flagship Valor Ale, a hoppy red ale, or one of the other award-winning brews. (Open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.)

If you are visiting on the weekend, go to the Northwest Farmer’s Market, which sprawls out in Taylor Park every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., from mid-May until the end of October. It hosts 45 vendors selling fresh seasonal produce, jams and jellies, wine, meat, poultry and eggs from nearby farms, as well as jewelry, soaps and gift items — all of it grown, baked, foraged or handcrafted by the vendors themselves. There’s plenty of opportunity for snacking, too: sweet and salty kettle corn, Maple City Smoke’s slow-cooked brisket and pulled pork sandwiches, tacos.  Buy a dozen blue-shelled eggs from Mary Gagné’s Araucana hens for $3.50 a dozen. Or choose a sharp, sturdy and environmentally friendly tote bag made from recycled animal-feed sacks, handmade by Abenaki Craftworks ($7).

There’s also Hudak Farm Stand and Greenhouse (599 St. Albans Rd., Swanton, 802-527-1147). Three miles north of downtown St. Albans, Hudak’s is a 150-acre family farm that follows organic practices and sells its seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as local honey, jam, cider, maple syrup, baked goods, cheese and pottery, out of a beautiful barn. Open every day from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. (until 6 p.m. on Sunday) until Nov. 1.

Art
Art-lovers will want to check out Artist in Residence (10 South Main St., 802-528-5222), a co-operative art gallery featuring the paintings, drawings, jewelry, sculpture and woodworking of 40 member artists, all from Vermont. Each month the gallery showcases the works of several featured artists.

History
St. Albans Museum (9 Church St., 802-527-7933) is a fun place to visit, chock full of curious and interesting toys, artifacts and other bits of local history. There’s a military room, medical room and even a railroad room in which visitors are transported to a century-old waiting room complete with a ticket seller’s booth and telegraph equipment. It’s housed in a handsome Renaissance Revival-style building flanking Taylor Park. Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for 5 and up. Open Wednesday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 10 to 2. The museum closes for winter in the first week of October and reopens in early June.

Nature
Outdoorsy types and families with children who need to burn off energy will want to set aside a little time to get up close to Lake Champlain. Drive down Lake St. toward St. Albans Bay to get to Kill Kare State Park (2714 Hathaway Point Rd. 802-524-6021). The park’s official summer season ends on Labour Day weekend. But the grounds are open year-round (though without facilities). There’s a small-cove beach with incredible views of the lake and the Adirondack Mountains in the distance, plus broad lawns for Frisbee throwing and running around. During summer, kayaks and canoes are available for rent and there’s the Island Runner passenger ferry, which crosses seven times daily to Burton Island State Park, with campsites, walking and biking trails.

AT A GLANCE

To drive to St. Albans from Montreal, cross the Champlain Bridge and take Highway 10E. Get off at Exit 22, and merge onto Highway 35 S toward Highway 89. At St-Sébastien, turn left onto Highway 133S, cross the border into the United States and follow I-89 S to Exit 20.

If you decide to stay overnight, check out antique-collector Elaine Jones’s new downtown St. Albans short-term rental apartment, outfitted with midcentury furniture and equipped with vintage vinyl. It will be available on AirBnB (under the heading “vintage therapy in Vermont”) as of Sept. 25. Before then, call Jones at 802-752-9464 for information or to reserve.

Or you could try the “unfussy” Cadillac Motel, (213 South Main St., 802-370-3082), which is walking distance from downtown.




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