A correction and a map

First, a correction.  I checked in with Mike Chait at Smuggler’s Notch and learned that the actual annual visitor count for the ski resort is 450,000.  I’ve made the correction in the post.

Second, I thought that folks who aren’t familiar with the northeastern states might like to see how the four Cambridges connect.  On this map, A is Cambridge, MA; B is Cambridge, VT; C is Cambridge, NY; and D is Cambridge, Maine.

Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine are the only three of the six New England states with a Cambridge, so I can check that group off my list.  And New York gives us the full set of northeastern Cambridges.  Maine is the farthest north of the four, but Vermont is closer to Canada.  And you can see how close both New York and Vermont are to the border between the two states.

Four Cambridges

The road to Cambridge, VT

Cambridge MA to VT.PNGThe route from Cambridge, MA to Cambridge, VT isn’t quite as simple as it was for my NY and Maine visits when I could drive U.S. highways almost all the way, but it’s still not too complicated.  Despite continuous rain in New Hampshire, the skies brightened after I crossed the border into VT.   Once off Route 89, I went through Waterbury and Stowe (useful for context on the ski world).  Cambridge, VT is about a half hour northeast of Burlington, and about the same distance from the border with Canada.  There might be a stoplight in town, but I never saw it.

Both coming and going, I drove through Smuggler’s Notch, a mountain pass that is closed in the winter and that separates Stowe from Cambridge.  I would describe the road as a series of sharp turns separated by short stretches of straightaway, until it gets serious and it’s one hairpin turn after another.  I stopped a few times for the scenery on the trip home.  Here’s the point that turns out to be the highest on the road.

The Notch

I mentioned a couple of posts ago that I was trying to focus my visits on places with a clear “Cambridgeness.”  Cambridge, VT is somewhat complicated in that regard.  The Town of Cambridge includes two incorporated villages, Cambridge and Jeffersonville, but most of the population of the Town isn’t included in a village.

Inn Sign

I stayed in Jeffersonville’s historic Smuggler’s Notch Inn (dating to 1790), but I made sure to visit the center of the Village of Cambridge, too.  Both areas have stores that sell the essentials and several people told me that they depend only on the local shops when they can’t or don’t want to travel to supermarkets in other towns.

Vermont is, in general a super-scenic place, between the mountains and the old New England towns.  Here are a few pix from the trip.

Smugglers Notch Inn
Smuggler’s Notch Inn, est. 1790
VT scenery
The view from the edge of town.
Covered Bridge
Gates Farm Covered Bridge in the Village of Cambridge, built in 1897.
Jeffersonville Church.png
Jeffersonville church at sunset.

Take exit B3 and you’re there

Cambridge, NY is a place that, I feel confident, will see me again.  I had a delightful (if short) time there, chatting with folks and exploring.  It’s going to take me some time to gather up my notes and share the content of the conversations, so today I’ll simply talk about the trip.

Travel map

It’s hard to imagine that I’ll find any other two Cambridges that are as easy to travel between as those in MA and NY.  Once I pulled onto the Massachusetts Turnpike (I90, about two miles from home), I went west until I had crossed the border into New York.  I took exit B3 for NY Route 22 and traveled past NY towns with names reflecting the upstate area’s tradition of mixing the classical (such as Troy), international (Lebanon), Biblical (Canaan), Dutch (Rensselaer), Native American (Hoosic), and English (Greenwich).  Another hour later, I reached the Motel Cambridge, right on Route 22 and where I would spend the night.  The local address is 51 South Park Street and, given that the address of my childhood home was also 51 Park, there was no doubt but that I’d be staying there.  (Also, it’s pretty much the only game in town.)

Common Sense Farm

Cambridge, NY doesn’t sprawl far beyond the intersection of Park Street and Main Street, where you’ll find the village’s only stoplight.  A few streets radiate out from Park or Main but, really, not too many.  That made it super easy to get around and meet up with everyone I had arranged to see.  Once outside the compact center of the village, most of the roads I followed took me past a farm, such as this one: Common Sense Farm.

The Cambridge Valley Chamber of Commerce describes the location of the village this way.  “Cambridge is located in southern Washington County, eastern upstate New York. We are northeast of Albany, east of Saratoga Springs and southwest of Manchester, Vermont….Driving Times: Albany-55 minutes; Manchester, VT-45 minutes; Greenwich-10 minutes; Saratoga Springs-25 minutes; Bennington, VT-20 minutes; Williamstown, MA-45 minutes.”  In other words, it’s neither completely isolated, nor is it part of a teeming metropolis.

Continental RoadCambridge has a long history, with Native American settlements and a significant role in the Revolutionary War.  And that long history is what, I think, has led to a very complicated government structure.  There’s the village, which was the focus of my visit, but there’s also a Town of Cambridge.  Most public services are provided by the village, which is probably a good thing, as the village is split among three towns — Cambridge, White Creek, and Jackson.  All of the towns are in Washington County, which stretches up the eastern edge of New York State.

(My home town on Long Island, NY is also a village that, along with several other villages, is rolled into a town, so the governance structure wasn’t totally foreign to me, but no one in Cambridge told me it was better to be part of three towns, much as they might be used to it.)

CoOpBefore my trip, I looked at the restaurant options in town and discovered that nearly all are closed on Monday, and many on Tuesday, too.  Folks seemed more amused than irritated when I commented on how eating out must be confined to Wednesday to Sunday.  With a lunch picked up at the local co-op, dinner at one of the open restaurants, and breakfast supplies from the supermarket, I easily got by.

After all the conversations on Monday and Tuesday morning, I followed a suggestion I received several times and zipped out to the local monastery (!), located on a hill that truly brings out the loveliness of the surrounding area.  From there, back to the stoplight, a left turn onto Rt. 22, and the drive back home.  My next posts will reflect my Cambridge, NY conversations.


Cambridge, from east to west, north to south

The only U.S. Cambridge I’ve been to so far is the one in Massachusetts, where I live, but plans are in place to start visiting as many namesake Cambridges as I can.  Some (New York, Maine, Vermont, New Jersey, Maryland) are close enough for quick trips.  Others (Idaho, Oklahoma, Missouri) will take a little more planning.  Meanwhile, I’ll be relying on written interviews to gather information.

Here is what I think is the map of all the towns and cities in the U.S. named Cambridge.

Cambridge, mapped