The picturesque landscape and ample livestock of Vermont's countryside entices tourists from afar.
This week Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney can be added to the list of visitors -- he's traveling to West Windsor. But this isn't a sightseeing trip, he's practicing for the presidential debates later this fall.
To find the pulse of a region on a topics like politics your best is the closest country store -- like Shaughnessy's in Reading. Richard Robinson of South Woodstock is a Romney supporter. "I was very impressed with his ideas, his manner. His listening ability -- and I am a supporter," he said.
Local resident Joyce Solomon, on the other hand, is sticking with President Obama."I believe we are on the right track and I think his policies will get us there. I do not believe the policies of the opponents will," she said.
Others, like visitor Pat Macri, remain undecided. "I don't think I could vote for Obama, but I am not sure about Romney because I don't know him," he said.
But Macri just might get a chance to meet him. Romney is staying at the second home of his former Lieutenant Governor in Massachusetts, Kerry Healey. Neighbors say her sprawling hillside estate sits on more than 150 acres.
Those who are also visiting the area are hoping to catch a glimpse. "I'm very curious about him because I hear a lot of the negative stuff that goes on about him, so yeah, I am curious," Macri said.
And residents say it's a great spot for debate study. According to the Washington Post, Romney is arriving on Tuesday and will stay for three days, working with Ohio Senator Rob Portman, who will play the role of President Obama.
The gate at the bottom of the driveway was locked Monday and only neighbors were around. Richard Robinson, like Kerry Healey, owns a second home nearby. "It's a change from Cape Cod where we come from. We are used to smelling the salt air and now you smell the maple trees up here," Robinson said.
And no matter what side of the political aisle you're on, there's almost no debating that cows make good company. "The second Bush I don't think ever came to Vermont, but I think Vermont is a good place to rest up," Joyce Solomon said
It's not clear yet if Governor Romney plans any public events during his visit, or if he will just remain hunkered down at the house. However, several people in the area I spoke with said, if you are going to take a couple days off, there is no better place than Vermont.
Saturday, December 7 2013 9:24 AM EST2013-12-07 14:24:20 GMT
"St. Johnsbury has enough to offer that you don't get too bored," says resident Riley Barter. She has a new appreciation for the place she calls home. "I guess I never realized how unique St. JohnsburyMore >>
Hundreds of St. Johnsbury Academy seniors take risks with their Capstone projects.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 9:12 AM EST2013-12-07 14:12:35 GMT
In Burlington's Old North End there are still hints of what used to be -- a bustling Little Jerusalem years go. But one symbol of the area's past is not so obvious."It's priceless, it literally is oneMore >>
In Burlington's Old North End there are still hints of what used to be -- a bustling Little Jerusalem years go. But one symbol of the area's past is not so obvious.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:32 AM EST2013-12-07 13:32:27 GMT
If you're lucky, you may have seen a snowy owl in Vermont. Researchers say the birds are traveling even farther south than usual -- some even as far south as North Carolina. We spotted one Friday afternoonMore >>
Researchers say snowy owls are traveling even farther south than usual, and that means more sightings here in Vermont.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 7:51 AM EST2013-12-07 12:51:22 GMT
South Burlington police say a shoplifter tried to hide her drugs by swallowing them at the police station. Police arrested Diana Matt Friday night at the University Mall Kohl's for allegedly stealingMore >>
South Burlington police say a shoplifter tried to hide her drugs by swallowing them at the police station.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 7:49 AM EST2013-12-07 12:49:56 GMT
Police in Brattleboro are looking for the driver of a car that hit and killed a pedestrian Friday night. Police say, just after 7 p.m., the car struck the man at Western Avenue and Union Street and thenMore >>
Police in Brattleboro are looking for the driver of a car that hit and killed a pedestrian Friday night.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 11:16 PM EST2013-12-07 04:16:55 GMT
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over. The incident happened on Route 105 in Berkshire late Friday afternoon. AuthoritiesMore >>
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:03 PM EST2013-12-07 03:03:22 GMT
In Dorset, a car crashed into a bank and there was no drive-through lane.The car jumped the curb in front of the Berkshire Bank Friday morning, taking out a railing and getting hung up on the front steps.More >>
In Dorset, a car crashed into a bank -- and there was no drive-through lane. More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:01 PM EST2013-12-07 03:01:17 GMT
The longtime bookkeeper at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is expected to plead guilty to embezzling from the business and a local youth hockey program.Cold Hollow in Waterbury is one of Vermont's top tourist attractions.More >>
The longtime bookkeeper at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is expected to plead guilty to embezzling from the business and a local youth hockey program.More >>