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.
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