Located along Route 30 in the center of Windham County is Townshend, Vermont. Townshend is right between the other small-sized communities of Brookline, Newfane, Wardsboro, and Jamaica. With a population of about 1,150, Townshend is a small, quiet, and very scenic town in the lush rolling hills of the Connecticut River Valley.
Originally chartered in 1753, Townshend has had a long history. Today, that history can be felt with a walk or drive around town, as some of the best examples of historic landmarks Vermont has to offer are found in Townshend. Within the town’s limits, there are six locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Included among these are the First Congregational Church and Meetinghouse, a unique example of Greek and Gothic Revival architecture that was originally built in 1790, and the Scott Covered Bridge, which was built in 1870 and is nearly 280 feet in length.
Being that Townshend is essentially centrally located in Windham County, it is in the proximity of many farms and other food producers, so it isn’t hard to find great local products. For instance, the dining room at the Windham Hill Inn offers a menu that changes seasonally, the Townshend Dam Diner is known throughout the state for its classic breakfast and lunch options, and the West Townshend Country Store provides all sorts of products from the area’s dairies, produce farms, and sugarhouses.
For any outdoor enthusiasts, Townshend has a great variety of available activities within its borders. The Townshend State Park, which is one of the locations in town listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offers great hiking and fishing in the summer and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter. For those interested in swimming and other water sports, Townshend Lake, a reservoir along the West River created by the Townshend Dam, is a very popular spot for families to recreate.
Children in Townshend typically attend the Townshend Elementary School, which serves about 80 students between kindergarten and the 6th grade and is the oldest continuously operating school in the state. Students between the 7th and 12th grades can attend Leland and Gray Union Middle and High School, which serves approximately 350 students from five surrounding towns in the area.
Townshend is a wonderful small town with so much character and no shortage of fun things to do in the area. It’s in a completely picturesque location that feels both quiet and secluded yet is not far from the many other great towns of southern Vermont.