Faced with the challenge of preserving their agricultural heritage and their beautiful landscape, the residents of Brattleboro created a local tradition that has captured New England’s heart: “The Strolling of the Heifers,” a feminine version of Spain’s famous “Running of the Bulls,” according to founder Orly Munzing. Up to 50,000 people attend this event to celebrate regional agriculture with a parade, music, food, workshops and farm tours. Munzing’s inspiration came as she talked with a neighbor in his orchard. “Pretty soon,” he told her, “there won’t be any picturesque hay bales in Vermont.” But Munzing hopes she and her colleagues can help prevent that loss.
Cross into the Green Mountain State from Massachusetts on Interstate 91, and you might feel as if you’ve entered a new country. There isn’t a town in sight. What you see are forested hills punctuated by rolling pastures. When you reach Brattleboro, no fast-food joints or strip malls line the exits to signal your arrival at southeastern Vermont’s gateway city. En route to downtown, you pass by Victorian-era homes on tree-lined streets. From Brattleboro, you can cross over the spine of the Green Mountains toward Bennington and Manchester.