Quite literally, White River Junction is a junction’s junction: train tracks meet, rivers converge, and highways overlap. Just over a year ago, my interest in the historic district was renewed as it became the place of my employment. Suddenly, my mid-day hunger turned into an excuse to explore and my searches for parking spots morphed into intentional wanderings. But, like many Vermonters, routines emerged and eventually, I found myself frequenting the same places.
- Tuckerbox Café: I’m not a coffee drinker, but my colleagues -- and the experts in charge of applying "free trade" stickers -- give their java high marks. For me, the appeal is the industrial/antique décor, the best BLT-on-Texas-toast in the area, and the jar of hot oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies, which, if you are patient enough after lunch, get re-stocked with a fresh batch at about 2:05pm on most weekdays.
- Vermont Salvage: Located downtown in a massive, two-story building, Vermont Salvage collects every faucet, radiator, bathroom mirror, church pew, and urinal in the state that was ever destined for the dump. Every item in the shop has a story, and the ability to be re-used -- a practice near and dear to many Vermonters. The amazing part: you can just as easily go in there with a specific shopping list and find what you need as you can enter with no particular project in mind and become inspired to build an entire new room around a vintage, soapstone sink that you stumbled on in “aisle” 16.
- Tip Top Café: It is arguably the best lunch place in eastern Vermont with the hands-down best garlic fries in all of New England (that’s right, I said it). They are advertised as being crispy, garlicky, and yummy. This is a gigantic understatement. Dare I say it is appetizer/side dish…(gasp)…perfection?
To be sure, WRJ might not make the pages of any Vermont travel guides, but it has a certain charm that is uniquely Vermont, and surely worth the stop, even if you are just passing through one of its junctions.