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  • Writer's pictureThe Featherbed Inn

Our Battered but Brave Little State

One of the silver linings of having your state as the lead story in the New York Times because of a natural disaster is the outpouring of friendship and concern. We've heard from so many of our guests, asking if we and the Featherbed Inn and the Mad River Valley are okay, and it feels like a group hug. Much to the surprise of our immediate community (particularly those who experienced the devastation of Hurricane Irene in 2011), the rivers in this valley did not flood. Oh, they were raging, and the Mad River was mad as hell. But the rivers didn't jump their banks, and there was no major damage to any of the infrastructure, homes, and businesses in the Mad River Valley. We are immensely relieved. For now. Another wild storm is predicted for Sunday.

Last Monday was a memorable, nerve-wracking day, but the Featherbed Inn turned itself into a beautiful refuge, unscathed by the ferocious storm outside. We had several wonderful guests with us, including some who were unable to depart as planned as the roads were flooded between here and their next destination. So, while the rain rain rain came down down down (hello Winnie the Pooh devotees!), our guests shared wine and cheese, held a gin-rummy tournament, and joined us for an impromptu dinner party. By the time we went to bed, we all felt a deep sense of connection and friendship. All was well, here at the Featherbed.

We wish we could say the same for our neighboring communities. Montpelier, our sweet state capitol, is a disaster, with every downtown home and business in a state of complete destruction. Everything is covered in mud, and the loss of property, livelihoods, and security is staggering. It will be a long, long time before life gets back to normal there. The same is true in many other towns around the state. And many, many roads are washed out and impassable, making it terribly difficult or even impossible for a lot of people to get from Point A to Point B. These are trying times in our Brave Little State. The pleas for assistance are heartbreaking and, at times, overwhelming.

If you would like to help in some way, consider donating to the VT Flood Response and Recovery Fund 2023, the Vermont Main Street Flood Recovery Fund, or (this one feels particularly personal) New Farms for New Americans, an agricultural-based program that supports refugees and immigrants, whose farms were completely destroyed in the floods Regardless of what you decide to do or not do, might we urge you to look lovingly at your home, your family, your workplace, and your community and take a moment to feel gratitude that they are safe.

One last thing -- we've heard that some social media influencers are urging travelers not to come to Vermont because of the flooding. Don't listen! While we certainly wouldn't make plans to visit Montpelier or the other affected communities at the moment, much of the state (including the Mad River Valley) is as lovely as ever, and our small businesses need support after the hammering they've taken during the recent storms.

With enormous gratitude,

Karen and Mick

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valerie otto
valerie otto
Jul 17, 2023

Thank you Karen and Mick for sending this email, we were wondering how the Valley made out. And as devastating and frightening as this was (and is) I can't think of a better place to be than with you and the other guests during the storm. I know the food and the evening was amazing because it's there on all the faces in the photo. It made us miss you both and the special place you've created. Hopefully we will be back sooner than later. Big hugs from Valerie and Zoe in NYC.


Carolyn Milton
Carolyn Milton
Jul 16, 2023

Hello Karen & Nick, this is Carolyn Milton from Texas, I visited Feather Bed Inn in the year of 2017. Before you and Nick bought the place. I saw the weather there on TV. I was shocked, unbelievable. Glad to hear that you'll escape the flooding. That's all we have here in Texas is Hurricanes. I still miss the Feather Bed Inn, especially in the Winter. I constantly pray for my return to Vermont one day. You all stay safe, and keep God in you'll pray.

Carolyn J Milton

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