Exploring writerly lives through literary pilgrimage
–By Robin McCarthy
Robert Frost owned two homes in Ripton, Vermont, and both locations are now owned by Middlebury College. The more elaborate of the two summer homes, Homer Noble Farm, is nestled on the outskirts of the college’s Bread Loaf campus and privy to the action of the summer conference that has drawn writers to Ripton, Vermont every summer for nearly ninety years. The second Frost home is a remote cabin tucked away into the woods a mile and a half down the road. While guests often stayed at the farm, Frost himself preferred to spend his visits to Ripton in the rustic cabin removed from the campus.
When I visited Bread Loaf a number of years ago, I was struck by how impossible it is to separate Frost’s relationship with Bread Loaf from the identity of the summer writers’ conference. The poet was influential in establishing the Bread Loaf school and remained a frequent visitor and lecturer for most of his life. There are many writers celebrated at Bread Loaf, both past a present, but none so storied or active in their own mythology as Frost. Continue reading