Billy Bowman

I had moved to Stowe, Vermont from the Jersey Shore in the fall of 1975. Having just graduated from High School three months earlier I fled to the Green Mountains of Vermont with all the reasons an eighteen-year-old has to leave her hometown.

The town of Stowe boasted its title of “The Ski Capital of The East.”  There was and still is a cute village with retail shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and two gas stations.  The Mountain Road follows the West Branch of the Little River as it winds its way up to Spruce Peak and Mt Mansfield.  Chair lifts and gondolas carry tourists, ski bums and locals higher up to ski down the steep terrain.

The town was full of young people like me working at the many resorts, restaurants, and motels that lined the Mountain Road. At night we would descend on one of the two-bar/ dance halls that were housed in converted old barns. The Baggy Knees and Rusty Nail were the hubs of social life.

But it was the mountains that drew me to Vermont. The cold, clean rivers and streams, forests of spruce, balsam and pine and the smell of the rich loamy soil made my senses smile! The landscape was scattered with old and new barns, dairy cows and horses. It was the country life that I wanted. I wanted to be a county/ mountain girl. Maybe someday I would have a farm with animals, gardens, barns, and corrals.  Maybe get married and live happily ever after.

Sue and Neil Anderson hired me to waitress during the ski season in their small twenty-one-bed ski lodge.  They served breakfast and dinner to the guests.  I would have days off to ski with my free ski pass. They lived at the lodge with their two children. The children were both in elementary school, a boy and a girl. They were nice kids. Once the season started there would also be a dishwasher and housekeeper hired. I would share a room with the housekeeper to be.  The Andersons also offered me room and board during the fall months to help clean and get ready for the winter season that usually started around Thanksgiving.

I also found a job at Top Notch Resort in the riding stables for the months of September and October giving trail rides to wealthy tourists.   Top Notch Resort was the best of the best in Stowe. The horse barn, stables, and tack were immaculate. I had enough horse experience from working in New Jersey that they hired me on the spot. They had just lost two of their four employees so the timing was perfect.  The work was hard and the days were long and I loved it. I worked with the Andersons on my days off.