What to do
Barre is most famous for being the self pro-claimed “Granite Capital of the World” from the abundance of "Barre Gray" granite. With the establishment of the railroad in the 1870's Barre become an economic growth center with immigrants from around the world flocking to Barre for a more prosperous life. At around of the turn of the twentieth century, Barre was the melting pot of Vermont and home to some of the best quarry men and stone carvers in the world. In 1903, a granite sculptor, Elia Corti, was fatally shot at a meeting between the socialists and anarchists at the Socialist Labor Party Hall. You can find Corti's iconic monument in Hope Cemetery. Over a period of 40 years whole neighborhoods were built and segregated by ethnic groups who carried on their old world traditions and culture.
Today, you can see the lasting mark of the granite industry on the community in the architectural design of many downtown buildings and granite sculptures and memorials. Like many small communities throughout America, Barre boomed until the late 20th century when globalization began to affect, significantly, the local economy. However, in recent years, Barre has benefited from a resurgence of economic activity driven by significant municipal and private redevelopment projects along with an influx of younger entrepreneurs. Barre's housing market and its affordability coupled with being centrally located within the state of Vermont has contributed to further growth.
Next time you're in Barre make sure to check out some of the community's cultural institutions and entertainment options listed below.
Vermont Granite Museum
Located within an authentic turn-of-the-century granite manufacturing plant, the museum’s mission is to create stimulating, interactive environments for learning about the geology, technology, history, and art of Vermont’s unique granite heritage art, industry, capabilities and cultural heritage.
Vermont History Center
Located in the former Spaulding building, this historical landmark of Barre is home to the Vermont Historical Society and Vermont Heritage Galleries. An opportunity of learning and enrichment abounds.
Studio Place Arts
Studio Place Arts (SPA) is a non-profit community visual arts center that offers classes, exhibits and artist studio space. The three floor gallery provides visitors an opportunity to see some of the areas talented artists.
Barre Opera House
The Barre Opera House is central Vermont's premiere performing arts theater. Originally constructed in 1886, but destroyed by fire twelve years later, it was rebuilt a year later. The Opera House hosts 70-100 performances each year in their 750 seat facility and offers classes and rental space.
The Millstone Trails is a patchwork of trails on 1,500 acres maintained by the Millstone Trails Association. The trails are open to biking, running, walking, skiing and snowshoeing and annual and day use passes are available for purchase at several locations.
Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages is the premier granite quarrier and manufacturer in North America with locations around the US and Canada. The visitors center is open from May through October and several tour options allow for a customized experience.
Thunder Road Speedbowl
The "nation's site of excitement" is a quarter mile high bank stock car track. Drivers from around New England and Canada compete in several divisions including the American Canadian Tour. The race season spans from May through September ending with the famous Milk Bowl.
Hope & Elmwood Cemetaries
Hope and Elmwood Cemeteries contain memorials and tombstones crafted by the finest granite carvers in the world. The granite used comes right out of the quarries in the surrounding hillsides. It's an outdoor walking art gallery. A must stop when visiting Barre.