Julia Alvarez in Weybridge. 2008. Source: Smithsonian Magazine.

Julia Alvarez in Weybridge. 2008. Source: Smithsonian Magazine.

Looking out over the agricultural lands to the west of Middlebury, James Road runs across the landscape through the towns of Cornwall and Weybridge. Julia Alvarez, who has lived in Weybridge for more than 25 years, writes, “You’ve heard of towns like ours. The kind of place about which city folks say, ‘Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!'” 1 Driving along James Road, even if you don’t blink you may pass unknowingly right past the farmsteads of some of Weybridge’s early settlers in the 1780s. One of them, Middlebury graduate Edwin James of the class of 1816, became the first recorded person to summit Colorado’s Pike’s Peak in 1820 and also went on to become a distinguished botanist and translator of several Native American languages including Ojibwe. If you continue North, you might also pass right by Monument Farms Dairy, operated by the descendants of Edwin James’s family since 1929 which supplies the College’s dining halls, and, right across the street, its namesake monument dedicated to another early Middlebury graduate and Weybridge native, Silas Wright. Wright became a lawyer and later New York State Governor after graduating from the College, and is the namesake of Wright Peak, one of the Adirondacks’ 46 high peaks. 2 Just down the road on Weybridge Hill, you might also pass by the small cemetery where Sylvia Drake and Charity Bryant—two of the first women in early America who are known to have lived openly together as a married couple—are buried. 3


Woodcut by Jill Madden. Source: http://www.townofweybridge.org.


  1. Alvarez, “Julia Alvarez on Weybridge, VT.” 
  2. Washington, History of Weybridge, Vermont
  3. Cleves, Charity and Sylvia.