Chester Stories and Tips

President Calvin Coolidge State Historical Site

The family plot Photo,

I have been on a quest during the last couple of years to visit as many presidential sites as possible. When we visited Vermont in April we tried to visit but the site was not open. They are open from late May to mid-October. We visited the weekend of June 9/10 and little did we know that this was the weekend where admission is free. This saved us $15. Admission is $7.50 for adults, children 6-14 $2, and a family pass is $20. There is plenty of free parking.

Begin you visit at the visitor center. There is a film to watch, which is on a loop, to introduce you to our thirtieth president as well as a small museum with changing exhibits. What we saw were pictures and stories about his parents and grandparents, his sister, his wife, and sons. It chronicled his life from boyhood through his last years in Northampton Ma. I am embarrassed to say that everything we read was news to me as I knew zero about this very private man. His nickname of “silent Cal” may be a little to blame.

There are tours every hour that leave from the General Store. We ended up watching half of the video when we arrived at the visitor center and then going to take the hourly tour and then when we were finished with our visit we returned to the visitor center to see the end of the video and check out the store.

Frankly the tour is pretty lame, basically however you need to take it to get into the house where he was born, the barn and the house where he grew up and where his father swore him in as president. Yes, his father who was a notary swore him in right in their parlor after the unexpected death of President Harding. Our tour guide was sweet but had nothing of any interest to tell us and even Al thought she was the worst guide we have ever had. Plan on figuring most of it out on your own.

Upstairs at the General store, which his father owned during his lifetime, was the summer white house. There was a silent film that you could watch there about the time he spent here during summer of 1924. The room has remained much the same as it was then.

One thing not to miss is the Plymouth Cheese factory. Oh did I forget to mention that this is a whole little village not just one homestead. Yes, this is still an active cheese factory but on Saturday no one was working. There is a small but well stocked store downstairs and a museum upstairs, all you ever wanted to know about the production of Plymouth Cheese and even more. I bought quite a few items from the store, they have all Vermont made items and some like the cheese and some soap are made right here in Plymouth Notch.

Probably the biggest draw is the Church where the Coolidge family worshiped. It was built in 1840 and follows the Congregational tradition. It is built in the Greek Revival style with a beautiful wooden interior with perfect acoustics. It is no longer an active congregation which is very sad since it is a lovely church. There was a docent in the church who was happy to talk about the church which used to be her parish.

There is a small restaurant on the site which I will mention in a separate entry.

Don't leave the area without stopping by the cemetery to see the multiple generations of Coolidges, including the President who are buried there.

Located at
Route 100a
Plymouth Notch, VT.

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