Ripton, Vermont
1938 - 1963

 

After the death of Frost's wife in March of 1938, he found it impossible to carry on his usual routine. The Gulley was "bad with good memories" and he moved back to the Stone House to live with his son. Frost almost lost his mind grieving for his wife. That summer he attended the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference in Ripton. A colleague, Ted Morrison and his wife Kay offered special attention to their friend. Kay became Frost's secretary and assumed Elinor's duties of making appointments and scheduling his travels. The Morrisons were to be life long friends of Frost. He came to Ripton almost every summer until his death in 1963. He never remarried.

 
 The Homer Noble Farm
 
The Cabin
 
 
The Bread Loaf Inn
 
 A lecture at the cabin
 
The Robert Frost Walking Trail
 
Take a walk with Frost and Doc Cook
 
 
Frost bought the Homer Noble Farm
so as to have a place to stay while he was summering in Ripton. Since Bread Loaf was now a part of his yearly schedule, he usually arrived early and stayed late. The property had a large farmhouse and a little cabin. The Morrisons took over the house with their 2 children and miniature schnauzers.

Middlebury College now owns the property and uses the farmhouse for faculty.

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Frost stayed in the little cabin, a short walk up the hill. He had privacy to write and took his meals with the Morrisons down at the house. Kay spent several hours every morning with Frost attending to his papers. He had many visitors at the cabin including literary friends and admirers who would talk with him far into the night. Many of his friends, including Peter Stanlis, Reginald Cook and Larry Thompson, went on to write about him. One of his last poems was called, A Cabin in the Clearing:
"I am the guardian wraith of starlit smoke - That leans out this and that way from their chimney."
Today, the fragile cabin is opened only on special occasions.
The Bread Loaf Writers' Conference was started in the mid 20's and continues to this day. The Inn is owned by Middlebury College. In 1999, The Robert Frost Conference was held there to celebrate the poet's 125th anniversary. It was attended by scholars and Frost lovers from all over the country. There were programs and talks for three days and time to get to know other people who loved Frost's poetry. The idea of The Friends of Robert Frost grew out of that weekend.
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The Homer Noble Farm is a short distance from Bread Loaf. On Saturday, the group went to tour the farm and see the cabin. Here, Middlebury professor John Elder talks about the cabin and fond memories of Frost. In 1964, the year after his death, an historical marker was dedicated to the poet:
Robert Frost 1874-1963.
"A distinguished American Poet by recogni-
tion and a Vermonter by preference. Robert Frost was Poet Laureate of Vermont and for many years "First Citizen of the Town of Ripton."
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Along the same road is the Robert Frost Trail, a nice hike along varied scenes annotated with Frost's poems. The trail was developed by the Green Mountain National Forest with the help of one of Frost's old Middlebury friends, Reginald Cook - known at the college as "Doc Cook". He chose the poems appropriate for the trail and supervised the installation of the plaques. Cook is the author of numerous critical works on Frost including two full length books.
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Frost enjoyed walking as a way to observe nature. He always "botanized" as he walked, searching for wild flowers. Cook often joined him for walks in the Bread Loaf woods. In 1955, a young photographer named Lawrence Willard joined the hike and took some remarkable photographs. Mr. Willard found The Friends over the internet and generously offered the gift of his archival prints. Just click the link below and take a memorable walk with Robert Frost and Doc Cook. ..Courtesy of Lawrence Willard.
 
Join us - Frost Friends are the greatest!

 
Click here to read "A Walk with Robert Frost" by Reginald L. Cook
Reprinted with permission from Yankee Magazine, November 1955
 
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