In the early sixties, my then-boyfriend introduced me to the Summer Music Festival in Marlboro, Vermont. Marlboro is a teeny town, (population 978 at last count) about twenty minutes west of Brattleboro. Back then the Festival (held at Marlboro College) was run by the pianist, Rudolph Serkin. I remember how thrilled I was hearing Pablo Casals playing the cello there, his young wife sitting just behind me.
Peter, my now-boyfriend, and I also love Marlboro, but we hadn’t been there for years until a couple of weeks ago. It was our first weekend away (not counting visiting family) in more than two years. We booked a hotel in nearby Brattleboro and bought tickets for the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon concerts.
The astonishing thing was that nothing had changed in Brattleboro. It is still a 60’s hippy town. Our hotel on Main Street has been there forever and has photos with ancient cars sitting outside to prove it. It houses the town’s movie theater and if we weren’t going to concerts, we could have bought a dinner/movie combo that seemed like a bargain. We had dinner before the concert at a wonderful restaurant, the best people-watching I’ve encountered in years.
When we got to Marlboro, nothing had changed there either. Still random white houses, a couple of churches and a historical society. The college campus, home to the Festival, looked as it had a half-century ago. We didn’t.