Vermont is now officially one of the most expensive places to live in the USA with the highest taxes of all. Even more frustrating is the fact that despite paying all of these taxes, many scenic and recreational activities in Vermont, charge admission. Not so with Mills Riverside Park near the Jericho-Underhill town line. When I lived in Jericho, I used to take a half-hour during my work day to go for a walk in the park and clear my mind. In the winter, it was easy to throw on a pair of snowshoes and go for a quick hike. At the time, it was pretty easy to take it for granted.
These days, I am fortunate enough to live close enough to Shelburne Museum and walk the grounds any time I wish (we have a family membership). Although it’s a nice little oasis away from the ultra-busy Route 7, I had forgotten how wonderful Mills Riverside Park was. This weekend, I was driving through Underhill and thought I’d take a short hike through the park. Like an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile, it was very refreshing. Lots of wide, open spaces and just a few people out walking their dogs. The only sounds to be heard were crickets and an occasional car from Rte. 15. The wildflowers were in hearty abundance and Mt. Mansfield loomed in the distance, capped by puffy, white clouds. I love Shelburne Museum grounds but Mills Riverside Park is even more special.
The Jericho Underhill Land trust is best known for its establishment of the Mills Riverside Park in 1999. The Park is centrally located, behind two schools and the town library, and is comprised of 216 acres, including 83 acres of open meadowland and 133 acres of forested hillside terrain that provides both wildlife habitat and a wonderful vista of Mt. Mansfield. Today the Park is home to a weekly farmer’s market, music and sports events, and educational projects, as well as serving as a quiet retreat. The Mills Riverside Park is owned and managed by the Jericho Underhill Park District.