Beautiful historic neighborhood in Dorset, Vermont. Editorial credit: jenlo8 /

Dorset, Vermont

Dorset is a small town situated in Bennington County in the US state of Vermont. The town is known as the home of Cephas Kent's Inn, where four meetings of the Convention took place that eventually resulted in the signing of the Dorset Accords, conferring the independence of the Vermont Republic and its future statehood. Dorset also serves as the site of America's oldest marble quarry and is the birth town of Bill W., who is the co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. Moreover, East Dorset is home to the Wilson House and the Griffith Library. The town is named after Dorset, the English county.

Geography And Climate Of Dorset

Exterior of the Dorset Colony House in Dorset, Vermont
Exterior of the Dorset Colony House in Dorset, Vermont. Editorial credit: jenlo8 /

Dorset is situated along the northern skirt of Bennington County, where Rutland County is located by its north. The Taconic Mountains take up the middle and western 3/4 of the town, with the Valley of Vermont located by the east side of town, dividing the Taconics from the Green Mountains to the east. Dorset and South Dorset are situated in the western and southern areas of the town, whereas Mount Aeolus is located in the town's southern portion, joining South Dorset and East Dorset while peaking at 3,230 feet. However, Dorset Mountain peaks in the northern part of the town, at 3,770 feet, located in the north of the town line in Danby, with a 3,730-foot supplementary peak situated in Dorset proper. Moreover, the town covers a total area of 47.9 square miles, of which 47.8 square miles are occupied by land, and 0.1 square miles are covered with water. The town also hosts the height of land in the Valley of Vermont between the Hudson River and Lake Champlain watersheds. Furthermore, the Otter Creek, which is considered one of the longest rivers that fully stream in Vermont, streams a short distance towards northern Batten Kill's source and runs north through Emerald Lake towards Rutland County to reach Lake Champlain north of Vergennes.

The climate in Dorset is humid continental with warm wet summer and freezing snowy winter, along with partly cloudy skies around the year. Moreover, temperatures typically fluctuate between -10 °C and 26 °C and are rarely below -20 °C or above 30 °C. For tourists, the best time to visit Dorset for warm-weather recreation is between June and September.

Brief History Of Dorset

Historical Dorset Library in Dorset, Vermont
Historical Dorset Library in Dorset, Vermont. Editorial credit: jenlo8 /

Due to the area's closeness to New York and New Hampshire, the area was frequently claimed by both. New York insisted that it was included in its 1664 grant from Charles II but didn't make any effort to settle it. New Hampshire, attempting to expand its border to the west, simply seized the land and proceeded to grant 131 charters in the territory, which then was named the New Hampshire Grants. On the other hand, New York took revenge by announcing the Grants null and void and informed the settlers that they would have to buy the land back from New York at a much higher price if they decided to stay. The New Hampshire Grantees responded by organizing the "Green Mountain Boys," which is a casual association of civilian soldiers who protected the settlers from being expelled. In 1790 New York finally turned over her claims when Congress announced Vermont as the fourteenth state. In 1912 the Vermont Society of Colonial Dames built a historical icon at the site of the Cephas Kent Inn in Dorset.

The Population And Economy Of Dorset 

The Dorset Union Store in Dorset, Vermont
The Dorset Union Store in Dorset, Vermont. Editorial credit: jenlo8 /

As per the latest US Census, Dorset has a population of 2,133 residents. The largest ethnic groups in Dorset include White at 98.97%, followed by African Americans at 0.44%, the Hispanic group at 0.39%, Asians at 0.15%, 0.29% from Two or More Races, Other races at 0.10%, and Native Americans at 0.05%. 

The economy in Dorset relies on educational services as the main component of its business structure, followed by retail trade and scientific and technical services. From another business perspective, the average annual income of a Dorset resident is $38,084, where this income undergoes a 6% sales tax and a 6.8% income tax.

Top Attractions In Dorset

Dorset Players

Wooden exterior of the Dorset Playhouse on a cold day in Dorset, Vermont
Wooden exterior of the Dorset Playhouse on a cold day in Dorset, Vermont. Editorial credit: jenlo8 /

The Dorset Players have been an amusing audience since 1927, when a group of Dorset residents formed a three-act play at the Dorset Town Hall. The organization established the Dorset Playhouse, which has hosted Dorset Players’ productions for 90 years. The Dorset Players welcome many actors from across Northshire to perform live performances. Moreover, these events take in annual shows by Missoula Children’s Theatre and the famous One-Act Festival. The Dorset Players season operates from October until May.

Dorset Historical Society’s Bley House Museum

Founded in 1963, the Dorset Historical Society Bley House Museum seeks to conserve and display the history of Dorset. The Museum features an amazing collection of exhibits that show the history of this small town and trace its origins from its beginning until modern times. An exhibit of contemporary displays offers visions of the agricultural developments and cultures in Dorset. Moreover, the Museum houses a research library that organizes frequent programs and tours.

In addition to the above attractions, the town of Dorset hosts frequent festivals and events that suit residents and visitors and ensure that it will create favorable memories. Snuggled in the heart of the Vermont Valley in southwestern Vermont – where the Taconic Mountains join the Greens, and Filled with New England character and energy, Dorset is a four-season attraction and home to a vibrant arts scene, as well as an endless list of outdoor activities, and top-ranked restaurants and hotels. Dorset’s rare beauty is complemented by its rich history, where visitors will always find more to explore and discover.

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