Recreation

Middlesex Recreation Committee

The Recreation Committee maintains the recreation field and tennis and basketball courts adjacent to Rumney School. (These fields are owned by the Town, but are made available for both Town and School use.) This volunteer committee meets as necessary to carry out their duties. They hold an annual corn roast in September as a fund raiser. (See Contacts)

Young swimmer at the Shady Rill Brook
Throwing rocks and watching them splash in Martins Brook off Shady Rill.

Swimming, Boating and Picnicking

Over 500 acres of land surrounding Wrightsville Reservoir are owned by the Department of Environmental Conservation and managed by the Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. This property includes land on both sides of Route 12 adjacent to the reservoir (See Map)

The Shady Rill Picnic Area is part of this property and is located off Shady Rill Road along Martins Brook. It has picnic tables, picnic shelters a pit privy and both wooded areas and open grassy areas. Use of these facilities is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The major developed recreational facilities are located at the Wrightsville Beach and the boat launch. Wrightsville Beach is managed by the four member municipalities of the Wrightsville Beach Recreation District Board (Middlesex, Montpelier, East Montpelier and Worcester). (See Contacts)

Facilities include a swimming beach, picnic tables, grills, two picnic shelters and hiking trails. Work on improving these facilities is ongoing. The picnic shelters, which are suitable for large parties such as family reunions, can be reserved. (Central Vermont Regional Planning Commision at 229-0389 or by email at cvrpc@cvregion.com.)

Oil painting from the banks of the Winooski in Middlesex. Photo by Stefan Hard, Times Argus.

Reserving Shelters

The cost to reserve the Large Picnic Shelter:

  • Weekdays: $39.00 for a half day or $59.00 for a full day.
  • Sat/Sun/holiday: $49.00 for a half day, or $74.00 for a full day (includes swimming for 75).
  • Half days are 9 – 2:30 or 3:30 to closing.

The Small Shelter next to the beach:

  • Weekdays: $29.00 for a half day or $39.00 for a full day.
  • Sat/Sun/holiday: $34.00 for a half day or $49.00 for a full day (includes free swimming for 25).
  • Half days are 9 – 2:30 or 3:30 to closing.

Family season pass for the beach:

  • Purchase at the beach, for VT residents the cost is $34.00; $39 for non-residents.
  • Daily rates:
    • Up to age 2: free
    • 3 – 12: VT resident, $1.00; non-resident: $2
    • 13 – 64: VT resident $2; non-resident $2.50
    • 65 & up: all $1

Both types of shelter include the swimming fee and use of the facilities (volleyball, horseshoes, frisbie golf). Both shelters require a refundable damage deposit (currently $20) which will be refunded if no trash is left behind.  A For the most up-to-date information, visit their website: www.wrightsvillebeachvt.com

The reservoir is divided into two areas for boating. The portion from the narrows (north of the boat launch) south to the dam is available for power boating at higher speeds. A 5 mph no wake area north of the narrows that is geared toward canoeists and kayakers.

Winooski River access can be gained from a small parcel of Town-owned land located adjacent to the Verizon garage. This parcel is undeveloped but provides public access to the river for fishing and other recreational activities. While there is no developed canoe access on this land, it is possible to launch a canoe from this property with a short carry to get to the river.

The 2014 Learn to Swim offers Middlesex children the opportunity to learn correct swim techniques and water safety skills.
There are six levels for lessons and children may start as early as age 4. The forty-five minute classes are held at First and Fitness in Berlin.  Swimmers should arrive five minutes prior to their lesson time with swimsuits on and a towel. There are bathrooms for use with showers for after lessons.  (See Contacts)

Tennis, Soccer and More

The Rumney Memorial School on Shady Rill Road, and the town-owned land that abuts the school property, offer a number of recreational facilities that are available to town residents when they are not being used by students. School facilities include a gymnasium with basketball hoops, playground, outdoor skating rink (subject to availability of a volunteer to maintain it) and nature trail.

The outdoor basketball court, two outdoor tennis courts, and baseball/soccer field are owned by the Town and maintained by the Recreation Committee. To reserve the baseball/soccer field, call the school during business hours and check with the school athletic director about the field’s availability. To use indoor facilities at the school it is necessary to complete a building use form; stop by during school business hours and pick up a form at the office, or phone the school to request one.

Use of the indoor facilities is based on availability and the Principal’s approval. There may be a fee charged if the activity will result in work for the custodial staff. The playground and nature trail can be used by town residents at any time. However, if school is in session, you must sign in at the office first. Rumney School phone: 802-223-5429.

Forests and Trails

Top of Hunger Mountain

Top of Hunger Mountain. Photo by Janet McKinstry.

Middlesex is home to two parcels of Vermont State Forest land that are part of the Putnam State Forest. This state forest includes much of the higher elevation land of the Worcester Range. The trailhead for two hiking trails that ascend White Rocks Mountain and Hunger Mountain is located on North Bear Swamp Road, and most of the length of these trails is within the Putnam State Forest. Hiking, hunting, trapping, and fishing are all allowed in the Putnam State Forest.

There is no access for motorized vehicles (ATVs, snowmobiles) in the Middlesex portion of Putnam State Forest, and mountain bikes and horses aren’t allowed, since there are no trails for them at present.There is also a separate 127-acre parcel of the Putnam State Forest located off Lower Sunny Brook Road.

The Green Mountain Club publishes a Day Hiker’s Guide with maps of hiking trails in the area. Call GMC, 802-244-7037 or www.greenmountainclub.org.

Ice Climber

Jeremy Armstrong climbs next to his shadow while free soloing an ice flow in Middlesex. Armstrong was training for a trip to Alaska to climb Denali, the highest peak in North America. Photo by Jeb Wallace-Brodeur, Times Argus.

There are two Vermont State Wildlife Management Areas in Middlesex managed by the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Middlesex Notch Wildlife

Management Area consists of 630 acres, is owned by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and extends from Interstate 89 to Middlesex Notch. There is a designated parking area, with space for about six cars, located on D’Anna Road. The Middlesex Wildlife Management Area is 290 acres and is located off Upper Barnet Hill Road. The State does not own the property but does own the development and timber rights and has a guarantee for public access. Both of these areas are open to the public for hunting, trapping, fishing, wildlife watching and hiking. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on these properties.

Mountain bikers and hikers, keep in mind that it is legal to use the Town’s Class 4 roads and “Legal Trails”  for any use that is allowed on other town roadways. Although not all of these byways are passable by motor vehicles, they can offer nice terrain for mountain biking and country walks.

The snowmobile trail system in Vermont is operated by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST). The majority of the VAST trail mileage in Middlesex is located on private land. Permission has been obtained by VAST for snowmobiles to use these trails during the designated snowmobile season of December 15th to April 1st.

If you would like to use VAST trails for other purposes, such as cross-country skiing or snowshoeing, you must get permission directly from the landowners. The local snowmobile clubs (Montpelier Trackmakers Snowmobile Club or the Green Mountain Roamers Snowmobile Club of Worcester) also have some information on which landowners allow skiing. For contact information, or for a trail map, contact VAST at 802-229-0005 or www.vtvast.org