I need to kill someone in Bennington Vermont....
October 18, 2020 10:59 AM   Subscribe

....for a mystery story I'm writing. Is there a mountain or escarpment that someone could "accidentally" fall off. The victim is fairly well off, so I'm picturing a big house near some dangerous plunges.
posted by storybored to Travel & Transportation around Vermont (13 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
If all else fails, you're an hour from the French King Bridge in Miller's Falls, MA, which people often do die by jumping from. But I'm sure the Berkshires and Green Mountains will provide something better closer.
posted by nebulawindphone at 11:27 AM on October 18, 2020

Hello from Bennington!

So, we were just having some fun brainstorming this in our house. Here are our top ideas:

1. Pushing them off the Bennington Battle Monument. It's the tallest person-built structure in Vermont and happens to be surrounded by a bunch of fancy/expensive houses.

2. "Everett Cave" on the (now-shuttered) campus of Southern Vermont College is in the same rough neighborhood as the Monument. There are actually a few caves on the campus, but Everett is the best known one.

3. "The Tubs" in nearby Pownal is a nearby swimming hole spot with natural "tubs" that people swim in. Pownal is definitely less "fancy" than Bennington, though, so wouldn't typically where someone who was "well off" who wanted to live in a fancy house would live.

4. If you want to go out of Bennington, just east into the Green Mountains is "Hogback mountain", which has many beautiful/dangerous lookouts.
posted by Betelgeuse at 11:28 AM on October 18, 2020 [19 favorites]

Just noting that Donna Tartt's novel The Secret History is about murdering* a well-off person with plausible deniability by pushing him into a ravine near Bennington**, Vermont.

*Not a spoiler, the ravine-murder literally happens on page 1.
**the town is called "Hampden" in the book but it is known to be a thinly disguised Bennington, where Tartt went to college.
posted by clair-de-lune at 11:44 AM on October 18, 2020 [7 favorites]

Yeah the Battle Monument is really the obvious one here, but I'd check to make sure it hasn't been done before (I've read all Archer Mayor's stuff who does a lot of VT murdery things and I think he hasn't done this one). I was also looking at Hogback recently planning a hike and there are a lot of places that might fit the bill like Bromley Mountain or places on the Long Trail that is not that far east of there. Even fit sporty people get in all kinds of trouble there. I also love this weird suspension bridge in Shrewsbury that is over a gorge. Not THAT high but it's bouncy and interesting but not really near much.
posted by jessamyn at 12:10 PM on October 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

I think a fire tower would work well for this purpose. I found this one at Molly Stark State Park, between Bennington and Brattleboro.
posted by Redstart at 12:47 PM on October 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Shirley Jackson's "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" is said to be set in Bennington. I recall that they live in a big house adjacent to a woods, and so if you're open to the place as characterized in a novella instead of IRL, you might find reference to some suitable place, particularly early on where the main character's trips to the village are described. Could be a fun, backward way to get to an answer.
posted by kensington314 at 1:24 PM on October 18, 2020

White Rocks Cliffs fits the bill, but is not near any houses.
posted by beagle at 1:50 PM on October 18, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yeah. White Rocks is another good iconic-in-Bennington option. But it would have to be someone taking a trip up to go hiking rather than it being close to any house.
posted by Betelgeuse at 5:21 PM on October 18, 2020

Betelgeuse that's awesome! I'm thinking of Everett Cave. Someone could drive the corpse up Foxhill Road then and dump the body down there? I guess there's a short stretch of toting the body into the woods.
posted by storybored at 9:26 PM on October 18, 2020

Yeah. Everett Cave would be a good option. You could have them access it from Foxhill Rd, but that would involve some tromping through the woods. I think the better trails are from the Southern Vermont College (SVC) campus. Depending on when you set the story, the SVC campus would either be a standard college campus with lots of students there or, as it is currently (as of summer of 2019), a relatively deserted campus. There's plentiful access from the college campus to the trails that lead up to the cave and Everett Mansion may also be interesting to involve somehow.
posted by Betelgeuse at 10:06 AM on October 19, 2020

Is the SVC campus deserted usually in the summertime, Betelgeuse? I'm picturing the story is before covid.
lol on the spooky lady's arm at Everett Mansion!
posted by storybored at 1:17 PM on October 19, 2020

I don't know for sure, but I think that, while they rented it out for events (i.e. you could get married at the mansion), the campus was mostly empty during the summer. That said, the college always welcomed community members to use their hiking trails so it's likely that, if you wanted to hide a body for more than a few days, you'd have to tuck it away deep in Everett Cave.

I 100% agree about the spooky arm; if they ever auction off stuff from the campus, I have no limit on what I'll spend to get it for my house :)
posted by Betelgeuse at 1:21 PM on October 19, 2020 [2 favorites]

Thanks again, Betelgeuse. I actually visited Bennington many years ago for the Sonata piano camp but didn't get a chance to explore! This info is all very handy!
posted by storybored at 4:56 PM on October 19, 2020

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