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Home » HISTORY » VERMONT » Robert Frost’s Legacy
Robert Frost's Cabin
Robert Frost’s Legacy

Ripton, Vermont

By Allison Flint | September 29, 2011

Robert Frost - poet, farmer, naturalist - lived throughout New England (and beyond), before eventually settling in Ripton, Vermont.

Robert Frost (1910)

You may have read Robert Frost’s poetry in school, especially if you grew up in New England where he is often required reading, but there is more to the man than his poems.

Frost was born in San Francisco in 1874.   His father died when Frost was just eleven, and the family subsequently moved to Massachusetts to be near Frost’s paternal grandfather, William Frost, Sr.

During his teenage years he briefly attended Dartmouth College before furthering his studies at Harvard University.   He married Elinor Miriam White when he was twenty-one, and the couple lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Just prior to his death, Frost, Sr., bought the couple a farm in Derry, New Hampshire which Frost worked, as well as continuing to write.   When the farm ultimately failed he taught at Pinkerton Academy in town from 1906 to 1911.   A short stint at New Hampshire Normal School (now Plymouth State University) in Plymouth followed, before the family sailed to the United Kingdom where they finally settled just outside London.

During this time, Frost wrote some of his most prestigious work, but the outbreak of World War I led him and his family back to the United States in 1915.   The Frosts bought a homestead in Franconia, New Hampshire, moving to Shaftsbury, Vermont five years later.   Frost worked his lands, taught, and wrote poetry until Elinor’s passing in 1938.

Since 1921, Frost had spent most summers teaching at the Bread Loaf campus of Middlebury College in Ripton, VT, and following his wife’s death he moved to Ripton permanently.   He remained a teacher at the school until his death in 1963.

Frost lived close to the campus on a hilltop farm - Homer Noble Farm.   He divided his years between summer and fall in Vermont, and winter and spring in Miami and Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Bread Loaf Campus Today

Over his life, Robert Frost lived in many places, most of which are happy to claim him.   There are homestead museums in Derry and Franconia, New Hampshire, and Shaftsbury, Vermont as well as historic homes in Cambridge and Ann Arbor, Michigan.   A guesthouse in Key West is named for him as he wintered there for sixteen years.

Frost’s presence in each place he lived remains significant, no matter how brief his stay.   Despite his very short matriculation at Dartmouth College, which lasted only two months, he is memorialized in nearby Etna, New Hampshire, by Robert Frost Lane, a short, dead-end road with spectacular views off King Road.

There is also a Robert Frost Lane in nearby Quechee, Vermont, as well as Robert Frost Circle in Colchester, Vermont.   There is even a multi-unit brownstone in Denver, Colorado.   His pervasive presence shows his significant contribution to both American literature and society.

A Birch Tree near Frost's Cabin in Ripton, VT
We are lucky that recordings survive of Frost reading his own poetry, such as Birches (written in 1915, recorded in his later years).   The last six lines of Frost’s poem still resonate:

I'd like to go by climbing a birch tree

And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk

Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more,

But dipped its top and set me down again.

That would be good both going and coming back.

One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.

Today we can look upon the birch trees and imagine our own connection to Robert Frost’s world, as well as our childhood.


Homer Noble Farm

Off Route 125, Ripton, VT 05766


The farm is part of Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf campus.

The Robert Frost Farm

The Robert Frost Farm

122 Rockingham Road, Derry, NH 03038

(603) 432-3091


The Frost Place

158 Ridge Road, Franconia, NH 03580

(603) 823-5510


Robert Frost Stone House Museum

121 Historic Route 7A, South Shaftsbury, VT 05262

(802) 447-6200


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