Almost from the moment the Craftsbury General Store changed hands in 2012, it became the local watering hole, not just a place to pick up a bag of potato (or kale) chips, but the best place in town to gather, gossip and, when the weather is reasonable, have breakfast or lunch perched on one of the porch’s rocking chairs. If you stay there long enough, you will see everyone you know.

Credit Emily Maclure, a 35-year-old Northeast Kingdom native who left her career in Los Angeles to come home and create a welcome meeting place with an assortment of food and drink that goes way beyond the usual mix of an old New England general store. The Slim Jims are still there but now they are next to those kale chips. Maclure’s modern version has cut down significantly on the need for shopping trips to the larger towns of Hardwick and Morrisville.

Vermont has always tugged at Maclure’s heartstrings. Drawn back to its four seasons weather, she was particularly attracted to Craftsbury because of the superb cross-country skiing available through the famed Craftsbury Outdoor Center, and because she loves the yoga studio.

“This place nourishes me,” she says. “I have friends of all ages; there’s way more social life in Craftsbury than in California. It feels more genuine. You aren’t just saying hi to people because you have to.”

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