Bathe Beneath the Stars

If you travel off the paved road—which is easy to do when you visit Vermont—you may pass very near to an old farmhouse with a barn and a few outbuildings covered with vines.

If you pass by towering dahlias—in great abundance—you may be passing by Jaxon’s house, where the garden is filled with all manner of scented and edible goodness, and the paths through the tall grass lead you to a secluded pond, a performance space and—best of all—the outdoor bathtub.

Jaxon inherited a garden full of dahlias years ago when he moved to this place. And he faithfully digs up the tubers each fall and stores them properly in his basement so they stay dry and healthy. In the spring he plants them again, and in late August he invites all his friends and neighbors to come and enjoy their enormous blooms and fragrance.

This is officially called Dahlia Fest. The guests bring food to share, and the farmhouse table is a colorful display of riches from many other Vermont gardens. Salads, grains, curries, pies, breads….a feast. Afterward, the crowd moves to the hill to sing, recite, play instruments and further revel into the starry night.

I was a happy guest at Dahlia Fest this year, and I am completely enamored of Jaxon’s outdoor bathing room. It is sited beneath a cascade of dahlias this time of year. But in July, a multicolored curtain of delphiniums hang overhead. Hopvines make a living wall that hides the outdoor shower that is part of this bathing paradise. The running water is ingeniously plumbed through several hot and cold water hoses that can be drained and stored when the cold weather comes (any day now, sadly). A brick floor is earthy beneath the clawfoot tub. There are places for bottles and soap and maybe even bubbles. Lanterns and candles are tucked in and out of view.

Thinking about where I can site a secluded outdoor bathroom. Perhaps next year.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. tesscurran
    Sep 20, 2011 @ 00:36:35

    Hi Sue,
    My name’s Tess from Australian magazine Peppermint ( I was keen to get in touch with you about a possible collaboration but I can’t find an email on which to reach you… Could you please email me on tess(at)peppermintmag(dot)com as soon as you’re able? Thank you!🙂



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