Wilmington, VT 05363
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Take Exit #2 off I-91, then continue 15 miles west on VT Route 9.
Welcome to Molly Stark State Park, named for the famous wife of General John Stark of the Revolutionary War. The park is located along the Molly Stark Trail Scenic Byway (State Route 9), the main east-west route in Southern Vermont that connects Brattleboro, Wilmington and Bennington.
The Starks hailed from New Hampshire, where John Stark was a respected and successful road builder. Stark was moved to join the cause of American Independence, and received a commission in the First New Hampshire Regiment. Stark was influential and persuasive enough to recruit many men to fight for the Continental Army. He attained the rank of general by early 1777. Stark inspired his New Hampshire Volunteers the eve before the Battle of Bennington, fought on August 16, 1777, by proclaiming “Now, my men, yonder are the Hessians! Tonight, the American flag flies over yonder hill or Molly Stark sleeps a widow!”
At a Glance
- Hiking trail leads to Mt. Olga fire tower
- Pavilion seating up to 60 available to rent
Elizabeth “Molly” Paige Stark was an accomplished and independent woman by her own right; she raised 11 children, teaching them to read and write. She was strong willed and social, and didn’t bow to her husband’s demands. She was instrumental to the American success at the Battle of Bennington; after the general departed west from New Hampshire, Molly recruited more men for the New Hampshire Militia. She even converted her homestead barn into a hospital to care for wounded from both sides. The approximate westward route that Stark and his Volunteers followed is commemorated by the Molly Stark Trail Scenic Byway.
The area that now makes up Molly Stark State Park was cleared for agriculture and sheep farming by settlers in the 19th century. In 1932 a Civilian Conservation Corps crew built a roadside picnic area here on land owned by the Towns of Wilmington and Brattleboro. In 1939, the towns gave the 100 acre property to the State; later in the same year, Olga Haslund, a Wilmington resident, gave 48 acres. The result was the creation of Molly Stark State Park.
In 1955, the steel fire tower was moved from Townshend State Park to the summit of Mt Olga at Molly Stark State Park. Hogback Ski Area operated partially on park property under lease agreement from 1955 until 1987. Campground development started in the late 1950’s with the park officially opening on July 2, 1960.
Facilities / Amenities
Two camping loops consist of 23 tent/RV sites and 11 lean-to sites. There is a restroom with flush toilets, hot and cold running water, and coin-operated showers in each loop. There is a play area and a hiking trail that leads to the Mt. Olga fire tower.
The park also has a picnic pavilion that can be rented. The pavilion seats up to 60 people and has electricity, 3 charcoal grills, and 10 picnic tables. The pavilion is accessible and has nearby restrooms. The cost is $150 to rent (Fri - Sun) and FREE Mon - Thu.