You can see the lasting mark of the granite industry on the community in the architectural design of many downtown buildings and granite sculptures and memorials. Barre has two historic districts with walking tours – an art stroll around downtown featuring twelve unique and beautiful granite sculptures; hiking & biking trails that wind through centuries old quarries with stunning views and hidden gems; and the monument-filled, world famous Hope Cemetery, an incredible museum of granite sculpture.
Barre has a world-wide reputation for its high quality carving granite and its resident population of stone carvers.
Over the years, Barre has celebrated its talents in the visual arts via three major “gateway” sculptures to the city: the Robert Burns Monument; Youth Triumphant; and the Italian-American Monument. More recently, a group of human-scale sculptures
have been added to the streetscape of Barre through two programs supported by the Charles Semprebon Fund: the Stone Sculpture Legacy Program and the Functional Art Bike Rack Program, begun in 2011. (See map)
These granite sculptures, large and small, and the sculptural bike racks are tangible ways to familiarize residents and visitors with the skilled artisans in our region.
Millstone Trails and Barre Town Forest
Millstone Trails are an outstanding network of multi-use trails traversing the historic quarry lands of Millstone Hill. The trails
wind their way through northern hardwood and coniferous forests and along exposed granite spines. While best known for truly unique and challenging mountain biking with unusual manmade and natural stone features, Millstone is a wonderful place for family hikes, picnics, trail running and horseback riding.
While exploring the trails, be sure to enjoy the unique features of the Millstone areas including: scenic vistas of the Green Mountains from towering grout (waste granite) piles, dramatic quarries now filled with turquoise water, and relics from the old quarrying days. In honor of the area’s past, there are wooden signs along the trails that tell about the quarries’ history, providing a learning experience along with your ride. Keep your eyes open for the unusual sculptures and friezes carved into the stone piles and walls along the trails.
A must stop when visiting Barre, Hope Cemetery contains memorials and tombstones crafted by the finest granite carvers in the world. It’s an outdoor walking art gallery of whimsical, ornate, haunting and heart-wrenching statuary hewn from granite that comes right out of the quarries in the surrounding hillsides. The artistry and craftsmanship is undeniable and a tribute to the artisans who left their eternal mark on Barre, as well as to those who are interred here.
“Art-making is not about telling the truth but making the truth felt.”
– Christian Boltanski