About Julia Purdy
I’m a Vermont native who lived “away” for many years, returning to my roots in central Vermont in 2002. In the interval I earned an M.A. in English and taught at the college level for five years. I now make my home in a small valley town wedged between low ridges at the edge of the Green Mountain National Forest. Having lived on both coasts and visited most of the U.S.—including six cross-country moves, as well as spending extended time in England and Italy, I’m now home, but with an enriched perspective on this place called Vermont. My first job back here was a front-line position with the Rochester Ranger District of the Green Mountain National Forest, followed directly by two seasons as a Park Ranger in Vermont's only national park, the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park in Woodstock. These were followed by work as a guide at the Billings Farm & Museum and then as education coordinator at the Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, where my mother's relations had at one time operated a tea room and antique shop. In these positions I discovered the field of “interp” and realized that this was what I wanted to do in life. I not only plunged into the study of topics in local history, forestry, and culture, but I got to see tourism from the other side of the counter. Comparing visitors’ experience with my own, I developed ways of making the tour or the demonstration relevant and interesting. Through my travel consulting business, Laughin’ Otter Travel etc., I’ve transferred this passion to travel writing from an insider’s perspective. Personally speaking, I love nothing better than to get out and about, rambling the hills or keeping track of town goings-on, always with the thought of sharing what I discover with that potential visitor . . . from the stories embedded in our hills to Vermonters’ surprising knack for reinventing themselves to keep pace with—or even ahead of— the times.