Cold temps, snow in Vermont got me thinking about Mr. Bentley and his snowflakes

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 at 03:30 PM

A Snowflake Bentley flake

This week the temperatures have been dropping, making for some great snowmaking weather and natural flakes falling from the sky.

The temperature in Jericho, Vermont, has dropped to 10 degrees (F) today from a high of 56 degrees three days ago! The northern mountains here in Vermont received varying amounts of new snow. Jay Peak Resort reports they have received 9 inches in the last 48 hours while further south, Bolton Valley is reporting 3 inches of new snow. Mad River Glen is waiting for a big dump to open up the terrain off the single chair and the double.

All this talk about snow got me thinking. I realized that many people don't know that quaint Jericho, Vt.—located between Burlington and Smugglers' Notch Resort—has been a hotspot for snowflake discovery. This is the town where Wilson Bentley lived his life.

On January 15, 1885, at the age of 19, he made the world's first photomicrograph of a snow crystal. He had jury rigged a microscope and bellows camera and after two years of trial and error he did it!

Bentley took so many snowflake photos—thousands of them—that he earned the nicknames "Snowflake Man" and "Snowflake Bentley."

I have two Snowflake Bentley prints in my house and I adore them. The Jericho Historical Society prints them using Bentley's original photo plates. They come in all shapes, reinforcing the idea that no two snowflakes are exactly alike.

You can stop at the historical society's gift shop at the large, red Old Mill on Route 15 in Jericho. In the back they have a small exhibit on Bentley, and you can purchase a virtual avalanche of Bentley snowflake prints and gifts.

There's a nice little coffee shop across the street and down the road a bit. Good place to stop for cocoa or java.

Want to learn more about Bentley? Here are two great starting points:

http://snowflakebentley.com/

http://www.bentley.sciencebuff.org/

Filed in: Bolton Valley, Jay Peak, Mad River Glen, Smugglers' Notch

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