Chester has been named among the Top 60 finalists of the Prettiest Painted Places competition, held by the Paint Quality Institute, and the only finalist from Vermont, making it the Prettiest Painted Place in the state. Two other Vermont towns applied: Bellows Falls and Stowe.
The PQI is a 23-year-old organization aimed at educating consumers, contractors and retailers and offering information on trends such as color, decorative techniques and innovative new ways to use paint, according to its website.
The Top 60 were chosen among 200 entrants,with 10 towns qualifying from each region of the country. In the Northeast Region, those towns are Bristol, R.I.; Brookville, PA; Cambridge, OH; Cape Cod, MA; Cape May, NJ; Chautauqua Institution, NY; Chester, VT; Downtown Frederick, MD; Owego Historic District, NY and Wooster, OH.
Two finalists will be chosen from each of the six regions and will be decided between small towns and large towns: Northeast; Southeast; North Central; South Central; Northwest and Southwest.
Dan Cote, of the Inn Victoria, applied for the designation. He said that Marji Graf of the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce had known of the program, which occurs every 10 years, and suggested that he do it. Cote said he then “went around and took pictures, and filled out the application form. I was looking for paint variations on buildings, for things that I thought the paint institute was looking for.” Below are just a few of the photos Cote submitted. Photos on the cover are also by Dan Cote. Click on any photo to launch gallery.
“One of the things that struck Penny and I when we first came to Chester was how beautiful the buildings are. We are right here in the middle of Vermont and people are taking good care of their properties. I had more than a little passion for it,” Cote said.
The application, he said, required 12 to 15 photos of “properties that would exemplify why I would consider Chester to be one of the prettiest painted places. The pictures I thought exemplified that.”
Cote added that he should hear in about three weeks if Chester has made the Top 12. “But to be the Prettiest Painted Village in Vermont is a big deal and that won’t be taken away from us. I’m very thrilled about that. I think its a really good thing for our community to be able to market ourselves as the Prettiest Painted Place in Vermont.”
— Cynthia Prairie
About the Author: Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor for 30 years, having worked at such publications as the Raleigh Times, the Baltimore News American, the Buffalo Courier Express, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Patuxent Publishing chain of community newspapers in Maryland. She and her family moved to Chester, Vermont in 2004.