On a freezing cold weekend morning we made the drive up to Mount Anthony in Bennington, Vermont to make a visit to Everett Cave. It was Goblin’s first real walk-in cave.
In the past, Everett cave, which is right along the aptly named “Cave Trail,” would be accessed via a parking lot at Southern Vermont College. However, SVC has now closed permanently, and the property was acquired last month by Southwest Vermont Health Care. Fresh, glaringly adamant “No Trespassing” signs are sprinkled all around the parking area by the field house and former Everett mansion (though SVHC has said they envision ultimately making it a community space, and will keep trails open to the public). Instead, we found the trails can also be accessed from Fox Hill Road, where a sign advised us to park at the adjacent antiques store to access the trailhead, which is straight up the hill to where Fox Hill begins to loop back around.
From there, a very short hike (500-600 feet) up the hill slightly northeast leads to the cave mouth.
Also known as Conklin Cave, this cavern was once reputed in local lore to run as long as 4 miles, to a point in Pownal. In 1934, a party of western Mass spelunkers proved it maxes out at 150 feet at the end of its longest crawl space
When the Brattleboro Reformer found out that a bunch of Massholes had been the one to expose Bennington’s great legendary tunnel… they were not kind…
At the end of the entry portal, a low narrow passage rounds a corner …With just a brief crouch (no crawling required), it opens into a sizable chamber with plenty of standing room.
Inside the chamber, the air was so much warmer that it was full of steam from the melting ice. In one side of the room, a pitched ceiling of rock rises approximately 20 feet. There is also some natural seating in a nook to the far right of its entrance.
To the left, a murky narrowing passageway extends further into Mt Anthony, for the willing spelunker.
The cave and surrounding property are part of the the former Edward Everett estate, a reputedly haunted property which I have written about more extensively elsewhere (Advocate Weekly 5/25/06 & Fate Magazine, June ’06). Everett is one probable basis for Hugh Crain in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House.
At the conclusion of our exploring, Goblin rated the expedition as “a really good adventure.” I concur.