The Legend of Boots Berry and The Green Mountain Inn
● By Ryan Frisch
Photo courtesy of the Green Mountain Inn
The Legend of Boots Berry, as told on their website...
Storm sounds from your average run-of-the-mill winter snowstorm or the fancy footwork of an 1800s spirit who supposedly haunts the Inn?
The story of former Inn horseman – now ghost – Boots Berry and his need to tap his way across the Inn’s roof in bad weather is the stuff of intrigue no self-respecting historic New England Inn should be without.
The son of an Inn chambermaid and horseman, Boots was born in 1840 in Room 302 of the Inn’s third floor servants’ quarters and grew up to be a respected horseman himself. He realized local fame when he saved stagecoach passengers from certain doom when the coach’s horses bolted down Stowe’s Main Street one day. Deemed a hero and awarded a medal, Boots was lauded throughout the county and from then on found he was never in need of buying his own drinks again.
Drink proved his downfall, however, and Boots was dismissed from the Inn for neglecting his duties. He took to wandering the country and got his nickname when a fellow prisoner in a New Orleans jail taught him to tap dance.
Boots eventually drifted back to Stowe. As fate would have it, in 1902 Boots happened to be on hand to save a little girl who was stranded on the Inn’s roof during a snowstorm. Remembering a secret childhood route to the rooftop, Boots reached the girl and lowered her to safety before slipping and falling to his death – from the roof above Room 302.
Legend has it that Boots’ rooftop tap dancing steps can still be heard today during a snowstorm.