New Kid in Town: Discovering Ben Franklin (a guest post)

This summer, MiniBury will be adding stories, adventures and fun ideas from local guest bloggers. If you’d like to participate, email us your ideas anytime! This July, guest blogger and new Middlebury resident Elizabeth Gwill share some of her adventures and cool finds around town that entertain her five-year-old daughter. Please share your thoughts and add your ideas for how to have fun this summer, whether you are a long-term resident or fellow new kid in town! 

We moved to Middlebury from Charleston, the capital city of West Virginia. One of our favorite outings was to go in search of arts supplies and scraps and bits of materials for creative activities. I knew all of the hot spots in my old home town, but was head-scratching about where to go in Middlebury until my mother suggested Ben Franklin.

I did not really remember what kind of store this was, though I had some vague memory of fabric and wood crafts. We decided to give it a go, as being new in town and with school out, any destination is worth a look. We parked behind Ilsley Library – it was legit, we had materials to return and planned to come back for more on the way home – and took the short walk around the corner to Ben Franklin at 63 Main Street.

IMG-20130612-00809Better than the big boxes of Target and Michael’s, this place has soul. My daughter was fascinated with the quirky range craft materials and toys. We left with a skein of pink yarn with silver glitter woven inside, some tiny satin roses on wires, a miniature purple horse trailer and matching pickup truck that pulls it, and — perhaps the greatest “get” — a custom cut wide pink ribbon with the word “Princess” in shiny silver. My girl felt very special getting to have someone cut however much of the ribbon that she wanted.

Now, what did we do with all this? That could be its own post, but suffice it to say we had a great afternoon and continue to create new projects.

I like this review on Yelp:

“I’ve lived in the Middlebury area for nearly 20 years and the Ben Franklin is my favorite store of all . I don’t ever want it to change. I love the old wood floors and the great variety of useful stuff they stock at the store. From school supplies , hats and mittens, kitchen goods and hardware to useful household items and socks and underwear, it is an old fashioned variety store at it’s best. There is also a satisfyingly complete array of crafts supplies, fabric for sewing , and a top-notch picture framing setup. And then there are the toys downstairs, simply wonderful.”

If you haven’t yet to Ben Franklin yet, give them a try. Its unique, and the little ones will love it!

For another, “grown up” take on this delightful store, see here.


  1. Natalia says

    Love This store! They manage to have everything I am looking for. Literally. Went all over town looking for a single coffee maker thing (put on top of mug and holds a filter to make single cups). Of course they had that and great educational work books for my kids and the special Elmer’s gel glue I was looking for. All in one place!!!

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