The View From Your Window Contest: Winner #177


A reader writes:

Hmmm. Mansard roofs, post-frost, Eastern-type mountains, deciduous forest. My gut tells me it’s somewhere in Quebec – that low, white building is typical of government buildings across Canada – and the New England towns I’ve been through are usually older in their admin infrastructure. The lack of a US flag anywhere also suggests north of the border; but if it is Quebec, where is the church spire? I’ll guesstimate it is somewhere north of Montreal in the Laurentians, trending east towards the Ottawa River.


I usually don’t play these contests, but the scenery looked so familiar that I had to try. It appears to be the Southern Appalachian Mountains. With the changing leaves (and photo probably taken several weeks ago), it seems like a higher elevation. Institutional building in background, a college or university. My guess is Boone, NC at Appalachian State University.


Overlooking the campus of Western Washington University.  I don’t often enter, but I came close with the Vietnam entry sometime back.  And while this picture could be in New England, for some reason I think it’s right up the road here in Washington.


Republic, Washington? I was there about this time last year digging fossils at the site of the Stone Rose Interpretive Center. It’s a beautiful little town.  It also has a great brew pub.


This is too easy.  It is the village of Karzakan in Bahrain.  I was a Peace Corps volunteer near here.  The mountain is Jabal ad Dukan with smoke from the riots from the oppressed Shia majority being put down by the minority Sunni led by the former Irish/American chief of police John Timoney.


Breaking Bad casts a long shadow (or I am just far too obsessed with it)!  I learned from the show that New Hampshire is the Granite State.  There seems to be a granite cliff beneath the road.  The trees and mountains and style of houses also seemed right.  The backs of those buildings behind the trees on the left could be the ones I found in a Google image search of towns in the White Mountains – they are in Plymouth, NH.

Another gets the right town:

I lived in Montpelier, Vermont for several years. And of course the photo is recent because of the fall colors. I would guess that you’re looking down on the town from a ridge to the ESE, but I need to walk the dog now. Maybe I’ll get a mention for an early response.

Another points to a notable fact:

I don’t have time to go running around Google Earth this weekend, but I got an immediate “Vermont” vibe from this photo, so I will randomly guess Montpelier, the smallest capital in the USA. Less than 10,000 people! Talk about small government.

Another reader:

The photo was taken from somewhere on North Street or possibly near the St Augustine cemetery. The first clue is the rock-slide repair near #8 Cliff Street. The second is the, let’s say “distinctive” white federal building on the lefthand side. The clincher is the cupola on the bank building at 110 Main Street. If I had to guess, I’d say closest to 179 North Street, but can’t say 100%. You can also see the top of the recently restored Washington Country Courthouse bell tower (red and white) in the lower left quadrant.

A visual entry:



I’m the reader who responded to your previous Vermont VFYW contest (Winooski) with comments about the power of Vermont’s sense of place.  It’s now officially been 30 years for me in California, but the power of that sense of place has not faded.  Upon looking at the photo, I immediately taken to Vermont, and after a few seconds of looking at topography and buildings, I recognized the city (I grew up about 10 miles away).

This is a photo of Montpelier, Vermont – the nation’s smallest state capital.  The gold capitol dome is hidden by the hill on the right side of the photo, and the large (by Montpelier standards – five stories!) buildings in the distance line State Street.  The real challenge here is figuring out where the photo was taken from.   I can tell the general area and narrow the options down to a few streets, but Google street-view isn’t much help.  Thus, I am left looking at a topographic map and guessing the street that this was taken from.  I’m going to guess Ewing Street.  Number 24 Ewing Street.  However, the photo could certainly have been taken from Cross, Mechanic, or North Streets (or perhaps a few others I have not named).

It’s been lots of fun spending part of my day traveling the streets of Montpelier, if only remotely.  This contest is always a great time.

Another nails the right address:

So the hard part for most people is the easy part for me.  That is obviously a picture of Montpelier, VT, taken within the last few weeks. Lots of lovely old New England architecture in that shot but, for me, it’s the post office in the center left that really gives it away:

The Federal Building - U.S. Post Office and Court House Montpelier

Of course, my wife’s from there, I was married there, and we spend half our holidays there (in Montpelier that is, not at the post office) so I have a bit of a leg up. The tricky part is determining which window that shot is taken from. You can see the buildings of State street on the right and the house on Cliff street in the center but the statehouse is obscured by the trees on Hubbard hill. So it’s looking out from somewhere in northeast Montpelier, near the St. Augustine cemetery.

I can’t quite find the spot that would have those houses in the foreground from that elevation with that vista. Too many trees for Google to help me much here. I’m going to take a flyer and say it’s from these apartments at 151 North St:


Fun facts: smallest state capitol (8,000 people, total!) and the most lawyers per capita of any city in the U.S.  Unfortunately they also currently have the misfortune of running one of the least functional state healthcare exchanges.

151 North it is.  Only one other reader got that address, and he breaks the tie by having participated in 12 total contests (compared to the previous reader’s 5):

This was a tough one.  Didn’t take long to nail the town once I saw the post-peak fall foliage and the presence of a few large, office-style buildings in a downtown area meant that I didn’t spend hours searching through every sleepy mountain town on the east coast.  No, the real issue was nailing down the right “window”.  I have window in quotes because I’m pretty sure that this was taken from outside.  The picture below shows my guess at a location, the parking lot of an apartment complex at 151 North St. From that location you can clearly see the gap in the trees from which it might have been taken.


From the submitter:

I noticed you ran my shot from the 14th for the VFYW contest today.  I realized I didn’t give the address, since I didn’t know you’d use it for the contest: 151 North Street in Montpelier, Vermont.  And I live on the second floor, which I’m sure some of your freaky-good window sleuths have figured out already.

Our VFYW grand champion is freaky-good:

You’d think that having gone to college an hour away from this week’s location it would have been a quick find for me, but it actually took a small search. That’s because I’ve only been to Montpelier once, and the only thing I remember, the capitol building’s golden dome, is hidden from view here by a hill. This week’s view looks west-south-west from the second floor of 151 North Street, a multi-unit apartment building. A best guess as to the correct apartment would be Unit #8:

VFYW Montpelier Actual Window Marked - Copy

Update from a reader:

How sad is it that I work out of Montpelier and I couldn’t get the window?  I mean, the red line on the “visual submission” diagram misses my office (not just my building) by about 20 pixels. I guess some people just aren’t cut out for VFYW.