Driving up the mountain after being greeted by all the cows there rests a small, simple home with just enough windows to let the perfect amount of light in and the greatest view of Vermont this side of Birdseye. It’s a place where Kit and Mickie (Margaret) Davidson reside, where they work and enjoy this great gift and reflect on their hard work.
“I am originally from Greenwich Village in New York City and was a film producer while Mickie wrote children’s books,” said Kit, 82, as he inhaled a big breathe of Vermont air.
Kit said he was always looking for land outside the city, searching in New York, Pennsylvania, and even New Hampshire before settling in Vermont.
He purchased the land on Mount Zion in 1969 and up until 2002 split his time living in Vermont and New York.
Kit explained that once he became a medical editor, he was able to work from home. At that point he became a full time Vermont resident — just want he wanted.
Mount Zion is located near Hubbardton Battlefield and offers five miles of trails weaving in and out of nature’s treasures. The site includes a Japanese rock garden, trails, and countless spots to sit down and reflect on life.
Natalie Brassill, a senior at Castleton and frequent Zion hiker, smiles when pondering her experiences at the mountain.
“One of my first times at Zion, I woke up at 6 a.m. to hike and watch the battlefield re-enactment,” Brassill said.
She spoke about how the mountain offers beautiful scenery and a real place to become one with the nature. She talks about how lucky she was to be shown the area and how she now takes time out of her busy day to show new people this hidden treasure.
“There is a lot of hard work put into the mountain. It’s clean, no trash barrels, everyone is really respecting,” she said
Labor of love
After you park your car and grab a map, many head down the hill and cross the freshly painted wooden bridge. There you are greeted by Kit’s rock garden filled with statues, chairs, and a waterfall that will remove any stress you may have.
You can climb up the ladder and rest on a boulder or sit by the pond and watch the frogs while soaking up sun rays.
Kit’s inspiration for the rock garden came from his love of Japan. He spent time in Japan filming and said he loves the style. He said his mother also spent time in Japan in 1917 so he was surrounded by signs of this unique culture frequently throughout his life.
Mickie, says she loves her husband’s passion for the mountain and his spectacular rock masterpiece.
“Kit started with a small hole and just went from there,” she said.
Mickie said she helps out as much as she can and is pleased to see Kit opening the mountain to the public.
“The past couple years has been like a snowball effect, with more and more people coming here,” she said
The couple graciously allows anyone to drive up the lane, grab a map, and explore.
“I only have two rules, No Smoking, No Fires, NOT EVER,” said Kit emphatically.
As long as people respect this, he said he respects them. It would be a shame to watch this land vanish because of people’s carelessness, he said.
A place to think
Senior Tom Denison is another Zion regular who has made countless trips to the mountain.
Denison spent an entire weekend camping on the mountain and enjoying the peaceful life. He said Zion is a great place to escape to, with the beautiful gardens, a chance to lounge in Adirondack chairs, or hiking through the trails
“It’s good for clearing my head from school,” he said.
He said he loves making his way around the mountain, even going off the beaten path. He also stressed his strong feeling about respecting the land and appreciating this wondrous gift – and he hopes others will do the same.
Jennifer Manning, a junior at Castleton who was first shown Zion from a friend, spoke fondly about the lasting memories from her hikes.
“There is just so much, if I don’t want to walk one day, I can do the garden — endless possibilities,” she said
Manning said it doesn’t take much time to hike the mountain and said it’s a great day trip. The average hike up the mountain can take about a half an hour, but you can spend hours going from peak to peak.
“It’s the perfect adventure that you can do with the perfect friends,” she said.
It’s also a place to see things that others who don’t venture into the woods don’t get to experience.
Brassil excitedly spoke about being on the mountain one day when a curious deer made his way up the hill.
“I was sitting on one peak and I didn’t know what was in the trees, she said. I then saw it was a deer. I got so close and I never feared him. He was just watching me and I was watching him,” she said.