Activist, artist and former innkeeper Dotty Kyle is a staple in local political, environmental and artistic circles.




She and her husband Eric Brattstrom live in a house in Warren that they built after they sold the West Hill House B and B to Peter and Susan MacLaren in 2006. They ended up in The Valley because Brattsrom’s cousin Dorothy Barkhorn was best friends with the late Trudy Wolf.

“One morning, we were living in Connecticut at the time, I came downstairs and told Eric I was eligible to take my pension and wanted to move to Vermont and run a bed and breakfast. We don’t agree on what his response was. He’d worked in construction and was constantly working himself out of a job so he was rather footloose,” Kyle recalled.

With the connection to his cousin andKyle’s love for Vermont – honed over taking multiple Vermont Bicycle Tour vacations trips over many years – brought them to The Valley where they contacted Wolf but got the wrong number. The woman who answered told him she knew Wolf’s number and offered it.

“I heard that and thought, this is just the place I want to live, where people are that connected and kind,” she said. That was spring of 1993.

They fell in love with the West Hill House B and B and ran the inn for 13 years.

Kyle came to innkeeper after a corporate career at the YMCA. She spent 10 years as executive director at a branch in New Jersey, then was head hunted to run the YMCS for Sommerset County and worked there for seven to eight years before transfering to a leadership position in Westport, Connecticut.


During the time they ran the inn, Brattstrom undertook a significant renovation of the inn, converting the four-bedroom, two-bath property into a nine-bedroom inn with all private baths, steam showers, jacuzzis, and fireplaces in each room. He also built the barn across the street from the inn based on a photograph of a barn that had been there in the late 1800s.

“We loved the guests and the cooking while we were innkeeperes, but the year I turned 70, I realized I didn’t like working 24/7,” Kyle said.




When the time came to list the inn, they worked with a agent specializing in hospitality properties.

“We signed the contract and later that day she called and said she had a couple who’d been looking for an inn for five years. She wanted to bring them over right away because they had plane tickets back to Texas. They came and offered us full price inside of an hour. That was in January and they wanted to move in April. We had 23 chickens and two cats and you don’t just get a condo at Sugarbush for a year while you’re figuring out what to do. We were lucky and found a little place on South Hollow where we lived until we bought our current property and built the house,” Kyle said.


Kyle remains active in political activism and the arts. Prior to moving to Vermont she’d long organized a sidewalk community artshow in Maplewood, New Jersey, on Labor Day weekend that was a collaboration between shopkeepers and artists. In The Valley she has been active with Mad River Valley Arts, is one of the founders of the Big Red Barn Art Show, and is a regular contributer of art for local causes and a regular exhibitor. She works in oil and watercolor.

She and Brattstrom are very engaged environmentalists and very engaged in political activism.

“We got inovled in Obama’s first election with a group of friends from Warren and Waitsfield who’d been involved in The Valley Democratic Committee. We got super involved and organized door-to-door knocking trips in New Hampshire on the other side of the Connecticut River. We did phone calling here as well,” Kyle added.

Last weekend, Kyle was one of the members of the local Indivisible political action group that made welcome quilts for refugees, writing Get Out The Vote postcards to people in North Carolina during breaks.

As for the upcoming midterm elections, she said “All I have is high hopes.”

She fears for Pennsylvanians if John Fetterman doesn’t win a U.S. Senate seat in a race against Dr. Mehmet Oz and she said she sure hopes there are a lot a women angry enough about the Supreme Court overturning Roe vs Wade that they cross party lines.