WOODSTOCK, Vt. — As Paul Ryan campaigned across the Midwest today, and President Obama hit the stump in Virginia, the man at the top of the Republican ticket had an entirely different agenda.
Romney spent the day tucked away in the foothills of the Vermont mountains at the 134-acre home of former Massachusetts Lt. Gov Kerry Healey, where a cup of coffee at the local general store is still fifty-one cents and where more than half the roads are not paved.
It is the location chosen by the Romney campaign’s brain trust for the first mock debate with Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who was also vetted for the vice presidential slot, and the first major debate prep the candidate has done since the primaries, when he was known to prep by sitting around conference room tables and discussing issues with his staffers.
But with just 62 days until Election Day, in a race that is still a dead heat between Romney and Obama, the GOP nominee has not held a public event since Saturday, instead opting for a few days off at his own home in the resort town of Wolfeboro, N.H., attending church with his wife Ann and taking his speedboat out for a spin.
And this morning, as his running mate embarked on a two-state campaign swing and the Democratic party revved up for their convention that begins tonight in North Carolina, Mitt Romney teetered along in a motorcade through the backgrounds of New England, briefly getting stuck behind a tree-trimming tractor that blocked the road.
Arriving just after 10 a.m. at the West Windsor estate that is known to have impressive views of Mt. Ascutney and is nestled in a town of a little more than 1,000 people, Romney was promptly joined by the brass of his campaign, including senior advisers Beth Myers, Stuart Stevens, Peter Flaherty, Ben Ginsburg, Ed Gillespie, Lanhee Chen and Eric Fehrnstrom.
Romney’s close confidante and campaign chairman Bob White was also spotted driving into the home’s driveway, which is marked by an old stone gate and is located off one of the many dirt roads, where horses roam nearby.
Healey’s home was recently appraised at $3.9 million, according to Tom Kenyon, one of the town managers in West Windsor, who described the property to ABC News as one of many high-end second homes in the area, a town that still boasts being a favorite of the late actor Charles Bronson, who owned a colonial farmhouse there.
Kenyon described the area as a “perfect” place for Romney to focus on debate prep.
“We understand why he’d come here,” Kenyon told ABC News. “It’s peaceful and quiet and probably a good place to focus.”