Foliage Time in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom

Townships
By Deborah Straw
  |  Gorp.com
Getting There

Bus: Vermont Transit goes to Montpelier, Barnet, St. Johnsbury, Lyndonville, Barton, Orleans and Newport. All buses go by way of White River Junction. Call Vermont Transit toll free from Vermont (800-642-3133) or the rest of New England (800-451-3292).

Car: Take I-89 North to Montpelier, then Route 2 northeast to St. Johnsbury. I-93 and I-91 both go to St. Johnsbury.

Plane: Fly into the Burlington International Airport and rent a car. Most points are between 1.5 and 2.5 hours distance from Burlington. Montreal is also a quick two hours away from most points in this geographical area.

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The area around Plainfield and Marshfield is the most civilized, i.e., there are more people, restaurants, antique shops and activity (St. Johnsbury, the area's largest city with a whopping population of 7,600, and Newport have some of this feel, too). But the farther you get from town, the more the terrain and the ambiance become wilder, less peopled. Even if you spy a store or diner after driving twenty miles, it may not be open. You could be in parts of the Adirondacks or in the wide open spaces in the Pacific Northwest (without the ocean, of course).

One of my favorite towns in the Kingdom is Danville on Route 2. It has a traditional village green; a rambling yellow hotel for lodging and excellent breakfasts, pies and wonderful, rural souvenirs made bylocals; a thrift shop; and of course, a well-stocked general store. Danville is also the location of an annual dowsing convention and home to Dowsers' Hall. (Dowsing is the the practice of using a divining rod to search for underground water or minerals.)

For the best views in the area, take the back road (no route number, but there is a place name sign) to Peacham. Peacham itself is one of the most photographed town in the state. Its architecture is amazingly diverse and well-kept; there's a well-stocked general store in town; and quiet, remote Peacham Pond is home to a variety of wildlife, including the elusive loon.

Cabot , on Route 215 (off of Route 2 in Marshfield), is also worth a stop for its Main Street's Cabot Farmers Co-op Creamery, makers of the famous cheddar cheese.

I've always enjoyed the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington. Reachable on Route 5A, northeast of Orleans (off I-91), the huge granite building, originally used as a school dormitory, has 30rooms housing a varied collection based on the character and historical professional leanings of local towns. The history structure's builder, a school teacher/minister/politician of African-American descent and a poetic name, Alexander Twilight, is also fascinating. Call ahead for hours (802-754-2022).


Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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