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Road trip thru Northeast kingdom

scituate, ma
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Road trip thru Northeast kingdom

We are planning a 3 day trip, coming up Rte 93, and over to Vermont. I've never been to this part of Vermont, but I am really looking forward to seeing it.

Any recommendations on what to do? Where to eat or stay? We are considering camping one or two nights, and one night at an inn or B&B for some relaxation.

Los Angeles
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1. Re: Road trip thru Northeast kingdom

I just returned from a one week conference in the Northeast Kingdom and really enjoyed myself. Here are some suggestions:

- Many in our group stayed at the Wildflower Inn and the Inn on Darling Hill. Both have good websites you can check out. The Comfort Inn in St. Johnsbury is supposed to be great (for a Comfort Inn) and features a pool and fairly grand fountain out front. Locals call it the "Taj Mahal" of the Northeast Kingdom. It's very new so probably quite clean and in good shape inside. There are many dumpy motels in the area as well, so be careful.

- For dining, Elements in St. Johnsbury is on the pricey side but supposed to be excellent. I didn't personally find any food I liked in the Northeast Kingdom, but the Bagel Depot had decent bagels in the morning.

- The Dog Chapel in St. Johnsbury is wonderful. It's a church that has been turned into a monument to canines - in fact, it's a whole hill called Dog Mountain. Very beautiful....and free. Go even if you don't like dogs.

- St. Johnsbury has excellent historic buildings, especially the Anatheum and Fairbanks Museum. The Anatheum (library) is a National Landmark. Both are small, inexpensive, and easy to do without spending too much time. The visitor center (housed in a historic railroad depot,) is great, especially if you get the friendly woman who was there the day I went.

- Also in St. Johnsbury is the Catamount Theater which has great arty films every night.

- The Northeast Kingdom bike trails are superb. If you don't bike, try a hike somwhere. The wildflowers are fantastic right now.

- Lake Willoughby is incredibly scenic and a fairly easy drive. Outstanding.

- Try to interact with some locals. They are reserved but friendly in that Northern New England way.

- Try a swimming hole or dip in a river. Ask around for a good spot or go to a bookstore and look for a guide to Vermont swimming holes.

- Visit the Boxcar Caboose bookstore in St. Johnsbury. It was just opened up by a local professor and is very friendly and comfortable.

- Great old train photos in the museum in Lyndonville. I forget the name, but it's in the snack shop next to the Lyndonville Visitor Center. They also have a cute model train set.

- Note about St. Johnsbury. It has many worthy attractions and upscale shops, but also a little poverty. Don't let it stop you from spending time there - it's a neat town.

- Join the old timers in St. Johnsbury every Monday night as the local band plays on the bandstand. They've been doing it since 1860. They may hit a few sour notes, but it's a pretty nice family atmosphere listening on the grass.

- There are about six churches in St. Johnsbury that play songs on their chimes at 6pm each day and at a few other times, especialliy on Sunday. The town is so small you can hear them from anywhere. Some of the little chime concerts last a half hour!

Hope you have a good time up there. It's wonderfully open and un-touristy.

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2. Re: Road trip thru Northeast kingdom

I second the suggestion for staying at the Wildflower Inn. Very beautiful.

Groton State Park is great for camping.

The previous poster has given you some great suggestions and a great view of the area from a tourists perspective. This area of Vermont is not at all "touristy" like you find in Southern VT, Stowe etc. It's just very quiet and "down home".

Another suggestion would be to drive up Burke Mountain if you have a good day. When you get to the top, hike a bit to the fire tower. Awesome 360 degree views.

Also, go to Cabot and visit the Cabot Creamery.

Some restaurant ideas:

River Garden Cafe in East Burke

Elements in StJ

The Creamery in Danville

For breakfast: Miss Lyndonville Diner or Anthony's in StJ.

If you feel like venturing even further afield, drive a loop from StJ...head north to Island Pond. Continue on to Norton. Turn east and head to Canaan, then south again to St. Johnsbury. Beautiful, unspoiled country. You'll also have a good chance to see a moose or two.

Have fun!

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3. Re: Road trip thru Northeast kingdom

I would recommend the East Burke Area. It is centrally located in the kingdom - close to Burke Mountain, biking, hiking, many lakes (Willoughby, crystal, shadow,...), good restaurants, a nice pub. The wildflower inn is located only a couple miles away and the Inn at Mountain View on Darling Hill is located in East Burke. It is only an hour from Stowe, 1.5 hours from Burlingon, 2 hours from Montreal...so if you needed to escape for a day there are plenty of places to escape to.

Burke Mountain offers some of the best views of the northeast kingdom. It has camping avaiable on the mountain. Check out www.skiburke.com. It has information on their campground as well as a link to Kingdom Trails - www.kingdomtrails.org. Kingdom Trails consists of a many trails for biking. I believe guides are even available.

East Burke has some of if not the BEST food in the Kingdom. The Inn at Mountain View has a spectacular view of Burke Mountain. It is the place to stay during foliage...or any time of the year. Their web site is www.innmtnview.com. Their cuisine is a bit pricey - but well worth it. Be sure to make it to the River Garden...wonderful food (www.rivergardencafe.com) Also there is the Cutter Inn - even more wonderful food! The cutter also has rooms to rent...pretty rustic but the food makes up for it (www.oldcutterinn.com). If you are in the mood for a pub experience go across the street from the River Garden to the Pub Outback (www.baileysandburke.com). The pub is behind a cute country store called baileys and burke...they are owned by the same company.

Close by Lyndonville has the Freight House, previously mentioned as the place with the old photos of the railroad. They have some ok food but people go there for the attmosphere, the raw milk, organic food, and ICE CREAM!!! They also serve Starbucks coffee:). Miss Lyndonville Diner in Lyndonville is WELL known for its breakfast.

Lake Willoughby is in Westmore, Vermont (15-20 minutes from East Burke). On the south end of the late is a campground. www.whitecapscampground.com. It is a beautiful lake. They have somenice hiking up Mt. Pisgah...with an overlook of the lake. Also the north end of the lake has a nice beach. Beware of hiking on the south end of the lake. There is a nude beach...well hidden. But maybe you are into that:). The Willowvale Inn is on Lake Willoughby - great place to eat - guess they have places to stay there. Can't find a website...but if you are in the neighborhood it is worth checking out.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any questions...I will try my best to answer.

Happy Travels!!


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4. Re: Road trip thru Northeast kingdom

The "Northeast Kingdom" is actually quite a large area. It covers all of Orleans, Essex and Caledonia County.

The advice that you've gotten so far is excellent.

I would also suggest Craftsbury. It's a different part of the Kingdom and off the beaten path ... but it is a wonderful little town. They have a beautiful little green in the middle of town surrounded by fantastic views.

On Saturday morning they have the farmer's market with a wide varriety of things from local organic produce to hand knit sweaters to the most amazing Mexican food you've ever eaten. There is a wonderful inn (called The Craftsbury Inn, I think.) And the greatest little bookstore ... called Stardust Books.

A town over, in Greensboro, is Lake Caspian. There are some camping areas there, as well as the Highland Lodge ... a great place to get some dinner and spend the night. Don't miss Willey's store. It's an old fashioned general store. It isn't a tourist trap ... it's just the closest place to get a gallon of milk, a phillips head screwdriver and a new winter jacket.

Get out on the lake for an afternoon of kayaking or swiming.

There is a nice shop or two in town.

scituate, ma
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5. Re: Road trip thru Northeast kingdom

Thanks for all your input. We're really looking forward to trying out your suggestions!

Northwestern VT
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6. Re: Road trip thru Northeast kingdom

If you do decide to stay in Craftsbury, I highly recommend the Inn on the Common, a luxury B&B which is known as the "Crown Jewel of the Northeast Kingdom." Excellent accomodations, fine food, and meticulous hospitality. Inn on the Common is itself an experience!