A Week in The Northeast Kingdom

Moose River Campground  in St Johnsbury, VT
Pretty campsite in St Johnsbury – gateway to the NEK

Sept 26-Oct 3 — We have spent this past week up in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  If you’ve never heard of it, you’re not alone; we hadn’t either.  But once we were made aware of this beautiful part of the region, we added the destination to our itinerary and detoured up here – ahhh flexibility!  Getting a bit road weary from moving so much, we decided to book an entire week stay in St. Johnsbury, and lucky that we did as this is our prettiest camp setting yet.

Surely the stunning fall color has a lot to do with our liking this place, but also right behind our site (hard to see in the photo) is the Moose River which provided wonderfully relaxing babbling sounds – made for great outside reading by day and wonderful sleeping at night!

The NEK, as it’s referred to up here, is named in 1,000 Places To See Before You Die – A Traveler’s Life List.  Heralded as ‘fall foliage nirvana’ this place features Kodak moments at virtually every turn.  As we drove up here from Maine through the Green Mountains and saw fall’s palette of red, orange, yellow and gold cloak the hills, we commented that it was as if we had landed in Oz.  An odd reaction, we both started laughing as the scenery was just so spectacular; it’s truly otherworldly!

Our drive through the Green Mountains in northern VT

Topping our activities list is Ansel Adams Fred taking pictures, of course.  :)  But through fortuitous timing on our part, we have also been able to attend some of the local town festivals.  Billed as the “Annual Fall Foliage Festival” which is run by the NEK Chamber of Commerce and this year runs from Sept 27-Oct 5, each of these one-church villages has a day where they bring a piece of ‘Old Vermont’ to oft-parochial locals and visitors like us who are up here to see the fall color.  They feature local crafts, parades, band concerts, hymn sings, church suppers, pie and ice cream socials, bake sales, historical tours – the list goes on.  And all of these activities are backdropped by the most vibrant colors you have ever seen!

Our new Vermont friends, Pam and Stan, joined us for the Burke festival –

hover your cursor over the below photo, then click on the arrows to scroll through a few photos of our fun together in Burke:

Fred, Stan and Pam at the NEK Fall Festival in Burke
Fred, Stan and Pam at the NEK Fall Festival in Burke

As we drove through these quaint NEK towns, we wondered what keeps their economic engines going.  Harsh winters and sheer isolation seemly keep development further south, and with the exception of the Fall Festival, it would seem tourism, too.  We’ve enjoyed moseying through used bookstores in search of classic old literary gems, and finding none, we pick up a few ‘to-reads’ just to support the bookstore.  Our country driving took us past tidy farms dotting the remote Vermont countryside – so picturesque!  We delighted in the homemade goodness found in local diners – Miss Lyndonville’s Diner in Lyndonville was the bomb; the vegetable of the day was turnips – you don’t see that in downtown Chicago restaurants!  [I ordered a ham steak with raisin sauce and thought of you, Mom; my meal here was right up your alley!]  When in Vermont… we also visited the Maple Grove Farms of Vermont sugar house; the largest packer of pure maple sugar in the U.S. and the largest producer of maple candies in the world.  There we got a lesson in the different grades of maple syrup and tasted them all plus the candies – yummy!  Of course we left with some, too.  We also thoroughly enjoyed a lovely fall hike up Burke Mountain; meandering through beech and maple and elm trees at the peak of their color – ahh, the flame of fall foliage….

Our photos don’t begin to do this justice, but here’s a peak (no pun intended!) of how we saw Vermont in all of its splendor:

Fall Hike at Burke Mountain
Green to mauve
Basswood leaves turning from green to mauve
Green to yellow leaves
Sugar maples turning green to yellow

1 thought on “A Week in The Northeast Kingdom”

  1. Cheryl and I just returned from our IL, IA, WI color tour. Walking in the fallen leaves and hearing them crunch below our feet was a delightful sound. The Mississippi River showed me things I had never seen before, and our B&B in Galena provided us with a breakfast to write home about. Taking the River Road showed us the American farms at their best–their industry, their well-kept acres, their locally grown products.

    Thank you for keeping me posted both with this blog and your daily calls. I love you very much, Mother

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