The most compelling reason to visit Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom in the fall might just be the food, as the onset of the foliage marks the end of the growing season. Learn more, plus our picks for the region’s best scenic route, photo op, fun for kids, and where to eat and shop.
By Yankee Magazine
Aug 13 2018
A family-and-foliage trip on the Kingdom Trails.Photo Credit : Corey Hendrickson
Though filled with clapboard villages and rugged mountain beauty, the tricounty northeastern corner of Vermont is no mere drive-though postcard. It rewards those visitors who stop and bide a while—whether it’s to spend a day mountain biking on East Burke’s famed Kingdom Trails, or an evening camping at Brighton State Park’s Spectacle Pond, a sheltered gem that fully lives up to its name in autumn.
But the most compelling reason to tarry in the Northeast Kingdom might just be the food, as the onset of fall foliage marks the bountiful end of the region’s growing season. Everywhere you look, there are farm stands and markets offering an edible rainbow of red-orange tomatoes, jewel-like yellow raspberries and emerald brassicas, giant blue Hubbard squashes, and enough purple cabbages to feed an army. Even better, this homegrown abundance—as well as world-class cheeses from Kingdom standbys Jasper Hill Farm and Sweet Rowen Farmstead—is baked into restaurant menus and showcased on the shelves at general stores and grocers. In these parts, small farms feed each village, and locals buy in—not because it’s trendy or “sustainable,” but because supporting one’s neighbor is a community best practice. Luckily, you don’t have to be one of the region’s 65,000 year-round residents to partake in these pleasures … just stop the car, pull up a chair, and dig in. —Hannah Palmer Egan
Learn more in “Peak Perfection,” our guide to where to find peak foliage color in New England from mid-September until the end of October.
Vermont is the kind of place where things are built to last, and one of its favorite long-lived creations is the Northeast Kingdom Fall Foliage Festival (9/30–10/7): Founded in 1956, it keeps the fun going for a full week as the focus shifts to a new town each day. From craft sales and church suppers to parades and live music, the lineup changes—but the appeal remains the same. nekchamber.com
Cruise by bike or car from Brighton to Westmore via Route 105 and Hinton Hill Road, where Lake Willoughby, Vermont’s deepest lake, appears as a blue ribbon from the high open fields.
Snap a selfie with the stately double row of maples on Darling Hill Road in Lyndonville.
For a delicious double play, stop in at Greensboro’s world-renowned beer mecca, Hill Farmstead Brewery, then grab a pizza at the Parker Pie Co. in West Glover. hillfarmstead.com; parkerpie.com
Fun for Kids
Lose yourself for an hour (or three) in the Great Vermont Corn Maze in Danville. vermontcornmaze.com
Railroad Street in St. Johnsbury is an antiques-picker’s delight. discoverstjohnsbury.com