October 26, 2019

#193 Northeast Kingdom

“In 1949, a former US senator from Vermont, struck by the timeless beauty and isolation of his state’s three most northeastern counties (Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia), dubbed them the Northeast Kingdom, and when the foliage flames each autumn, they could very well be the most beautiful place in America.”
Lake Willoughby is often compared to Switzerland’s Lake Lucerne...it was beautiful and the water was so clear.

St. Johnsbury is the unofficial gateway, and I think I read that 90% of the fall foliage pictures you see are from this area, but just keep driving until you get lost and enjoy the fiery mountains, valleys, maple farms, and cheesemakers.

I stopped at 2 different Cabot Cheese houses.  One was the original in Cabot, VT, and the second was sharing a parking lot with a distillery and chocolatier I was planning to visit.  Both were disappointing, but I took the opportunity to eat a lot more of the Tuscan Cheddar samples because that cheese was so good. 

Also, Ben & Jerry's HQ is in this general area, but I'm not a huge B&J fan, and it always seemed crowded.  But if you love ice cream, you should definitely visit.

I was there on a weekend where it seemed every tiny town I drove through was having some sort of festival or fair or something. Basically the whole state looked exactly like a Norman Rockwell painting, and exactly what you think of when you picture Vermont (albeit way more crowded).

Also, I was having dinner one night and my server (who coincidentally looked so much like my cousin that I had to ask her if she had family in Utah) asked why anyone would vacation in Vermont.  I was a little stunned because Vermont is universally known as an amazing autumn vacation spot.  But I guess when you grow up with something as just your normal, everyday - you may not appreciate it as much.