Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom: Bucolic Beauty and Outdoor Adventure

Esha Samajpati travels to the remote northeastern corner of Vermont, nicknamed the “Northeast Kingdom” for its seclusive natural beauty. Samajpati’s adventures includes biking, hiking, dining, and beautiful views.

View of Lake Willougby from Mount Pisgah. Photo by Pinaki Chakraborty and Esha Samajpati.

The remote northeastern corner of Vermont, bordering Canada, consists of the three counties of Essex, Orleans and Caledonia. It was named the Northeast Kingdom in 1949 by the late George Aiken, then US senator from Vermont. A champion of causes of importance for rural America, Aiken found the name befitting to the seclusion and distinctiveness of the area.

In recent times, the area has been named a National Geographic Geotourism Partner and author Patricia Schultz wrote, “This could very well be the most beautiful place in America.” This kind of recognition has helped put the Kingdom on the map.

As with the rest of Vermont, the Kingdom conjures up rustic images of red barns, B&Bs, ski resorts, grazing cows, snowmobiles, fall foliage and quiet marriage ceremonies under flowery gazebos.

As my husband and I drove up the scenic route to the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, I was somehow sure that there is more to Vermont than meets the eye. The bucolic beauty is just a front. Forget the maple syrup, I smell adventure.

Almost as if on cue, a group of mud-splattered bikers whizzed past us and disappeared into unseen trails, deep into a boreal forest steeped in legends of Indians, loggers and rum-runners.

The Wildflower Inn

Stretching over 570 acres of rolling hills and lush meadows, the Wildflower Inn is a family-friendly country resort. Run by Jim and Mary O’Reilly, the inn exudes warmth and makes you feel at home the moment you arrive.

With a BS in construction engineering under his belt, Jim spent a couple of years as a Peace Corps volunteer building bridges in Nepal. Now he is a full-time innkeeper and farm-to-fork enthusiast.

As with the rest of the country, Vermonters have joined the movement. Corporate food factories are out, small family farms are in. Being a predominantly agricultural region, the Kingdom has slipped effortlessly into the role of a local grower.

Juniper’s Restaurant, owned and managed by the O’Reilly’s is all for reducing the carbon footprint and supporting the local economy.

“On our menu, you will find all natural grass-fed beef some from right here at Meadow View Farm, Vermont-made wines and Vermont-brewed beers. Each week we promote a particular ingredient from a local farm and our chef uses the ingredient in his main dishes, appetizers, soups and salads. The featured farm is also posted on the Juniper’s Restaurant blog, which by now has a comprehensive list of our partner farms,” Jim explains.

Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom: Bucolic Beauty and Outdoor Adventure