Q: Top Ten things about Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom (NEK) in the winter.
A: Sparkling holiday lights adorn quiet village streets. A team of horses pulls the sleigh atop a field blanketed in freshly fallen snow. With its startling beauty and promise of pure playfulness, winter entices us to venture out with skis, sleds, snowboards, sleighs and snowshoes. Winter festivals, community ski races, resort activities and indoor entertainment venues of all kinds provide plenty of excitement and warmth during the snowiest months.
Q: What should every first time visitor to the NEK know?
A: Visitors should know that the pace is slower here and that the best way to enjoy the Kingdom is to slow down to match the pace while they explore. It has taken nearly a million years to form the definitive region known as “Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.” Over the eons, the Kingdom’s land has been sculpted by collisions of continents, glacial activity and natural erosion into a distinctive foundation of rolling hills, rising mountains and pristine lakes. Time and human habitation have softened the edges, leaving thick forests, lush pastures and meandering streams, as well as picturesque villages, enduring farmsteads and impressive historic edifices. Today, the Kingdom is regarded as one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country – we invite visitors to relax and go slowly as they explore this most scenic region.
Q: The NEK provides great skiing/boarding at both Jay Peak and Burke Mountain. For those who want to take a break from the ski resorts for a day or two, what would you recommend?
A: There’s nothing like taking a driving tour through the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont! Going at your own pace, you can visit quintessential Vermont towns, country stores, artisans’ workshops, area attractions and more.
Q: Best part about living/working in the NEK?
A: Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is adored by residents for its lovely countryside, abundant natural resources and the preservation of traditional landscapes and lifestyles that have made the Vermont experience one to be cherished. As residents we enjoy all of the best qualities and offerings that the state of Vermont has become famous for through the years.
Q: Most challenging part about living/working in the NEK?
A: The rural nature and landscapes of the Kingdom often cause residents to spend a bit of time in their car as the journey from one village to the next to engage in the offerings unique to that community be it recreation, dining, the arts, shopping, employment offerings, etc.
Q: Anything new for the NEK this winter?
A: Both today and in the near future there are a lot of new offerings here in the Kingdom to include:
Jay Peak Resort (which has recently added the Tram Haus Lodge, the Hotel Jay & Conference Center, the Pump House Waterpark, The Ice Haus Indoor Skating Arena, a new 18 hole golf course and other amazing amenities) will continue to grow: upgrades include a new Mountain Learning Center at the State Side area of the resort, two new lifts, a transformation of its Sky Haus summit tram station, and a Vermont-styled country store. The are also adding Golf & Mountain Cottages along the golf course/nordic center and introducing the new Jay Peak Lodge & Townhomes.
Over $108 million dollars of investment are headed toward Burke Mountain. The resort is currently enjoying a totally redeveloped snow making system and they plan to construct four “rustic” lodges that will house as many as 1,250 people directly on the mountain in the next year or so.
A marina and grand hotel on Lake Memphremagog in Newport, located right off I-91 and a walkable distance from downtown which will feature restaurants, retail space and conference facilities.
Q: Anything you would like to add?
A: Many have asked why is this area called the “Northeast Kingdom” so I thought I might share. In 1949 Vermont Sate Senator George Aiken on a visit to the region proclaimed,
“This is such beautiful country up here - it should be called the Northeast Kingdom.”
In 2006, the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations agreed and took it a step further by partnering with the local community to launch the Geotourism program in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. At the time, the Northeast Kingdom was one of only a handful of destinations selected by National Geographic to participate in a Geotourism program. Today the area is ranked as among the top 10 Geotourism destinations in the world and #1 in the United States
Thanks to Gloria Bruce, Executive Director of Northeast Kingdom Travel & Tourism Association – for taking the time to answer a few questions we posed about the North East Kingdom.