If you’ve ever wondered what happened to the picturesque Vermont of days gone by, well you’re in luck! With much of Vermont changing rapidly and losing much of it’s traditional character and culture, the Northeast Kingdom is perhaps your best bet for experiencing Vermont the way it was in days long past.
Traditional Vermont values and family life still survive
It’s not easy to find old fashioned general stores anymore and covered bridges are not as plentiful as they used to be. Neighbors don’t know each other as much as they used to “back in the good old days”.
Except in the Northeast Kingdom! Driving through many local towns these days, you’ll notice that there haven’t been a lot of changes over the years. Though logging and manufacturing isn’t quite what it used to be, the towns are still hanging on and adapting as best as they can.
Family farms may not be as prosperous as they used to be but many are still in operation throughout the rural Northeast Kingdom in towns like Holland, Charleston, Irasburg, Glover and Barton. Traveling through any of these areas is like stepping into a time machine. Many families are related to each other with an abundance of Canadian French families who immigrated to the area, many years ago. The names in each town are as plentiful as maple trees and trickling brooks.
Life seems to move a bit slower, far from the hustle and bustle of places like Chittenden County that have perhaps changed far too much. If you’re looking for the romantic, laid back Vermont of crackling wood stoves on a cold winter day, the Northeast Kingdom brings it all back to life.
Sometimes the simple life really is better
Hard working farm families still tend their land and livestock within the comfort of rolling hills and spectacular sunsets. Near Christmas time, the UPS trucks scurry around as day gives way to night, delivering packages to Vermonters anxiously awaiting their arrival. The driver, anxious to get home to his or her own family, hurries to complete the final deliveries of the day. Happy to rush back home to the comforts of family and Vermont way of life.
Modernization inevitably creeps in but Vermont traditions abound
Jay Peak has changed a great deal along with Burke Mountain, it’s neighbor further south in the Kingdom. Some will lament the changes that have come to Jay Peak, which for many years was well known as the ski area of choice for “locals” and neighbors from Canada, to the north. Most of the rough and tumble local atmosphere is gone now, replaced by modern conveniences such as a water park and modern hotel, that is similar to resorts in the West.
Travel to the Albany and Craftsbury area and you will find more traditional Vermont scenes that come to life, like pages from and old issue of Life magazine.
Activities such as cross country skiing and snowmobiling are enjoyed by both locals and visitors from around the world, but the picture postcard Vermont scenes are simply breathtaking. The stunning beauty and graceful spires of country churches continue to delight young and old. The cold of winter and spruce trees only enhance the beauty of the surroundings.
Times may change and people come and go but the heart and spirit of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom live on. The customs and traditions of those who came before us will continue to enlighten and fascinate generations to come. The grace and simple beauty of the Northeast Kingdom make it a very special place indeed!
Written by William Alexander