June 13, 2024
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Haunted Vermont, Folklore & much more…

Orleans, Vermont: A Picturesque Escape in the Northeast Kingdom

In Vermont's far northeast corner lies the town of Orleans in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom. This area of the Northeast Kingdom is not densely populated and includes Orleans, Caledonia, and Essex counties. The NEK spans about 2,000 square miles and is filled with dense forests, farms, and villages. To the north it borders Canada, to the west the Green Mountains stand tall, and the beautiful Connecticut River is to the east. The landscape was once the hunting and fishing grounds of the Nulhegan tribe.

Ethan Allen Manufacturing in past years

Orleans is locally known as a hard working, mill town that captivates with its untouched natural splendor and rich history. Almost everyone in the area either knows someone who works at Ethan Allen Manufacturing or has worked there personally – including the author of this post!

In 1999, the local Ethan Allen plant employed 600 workers. This dropped substantially in the 21st century, as it moved some manufacturing offshore or to areas with lower labor costs.

Settlers, including Roger Enos, built homes here in the early 19th century. Nowadays, Interstate 91 links towns like Orleans, Barton, and Irasburg. It's a haven for nature lovers. 

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The Valley House

In 1833, the Valley House in Orleans, was built as a restaurant and tavern. In 1875 twenty rooms were added for an inn. Sadly, the building was destroyed by fire in 1998.

Willoughby Steelhead Rainbow Trout Will Be Jumping

The steelhead rainbow trout start their upstream, Willoughby River, migration, every Spring, to leap up waterfalls in a spectacular display of determination on their way to their spawning grounds. Steelhead can be spotted moving up the falls during warmer days in mid-to-late April and sometimes into early May. 

The Northeast Kingdom invites visitors to enjoy its top-notch outdoor activities. You can hike to stunning views at Mount Pisgah in Westmore or bike on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, which is 93 miles long. There's also the Jay Peak ski area for winter sports. Whether you're fishing in the Brownington River, or enjoying the fall colors, this area is full of memorable experiences.

Key Takeaways

  • The Northeast Kingdom encompasses Orleans, Caledonia, and Essex counties in Vermont.
  • It was the traditional hunting and fishing grounds of the Abenaki Nulhegan tribe.
  • Outdoor activities include hiking, fishing, biking, and winter skiing at Jay Peak in pristine natural settings.
  • Attractions range from Lake Willoughby and Mount Pisgah to the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.
  • Small towns like Orleans and Barton offer a glimpse into New England village life.
  • The region is known for its arts, culture, and local food and beverage scenes.
  • Interstate 91 connects the Northeast Kingdom to other population centers.

About the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont

The Northeast Kingdom is an enchanting region in the far northeastern corner of Vermont. It includes three counties. These are Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia. It's bordered by Quebec to the north and the Green Mountains to the west. Ira Allen and Ethan Allen, who were revolutionary heroes, were among the first settlers here. They came after the Revolutionary War. Barton Landing and the Willoughby River Falls stand out in this beautiful area.

Abenaki Heritage and History

The Nulhegan tribe of the Abenaki nation lived here long before European settlers came. They called this place their traditional lands. The area was their ancestral hunting grounds and fishing grounds. In 2020, a law gave the Vermont Abenaki people the right to hunt and fish freely here. This action honored their long-standing ties to the Northeast Kingdom.

Sparse Population and Natural Beauty

The Northeast Kingdom is known for its remote, thinly populated wild areas. Undisturbed natural ecosystems are abundant here. You'll find beautiful forests, tall mountains, clear lakes, and fast-moving rivers and streams. This untouched natural beauty is a perfect escape from busy city life.

Orleans Post Office Square
Geographical and Ecological FactsStatistics
Total Area of the Northeast Kingdom2,030 sq mi (5,250 km²)
Total Land Area2,027 sq miles (5,250 km²)
Population (2010)64,764
Population Density32/sq mi (12/km²)
Forest Coverage (1997)80%

The Northeast Kingdom captures the heart of Vermont with its beauty and history. It's a place that leaves a lasting mark on anyone who visits or lives here.

Hiking Trails in the Northeast Kingdom

The Northeast Kingdom is perfect for anyone who loves the outdoors. It has everything from tough mountain climbs to easy walks in nature. This place is full of amazing trails for all levels of hikers. The Newport and Derby area offers many hiking options just a short drive from Orleans.

Mount Pisgah and Lake Willoughby

Mount Pisgah sits close to Westmore town and is known for its breathtaking beauty. The South Trail is a challenge, with a 4-mile round trip climb. It goes up 1,650 feet, so bring trekking poles for the steep parts.

Along the way, you'll see amazing views of Lake Willoughby and Wheeler Mountain. Pulpit Rock offers stunning sights of Willoughby Gap. It's a great place for both new and experienced hikers.

Burke Mountain and Darling State Park

The area around Burke Mountain in Darling State Park is stunning. You can see all the way to White Mountains and the Adirondacks. The Red Trail and Profile Summit Trail pass through beautiful fir tree groves. This area is 18 miles or about a half hour's drive south of the Orleans area.

Despite a fire tower being damaged, the area is still breathtaking. Hikers love the beautiful landscapes it offers. It's a truly memorable hike in nature.

Ethan Allen Manufacturing in Orleans and the Train Station

Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area

Victory Basin is a wild and remote spot, perfect for adventurous hikers. It's located behind Burke Mountain, with big wetlands and rare wildlife like spruce grouse and moose. They often mark the trails with their tracks. The trip is about an hour southeast of Orleans Village.

The Bog Trail is wheelchair-friendly and beautiful. It goes through bogs, forests, and swamps. It's ideal for nature fans and anyone looking for a quiet natural escape.

Biking Adventures in the Northeast Kingdom

The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is a dream for bikers. It's known for its beautiful views, quiet roads, and lots of biking trails. No matter if you're fast and fearless or slow and steady, you'll find the perfect path here.

Kingdom Trails for Mountain Biking

In the lovely town of East Burke, the famous Kingdom Trails await. They cover over 100 miles of trails. These paths are a mix of fun, easy tracks, and tough, rocky challenges. Everyone from new riders to pros will have a great time here. A day pass is $20, which helps keep the trails in top shape.

Gravel Roads for Gravel Grinding

For a chill ride, try the Kingdom's peaceful gravel roads. These paths lead through stunning natural areas. Cyclists can take in mountain views and quiet valleys. Riding here lets you escape the noise of city roads and enjoy nature at your own pace.

Rail Trails for Leisure Biking

The Kingdom also has rail trails, perfect for easy rides. These paths are flat and great for families. They cut across lovely scenery with no big hills to challenge you. It's an ideal spot for a fun, relaxed bike outing.

Orleans, Vermont Northeast Kingdom – Explore This Scenic Region

The Northeast Kingdom is a hidden gem in Vermont, made up of Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia counties. It's known for its charming towns and beautiful scenery. Walking the main streets feels like stepping into a New England painting, with historic buildings and busy shops all around.

Orleans Country Club Golf

Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, Orleans Country Club beckons golfers with its serene beauty and challenging course. As you tee off, you'll be enveloped by the lush scenery that surrounds the well-manicured fairways and greens. The layout seamlessly blends the natural terrain, providing an enjoyable yet formidable test for players of all skill levels. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a novice seeking to hone your skills, Orleans Country Club offers a delightful escape from the ordinary.

Enhancing the overall experience, Orleans Country Club provides a range of amenities to cater to your golfing needs. Practice your swing at the driving range, where range passes are available, and take advantage of the limited club rentals for both right and left-handed players. For the budding golfers, the club extends a warm welcome, allowing youth under 18 to use the driving range free of charge. With its scenic allure, challenging course, and thoughtful amenities, Orleans Country Club promises an unforgettable golfing adventure in the heart of Vermont's natural splendor.

Charming Towns and Villages

Places like Glover, Craftsbury, and Greensboro reflect the region's deep history. They have old town greens and small shops where you can meet friendly locals. There are also cafés with fresh food and galleries full of Vermont's art.

Four Seasons of Outdoor Activities

This area is perfect for outdoor lovers all year long. Winters are for skiing at places like Jay Peak. You can also snowmobile in the vast forests. In spring, hike to see wildflowers or fish in clear waters. Camping and mountain biking are big in the summer. And in the fall, the landscape bursts with color, making it perfect for drives to see the foliage, especially around Lake Memphremagog.

Local Food Scene and Arts Culture

The Kingdom matches its natural beauty with delicious food and art. There are many restaurants and farmers' markets with local treats. The area's art scene includes galleries and live music, adding culture to the beautiful landscapes.

Relocating to the Northeast Kingdom

The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont is over 2,000 square miles of beautiful countryside. It covers Orleans, Essex, and Caledonia counties. This area has become popular for its amazing quality of life, close-knit community, and breathtaking nature. Folks moving here love to talk about why they made the move with videos, showing the good life in the Kingdom.

Relocation Resources and Job Search

To help with moving, groups like ThinkVT offer a lot of support. You can connect with others and find jobs through VT JobLink. They also help you look into working remotely or starting your own business. This is especially helpful for fields like health care, hotels, forestry, agriculture, making things, and teaching.

CountyUnique CharacteristicsNotable Organizations
OrleansPicturesque villages, outdoor recreationKingdom Trails, Jay Peak Resort
EssexPristine wilderness, remote beautyLamoille Valley Rail Trail
CaledoniaRich history, vibrant downtownsHighland Center for the Arts

The Northeast Kingdom has a lot to offer businesses. It's a key spot with major roads like interstates I-91 and I-93 and U.S. Routes 2 and 5. The area has lively downtowns and top locations for industries. It also has great schools. This all makes it a top pick for work and living.

Looking for a job, want to work from your own place, or dream of starting something new? The Northeast Kingdom is a perfect place, as noted by the United States Census Bureau. It's not just about making a living here; it's about living in a place people love. You'll find lots of help to make your move smooth. The community is ready to welcome you to this stunning area.

Outdoor Adventures in the Northeast Kingdom

The Northeast Kingdom is ideal for those who love the outdoors. It offers many activities in all seasons. You can enjoy skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. There are also beautiful lakes and rivers where you can fish. This area is perfect for anyone who wants to connect with nature.

Skiing and Snowmobiling

In winter, the Northeast Kingdom turns into a wonderland. It is great for both downhill and cross-country skiing. Places like Jay Peak have slopes for all levels. If you prefer snowmobiling, there are many trails to explore the region's beauty.

Camping and Fishing

When it gets warmer, the Kingdom invites people to camp. You can set up camp under the stars and enjoy nature's peace. In the lakes and rivers, you can fish for trout and other types of fish.

Scenic Drives and Fall Foliage

West Charleston Fall Foliage

In fall, the Kingdom is covered in vibrant colors. It's the perfect time for leaf peeping. You can take quiet drives to see beautiful maple trees in red, orange, and gold.

Outdoor ActivityLocationHighlights
Downhill SkiingJay Peak ResortChallenging terrain, well-groomed slopes
Cross-Country SkiingCraftsbury Outdoor CenterWorld-class Nordic skiing facilities
SnowmobilingNEK Snowmobile TrailsScenic winter landscapes, groomed trails
CampingState ParksStarry night skies, immersive nature experience
FishingClyde RiverRenowned trout fishing destination
Scenic DrivesByways and Country RoadsBrilliant fall foliage, panoramic views

Northeast Kingdom's Natural Attractions

Welcome to Vermont's Northeast Kingdom, a haven for nature lovers. Pristine lakes like Willoughby and Memphremagog meet towering mountains and ancient forests. This is a place where you can truly experience the great outdoors.

Lakes and Rivers

Lakes Willoughby and Memphremagog were shaped by ancient glaciers. They stand out as the Northeast Kingdom's most beautiful spots. The region's Clyde River is famous for its trout fishing and stunning waterfalls. The Mississquoi River flows calmly, perfect for outdoor activities.

Mountains and Forests

The Green Mountains lead into the Northeast Kingdom, with peaks like Mount Pisgah. These areas are covered in untouched forests, holding adventures and peaceful spots. Jay Peak's biking trails and Burke Mountain's ski slopes welcome all types of explorers.

Wildlife Viewing Opportunities

This area is a top spot in the Northeast for seeing wildlife. Catch a glimpse of the hard-to-find moose, majestic black bears, and elegant deer. With a variety of birds, including raptors, it's a heaven for bird watchers and nature photographers.

Whether it's for peace or thrill, the Northeast Kingdom has something for everyone. It's a chance to connect with nature and make unforgettable memories in stunning landscapes.

Local Culture and Attractions

The Northeast Kingdom is known for its creativity. Artists and artisans find inspiration here. You can join in by visiting artisan studios, craft fairs, and art galleries. This area also shines with its theater and music. They share the region's traditions through performances.

Historical Sites and Museums

Old Stone House Brownington
Old Stone House Brownington

History buffs will love the Northeast Kingdom. It's a place where the Revolutionary War took root. You can see the Old Stone House Museum and gaze at covered bridges. They tell stories of the region's past. Local history museums keep those stories alive, explaining the Kingdom's unique identity.

  1. Old Stone House Museum: Step into this historic Revolutionary War-era building.
  2. Harvey's Lake Covered Bridge: Enjoy the view of this beautiful 19th-century bridge.
  3. St. Johnsbury Athenaeum: Visit the U.S.'s oldest unchanged art gallery here.

Local Events and Festivals

The Northeast Kingdom is always celebrating. It hosts festivals and cultural events year-round. These events spotlight the area's agricultural roots and crafts. They range from farm shows to craft beer get-togethers. Such gatherings serve up fun, food, and community joy.

Burke Fall FestivalEast Burke VillageAnnually
Festival of Traditional CraftsSt. Johnsbury10 am – 4 pm
Jay Peak's Bean & Brew FestivalJay PeakOctober 14, noon – 6 pm

Experience the Northeast Kingdom's culture by joining its festivals and visiting historic spots. Support the arts scene too. The Kingdom's story and creativity are truly captivating.

Jay Peak Vermont


The Northeast Kingdom of Vermont invites you with top-notch outdoor recreation in stunning scenic beauty. You can hike on pure trails, paddle calm lakes, or fish in lively rivers. Ski down slopes or ride snowmobiles when winter arrives. There's also a lively cultural attractions scene. It includes artisan studios, live music, and festivals celebrating local life.

This place is perfect for both adventure and calm. The Northeast Kingdom offers a great quality of life. Its villages with historic buildings welcome you. You can enjoy local food, drinks, and discover history in museums and sites. This unique New England spot is great to visit or even live in, combining old-world charm with new comforts.

Get ready for a true Vermont adventure in the Northeast Kingdom. Enjoy the beautiful nature and rich culture that fill your senses. It's a chance to make lasting memories in untouched landscapes and friendly communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the population and demographics of Orleans, Vermont?

A: As of the most recent census, Orleans, Vermont has a population of around 800 residents. The demographics generally reflect the broader trends within Orleans County but show a slightly higher median age compared to state averages. The town remains close-knit with a strong sense of community.

Q: What are some notable attractions in Orleans, Vermont?

A: Orleans boasts several attractions, including the Orleans Country Club, known for its scenic golf course. Crystal Lake and the Crystal Lake State Park are also popular spots for outdoor recreation. Additionally, Orleans has a library that serves as a cultural hub for the town.

Q: Can you tell me about the Orleans Country Club?

A: The Orleans Country Club features an 18-hole golf course that is among the ten best golf courses in the region. It also has a restaurant and tavern that offer a quaint dining experience. The Country Club is a non-profit organization that plays a significant role in the local community.

Q: What historical significance does Orleans hold?

A: Orleans has a rich history that includes the establishment of the Vermont Railway System and the Washington County Railroad in the 19th century. During the Civil War, the town was actively involved in the war effort, and it continues to cherish its historical heritage through local events and archival records, some of which are available on the Wayback Machine website.

Q: Who are some notable people from Orleans, Vermont?

A: Notable people from Orleans include local historians like Scott Wheeler and Chris Braithwaite, who have contributed significantly to the documentation of the town's history. Authors from the area have also been featured in Vermont's Northland Journal and The Chronicle.

Q: What utility services are available in Orleans?

A: The town of Barton provides several utility services for the residents of Orleans. Utilities include water, sewage, and waste disposal. They meet the standards set by the Vermont Department's regulations.

Q: Are there any annual events in Orleans?

A: Orleans hosts various annual events, including a Civil War Roundtable and local fairs. These events focus on community engagement and historical education, often taking place at venues like the library and the town's public spaces.

Q: How does the local economy function in Orleans?

A: The local economy of Orleans is primarily driven by small businesses, agriculture, and tourism. The Orleans Country Club and nearby attractions like Crystal Lake contribute significantly to the tourism sector. The per capita income in Orleans is slightly below state averages, but the community benefits from tight-knit support networks.

Q: Where can I find more information about Orleans, Vermont?

A: Additional information can be found through external links to local resources such as the Vermont Department, The Chronicle, and Vermont's Northland Journal. Archived materials are also accessible on platforms like the Wayback Machine. For specific utility details and demographics, the state’s official websites provide comprehensive data.

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