(Published in 7 Nights 2008-07)
Talk about chemistry. Two couples co-own Elements in St. Johnsbury, and five years after they joined forces to open the eatery, it's thriving. Elements occupies an old mill building in a gritty section of town, where funky copper light fixtures lend a modern vibe to the two dining rooms and sizable bar. A rustic wood-fired bread oven exhales smoke that gives the space a homey feel; in summer, there's an outdoor patio.
Jay Peaks Aerial Tramway is one of Vermonts most beautiful & scenic rides. You will enjoy views of four states and the Provence of Quebec from the 4,000 foot summit. The 10 minute ride to the summit offers the perfect mountain top picnic opportunity. Adult, junior, senior and family tickets are available.
Dirt Rag magazine calls it “the best mountain biking in the United States.” A Boston Globe reporter “felt like shouting ‘Wahoo’ like a kid.” The media raves are coming in about Kingdom Trails in East Burke — a huge, mapped, marked mountain-biking network in the Northeast Kingdom. About 90 percent of the pedaling paradise is on private land. Bikers come from as far as Maine and Ontario to ride the singletrack on trails called Poundcake, Todry’s Tour, Jaw, Beat Bog and — get this — Coronary Bypass.
There’s no rest for the wannabe Olympian here. Once the snow melts, the cross-country skis are replaced with skulls. Boaters come from all over to ply the waters of Big and Little Hosmer lakes at the first-ever rowing camp in North America. They work with world-class coaches, eat good food and take classes in related disciplines such as yoga. Runners, too, flock to Craftsbury to improve their technique and hang with other hoofers. The vast network of trails, groomed for marathon cross-country skiing, are just as inspiring in the summer.
Vermont boasts plenty of pretty panoramas. But the state’s most dramatic landscape is the view of Lake Willoughby from atop Mt. Pisgah. When a glacier came through the area 12,000 year ago, it cut through the granite like a knife, leaving sheer cliffs on each side of the deepest lake in Vermont — Willoughby is 312 feet deep in some places. From above, it looks like shimmering blue stone — more like a Norwegian fjord than a Vermont watering hole. To catch the South Trail up Pisgah, follow Route 5A to the south end of the lake — near the nudie beach.
The Fairbanks Museum is Vermont’s Smithsonian. Founded in 1889 by St. Johnsbury industrialist and amateur naturalist Franklin Fairbanks, it was an outgrowth of his own personal “cabinet of curiosities”: 175,000 items, as it turned out, that included more than 2500 dolls, 55,000 archival photographs and North America’s largest collection of stuffed hummingbirds. Don’t leave without seeing John Hampson’s patriotic bug art. Once apprenticed to inventor Thomas Edison, Hampson created nine works of art composed entirely of colorful beetles and moths.
All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2013 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684