Road Trips to Enjoy Northern Vermont’s Fall Colors


Road Trips to Enjoy Northern Vermont’s Fall Colors

By Burt Carey

Northern Vermont is awash in fall reds and yellows this time of year, and one of the best ways to experience such splendorous color is by car.

While driving through vast forests and taking in vistas of little towns and farms, there are plenty of side attractions to bring enjoyment to even the most stir-crazy among us. Here are three ways to take in Northern Vermont this fall.

Northern Vermont, attractions, interesting points, H Points Hyde Log Cabin Historic Site, Boyden Valley Winery, scenic drives, Sand Bar Wildlife Refuge, Lake Champlain Islands

In the northeast, there’s a 210-mile loop you can take, beginning and ending in St. Johnsbury. Route 2 will take you to West Danville, then Route 15 to Hardwick. Turn right on to Route 14 and follow it north to Irasburg. Route 58 west then goes to Montgomery Center. (Some sections are unpaved and closed in winter.) Take Route 242 from Montgomery Center – don’t miss out on a side trip to Jay Peak — and back on Route 242 through Jay. Go through Jay, then left on Route 101 to North Troy. Turn right on Route 105/5A and follow it to West Charleston. A three-mile trip from Derby Center will take you to Derby Line on the Canadian border. Take Route 5A from West Charleston south to Route 5 to the intersection with Route 114 north of Lyndonville. Turn left on to Route 114 and take it north to Island Pond. Now you’ll turn to the east on Route 105 from to Bloomfield, where you’ll turn south in the Connecticut River Valley, through Maidstone and Guildhall, to merge on to Route 2 and take it west back to St. Johnsbury.

Along the way, there are some interesting points. The U.S./Canada border runs right through the Derby Line Haskell Opera House and Library in Derby Line. In East Burke you’ll find the Burke Mountain Resort and Kingdom Trails to your liking, and in Jay, the Jay Peak Tramway is a must-see and do. Leaf watchers will definitely want to stop at Maidstone State Park on Maidstone Lake outside of Maidstone. The same goes for Lake Willoughby in Westmore. And the beginning and end of your journey is downtown St. Johnsbury where you’ll find the Fairbanks Museum.

In the north-central part of the state is a 125-mile mountainous car route that will take you in a loop beginning and ending in Stowe. This route goes through some small roads – not for the navigation challenged!

Taking Route 100 just two miles outside of Stowe, go left at the fork to Stagecoach Road and follow it for about six miles. Turn left at the stop sign onto French Hill Road (marked Walton Road at other end). Follow it to a right turn onto White Road (not marked) and take it into Johnson on Railroad Street to the intersection with Route 15. Turn right on to Route 15 through Johnson village and go past the junction of Route 100 and Route 15. Travel about six miles then turn right on to Route 100 at the stop light and follow it to a blinking light in Morrisville. Turn left onto Greaves Hill Road, then left on to Couchaine Farm Road (which becomes Elmore Pond Road), and take it to Route 15. Turn left on Route 15, then take first right turn onto West Hill Road. Take a right onto North Wolcott Road and go eight miles, turn left just past cemetery to Gulf sign, left again seven miles to Eden Mills. In Eden Mills turn left onto Route 100, go about a mile then turn right onto Route 118. Follow it to the intersection with Route 109 in Belvidere Corners and take Route 109 west through Belvidere Center to Waterville. Take the second left onto Hogback Road (unpaved), and follow it to the intersection with Route 15. Take a sharp right onto Route 15 and follow it into Underhill Flats. Turn left on to unpaved River Road, then take the third left onto Pleasant Valley Road and follow it about 10 miles; take the Upper Valley Road to Jeffersonville and the intersection with Route 108. Turn right onto Route 108 for about 18 miles to return to Stowe.

Route 108 at Smugglers Notch is closed in the winter and is too narrow for large vehicles, campers, large RVs and buses.

In Cambridge, check out the Boyden Valley Winery. In Stowe is the Alpine Slide at Stowe Mountain Resort, the Helene Day Art Center, Moss Glen and Bingham Falls, the Mount Mansfield Gondola and Toll Road, and the Vermont Ski Museum.

And in the northwestern corner of Vermont, St. Albans is the best place to start and finish to see the northern mountains and Lake Champlain Islands over a 120-mile stretch of roadways.

Take Route 105 from St. Albans east, the go south on Route 101 for just a mile. Turn right onto Route 242 and follow it to Montgomery Center. In Montgomery Center turn left and go south on Route 118 to Belvidere Corners then turn right on to Route 109 to Jeffersonville, then take Route 104 to Fairfax. About two miles north of Fairfax turn left on to Route 104A and follow it to Interstate 89. Take I-89 south to exit 17, exit at Chimney Corner, turn onto Route 2 and follow it west to South Alburgh. At South Alburgh take a side trip on Route 129 to Isle La Motte, then return to Route 2 and travel north to Swanton and the intersection with Route 78 east and Route 7. Take Route 7 south to return to St. Albans.

Along the way, the H Points Hyde Log Cabin Historic Site is in Grand Isle. In Isle La Motte, check out the Goodsell Ridge Preserve and Fisk Quarry, and the Ste Anne Shrine. In Jay is the Jay Peak Tramway. Milton has the Sand Bar Wildlife Refuge. And in Swanton, you’ll want to see the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge

There are also many Vermont state parks throughout the Lake Champlain Islands.

Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle


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