Sometimes abbreviated to the NEK (en-ee-kay), the Northeast Kingdom is made up of over 2,000 square miles of the most untouched and beautifully scenic land in the United States. Bordered to the east by the Green Mountains, to the west by the Connecticut River, and to the north by Canada, the NEK is made up of three regions: The Eastern Trek, Farm & Field to the southwest, and the Mountain & Lake Getaway in the northwest. Each region is unique, vibrant, and filled with fun things to do during every season. Enjoy hiking, the arts, agro-tourism, delicious food, skiing, wildlife encounters, and more.
The Northeast Kingdom is chock full of quaint small towns, remote wilderness, and many miles of river and lakeshore. Active travelers can bike, hike, fish, and swim in the warm months; in colder temperatures, there are tons of opportunities to ski, dogsled, snowmobile, snowshoe, and more. During the months of autumn, don’t miss the region’s stunning displays of fall foliage.
More relaxed travelers can explore the NEK’s gorgeous towns, filled with museums, arts centers, and restaurants stocked with locally-grown produce. On that note, there are also many farms that offer tourist activities, particularly in the Farm & Field region. Do things like pick your own fruit and berries, tap maple trees (like at April’s Maple), and meet adorable farm animals.
There are lovely towns to explore in each part of the NEK. In the Eastern Trek: St. Johnsbury, Lyndon, Burke, and Island Pond, which is also known as the snowmobile capital of Vermont. St. Johnsbury is home to its famous Athenaeum, as well as Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, Dog Mountain, and Catamount Arts. Burke is the headquarters of Kingdom Trails, a hiking nonprofit that maintains a trail network over 100 miles long. In Lyndon find wonderful fishing on the Passumpsic River and, in nearby Danville, the Great Vermont Corn Maze. Also in the Eastern Trek you can see some of Vermont’s most famous covered bridges.
Southwest in Farm & Field, lovers of the outdoors will find themselves at home at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center and in the region’s multiple state parks. There are also plenty of destinations for indoor cats, including the Museum of Everyday Life, the Highland Center for the Arts and the Bread and Puppet, one of the oldest nonprofit political theatre companies in the country.
In the Mountain & Lake Getaway you will find the city of Newport on the shores of Lake Memphremagog. It is home to the MAC Center for the Arts, bike paths, parks, and delicious restaurants. Other notable towns are Jay and Derby. In the warmer months, don’t miss the Old Stone House and Historical Village.
Lovers of the outdoors, you’re in luck: there are tons of stunning campsites all across the Northeast Kingdom. Some are located in remote forests or on untouched lakeshores, while others are within walking distance of town. However, if you lean toward down pillows and hot showers, there are plenty of indoor accommodations as well. Stay in cabins, inns, farmhouses, arts centers, or Jay Peak, a four-star resort and ski area.
The Northeast Kingdom’s plentiful arts centers offer lots of opportunities to browse for locally-made art and other crafts. Also located all around the region are dozens of farmer’s markets, with a few open in the wintertime as well. In St. Johnsbury, find Ysbrydoliaeth Curiosity Shop; in Hardwick, don’t miss Galaxy Bookshop.