My first experience with Vermont was a tranquil one. Although I have lived in New England for almost two decades I had never visited the beautiful state of Vermont and honestly I am so glad I waited until I could appreciate it the way I did during this trip. I spent the majority of this long Memorial Day weekend relaxing, exploring and getting away from the hustle and bustle of my normal day to day life and it was so needed. Vacations to me mean so much, its a time to connect to yourself, to others and its a time to get that much needed break you need.
We chose the area of Lake Willoughby because it is considered one of the most scenic lakes in New England and with majestic views all around I can see why. Deciding what to do is one of the best parts of travelling and there was no lack of adventure here. We stayed in nearby town of Westmore: a small, quiet town that made for the perfect location to get everywhere we needed to in the area. When I travel I love experiencing what the area has to offer and wandering around to see what surprises me. Even though it was cloudy most of the time we were there,this trip to the area of Lake Willoughby was that and more.
Want to know my five top things to do in Lake Willoughby? See below for all the fun stuff I managed to do and I hope you will go and check it out for yourself.
We found this by accident while visiting the Lake Store. I had asked about places to see the sunset and one of the lovely ladies there told me to go up to what the locals call “sunset hill” or Sentinel Rock State Park. We decided to give it a go and drive up a few miles and I fell in love. It was incredibly beautiful and you could see for miles. The hills, the mountains, the trees: everything was breathtaking. Right smack in the middle of all that was this rock they call Sentinel Rock, the rock that we sat on, took pictures on and gazed around at all the beauty. There is also a really cool sign there talking about where it came from ( it technically rolled in from Canada…how cool is that?!) I know, I know I let the cat out of the bag 🙂
I climbed the rock | Loved how I could see for miles
A little history | Sentinal Rock State Park
Sunset | It was cloudy but it was still beautiful
Walking to the rock | That view!
The state forest was literally all around us everywhere we went. It covers over 7,600 acres and encompasses Newark, Sutton & Westmore Vermont as well as a couple counties. It is really quite beautiful. The mountain we climbed, Mount Pisgah is within this forest and the one thing I loved was the quiet. Often, even in places that have forests or state parks you can still here everything around them, cars, city life etc. Here all you heard was the wind, the birds and your feet crunching through the path as you walked.
I am pretty sure visiting this store was one of my favorite things to do during this whole trip. They have everything. Literally. Seemingly the only store of its kind for miles they have basic groceries, Vermont maple syrup, wine, beer and cider. They also have a food stop in the back of the store where you can get everything from pizza to poutine. On the outside of the shop they have a little ice cream stand where you can get delicious Giffords Ice Cream and more. ( I had it twice…. 🙂 ) From flavors like “I Scream for Cake” to “Pistachio Nut” there is something for everyone including a little doggie bag if you bring a furry friend with you. It was a great spot to rest for a bit in between activities.
Back of the store where you can get all the treats | Resident dog
Front of the store | You can get gas here too
The Poutine | Fries, cheese curds & gravy
One of two cones I had | Caramel Truffle + Cookies & Cream
I kind of went into this mountain climb not knowing the full extent of the trail. It ended up being a pleasant surprise with a good climb, gorgeous lookouts and little small waterfalls. With an elevation of 2,735 feet at it’s summit its the highest mountain I have climbed since I last attempted a climb a couple years ago, one I was not able to finish. This felt like a real accomplishment and was a killer workout after hiking over two miles up and down. My favorite lookout was the second one, the one in between the north and south lookouts. Its a small area, with a large rock and ledge and the views went on as far as the eye could see. It didn’t matter that it was cloudy, it was still so beautiful.
The start of the North Trail | Great signage throughout
South Lookout | Past the summit
The lookout between the north and south one | I was pointing at the THE VIEW!
Had a blast with this group | Hubby, old friends + new friends
That view I was pointing at…
- Explore and Enjoy
Finally my last thing to tell you all is to explore. Where we stayed in Westmore was pretty remote. We could literally walk anywhere and no cars would come by. We left the place we were staying and walked around, found Newark Pond, Black Fly Boulevard ( the name is not a joke 🙂 ) and found a really cool abandoned antique automobile. Also there are a couple random waterfalls when you are driving along the lake, close to the store…they are small but pretty. Unplugging is also a big part of relaxing. Something we are so focused on electronics…make time for other things. We played so many board games, cooked most of our own food and it was glorious.
Not sure how old this car is but super cool
These flowers were everywhere | Loved the colors
Newark Pond | Super peaceful
Waterfall on side of the road | Across from Lake Willoughby
Quiet & Peaceful | Enjoyed this walk!
- Bring plenty of bug spray, the black flies are not a joke
- Make sure to bring plenty of water and healthy snacks if you hike
- Do try the ice cream at Willoughby Lake Store, its delicious
- Do try the ciders they sell, I tried some flavors I had never even heard of. Favorites: Downeast Cider Aloha Friday & Citizens Cider Ginger
- Try to unplug as much as you can and take in everything around you
Hope you all enjoyed my Guide to Lake Willoughby and I look forward to seeing your comments!
Living that Maven Life…