Geotourism

“This is such beautiful country up here  - it should be called the Northeast Kingdom.” 

Vermont State Senator George Aiken
  on a visit to the region in 1949

In 2006, the National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations agreed and took it a step further by partnering with the local community to launch the Geotourism program in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. At the time, the Northeast Kingdom was one of only a handful of destinations selected by National Geographic to participate in a Geotourism program.

Geo•tour•ism (n): Tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place – its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.

Geotourism values, practices, and offerings include many of the best aspects of a variety of types of tourism including ecotourism, heritage tourism, agritourism and culinary tourism to name a few. It encompasses a set of elements that incorporate the concept of sustainable tourism - a commitment to enhance local economies while minimizing the negative impacts on the environment and local culture. Sustainability is the ability to live and develop within our means,without degradation or depletion of resources. These resources include the natural environment, human resources, cultural resources, as well as many others. In sustaining these we create a gift that is given from this generation to future generations. 

As a traveler you have the ability to make a contribution to the places that you visit.  By engaging in activities within our region and choosing to purchase local goods and services your visit will have a favorable impact on the local economy and help to preserve these offerings in the years ahead.     

Geotourism is…COMMUNITY
We love our home and we think you will too. That is why we focus on the core values of Geotourism as we create and provide unique vacation experiences. Geotourism is tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place to include its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well being of its residents. In Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom we create vacation experiences that allow visitors to share that which we value most about our home in such a way as to preserve and protect the region for generations to come.

A favorite vacation destination for over a century, the Northeast Kingdom offers endless recreational opportunities throughout the seasons, notable dining and lodging facilities, quintessential New England villages resplendent with classic architecture, enduring farmland, and a rich diversity of art, entertainment, and event venues all year long. Here visitors can pursue a variety of traditional adventures, including mountain biking, alpine skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, paddling, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, wildlife viewing and more or they can engage in more unique offerings to include farm tours, primitive skill workshops, and farm to table culinary offerings. These types of vacation experiences showcase our cultural heritage, our working agricultural and wooded lands, and create lasting memories for travelers while ensuring the sustainability the region.

Geotourism is…THE LURE OF THE LAND
As residents it is our goal to help protect and preserve our forested areas, clean waters, working landscapes, historic barns and buildings, and to preserve our strong ties to agricultural and community traditions, all of which continue to shape our rural lifestyle and scenic landscapes. As hosts our goal is to share these traditions, features, and landscapes with visitors to the region in a way that will help us to sustain our most memorable visitor experiences for years to come.

The Northeast Kingdom makes good use of our abundant natural resources and working farmlands. Specialty foods produced in this region include prize-winning cheeses, a wide variety of farm-raised meats and poultry, savory relishes and mustards, maple syrup, sweet sauces, and sassy dressings. Farm stands and farmers markets provide an abundance of fresh produces. Look for them along roadsides and in town centers during the summer and fall seasons or at select indoor locations in the winter. Pick-it-yourself farms, offering the fresh delights of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, corn, pumpkins, and more can also be found throughout the region.

Beyond the wonderful foods visitors also have the opportunity to have a more “hands-on” experience at many area farms. Some farmers offer accommodations and special packages so they can share the farm life they love with visitors (chores are optional) whereas other farms welcome day visitors for barn tours, Llama treks, holiday wreath making and tree cutting, fiber dying workshops and more.

As a traveler you have the ability to make a contribution to the places that you visit. By engaging in activities within our region and choosing to purchase local goods and services your visit will have a favorable impact on the local economy and help to preserve these offerings in the years ahead.

Geotourism is… SAVORY SENSATIONS
As you browse the farm stand and farmers markets you may likely find yourself in the company of one of the talented chefs of an area restaurant.  Throughout the region many restaurants collaborate with area farmers to infuse fresh, locally harvested agricultural offerings, including local produce, grass fed beef, free range chicken and artisan cheeses into their menus.  This “farm to table” culinary practice insures a market for the local farmer which will help sustain the farm for future generations.  Farm to table practices also allow restaurants the ability to incorporate fresh local foods into their menus creating a one-of-a-kind local dining experience that travelers can only find in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. 

If you are seeking a simple and traditional taste of the Kingdom, and want to enjoy a little local color, we invite you to try one of the country diners, village cafes or family restaurants or you could partake of some real home cooking by attending a church supper, hunters’ breakfast or local bake sale.  A quick stop at a country store or village market can also offer you an assortment of specialty items that are just right for a quick snack, picnic plans or a meal on the go.

And while all of these classic country options may be expected in the Kingdom some folks are delighted to find four-star gourmet and fine dining restaurants offering superb food and service tucked away in comfortably restored country landmark buildings or situated in the heart of our historic downtowns.  Here, trained chefs from all over the world prepare their best dishes in establishments where the hospitality is considered every bit as important as the food. 


Geotourism is…HERITAGE. ARTS. CULTURE.
The Northeast Kingdom is a region where simplicity overshadows technology, and the tapestry of hills, trees, lakes, and villages provides inspiration for artists, craftspeople, writers, and musicians.  A stroll through the galleries, museums, studios, and workshops will reveal the influence of time and tradition on the creative spirit that has taken root here. 

When you visit Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom you will sense our story on every road, path and rolling hillside.  You sense the history of many generations of Vermonters who have made the Kingdom their home and found a way to carve out a living in this rural area and you will meet and become inspired by many people who keep these traditions alive today.  Throughout the region, in every season, you will find festivals, museums, galleries and local bookshops that capture our story in a variety of ways through arts, poetry, crafts, unique educational programs, and storytelling.

As the daylight hours slip by our story can often be heard in the lyrics of talented musicians, singers, and songwriters who often perform at local venue or at one of our many area theatres as local performers share original plays which depict life throughout the years in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

Geotourism is… THE WILD KINGDOM
Renowned as “New England’s Last Frontier” and “The Real Vermonters Vermont” the Northeast Kingdom is Vermont’s largest and least populated region. This leaves plenty of room for vast forests, pristine rivers, deep lakes, rambling roads, spectacular vistas, prominent peaks and still marshes.  Quite simply, the Kingdom is a nature lovers delight.

In the Kingdom we enjoy and protect our many parks, forests and wilderness areas.  These lands provide habitat for abundant wild and birdlife as well as rare plants. Wild and birdlife noted in the region include moose, black bear, deer, bobcat, coyote, badger, fox, fisher, falcon, loon turkey, quail and many other species.  Some believe that the legendary Catamount (a Vermont species of cougar once assumed to be extinct) may still be in the area as well.  Although several significant sightings have been reported in the past decade, the wildcat’s return has yet to be officially confirmed.

Whether you are drawn by bird watching, fishing, hiking, or a desire to explore, the Northeast Kingdom is rich in trails and vistas and throughout the region visitors are able to immerse themselves into the preserved wild lands and pristine waters.  If exploring on your own is not for you and you would like the learn some forest secrets from those who know them well, a guide service can lead you to the best place to angle for trout, spy a falcon, track a deer, spot a bear, navigate a stream, or follow a lost logging road. 

We invite you to visit the regional tourism website, TraveltheKingdom.com to view the various lodging and camping facilities, guide services, tour collections, boat launches, and trail systems that are available to help you explore!

Geotourism is… THE ACTIVE LIFE
Locals and visitors alike flock to our mountains, rivers, lakes and trails to enjoy all that nature has to offer.  Throughout the seasons, Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom plays host to unforgettable outdoor adventures.  Our efforts to grow sustainable tourism encourage all to be gentler on the land and its many natural resources and will help to ensure that the region remains pure and natural.  As you explore the Kingdom we invite you to “walk softly” and employ the principles of Leave No Trace.

For those dreaming of a pure Vermont winter the Kingdom is sure to delight.  Throughout the winter months there is no shortage of things to do! Here you experience winter in its finest form where each day offers exhilarating wintertime adventures to include alpine and cross country skiing and snowshoeing, sleigh rides, snowmobiling, dog sledding, llama trekking, ice climbing and more!

Spring, summer and autumn each hold their own allure in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.  In the spring, for a few special weeks every year, when the days begin to grow longer and warm daytime temperatures thaw the land, but the nights still freeze, the sap begins to flow.  Maple Sugaring in unique to Northeastern America and the Northeast Kingdom has a place within this rich heritage that has been recognized far and wide.  Many sugar-making families have been on their farms for several generations and are happy to have visitors stop by and walk or snowshoe among the sugar maples all the while enjoying the sweet smell that surrounds the sugar house during this wonderful season. As the sap flow ends and the summer months arrive visitors take to the out of doors to enjoy the trails, waterways, and cycling routes - the draw of which is so strong that they often return again and again until the last brilliant leaf of autumn has fallen.  In every season, Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, is a haven for those who seek the active life.

Geotourism means…A GREAT STAY!
Here in the Northeast Kingdom you will find full service hotels and roadside motels with all the modern conveniences, as well as fine and famous historic inns and bed and breakfast establishments.  Luxury condominiums and efficiency apartments are available near the resorts in some towns.  Rental cabins, cottages and camps of all sizes are popular with families and groups and can often be reserved seasonally.  Home-stays and farm-stays offer a casual way to the get to know the people and the place. 

With so much to experience the key to a great stay is often found in choosing the perfect host.  In the Northeast Kingdom you are not a “tourist” you are our guest and we are eager to welcome you to our home.  Whether you’re dreaming of a cabin in the woods, a cottage on the lake, a cozy room at the inn, a resort stay, or a room on the farm, you can find it and make your reservations on the regional tourism website, TraveltheKingdom.com and when you arrive you will find warm, local people who are anxious to greet you and make you feel right at home.

We hope you will not simply visit the Northeast Kingdom, rather we hope you will experience the Northeast Kingdom and let us share our story with you.