Was it COVID, climate change, or just a yearning to be free from big city life? Whatever the reason, there has been a resurgence of interest in living, working, and playing in northeastern Vermont, a region known locally as the “Northeast Kingdom”. And a leader in this exciting revival has been the historic hub of the Northeast Kingdom, the town of St. Johnsbury.
“More and more people are coming to visit and live in St. Johnsbury,” says Gillian Sewake, Director of the St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce. “They’re looking for a walkable town with amenities, that’s safe, and full of outdoor activities and cultural attractions. We’re less than three hours from Boston and a great destination for a weekend trip, or a permanent place to live.”
Visitors flock to the Northeast Kingdom in the summer for biking and in the winter for skiing. And the autumn features some of the prettiest and most photographed vistas in the country, with colorful foliage against a backdrop of rolling hills. All of this is centered in St. Johnsbury, a small town of 7,500 people with fascinating museums, a college-like independent high school, a vibrant performing arts scene, and magnificent late 19th-century architecture.
New restaurants, a high end bakery, craft breweries, and a distillery add to the many specialty shops in St. Johnsbury. A large independent bookstore, Boxcar & Caboose, is in the center of the downtown district, and the Maple Grove Farms of Vermont Maple Museum highlights why St. Johnsbury is called the “Maple Center of the World”.
Outstanding cultural institutions and architectural gems, including the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium and the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, line Main Street. The one-of-a-kind attraction, Dog Mountain—home of the Stephen Huneck Gallery and Dog Chapel—brings dog lovers from around the world to the bucolic 150-acre dog park. Catamount Film & Arts is the cultural center for the region, with a full schedule of world-class performances, independent film showings, exhibitions, and community art opportunities. The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail connects the downtown to outdoor recreation with a gently sloping 17-mile four-season path for bikers, nordic skiers, pedestrians, and snowmobiles.
The website DiscoverStJohnsbury.com tells the story of why “There’s Only One St. Johnsbury”. Says Sewake, “Not only is it literally true that there is just one town named St. Johnsbury in the world, the phrase also describes the concentration of unique attractions and opportunities here in town. We are thrilled to welcome visitors and support all of our new businesses. St. Johnsbury is bursting with vitality. It’s becoming a must-see town when visitors come to Vermont.” Visit the website to hear from residents about what makes the town so special, and to view weekend itineraries and a full calendar of events.
Since 2001, the St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce has stimulated and promoted the vitality of St. Johnsbury’s cultural, commercial, and community resources. As a Chamber of Commerce and a Designated Downtown organization, the organization combines the economic and commercial goals of a Chamber with the structure of a Designated Downtown organization. DiscoverStJohnsbury.com