The history and charm of small-town St. Johnsbury in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom can’t be beat! Shopping downtown, great dining opportunities, outdoor recreation, a fun arts scene, and even a public planetarium. There is no need to travel far, St. Johnsbury has what you’re looking for.
If you’re in need of a quick pick-me-up, be sure to stop by the Café at Gatto Nero Press. Delicious espresso drinks, hot chocolate, baked goods (including gluten free), smoothies, ice cream and milk shakes – all nestled inside an intaglio printmaking studio and gallery. The artists are often working on their creations as you’re sipping your latte. My son loves to watch the creative process. Oh, and he’s a fan of the donuts!
The St. Johnsbury Farmer’s Market is a cornucopia of flavors, sounds, and smells. My son’s favorite part is grabbing some kettle corn and watching the live music. My husband can’t get enough of the jerk chicken from Genuine Jamaican, and my first stop is always Auntie Dee Dee’s Baked Goods (I’ve never met a carb I didn’t like). You’ll make every member of the family happy with a trip to the farmer’s market- plus, you can grab some fresh, local produce and meat to bring home for dinner. There’s even a winter market two weekends per month, so you can get what you love year-round!
Best Outdoor Activity
St. Johnsbury is a fun location for year-round outdoor activities. Check out the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, a four-season recreation trail that lies along the former Lamoille Valley Railroad. Hike, bike, snowmobile, snowshoe, ski – however you do it, check this trail out. It’s still growing, too. It will eventually reach across the whole state. You’ll pass many smiling faces along your trek.
Another can’t miss location is Dog Mountain and the Dog Chapel! Stephen Huneck’s gallery sits on 150 acres of mountain and forest that are always open to humans and their dogs – even if the gallery is closed to the public. You’ll find dog ponds, snowshoe and hiking trails, and a welcoming atmosphere for your kids and dogs to run off some pent-up energy. There’s a dog chapel where you can pen and display a memorial to your beloved pets on the remembrance wall, or even host or attend a dog party or dog wedding.
Best Indoor Activity
The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium is my son’s absolute favorite place to explore. We go weekly and I find something new to be fascinated with every time we visit. The first floor is a collection of thousands of taxidermy items — birds, mammals, reptiles, and more. Upstairs houses gorgeous examples of different kinds of butterflies, as well as many artifacts from around the world. Ever wonder how many bugs it takes to make a mosaic of a famous American General? Well, you can find out at the Fairbanks Museum! You may even catch Mark Breen or Steve Maleski, the “Eye on the Sky” guys from VPR, while they are hard at work.
The museum is home to the state’s only public planetarium. You can catch one of the daily planetarium shows or full-dome movies (usually best for kids 8+, but they occasionally have preschool shows as well!).
Best Money Saving Tip
Want to save a bit of cash? Visit The Kingdom Taproom kids eat FREE from the kid’s menu on Wednesdays! We are always excited to visit The Kingdom Taproom to grab a bite to eat. They offer a fresh menu using local ingredients, and their staff is so great with kids. Live music, cozy atmosphere, and a full belly are where it’s at.
Secret Spots and Little Known Gems
Don’t miss the annual Pet Parade! Each spring, people from far and wide get their pets of all shapes and sizes decked out for this comical event! A parade through town of dogs, horses, goats, and llamas- the list doesn’t stop there. It’s an exciting (and hilarious) sight for kids of all ages. Anyone can participate, so show off your own pets in this unique parade.
About the Author
Amber Roberts is a work-at-home mom of an ever-entertaining preschooler and a soon-to-be new baby. She grew up in Central Vermont, lived briefly in Maine, and returned to the Green Mountains as quickly as she could. The Northeast Kingdom is now home. Amber’s consulting business provides social media marketing consulting, website design and development, and event coordination services.
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