The Heartbeat of the Northeast Kingdom
In a 1949 speech, United States Senator and former Vermont Governor of Vermont, George D. Aiken coined the phrase, “The Northeast Kingdom.” The inspiration behind the name he referenced was the rugged, yet beautiful, environment of the area. He loved the humble people of the “The Kingdom,” as local residents fondly refer to the area. He referred to the people of the area as humble, always happy even though they didn’t have big jobs or an abundance of possessions. They made do with what they had and never put on airs. Much of the same can be said about Kingdom residents today.
The Northeast Kingdom is comprised of three Vermont Counties, Essex, Orleans, and Caledonia. 65,000 residents call the region home. There are 55 towns and gores with Newport being the only incorporated in the try-county area. It has been listed in Patricia Shultz’s book, “1,000 Places To-See-Before You Die,” a New York Times best seller. It is the ninth most desirable places to visit in the world according to the National Geographic Society.
As much can be said about the areas geology as has been said about its geography. At the end of the Ordovician Period, that’s about 466 million years ago to you and I, two land masses collided which created the Green Mountains. The Green Mountains border the kingdom to the West. This also created great pressure underground which produced volcanoes that are responsible for forming the granite and marble found in Vermont’s mountains.
Another period known as the Silurian-Devonian brought about an ice age, where a mile thick sheet of ice covered the majority of New England. This sheet of ice known as the Laurentide Ice Sheet (glacier), retreated around 13,500 years ago and created many of the lakes, ponds, and formations in Vermont, including the Northeast kingdom. Lakes like Memphremagog, Willoughby, and Crystal Lake are considered glacial lakes. Today, these lakes with others in the area are considered by some to be the crown jewels of the region, playing an important role for human and wildlife habitation in the Northeast Kingdom.
Once you head over Sheffield Heights on Route 91 and head down into Barton, Brownington, Derby, Jay and Newport – a place where the rivers flow north – you are headed into a special place. We are what Vermont was 30 years ago: a land of fields and working farms, timberland, mountains, meandering streams and some of the most beautiful and cleanest lakes in North America. Looking for a Mall? You won’t find it here. Looking for Old School Vermont? You are definitely on the right track. Once you discover the Heart of the Kingdom, you will be back year after year with friends and family. Just ask the generations of families who have kept their summer camps, their fishing shanties and hunting camps, or their ski houses for decades and decades.
We are also the home of Jay Peak Resort, great skiing, best indoor water park in North America, wonderful skating rink and championship golf, not to mention elegant lodging and dining. And throughout our area, our restaurants and friendly lodging accommodations will invite you to return again and again.
Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce has been an integral partner in the promotion of business and tourism for the area. Visit or call us at our Welcome Center on The Causeway in downtown Newport and our staff and volunteers will be happy to help you plan your visit or help you relocate to:
One of the most quietly beautiful places in the world
Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce
246 The Causeway, Newport, VT 05855
Tel: (802) 334-7782