Have you ever seen pictures of a place and tell yourself that you need to visit. I have been following pictures on social media of Lake Willoughby in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont for a little over a year now and keep saying we need to visit. This past weekend we finally got there. It was everything I hoped and more.
We left on a Friday afternoon and made the three and a half hour trip north. Of course we had to stop for dinner at King Arthur Flour in Norwich VT, one of my favorite places to visit and eat.
We arrived at our campground, Will-O-Wood early evening. I was anxious to get a glimpse of the lake so we set up quickly and drove less than a mile to a public beach on the lake. My pictures do not do the scenery justice.
The water was so clean, cool and refreshing. I could have sat on the beach all night. As the sun was setting we drove along the lake to the south end. Along the road are small waterfalls coming off Pisgah Mountain.
At the south end is another small beach, which I read is a nude beach, but I did not visit to confirm. There is another campground, we did not check out this campground. This area is also where the trailheads for Mt Pisgah and Willoughby State Forest is so it can be pretty busy, but the views continued to be amazing.
We returned to the campground to enjoy a fire and get ready for the next day.
Saturday morning we dressed in our hiking gear and headed towards Willoughby State Forest. When we saw the amount of cars at Mt. Pigsah we opted to take a less traveled trail. We went across the street from the Mt. Pigsah Trailhead and drove about a mile up a dirt road to the trailhead for Mt. Hor on the Herbert Hawkes Trail.
The hike starts out with an easy walk through the woods and some beautiful greenery.
Then there is a steady uphill hike for about a half mile. You then come to the trail junction.
You can take a left and go up to a Summit Lookout from Mt. Hor which is about a third of a mile, or you can go right to East and North Look Out. There is a slight incline up to Mt. Hor, but mostly easy walking on both trails. We started out by going down to NorthLook Out, which was decent.
The East Look Out was the best.
The views form Mt. Hor /Summit Lookout were decent.
We did not see a lot of hikers on the trail, which is good as I hate hiking with large amounts of people when it is just my family and I.
After the hike we stopped at The Willoughby Lake Store to grab sandwich’s, which were pretty good. After lunch we wanted to swim in Lake Willoboughby, but the parking lot was full, so we drove about five miles to Crystal Lake State Park. We did have to pay a fee to get in, but there was plenty of parking, beautiful sandy beach for swimming and plenty of grass space to lay out. There are also picnic tables, grills, indoor facilities and various boats to rent, kayaks, canoes and stand up paddle boards. The water clean, clear and cool. The view’s were pretty good too.
We spent the evening walking around the campground. It appears to be mostly seasonal. One of the seasonal’s were having a birthday party and had a DJ at the hall so it was a little loud, but we were far enough away that we did not mind the music. There were plenty of campsites that we could not hear the music from. The owners told us that this is not a regular event and apologized if it bothered us, which it did not. The campground had a nice playground and a small pool.
There is a small camp store and hall that held at least an activity a weekend, the weekend we were there it was tie-dying. The bath facilities were small, but clean. We had the best view of some ridges from our campsite and we had enough privacy from out neighbors.
The owners were very friendly and always open to answer questions about the area or have a conversation. This is one of the friendliest staff we have encountered while camping. I also appreciate when a campground has quiet hours and people abide by them. It makes for a more pleasant experience.
Sunday we headed home, but decided to go back through Littleton, NH and surprise our daughter with a stop at the World’s Longest Candy Counter, Chutters.
Of all the places i have visited in New England, I would say that Lake Willoughby is in my top five favorite places. There is very little amenities in the area, but I think that is one of the reasons it makes it so special. It allows you to really enjoy nature and some peace and quiet.