New England's Best Small Towns: Lyndonville, VT

 

By Steve Almond

What New England town can be called "perfect" when you have a four-months-pregnant wife and a spirited 20-month-old in tow? Lyndonville can.

Cradled in the heart of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, it has foliage, hiking, and a sugarhouse that seemingly leapt, fully formed, from a Robert Frost poem. Most important, it has what I am ready to pronounce the greatest family resort on earth: the Wildflower Inn, where innkeepers Jim and Mary O’Reilly just get that it’s impossible to relax when you have to chase a kid around all day. What makes their inn so great? Let me count the ways.

1. On-site daycare by cheerful local college students.

2. A barn with actual farm animals that your daughter can pet—and then talk about for the next eight months.

3. A pool and a playroom full of toys to exhaust said child.

4. Food so sumptuous your wife will forget she was ever nauseated.

5. Nearby activities such as horseback riding and hayrides.

Of course, no New England town can be complete without a few eccentrics. We encountered ours on a hike, where a woman was dragging a large cross on wheels behind her. We assumed she was in community theater, but, as she eagerly explained, her purpose was indeed religious. And we took this for what it was: a sign that Lyndonville is God’s own country.

Arlington resident Steve Almond is the author of Candyfreak and (Not That You Asked).

WHERE TO EAT, STAY, AND PLAY 

New England’s Best Small Towns 

  • Dennis

    Try out FreeVermontRadio.org to hear live music from the Northeast Kingdom.

  • Dennis

    Try http://www.antiquesandemporium.com the largest Antique Store in the Northeast Kingdom

  • Dennis

    Try http://www.freevermontradio.org playing locally grown music from Vermont and based in the Northeast Kingdom

  • Claire

    I live here. Next time check out Dog Mountain in St. Johnsbury or in summer the Wednesday night band concert at the village green in Lyndonville. Kids love it.

  • T.

    I hope you made it to “The Diner”…if not, then your visit was not complete. And make sure next time you order the deep-fried French toast with strawberries and vanilla (Ben & Jerry’s) ice cream. I should also mention here that Asia has amazing crab rangoon, that the Lyndonville House of Pizza is not to be rivaled, and that Trout River Brewery has some wonderful micro-brewed beer. And if that’s not enough, please visit Green Mountain Books & Prints, one of the best indie bookstores around. And tell them all I sent you.

  • T.

    I hope you made it to “The Diner” — if not, your trip was not complete. Make sure that next time you order the deep-fried French toast with strawberries and vanilla (Ben & Jerry’s) ice cream. I should also mention that Asia has amazing crab rangoon, that the Lyndonville House of Pizza cannot be rivaled, and that the Trout River Brewing Co. has some amazing micro-brews. And if that’s not enough, stop by Green Mountain Books & Prints, one of the best indie bookstores around. And tell them all that I sent you :)

  • Janine

    My Dad has run his family owned business for over 30 years in Red Village (just outside of Lyndonville). If it weren’t for his unbelievable reputation and the support of the people of L’ville, he would not have lasted this long. I know he is grateful for his customers and they for him. He is courteous and humorous to everyone and loves what he does. At the age of 70, you can still find him out there practically everyday to see what is going on and to help whenever it is needed. Thank you to all of my Dad’s customers that make Lyndonville such a great place to grow up and live.

  • Pam

    I was born in St. Johnsbury, Vt which is only 10 miles from Lyndonville…but I was raised in Lyndonville. In fact, I have relatives going back 3 or 4 generations that lived all or most of their lives in Lyndonville. It is a nice feeling to walk the streets and stores around town and know everybody you meet. Everyone looks out for each other here.

  • Mary

    Another great B&B in L-ville, the Moonlight Inn. We were in town to visit my brother’s in-law’s, and the owner knew who I was looking for when I asked for directions to their street. Gotta love a small town!

  • Mike

    I was born and raised in Lyndonville. I went to high school and went to college there, and after the Marine corps I came home to lyndonville. There is no other place that I concider home even though I do not live there.

  • Ellen

    Lyndon State College is a hidden secret, with star faculty and smart students doing amazing things here and all over the world. Jazz at Sweet Basil’s. Best tuna melts ever (and Starbuck’s coffee) at the Freighthouse. Tiffany lamp reproductions, antiques, and groovy cool stuff at Burt’s Corner Collectibles (look for the balloons on the sandwich board sign).

  • Laurie

    I’d second the vote on the Miss Lyndonville Diner. It’s only about two miles off of Route 91 and has incredible food.

    Back in the ’60s and ’70s, we’d go up and visit my grandparents, and walk overstreet to cash in our soda bottles. The Caledonia County Fair was great fun; Red Skelton appeared there one year. We also happened to be in town the morning in August when the First Congregational Church was struck by lightning and burned to the ground – the church where my parents and cousins had gottem married.

    The writer is right that the area around the Wildflower Inn is lovely. I also love the view from Burke Mountain, looking towards Willoughby Gap.

  • Stepping Stone Spa

    Where are the sister hood business to the Wildflower Inn. We are located about a 1/2 mile before the Wildflower. Come in and book a facial, footbath, scrubs, wraps, and massages. you can visit us online at http://www.steppingstonespa.com.