Summer Escapes! The Great(est) Lakes

Testing the waters across New England, we uncover nine beauties worth their salt—or lack thereof.


SILVER LAKE: Mayberry Redux

Peace and quiet! Sludge-free swimming! Camera-ready quaintness!

Nestled in the village of Barnard, Vermont, Silver Lake feels as if it’s auditioning for The Andy Griffith Show at every turn. Location scouts should start at the general store, with its retro ice cream counter; just outside, old-timers cast their lines. The sandy strip of beachfront provides opportunities for castle-building (and for B-roll footage of same), and day-trippers can rent rowboats, canoes, kayaks, and paddleboats in photogenic colors. Meanwhile, Opie understudies catch bullfrogs, wade around the cattails, trap tiny fish, and chase butterflies. Truly a family-vacation hub, Silver Lake tends to attract the same cast of characters year after year. To add to the Mayberry-esque perfection, the water is among the cleanest in the country, making it a premium swimming spot. All that’s missing (as of press time) is the whistled theme song. —Kara Miller

DIMENSIONS 84 acres | DEEPEST POINT 32 feet | WATER QUALITY Brisk and clear | AQUATIC LIFE Bass, perch, trout | CRITTERS Loons, ducks, turtles, beavers | OFF-LAKE ACTION Live glass-blowing and pot-throwing

Photograph by Bob O'Connor

Photograph by Bob O’Connor


PLAY: In nearby Woodstock, be sure to check out the spectacular Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, which features a working farm, a former Rockefeller mansion, and 20 miles of bucolic trails and carriage roads that crisscross the slopes ofMount Tom. (54 Elm St., Woodstock, 802-457-3368, At the Simon Pearce showroom in Quechee, glass blowers and potters demonstrate their artistry for visitors (1760 Quechee Main St., Quechee, 802-295-2711,

EAT: We’re crazy about the hearty Turkey-in-the-Orchard sandwich (roast turkey, cranberry chutney, and Vermont cheddar, plus the crunch of sliced apple) on offer at the Barnard General Store (6231 Rte. 12, Barnard, 802-234-9688, Overlooking a massive waterfall, the award-winning restaurant at Simon Pearce serves gourmet fare such as lobster spring rolls and free-range duck.

SLEEP: The adorable Applebutter Inn, housed in a historic 1850s Federal-style home, dishes up a heavenly breakfast: lemon pancakes, cheese soufflés, and bowls of local blueberries. (doubles start at $100; 7511 Happy Valley Rd., Woodstock, 802-457-4158,