There’s ‘getting away.’ And then there’s really getting away – at a place like Mountain Lake Cottages in Westmore, Vermont.
Here, 10 impeccably maintained cottages are nestled in a 2,000 square mile chunk of the northeast corner of The Green Mountain State known as ‘The Northeast Kingdom’ where, since the 1700s, many have discovered a slice of paradise and ultimate solitude. In 1909, poet Robert Frost camped here with his family. A decade later, in Vermont, he wrote his most famous poem, ‘Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening. (‘ The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep…’)
The region is home to some of the state’s most scenic, undisturbed places. Bordered by Canada and New Hampshire, its four million acres of forests make it ideal for all-season recreation, arts and culture, viewing the flora and fauna, and much more.
Mountain Lake Cottages, located in Westmore (population: 357) (www.VermontMountainLakeCottages.com), boasts 10 cozy country cabins on the shore of Lake Willoughby. One of the main attractions of Mountain Lake Cottages is its prime location on the shores of Lake Willoughby. Guests have direct access to the lake, allowing them to enjoy activities like swimming, fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding right from their doorstep.
Lake Willoughby, the state’s deepest lake at 328 feet, opens up to The Willoughby Gap, described as “a glacial gash between two fjord-like mountains.” The lake is renowned for its incredibly clear and pristine water, and is surrounded by rugged cliffs and mountains, creating a breathtaking natural setting. Mount Pisgah and Mount Hor loom over the lake, adding to its dramatic scenery. The area around Lake Willoughby offers a variety of outdoor activities. Fishing is a popular pastime, with the lake being home to species like trout and salmon. As an added bonus, Mountain Lake Cottages provides fishing gear gratis for guests.
General Manager Kris Wiley says each cottage has two bedrooms and sleeps up to five. Amenities include a fully equipped kitchen with Keurig tea/coffee maker, heating and AC, linens and towels, private bathroom with shower, outdoor porch, complimentary Wi-Fi. Dogs are welcome for an additional nightly fee.
Wiley reports that one Mountain Lake Cottages guest has come here to unwind for 58 consecutive years. Many others have made this part of their vacation plans for decades. “We are committed to hospitality,” Wiley says. ‘”If you forget something and we have it, you can have it.” She knows the business, having worked in hotels in Provincetown, Mass., at the tip of Cape Cod, and for five years at an historic hotel in McCarthy, Alaska.
In this neighborhood, Mother Nature offers endless opportunities. The Kingdom Trails — a network of over 85 miles of tracks for all ages and ability levels — attracts mountain bikers from near and far for long weekends and festivals and big days out on the trails followed by lots of beer and swimming in the river.
A half hour away is Burke Mountain which offers, in addition to unmatched serene scenery, biking on Burke Bike Park, hiking, hang gliding, paragliding, golfing, swimming, climbing, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing.
Want to venture a bit further out? The world-famous Stowe resort is one hour away. Among other day trips: Burlington – a two- hour ride; Montreal – 2.5 hours; Quebec City – 3.5 hours. (Remember your passport!) Closer to home – perhaps thanks to the spring fed crystal clear lake — there are 10 breweries to research. Vermont is home to one cow for every four people, the highest ratio of cows to people in the U. S. The region is home to a wide array of interesting wildlife including great blue herons, loons, moose, bobcats, bears, Peregrine falcons, and more.
Visitors reviewing Mountain Lake Cottages on TripAdvisor unanimously posted 5-star reviews. One wrote, “You can tell the manager wants guests to be happy and comfortable. She goes to great lengths to ensure this. Having been to Lucerne, Switzerland, I can see why some call this spot ‘Little Lucerne.’ The cottages have everything you need to reside in comfort.” Another posted, “You’d be hard pressed to find a more beautiful spot. Loons calling in the morning and evening. Spectacular sunsets over Jay Peak.”
“The location is truly magical for all ages – both for kids and for adults who want to be kids again,” Kris Wiley smiles.
For more info or reservations: (802) 525-3072 or visit https://vermontmountainlakecottages.com/ Last reservations for the 2023 season are in mid-October. After Labor Day, rates drop to $199 for a 4-person cottage. The in-season rate mid-June through Labor Day is $289. The resort season starts mid-May when local fishing is best. Guests are encouraged to book early for peak season stays, and not to be shy about calling for a last-minute stay by phone rather than online.