Northeast Kingdom Tour
We are blessed to live in the part of Vermont known as the Northeast Kingdom. This special area was given its nickname by Vermont Governor George Aiken some 65+ years ago. The Northeast Kingdom Mustard Company isn’t quite that old. It was founded in 1994. It has been through several owners over the years but we are excited to have owned it since 2007. We have added some new products and updated labels but rest assured our products will still tempt your taste buds with no preservatives, additives or fillers. Just all natural goodness – like the place we are proud to call home.
We’d love to share a little bit about the Northeast Kingdom with you. So take a minute, sit back and let’s go on a tour. We’ll share some of our favorite places and the photographer (Rick Desrochers of Northern Dreams Photography) who took so many of our beautiful pictures will also share what makes these spots so special to him.
Lake Willoughby Gap – Evansville, VT
This spot graces our Sweet Hot Mustard - The original mustard that started it all! The original artwork that was used on the early versions of the label was a painted version of this shot. We simply substituted a photo with vibrant colors as we updated the label. There is a certain value we should place on tradition – and this is as far as we wanted to go from the roots of the company.
Rick – On the back roads of Evansville, you will find amazing spots like this one of Willoughby Gap from School House Road. Vermont has many roads with views, but sometimes you just have to get a little lost to appreciate the beauty that Vermont back roads have to offer. During the fall time these back roads come alive with the color of maple, oak, birch and other wonderful trees that make Vermont so special.
Lake Willoughby Calmness
The ‘colder Willoughby Gap’ picture (actually in late fall) reminds me that snow is clearly on the way. And as I process horseradish – which is pure white - I am reminded of the winter snow squalls as the horseradish swirls into the vinegar just before we put it into the mustard.
Rick – Lake Willoughby is one of those special places in the Northeast Kingdom with its crystal clear waters and beautiful beach. This is the second deepest lake in Vermont (Lake Champlain is the deepest) and from sailing to fishing, the lake has it all. A partly cloudy day is the best time to take photos on the lake because of the great reflections. How did Lake Willoughby get its name? One story is that two brothers named Willoughby, early settlers of Westmore, gave the lake their name. But there is no one by that name listed among the settlers in the town records. Neither does the name Willoughby appear in the list of Westmore proprietors in Abby Maria Hemenway’s 1877 Gazetteer. However, it must be remembered that the settlers temporarily abandoned Westmore about the time the 1812 war broke out, so there were a few years when no town records were kept. Another story is that many years ago, a man named Willoughby was crossing the ice with a horse drawn sled. When the horses broke through the ice, Willoughby and the horses drown. The lake is perhaps called Willoughby in his memory.
Lake Memphremagog graces the Spicy Maple Mustard. Many people probably don’t realize that the hillside of maples on the upper left of this photo were part of the first maple orchard we tapped when we came back home. We thought it was a fitting shot to put on our Spicy Maple – as it features our awesome maple syrup!
Rick – Shattuck Hill is known throughout the Northeast Kingdom as one of the most scenic outlooks in the area. This overlook offers an international view as the Lake spans both the US and Canada. The big island that you see is in both the US and Canada and is part of the three sisters islands.
East Hill Jay Peak View
The Jalapeno Pepper Jelly features a picture of Jay Peak in the winter. This is the treat we take with us as our hostess gift – poured over a block of cream cheese with a ring of crackers. It seems we do most of our visiting of friends and family in the winter. So we thought we should feature a shot of the mountain we see every day in our travels, but during the winter, as a reminder of how we use this awesome treat!
Rick - Through the back roads from North Troy you will come to the top of an amazing view of Jay Peak. This dirt road takes you through the Northeast Kingdom farmland. You will be able to see so many beautiful old farms. When traveling back roads near farms be careful of farmers on tractors coming up and down the road getting ready for hay season or planting corn. The NEK has so much to offer with all its beauty around every turn and on every hill.
Troy Covered Bridge – River Road Troy, Vermont
The covered bridge is a reminder of days gone by, but still has its place in the NEK. Our Maple Apple Chutney is reminiscent of the chutneys made on the homesteads years ago, using apples, raisins (dried grapes), onion and of course, Pure Vermont Maple Syrup. It still has its place on our table as well.
Rick – One of the nicest covered bridges in the Northeast Kingdom during anytime of the year, but during the wintertime the red just makes it stand out against the snow. This bridge was built in 1910. Barn red, the ninety two foot School House Bridge stands at a bend in the Missisquoi River, next to a ford and a sandbar. At low water, a person can walk out onto the sandbar to within a hundred feet of span.
Veilleux Red Barn – River Road Troy, Vermont
The fields of clover in the area where this shot was taken are alive with bees pollinating and carrying their treasures back to the nest. We are grateful for these hard working insects, for they are responsible for the wonderful honey we use in our Dill & Honey Mustard.
Rick – Across from the Troy Covered Bridge, you will find a turn of the century farm. During the fall time this barn and this area will come alive with color. When you cross the bridge, take Veilleux Road through some of the most beautiful colors in the Northeast Kingdom. There are so many old barns throughout the Northeast Kingdom that each turn will be something memories are made of on your drive.
Maple Trees – North Hill Westfield, Vermont
The iconic view of buckets on roadside trees seemed the fitting picture for our Maple Jelly. The buckets harken back to an era when Sugarmakers collected sap by hand without the aid of modern equipment. Our Maple Jelly is hand stirred and poured just like in years gone by.
Rick – Coming through the town of Westfield, take North Hill Road to see a photographer’s dream when it comes to roadside maple trees. During the summer, the maple trees on North Hill will make you feel like you are going through a tunnel of green; during fall time the trees come alive with color; and when springtime comes along, watch out! The history of sugaring comes alive with sap buckets and the old way of collecting sap. Be careful when stopping to take photos while traveling up or down North Hill because there are so many people out there biking, walking and of course, taking photos!
Coventry Covered Bridge – Coventry , VT
There is no way without buying expensive equipment to shortcut the peeling and grinding of horseradish root. It dawned on me that there was no shortcut in building all the trusswork that made this bridge as strong as it still is today. And, despite being completely different, because of how they are approached, people value the work that goes into both.
Rick – The Black River Bridge, built in 1881, serves Coventry Road where the road follows the stream. Also known as the Coventry Bridge or Lower Bridge, it spans the Black River at a bend near a swampy shore, just over the Irasburg town line. Beaver work only a few feet from passers-by. In the springtime, ducks land in the wet fields off to the North. The eighty six food bridge is clean and well kept. It is one of three Paddleford truss spans surviving in Vermont and is the only one supporting regular daily traffic.