Fjords of Norway
Norway’s famous fjords are spectacular natural creations formed over millions of years as glaciers subsided and steep, snowy mountain tops and pastel-coloured hillsides now dominate the landscape.
The fjords are a common route for ferries and are so instrumental to Norway’s infrastructure they are considered part of the country’s road network.
Many cruise lines offer Norweigan excursions to experience the crisp waters and challenging hiking routes for those eager to embrace the elements.
For American tourists, booking a flight then an additional cruise certainly isn’t cheap, but some 3,000 miles away, you can experience a small slice of Nordic scenery in the shape of Lake Willoughby, Northern Vermont.
Located in the town of Westmore, Lake Willoughby bares a striking resemblance to its European cousin. The rippling, clean water is flanked by mountains and hills, which are smaller but not less picturesque than the fjords of Norway.
There are many ways to explore the lake, and arguably the most serene is by paddleboard or kayak. Once you gain your balance and are comfortable with a single or double-bladed paddle, you gently glide through the water, letting the lake do the work for you.
As you drift towards the southern point of the lake, the towering Mount Pisgah becomes more prominent.
A firm favourite with tourists, you can wonder at the panoramic views of Lake Willoughby from above as you take one of the many hiking trails around the area.
The well-sign-posted seven-mile hike offers convenient lookout ledges for you to admire the view, rest and recuperate before descending. The trail is fit for families and novice hikers and is dog friendly.
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Lake Willoughby is a versatile and attractive location for aquatic sports and fulfilling walks. It also has a small sandy beach on the north shore, allowing you to have a dry, relaxing day out.
Westmore has the highest “second home” ownership in the U.S and is, in a typical year, bustling with tourists making the summer months, in particular, a hive of activity.
Many lakeside cabins and quiet cottages are located around the water’s edge, such as the homely Willoughvale Inn and Cottages at the north-eastern shore.
Willoughvale has 11 cottages overlooking the lake, each with varying decor and can provide a comfy seat by the fireplace with trinkets and ornaments, or a more contemporary accommodation if you’d prefer.
The staff are friendly and laid back, and service is prompt, be it around the cottage or in the on-site restaurant.
Speaking of food, the Lake Willoughby Store on the east side of the lake offers various amenities and home comforts to enjoy back in your room or huddled around a late-night campfire.
The store also has a delicious food menu, including breakfast, lunch and dinner options; it also has a take-out service and vegetarian and vegan options.
In 2017, the Caledonian and Orleans County Record readers voted the store the Best Lunch Stop in Orleans/Essex County, high praise indeed.
Lake Willoughby is an ideal vacation spot, with many outdoor activities for couples, families and solo travellers, those who enjoy the water, and those who prefer gazing at the magnificent scenery from up high.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2021 Ryan Benjamin