Northeast Kingdom

The exterior of the current Albany General Store with a snowpile in front.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The general store is the heart of many small Vermont towns, but the rise of online shopping and big box stores has made it hard for some more traditional stores to stay open.

Some Vermont towns are turning to public-private partnerships to keep their general stores viable. In one Northeast Kingdom town they’re counting on that model to get their store back.

A replica Statue of Liberty, painted by art students at Lake Region Union High School, stands on the ice of Lake Parker, in West Glover. The hill in the background is where locals surmise the statue might have gone, had it been erected in Glover.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

There’s a wooden replica of the Statue of Liberty, complete with a light-up torch, standing on the ice of Lake Parker, in the Northeast Kingdom village of West Glover. It’s there to publicize a new ice out contest to benefit the Glover Ambulance Squad, but it’s a story that goes back 135 years.

A wall of taxidermy along a wall at Currier's Quality Market in Glover.
Erica Heilman / For VPR

The heart of Glover village is one short strip of Route 16 in Orleans County, and it's there where Currier's Quality Market has been a community institution since 1908. You can buy food, gas, hardware, hunting supplies and clothing — but to outsiders, Currier’s is best known for its collection of taxidermy.

Troy and Jon Osborne stand before their sugarhouse in Ferdinand. Troy is holding Jon's dog, Bodie.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Some maple sugarmakers say sap runs through their veins. It may be just an expression, but sugaring does seem to be in the blood of the Osborne brothers. They're still working the family's Ferdinand woods that took the lives of two Osborne patriarchs.

The month-long "University of Irasburg" is drawing from the town for both teachers and students for classes ranging from conversational Spanish to ways to cook a bear.
Judith Jackson, courtesy

They are a popular trend mixing the important with the ephemeral; "pop-up" shops offer a brief chance to buy boutique wares, while "pop-up" restaurants may only serve meals for a single day. Now in April the Northeast Kingdom town of Irasburg is recruiting students — and teachers — for the month-long "pop-up" University of Irasburg

Author and cheesemaker David Asher teaches a continuing education course on natural cheesemaking at Sterling College.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Small colleges in Vermont and around the country are struggling to fill classrooms and remain viable. Meanwhile, Sterling College is attracting students from across the country and around the globe to its Northeast Kingdom campus to take classes offered by its School of the New American Farmstead.

Monica Caffrey of Jay is a three-time national champion in professional indoor surfing.
Ric Cengeri / VPR

Vermont is not known for its great surfing. But the second-ranked pro indoor surfer in the world lives in landbound — and snowbound — Jay, and she's not even out of high school yet. She's 16-year-old Monica Caffrey.

Mitch Wertlieb / VPR

There’s sometimes this perception that if you want to see great music in Vermont, you’ve got to head to Burlington. It's a myth a band from the Northeast Kingdom is trying to dispel.

Dr. David Toll in his office at 85 Main St. in St. Johnsbury, where he practiced medicine for decades until age 90.
Matthew Payeur / Empire Imaging, courtesy

Dr. David Toll was a physician who practiced medicine in St. Johnsbury for decades and connected with patients from across the Northeast Kingdom and northern New Hampshire. He saw patients from childhood into middle age and worked until he himself was 90. And over this weekend, he died. He was 93 years old.

From left, Spark Coordinator Ezra Ranz, WonderArts Executive Director Ceilidh Galloway-Kane and AmeriCorps volunteer Jake Lester are working to make Spark a place for local artisans, craftspeople, entrepreneurs, business owners, students and others.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

If you live in Burlington, Montpelier, Rutland – or any of Vermont’s more urban communities – you’ve probably come across a makerspace or a coworking space. Now the trend is catching on in more rural communities as well, including the small Northeast Kingdom town of Greensboro.

Preschoolers from Coventry march into the woods for their first Forest Day in the NEK activity.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The Jay Community Recreational Centre is 300 acres of wooded trails surrounding an open meadow and a mountain stream. It also serves as a classroom for preschoolers from across the Northeast Kingdom.

The cover of Melanie Finn's novel "The Underneath" next to a photo of her in the woods.
From left: Two Dollar Radio / Libby March, Courtesy

The Northeast Kingdom is known for its pastoral beauty — but that’s only part of the view of the region presented in Melanie Finn’s latest novel, The Underneath. Her characters exist in the brutal underbelly of rural Vermont that’s ravaged by the opioid epidemic.

A welcome to Island Pond sign outside by a road.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Vermonters consistently rank jobs, the economy and cost of living as the biggest issues facing the state, which is why candidates running for political office right now spend so much time talking about them.

For people living in the most rural parts of Vermont, however, economic livelihood is even harder to come by

A man kneels on the ground outside of a tiny house in the woods of the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.
Jon Kalish / For VPR

Since 2012, a group of tiny house enthusiasts has gathered in the woods of the Northeast Kingdom to participate in hands-on building workshops. It's known as Tiny House Summer Camp.

AP/Toby Talbot

The state will expand a high-speed broadband network that could serve hundreds of customers in the Northeast Kingdom.

Monday evening, a citizen group called Don't Undermine Memphremagog's Purity (DUMP) held a panel discussion about a proposed expansion of the Coventry landfill. The panelists sit along a table in front of a brick wall while one speaks.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Most of the trash generated in Vermont is trucked to the state’s only permitted landfill in the Northeast Kingdom. The landfill's owner has plans to expand it, and this week residents from both sides of the U.S.-Canada border pushed back on those plans.

Newport on Lake Memphremagog
John Dillon / VPR

The small Northeast Kingdom city of Newport has its economic hopes pegged to a long-neglected asset: Lake Memphremagog.

Viv Buckley and Des Hertz take a spin on the Kingdom Trails. Women make up between 30 and 40 percent of riders on the Northeast Kingdom trail network.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Mountain biking is big business in parts of the Northeast Kingdom. But what started out as a way to promote tourism has turned into a way of life for some residents.

Ross Murray (left) and Chris Planetta are on the board of directors for the Borderline Players. The troupe is in the midst of its first season at the Haskell Opera House, on the international border.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Next month a new theater troupe, the Borderline Players, will put on its first summer musical. You can see the show in the U.S. or Canada — depending on where in the theater you sit.

Ariel Quiros, seen far left at a 2015 press conference, used the EB-5 program to defraud foreign investors. Attorney General TJ Donovan announced Thursday that he'll pay $2 million to settle civil charges filed by the state in 2016.
Vermont Business Magazine

The man who used EB-5 projects in the Northeast Kingdom to orchestrate one of the biggest financial frauds in state history has settled a civil suit brought by the state of Vermont.

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