How to Plan an Elopement on Lake Willoughby in Vermont
If you're wanting a scenic backdrop for your Vermont elopement, you don't have to look much further than Lake Willoughby. Tucked away in the north east corner of the state (the Northeast Kingdom), Lake Willoughby offers both peace and quiet as well as adventure and is considered a hidden gem here in Vermont.
Towering cliffs hug the east and west edges of the lake, providing short but steep trails that bring hikers to rocky outcroppings to view the lake from above. Beaches with beautifully clear waters are found to the north and south and are great locations for setting out in a kayak of paddle board.
Emily and Matt planned their Vermont elopement on Lake Willoughby in ONE WEEK. Yup. You read that right. One. Week. They were originally planning a large wedding back in 2020... but, well... we all know that story (Covid).
Choose a Ceremony Location
So instead, they planned a somewhat impromptu day-trip from Burlington. They'd never been to Lake Willoughby and wanted to plan a day that incorporated both the mountains and the water. Their ceremony was scheduled for mid-afternoon. Being July on a hot summer day, the Lake was sure to be busy, so we opted for a quieter location by a nearby river. Emily and Matt got themselves dressed in the woods and had their first look on a trail that led down to some falls by the water. We had the place to ourselves and it was so peaceful!
Planning an elopement in Vermont can be quite simple!
READ MORE: How to Elope in Vermont
Take in the Scenery
From here, we drove a scenic route towards the Lake, popping out for a few photos in a beautiful flower field before changing into hiking gear to head up Mount Pisgah. With time being short and the newly weds wanting to make it down for a sunset dip in the lake, we opted to turn around at the first overlook. Honestly, we could not have timed it better. We made it down to the lakeshore just in time to witness the most beautiful sunset that illuminated Lake Willoughby.
Things to do around Lake Willoughby
You can't travel to Lake Willoughby without hiking up to one of the overlooks. The views from above are unparalleled. You have Mount Pisgah to the east and Mount Hor on the west. Though on the shorter side, they start off pretty steep. Make sure you're in proper footwear and have water and snacks to keep yourself happy and healthy for this hike.
The Northeast Kingdom is a Mecca for mountain biking. Head over to the Kingdom Trails where you can rent a bike, hit the trails and then enjoy beautiful views with a beer in hand when the day is done.
The best way to enjoy a day at the lake? Get out on the water! Kayak, canoe and Paddleboard rentals are available at several shops that surround the lake. And if you're an experienced boater, you may even find a motorboat or sailboat to take out for a sunset cruise.
Skiing at Jay Peak
Planning on a winter elopement? Head over to Jay Peak for some of New England's BEST skiing! Tucked up near the Canadian border, Jay often gets the most snow of all the mountains in the Northeast. And being known for its glades, you can often find pockets of fresh powder all season long if you dip into the trees. Scenic Tram rides are available year-round, offering an unforgettable view.
Dog Chapel at Dog Mountain
For you dog lovers, head on over to Dog Mountain, a property that sits on 150 acres and was the vision of famed artist Stephen Huneck. Leashes are optional at Dog Mountain and your furry friends are free to roam on the hiking trails, in the ponds and around the chapel that sits on the hillside. A true paradise.
Where to Stay near Lake Willoughby
If you're looking for luxury, this is your spot. This enchanting historical mansion sits high on a hill overlooking Northern Vermont's countryside. Have a picnic in the orchard or hit the nearby Kingdom Trails. Take a walk in the gardens or head out to nearby Burke Mountain Resort for hiking or skiing.
Convenience is the name of the game. The Notch House is nestled in the woods on the south end of Lake Willoughby and is the PERFECT location if you're bringing friends or family along on your Vermont elopement. The property has a large farmhouse, additional cabins, an event barn, beautiful lawn and gardens as well as a private trail down to the beach.
For just the two of you or smaller groups, renting an AirBnB is a popular choice. When searching for lodging, have your photos in mind. Be on the lookout for homes that are aesthetically pleasing, spacious and well lit, and centrally located between your activities. Here are a few suggestions of AirBnB homes in the Lake Willoughby area:
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