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Echo Lake has been the summer destination of the discerning resort visitor for over a hundred years. Echo Lake is one of a group of lakes called the Plymouth Lakes in south central Vermont. Bordering the Green Mountains, these lakes - Echo, Amherst, Rescue and Pauline - provided the setting for a number of sought-after old-style Vermont inns. Many still exist in the form of lodging and dining experiences, including historical bed and breakfasts along the shoreline of Echo Lake.
Although not large, Echo Lake has seen huge numbers of visitors over the years. The east side of the lake was home to a Boy Scout Camp for many years. The property is now Plymouth State Park and a popular destination for summer swimmers, campers and boaters. One of the most scenic hiking trails overlooking the Black River Valley begins at the park. The rest of the shoreline is comprised primarily of summer cottages and homes, although a few condos are now available. Always available for winter sports, a ski resort built in recent years has increased winter traffic to the area.
Echo Lake is remarkable for its beautiful setting against the backdrop of the mountains. The shoreline is well-forested, giving an air of isolation amid the many cottages. All water activities are welcome here and swimming, canoeing, and kayaking are favorites.
Fishing is always popular as Echo Lake is a noted cold water fishery. The excellent water quality provides Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Smelt, Perch, Pickerel, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Panfish and Catfish for the eager angler. Several brooks in the immediate vicinity are designated trout waters, and fly fishing is a favorite sport. In winter, both ice fishing and ice skating draw visitors to the lake. The Black River, originating in Black Pond near Plymouth, flows into Echo Lake at the north end and out at the south end.
To reward a visitor's need to explore, the Plymouth/Ludlow/Echo Lake area is rich in Vermont history. Calvin Coolidge grew up at the family homestead near Plymouth Notch and was sworn in here while vacationing when Warren Harding died suddenly. Coolidge began his academic career at Black River Academy in Ludlow, now a museum. In Windsor, VT on the New Hampshire border, the American Precision Museum celebrates the evolution of the machinery that created the Industrial Revolution in the Northeast. Also at Windsor is the Cornish Colony Museum, with programs and exhibits documenting the lives and works of artists and performing artists such as Maxfield Parrish that worked at the Colony just across the river in New Hampshire. The Old Constitution House, where the Vermont Constitution was signed, is also open for tours in Windsor.
The Vermont Institute of Natural Science Nature Center at Quechee, approximately 25 miles from Echo Lake, has raptor exhibits featuring hawks, eagles, vultures, falcons, and owls that have been injured, rescued and rehabilitated by staff. In between are some of the famed Vermont covered bridges and a wealth of hiking trails, bicycling tours and special, favored 'swimming holes'. Buttermilk Falls near Ludlow is a great place to swim on a sultry summer afternoon.
Festivals and events scheduled in the area surrounding Echo Lake make sure there is always something extra special for visitors to do. The Plymouth Folk and Blues Concerts occur over Labor Day weekend. Nearby Okemo Mountain offers hiking and cycling trails and, in winter, skiing, sledding and snowmobiling. Local businesses provide for every need, including pet sitters and boarding for canine family members whose families take a day-long side trip. Opportunities for fine and specialty dining abound with many of the historic inns opening their dining rooms and activities to non-guests. Gourmet cooking schools and fly fishing schools are a couple of the more unusual activities offered.
Echo Lake is easy to reach, located alongside Vermont Route 100, 15 miles from Killington and 26 miles from Rutland. Come visit Echo Lake for the day, the week, or the summer. There's something here for everyone.
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