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Lake Whitingham is located near Vermont Route 100, which was highly praised by National Geographic as one of ten most scenic highways in America. Nestled in Southern Vermont, Lake Whitingham, also known as Harriman Reservoir, provides a stunning setting any time of year-- from the lush greenery of spring and summer, to the vibrant colors of autumn, and the snowy white of winter. Although built as a hydroelectric lake, Lake Whitingham also serves as an excellent recreational getaway.
The Deer River winds its way across Vermont's landscape and provided the perfect location for New England Power Company's hydroelectric dam. Built in 1923, the Harriman Dam was named after Henry I. Harriman who was the engineer for the power company. Three cemeteries had to be moved and many homes and villages were vacated prior to the reservoir being filled. The waters of Lake Whitingham reach a depth of 185 feet, and when the water is clear a mill and other buildings can be seen beneath the surface. A unique feature of Harriman Dam is the "Glory Hole," a morning glory-shaped spillway located at the southern end of the reservoir.
Lake Whitingham stretches nearly eight miles long through the town that shares its name. In 1770, the Town of Whitingham was granted to Nathan Whiting and some other men who served as soldiers of the King. The town consists of two villages, Jacksonville and Whitingham.
The unspoiled beauty of Southern Vermont is a year round treat, and Lake Whitingham offers the additional benefit of recreational activities. Wildlife is abundant and observant naturalists might spot an American Bald Eagle soar across the sky or watch a common loon glide across the water. Open to the public, Lake Whitingham is an excellent place to swim, boat, or enjoy a relaxing picnic. Boat launching areas can be found on the eastern shore, and anglers can take pleasure in the peaceful atmosphere as they cast in their lines for walleye, pike, bass and lake trout.
Many old homes and historic places have been preserved near Lake Whitingham. A museum in Whitingham called Green Mountain Hall is home to important artifacts that tell the history of Whitingham. The museum is run by the Whitingham Historical Society. The original site of the village of Whitingham is now the Town Hills Commons. A memorial to Brigham Young, the leader of the Mormon Church who was born in Whitingham, is located on the commons. The Town Hills Commons also provide picnic tables so visitors can take in the breathtaking view of the Green Mountains while having a picnic lunch. Another place of interest is the Sadawga Pond, located just south of Lake Whitingham. Sadawga Pond is another great place for canoeing and fishing, but it is best known for its floating island, which is a very rare natural feature.
The Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF) resides on the western side of Lake Whitingham and forms the largest contiguous public land in Vermont. Three national trails wind through Green Mountain National Forest: the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Robert Frost National Recreation Trail, and Long National Recreation Trail. The National Forest is also home to several alpine and Nordic ski areas. Hundreds of miles of multiple-use trails can be used for hiking, cross country skiing, bicycling, horseback riding and snowmobiling.
Although the Lake Whitingham lakefront is undeveloped, vacation rentals and real estate can be found in the villages of Whitingham and Jacksonville. Whether you travel to Vermont in the spring to sample some freshly tapped maple syrup or in the autumn to take in the vibrant colors, you are sure to find a peaceful retreat on the shores of Lake Whitingham.
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