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Bald Hill Pond earns a "3-S" rating! The three 'S's, solitude, silence and serenity, fit this Northeast Kingdom region lake to a 'T'. The small 105-acre pond lies almost entirely within the Bald Hill Wildlife Management Area, assuring the majority of those visiting its waterfront will be looking for the things those three 'S's represent. Managed by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, the 934-acre Wildlife Management Area surrounds the Bald Hill Fish Culture Station, a hatchery and rearing station for replenishment of native fish stocks in northern Vermont lakes. Bald Hill Pond is open for fishing only during trout season, assuring solitude, silence and serenity for much of the year. No one is positioned to take full advantage of this pleasing vista more than the residents of the few cottages along the south shore.
Cottagers take advantage of the still pond to enjoy sailing, rowing, canoeing, kayaking, paddle-boating and pontooning. Most have private swim areas - there is no public beach, only a boat launch. Common loons are frequently observed fishing on Bald Hill Pond and occasionally nest there. Common and hooded mergansers, great blue herons and black ducks enjoy the shallows. Wetlands adjacent to Bald Hill Pond and the two smaller ponds in the Wildlife Management Area, Sawdust Pond and Brown Pond, support a healthy population of painted and snapping turtles, chorus frogs such as spring peeper, pickerel and wood frogs, red-spotted newts and common snakes.
Otter, mink, beaver, weasel and raccoon are sometimes seen along the banks of the ponds and Bean Brook. Black bear, white-tailed deer, bobcat, coyote, fisher, fox and ruffed grouse inhabit the woods and wetlands, along with the favored prey of many of the carnivores; snowshoe hare. The uncommon black-backed woodpecker sometimes graces the conifers with its presence. And the occasional moose visits the wetlands in summer. The area around Bald Hill Pond is truly a nature-lover's paradise.
Fishermen enjoy angling for brook trout in both Bald Hill Pond and Bean Brook. Bald Hill Pond also holds smelt, sunfish, and steelhead trout, although special fishing rules may apply. A stop at the Fish Culture Station a mile or so south can provide the would-be angler with all applicable rules and updates. The Bald Hill Pond area has several country roads and lanes that are suitable for walking, hiking and mountain biking. A favorite hiking trail leads up Bald Mountain near the pond - the highest peak in the area. Near the peak, an abandoned fire tower can be climbed for a spectacular view of Bald Hill Pond, nearby Newark Pond, and larger Lake Willoughby.
The Willoughby State Forest, five miles west of Bald Hill Pond, offers 7,757 acres for hiking, cross-country skiing, mountain biking, rustic camping and fishing on Lake Willoughby. At over 300 feet, Lake Willoughby is the deepest lake in Vermont. Several climbable peaks are located in or near Willoughby State Forest, including Mount Hor and Mount Pisgah. Certain cross-country ski areas in Willoughby State Forest are noted for having better snow cover later in the year than nearly anywhere else in the state.
The closest villages to Bald Hill Pond are Island Pond, tiny Newark, West Burke and Barton - all within 15 miles. Famed Burke Mountain Ski Area near East Burke offers not only the usual winter snow sorts such as downhill skiing , snowboarding and sledding, but summer trail activities, mountain biking, music festivals, a Fourth of July Festival with fireworks, camping and mountain gondola rides.
Barton, largest village in Orleans County, offers several museums such as the Crystal Lake Historical Society's Pierce House Museum and the 200-year-old Barton Mill Hill, the "Brick Kingdom" factory site. The Old Stone House Museum at Brownington holds four stories and 30 rooms of memorabilia. The granite building was built in1836 as a dormitory for Orleans County Grammar School by headmaster and architect Alexander Twilight-Vermont's first college graduate and state legislator. Barton also offers golf courses, restaurants, art galleries and craft shops.
The Northeast Kingdom area is a haven for artists and craftsmen; their galleries and shops are found in every small village and along country roads. Farmers markets and unique eateries keep vacationers well-fed while they wander the country roads. In winter, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling provide opportunities for the visitor to enjoy the spectacular winter scenery. Autumn turns the surrounding hills to a blaze of red and gold, practically demanding pictures be taken to show the 'folks back home'.
Vacation rentals on Bald Hill Pond are limited in availability. A few of the cottages along the south shore rent monthly, but reservations will need to be made early to assure a spot. Luckily, there are several small inns and bed-and-breakfasts in the area, with motels, campgrounds and hotels in the larger towns. Real estate is often available, sometimes on nearby lakes but seldom on Ball Hill Pond. Come to Bald Hill Pond and experience its '3-S' rating. Solitude, silence and serenity have never felt so good!
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