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Lying at the base of central Vermont's Mt. Moosalamoo, Lake Dunmore is the gateway to Green Mountain National Forest. This sparkling lake is the perfect answer to the family argument over vacationing at the lake or in the mountains. Here, you can have both-and enjoy both fully. The lake functions as water storage for a hydropower dam several miles downstream. Vermont Fish and Wildlife keeps it well-stocked to the delight of visitors and residents alike.
Green Mountain National Forest offers more than 400,000 acres of Vermont forest and wilderness to explore and appreciate. Warm-weather recreational activities include horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, bird watching, and canoeing, while winter brings snowboarding, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. The National Forest offers several campsites on the eastern side of Lake Dunmore. Additionally, vacation rental homes are available on Lake Dunmore, offering everything from romantic getaway cottages to large homes perfect for family vacations.
Lake Dunmore is likely named after John Murray, the 4th Earl of Dunmore who served as the British governor of the Province of New York from 1770 to 1771. At the time, Vermont was still under the control of New York. Early in Vermont's history, a glass factory was established at Lake Dunmore to take advantage both of sand from the lakeshore and wood from the adjoining forest. The ventures (there were two of them) were short-lived, but remaining Lake Dunmore glass pieces are highly prized by collectors. By the early 1900s, there were several large resort hotels on the shores serviced by railroads that had been built to the area.
The era of big resort hotels has passed, but summers on Lake Dunmore will always be in style. Although there are year-round residents, summer people are more numerous. In fact, some cottages have served generations of the same families. They still enjoy the same water activities their grandparents did: swimming, sailing, water skiing, boating, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. Of course, jet skis, windsurfing and other new equipment have been added. The clear glacial lake invites its visitors to come out on the water and have fun.
Fishermen have been enjoying Lake Dunmore as long as there have been settlers in the area. The lake is stocked regularly with not only warm-water species but lake trout and landlocked salmon. Bass, pike, rock bass, panfish, perch, trout and crappie are also fished. Some sizeable trophies appear from under the waves each year. Winter simply means fishermen can walk to their favorite hotspot rather than boat: ice fishing is a great way to defy a cold Vermont winter. Of course, winter also means cross-country and downhill skiing, snowmobiling and hunting -- there is something for everyone in every season.
The Green Mountains around Lake Dunmore are excellent for fall color tours. Many visitors time their visits for the best leaf colors. Hiking on the many hiking trails in the area is popular in any season. Bicycling, bird-watching and wildlife viewing can be indulged in many places throughout the surrounding area. A favorite hike is the Falls of Lana trail about two miles from Branbury State Park. The series of waterfalls has a combined drop of about 100 feet and is considered the most beautiful in the Champlain Valley. A triathlon is held yearly, headquartered at Branbury State Park on the east side of Lake Dunmore.
The lake is located 8.5 miles from Middlebury and 7.5 miles from Brandon in the Mid-Vermont for All Seasons tourism region. Both towns have arts and activities designed to be of interest to summer visitors. Middlebury in particular is committed to the Arts, providing opportunities to see a play or a nationally-known performer. Vermont Marble Museum, New England Maple Museum and Wilson Castle are nearby. The Castle, located in Proctor, is an architectural masterpiece built in 1867 and furnished with an eclectic mix of European and Far Eastern Antiques. Tours are available for a small fee.
Come and enjoy the crystal-clear waters of Lake Dunmore for a short visit or for a summer. Your family may start a new, multi-generational tradition.
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