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In 1933, Colonel William Wilgus and his wife donated some land to Vermont. Wilgus is best known for designing New York City’s Grand Central Terminal train station. This land later was officially established as Wilgus State Park in the late 1930s. Civilian Conservation Corps, as a part of the New Deal, dreamed up by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, built several buildings and amenities in the park. In addition to the cabins, they also built 12 fireplaces for campers to use and seven water fountains. The RV campground was created in the 1960s to provide people with trailers a place to safely park overnight.
Though Wilgus State Park is a small piece of wilderness, it’s extremely popular with people seeking adventures on the Connecticut River. The river is lined by dense tree covers that transform from lush green to vibrant red, orange, and gold in autumn. Leaf peeping is just as enjoyable from the water as it is by road.
The closest town is Weathersfield, VT, which has a handful of shops and restaurants for visitors to explore. Across the river, Claremont, NH, is a larger town with more variety in retail shopping, restaurants, and a historic district. It also has a small hospital with emergency health care services. Book an RV in Windsor County, VT, and plan the perfect RV camping trip with friends and family.
In spite of its diminutive size, Wilgus State Park is highly regarded for the beautiful scenery as well as easy access to the water. A small boat launch, suitable for kayaks, canoes, and flotation tubes, invites swimming, boating, and fishing on the mighty Connecticut River. The park office has canoes and kayaks available for rent, and it also participates in the state-run loaner rods program. When the office is not busy, the park rangers are known to help visitors with fishing basics. Anglers can expect to catch trout, bullhead catfish, and panfish, all of which are delicious when cooked over a campfire.
The Pinnacle Trail is a short one-mile loop that leads up to a summit. Hikers are rewarded with a view of Mount Ascutney, Connecticut River, and New Hampshire on the far side of the river. The neighboring parks have several additional miles of trails for hikers and adventurers to explore. Mt. Ascutney State Park has a handful of long hikes, a couple of which are considered challenging. They’re well worth the effort; the challenging ones pass by picturesque waterfalls and terminate at different vista points with magnificent views of Vermont and New Hampshire.
Nearby Branbury State Park has over 70 miles of trails that meander into Green Mountain National Forest and Moosalamoo Recreation Area. These trails meander and weave through dense woods, past fresh, bright meadows, and over babbling streams. Keep an eye out: many wild animals make their home in these woods. Though most hikers only glimpse them out of the corner of their eyes, they make their presence known by leaving hoofprints or pawprints and scat. A shortlist of wildlife here includes white-tailed deer, black bears, coyotes, foxes, and raccoons.
Skip the long commute from a hotel by renting a camper at Wilgus State Park. In the comfort of a warm and dry travel trailer rental, listen to the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof. Birdsong provides the ambient background sound while you ready to launch on a boating trip. Wilgus State Park RV campground has 17 sites, all of which are primitive. However, there are water spigots and restrooms available. Campers can also use a dump station if need be.
Near the park office, there is WiFi available, though it can be spotty due to the dense tree cover. Leashed pets are welcomed. The park is open to RV camping between May and October.
Hop into a motorhome rental and join the thousands of other leaf peepers roaming the winding roads of Vermont. Head up north, following the contours of Connecticut River and explore the charming mountain towns and its various attractions along the way. In Windsor, VT is an unusual garden called the Path of Life Sculpture Garden. Visitors study or meditate on the sculptures along their journey into the garden. Just across the river, the Saint-Gaudens National Historical Park, the home of famed artist Augustus Saint-Gaudens, in Cornish, NH, is open to the public for guided tours.
The subject of a running gag for decades, a monument for Phineas Gage, is found in Cavendish. A 43-inch-long rod penetrated Gage’s skull in an accident, and he lived to tell the tale. Vermont is famous for its maple syrup, and there are several sugarhouses and farms in the area open to visitors. Maple Sugar and Vermont Spice near Rutland is both a restaurant and a working sugarhouse. Try breakfast delicacies with genuine maple syrup and tour the sugarhouse as they boil maple syrup and make candies on-site.
At the end of a long day of adventuring, kick up your heels outside a rental RV, and enjoy the crackle of a campfire as the sun dips beyond the horizons.