Attractions ~ Exploring Hawk Country ~ The Killington Region
The towns of Sherburne, Mendon and Chittenden are nestled in the mountainous region located less than ten minutes north of Hawk. Killington Peak, in the town of Sherburne, rises some 4,241 feet and is the second highest mountain in all of Vermont.
First settled in 1785, the Killington region is located truly at the heart of Vermont, both geographically and historically. It has even been said that Vermont was christened atop Killington Peak in 1763. Today, visitors can take the K1 Gondola to the top of this peak in summertime and gasp at breathtaking views of six states and Canada.
A haven for skiers in the winter and golfers in the summer, the towns in the Killington region are a dream-come-true for nature lovers and sports enthusiasts alike. At 46,315 acres, Chittenden remains the largest town in the State of Vermont, and is nearly every bit as mountainous as Sherburne. Meanwhile, nearby Mendon is a pleasant little hamlet, best known as a haven for antiquing.
Noteworthy Attractions in and Around the Killington Region
Killington Ski Area, Killington
Seven mountains, 200 trails and some of the most varied terrain available anywhere in the world, Killington is the largest ski area in the eastern United States. Hawk will chauffeur you ten-minutes to and from the Killington Skyeship in winter. In warm-weather months, the Killington Golf Course offers 18 championship holes on a challenging, scenic layout.
Bill's Country Store, Killington
Its barn-red fascade an area landmark, this large country store features crafts, gifts, clothing, foodstuffs and many other items of regional interest. (802) 773-9313
Pico Mountain Alpine Slide, Mendon
In the summertime, Pico's Alpine Slide will thrill you with S-turns, banks and straight-a-ways of all 650 vertical feet. Mini-golf and a driving range are available at the base, as well as scenic chair rides to the peak of this, Killington's seventh mountain. (802) 775-4346
The Long Trail
Vermont's "footpath in the wilderness," this oldest long-distance hiking trail in the country runs approximately 270 miles north-south - the entire length of the Green Mountain State - but it passes through Hawk country in the vicinity of Killington ski area. Sections of the trail in this region prove perfect for day hikes and picnics in the summertime (but not before you've checked-out the extensive network of trails on Hawk's 1200 acres).
A Brief History
The peaks of Killington and Pico, like all Vermont mountains, were once much higher than present. Worn by erosion and wiped by glaciers, they are thus rounded and relatively smooth on the horizon. The Green Mountain range is amongst the oldest in the world, dating back some five hundred million years - making it older than the Rockies, Alps, Andes and Himalayas.
It was on July 7, 1761, when the town of Killington was formally granted a charter. One of the grantees was Ezra Stiles, a relative of eventual Killington Ski Area founder Preston Leete Smith. Like many Vermont towns, Killington was originally a New Hampshire grant. In 1763, Reverend Samuel Peters is believed to have christened the State of Vermont from atop Killington Peak, as he was traveling the mountains baptizing local residents. Reverend Peters is also thought to have been the first to use the name "Verd Mont" (French for "Green Mountain"), as he smashed a bottle of booze on the rocks. The Killington area was sparsely populated at the time, as only about 300 people lived in the surrounding towns. By 1810, Killington was officially named Sherburne, and was home to about 116 people. Today, the town's name legally remains Sherburne, yet the post office address carries the more widely recognized appellation of Killington.
Early settlers soon set-up grain and sawmills throughout the Killington region. They also cleared the land for grazing and instigated sheep farming. In 1850, the railroad came to town and hastened the growth of the log-cutting industry. By the mid 1800s, Killington's population had risen to 578 people - although there were still a few more cows than men, and more sheep than cows. Life was not easy for farmers in this part of the world however. The region's extreme winters and the mountains' abundant population of wolves, coyotes and other predators, soon drove many of the residents to warmer environs. By 1880, Vermont's overall population dropped by a whooping 54 percent. The mountain towns, in particular, continued to drop in population until 1960, at which point the population of Sherburne had reached a low of 266 residents.
The first tourist resort at Killington was built in 1880, well before the region was developed as a ski resort, instead accommodating hikers and nature lovers that came to Killington for the fantastic summit views. The Killington Ski Area, dream of founder Preston Leete Smith, opened on December 13, 1958. It was the beginning of what was to become Vermont's most famous and largest ski resort. Killington soon began transforming a previously depressed area of central Vermont into an enormous economic resource. Pres Smith, Perry Merrill and Joe Sargent cooperated to make Killington Mountain Ski Area a reality. Smith's vision and determination met with good fortune, and Killington continues to grow and prosper to this day. The Killington Ski Area is now owned and operated by The American Skiing Company, which maintains nine skiing resorts in the United States, including three in Vermont.
Hawk's Guide to Vermont Shopping and check-out some of the wonderful stores in the Killington Region and the surrounding towns.
Plymouth / Calvin Coolidge Homestead (Our hometown...)
Ludlow / Okemo (10 minutes)
Woodstock (20 minutes)
Weston (25 minutes)
Rutland (30 minutes)
Quechee (35 minutes)
Manchester (45 minutes)
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