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    The GTA Bucket List: Jay Peak & Northeastern Vermont

    Welcome to the Winter 2017 edition of the GTA Bucket List. This is Senior Arts and Culture Editor Mark Wigmore’s presentation of accessible and affordable travel ideas for those living in Southern Ontario. Previous episodes travelled to Prince Edward County, South Georgian Bay, Ottawa/Outaouais/Montebello and Niagara on the Lake. Those editions of the GTA Bucket List are available at the bottom of this post.

    In this edition: A Winter escape to Jay Peak Resort and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont!

    Vermont is the home of ‘Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream’, jam rockers ‘Phish’, and Bernie Sanders! But besides those pop-cultural landmarks, the region is blessed with people and geography that make it a very special place to visit. It’s a big State with as much variation as Ontario or Quebec. You can take your pick; from culture in the neighboring cities to the great outdoors.

    Driving to Northeastern Vermont takes just over 6 hours from the GTA by way of heading east on the 401, entering Quebec, and crossing the nearby US border. Once within the picturesque state lines, get ready for warmly lit homes nestled into the peaks and valleys of the landscape. Ice cream mountains and icing sugar powdered evergreens line the Northeast Kingdom roadways. Essex, Orleans and Caledonia counties make up the region with a population south of 100,000 people. Hamlets like Montgomery and Jay Village are dotted with county stores, charming inns, and candle lit eateries. It’s a place for hearty folk, farmers, frontiersmen and lovers of the outdoors.

    Click to enlarge

    At the heart of the Kingdom is Jay Peak Resort; the 4-seasons ski and snowboard lovers paradise that can boast something that all winter sports haven’s wish they had more of… Snow! And lots of it! The much talked about ‘Jay Cloud’ dumps record amounts of the white stuff almost yearly. In the last decade, the mountain services have seen a monumental shift thanks to new hotels restaurants and condos, plus the stunning addition of the Pump House indoor water park, a summer golf course, and an indoor NHL-sized hockey rink. The mountain features Nordic skiing and snowshoeing alongside its 78 downhill runs and 9 lifts.  At the centre of the resort’s success may be that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s quirky ad campaigns and laid back approach to the marketplace makes it one of the most original choices for winter travelers looking for a refreshing set of business values.

    Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom is one of the great trips for those looking to try something new. If you love winter, the outdoors, or just discovering the charm of a hearty people that rely on each other to thrive, this is a vacation well worth exploring. It’s rich with history, and a wild spirit.

    Mark would like to thank JJ Toland, Jay Peak Resort, The Inn, The Belfry, and Vermont Tourism for helping to put together this episode of the GTA Bucket List. Here are some helpful links to the places we visited.

    Jay Peak Resort
    Vermont Vacation
    The Inn
    The Jay Village Inn
    The Belfry

    And there are plenty more pictures up at on our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as on Mark Wigmore's Instagram.

    Click to enlarge


    As a bonus, here are Mark’s extended conversations:

    Jay Peak Communications Director JJ Toland

    Jay Peak Director of Snow Sports Craig Cimmons

    Jay Peak Pump House Operations Manager Scott Rubin

    The Inn’s Scott Pasfield

    The Belfry’s Manager, Lilly


    Prince Edward County – Mark explores southern Ontario’s other wine region, PEC. From farm-to-table restaurants, to rustic accommodations, and arts and culture in the Picton, Wellington and beyond!

    Montebello Quebec, The Outaouais Region & Ottawa – Mark embraces winter at some of Canada’s most exhilarating locations.

    South Georgian Bay – Mark travels to Blue Mountain, Thornbury, Meaford and more for winter fun.

    Niagara On The Lake – Mark takes a fall trip to the picturesque Southern Ontario destination for a wine tour and culinary exploration.

    If you have a GTA Bucket list suggestion, email mark at mwigmore@jazz.fm.

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    Thank you to all of you who contributed during our Early Spring Campaign.

    You are the reason we are able to return to our award-winning programming.


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