WilloughVale Inn and Cottages, Vermont

Few places are as beautiful and family-friendly as Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. Think brisk fall days, clear lakes, and great hiking. If you’re looking for a great place to stay while visiting, I highly recommend the WilloughVale Inn and Cottages at Lake Willoughby. Lake Willoughby is cool, clear, and beautifully situated between two steep mountains, making it an idea spot to swim and play in summer and hike and boat in autumn, all while enjoying the view. The WilloughVale Inn sits right on the shore, and even has a lakeside playground with a play structure, a shed full of lawn toys, and a water trampoline moored about 30 feet off the shore. There are also canoes, kayaks, and a paddleboat available to guests of the inn free of charge.

Lake Willoughby VT

We stayed in one of the lakeview cottages, and enjoyed a full kitchen, living room (with a fireplace!), two bedrooms (one with a Jacuzzi tub!) and a beautiful porch with stunning lake views. The cabin made it easy to serve the kids an early breakfast, accommodate naptimes, and put the kids to bed early without hiding out in a hotel hallway waiting for them to fall asleep! Dinner at the inn was a breeze too: Gil’s Bar and Grill has a nice selection for adults and kids, and even serves a popular local delicacy: Ben and Jerry’s!

WilloughVale Inn

What to do at Lake Willoughby:

The lake will keep you busy, especially if you have water babies in your group, but just in case you encounter a rainy day, there are plenty of day trips in the Willoughby area. The WillougVale Inn has a list of activities including the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury, VT and (in season) the Vermont Corn Maze in Danville, VT. We lucked out during our visit and caught the Sunday afternoon show at Bread and Puppets, a local theater company specializing in…you guessed it…puppets! The Bread and Puppets campus has a puppet museum and produces shows during the summer (check the website for times and dates). Bread and Puppets is a unique experience, and I’ll only recommend it if no one in your group finds giant papier mache puppets, um…creepy.

For a tamer option, the Cabot factory is about 30 minutes away in Cabot, VT and the Ben and Jerry’s factory is always a hit (about an hour away in Waterville, VT).

Date last visited:


Distance from the interstate:

About 20 miles off I-91 at exit 23 in Lyndon, VT.

When to visit:

Summer and fall are the peak seasons at Lake Willoughby, but the WilloughVale is open during the winter, and I’m willing to bet it’s a beautiful place to spend a few snowy nights as well!

Lodging rates:

Summer prices are from $99/night in the main inn; up to $319/night in the lakefront cottages.

WilloughVale Inn

Food services:

Gil’s Bar and Grill at the WilloughVale is open Tuesday–Sunday during the summer (Wednesday–Sunday during the shoulder season, and weekends only after October 15th) and offers casual food such as burgers and ribs, as well as a kids’ menu. There is also a tasty roadside stand (think frosty-freeze) about 2 miles north on route 5A. (This roadside stand even serves poutine, for those of you who have spent time in northern New England/Cananda and aren’t worried about your cholesterol!)


Directions and driving times to WilloughVale Inn from nearby cities are listed on the website.

As we disclose whenever applicable, we were hosted at WilloughVale for the purpose of review. While we appreciated the chance to experience Lake Willoughby, this compensation came with no expectation of a positive review.