Viewing the 2024 Solar Eclipse in St. Johnsbury, Vermont: What to See, Do and Eat | 2024 Solar Eclipse | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Viewing the 2024 Solar Eclipse in St. Johnsbury, Vermont: What to See, Do and Eat

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Published February 10, 2024 at 4:18 p.m.


Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium - FILE: RACHEL HELLMAN
  • File: Rachel Hellman
  • Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium
Visitors searching for an eclipse-watching home base with big draws but a small-town feel need look no further than St. Johnsbury, a historic community right off Interstate 91. Home to just 7,300 residents, it’s small but mighty — and actually the most populous town in the rural Northeast Kingdom. With destinations ranging from a dog lovers’ mecca to Vermont’s only public planetarium to world-class craft brewing and distilling, St. J punches above its weight. Here’s a suggested itinerary.

Note: Check websites to confirm business hours for the day you visit.

Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium

Vermont’s answer to the Smithsonian is a must-see Victorian-era treasure trove filled with eclectic natural science and history exhibits. Don’t leave without seeing John Hampson’s 19th-century bug art: nine works composed entirely of colorful beetles, butterflies and moths, including portraits of George Washington and Abe Lincoln! Astronomers and educators offer up a full afternoon of special presentations at the Sun+Moon+YOU eclipse event on April 8, but you can take an out-of-this-world tour in the immersive planetarium any day of the week.
1302 Main St., St. Johnsbury

Lamoille Valley Rail Trail

Bikers on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail - FILE: GLENN RUSSELL
  • File: Glenn Russell
  • Bikers on the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail

This 93-mile mixed-use recreational trail, built on a defunct railroad bed, starts in St. Johnsbury and runs north almost to the Canadian border. The smooth gravel and pavement path is open for four-season recreation, including walking, hiking, cycling and horseback riding in the warmer months, and snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and even dogsledding in the winter.
Trailhead: 543 Main St., St. Johnsbury

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum

It serves as the public library for the town, but this National Historic Landmark also houses a small but impressive salon-style gallery featuring more than 100 works by American and European artists. With spiral staircases, a painted ceiling, black walnut floors and walls, and an arched ceiling skylight, the building is a marvel from top to bottom.
1171 Main St., St. Johnsbury

Dog Mountain

Dog Chapel - FILE: TRISTAN VON DUNTZ
  • File: Tristan von Duntz
  • Dog Chapel

Dog Mountain pays homage to our best friends with 150 acres of hiking trails, ponds for dogs to swim in, grassy fields, a Dog Chapel and a gallery devoted to the folk art of its creator, the late Stephen Huneck. It's not just dog friendly; it's a nonstop dog celebration. Canines can sniff, run, pee, play, romp and sniff some more, all of which is just fine. Don’t miss the remembrance wall in the chapel, covered with tributes to departed dogs.
143 Parks Rd., St. Johnsbury

Whirligig Brewing

Whirligig Brewing - FILE: SUZANNE PODHAIZER
  • File: Suzanne Podhaizer
  • Whirligig Brewing

This brewery defies well-worn expectations of pub fare, pairing dishes that are surprising cultural mashups with 10 of its own brews on tap. Try the cantina-style riff on Swiss raclette or the succulent smoked ribs piled on a dish aptly named Happiness on Chips. Pours range from Sour Bunnies! ale to What Should I Call This IPA?
397 Railroad St., St. Johnsbury

Maple Grove Farms Sugar House Museum

Learn about the sugaring process, then sample maple candies, taste the varying grades of syrup and stock up on that liquid gold — plus baking mixes and other specialty items — at this family farm that’s been sourcing sap from the surrounding maple trees for more than 100 years.
1052 Portland St., St. Johnsbury

St. Johnsbury Distillery

All of St. Johnsbury Distillery’s spirits are fermented, distilled and bottled in Vermont, including St. Johnsbury Gin, Dunc’s Elderflower Rum and Vermont Vodka — the last of which is made with maple syrup, naturally. Take a tour, sample spirits in the tasting room and stay for dinner in the on-site Prohibition Kitchen, a speakeasy-style joint that will host an eclipse after-party featuring lunar cocktails and mocktails and live music.
74 Eastern Ave., St. Johnsbury

Downtown Delights

Stroll through St. Johnsbury’s walkable downtown to discover a charming assortment of independently owned shops, restaurants and galleries. Find one-of-a-kind gifts at Art & Joy (375 Railroad St.), linger over a new novel and an espresso at indie bookstore Boxcar & Caboose (394 Railroad St.), browse carefully curated secondhand goods at Haven (18 Eastern Ave.), and discover singular works from Vermont artisans and crafters at Northeast Kingdom Artisans Guild (430 Railroad St.).

Consult the 2024 Vermont Solar Eclipse Guide for all our coverage including local eclipse events as well as places to eat, shop and play in the path of totality.

Planning a public event for Eclipse Day in Vermont? Promote it for free in our calendar. To pitch a story for the upcoming Eclipse Preview Guide published in Seven Days on April 3, contact us at [email protected].

Vermont Vacation logo The 2024 Vermont Solar Eclipse Guide is sponsored by the Vermont Department of Tourism. Find more information to plan your trip at VermontVacation.com/solar-eclipse.

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