Submitted by Liz Schroeter Courtney, Gihon Valley Hall Committee
In the far northeast corner of the Town of Hyde Park lies the little village known as North Hyde Park. Built along the banks of the Gihon River, it was once a bustling lumber industry hub with a grist mill, a school, and several stores and churches to serve the local residents. Over the years as the highway was expanded and businesses relocated, North Hyde Park has lost some of its neighborhood feel. But in 2017, North Hyde Park Village was awarded Village Center Designation status and new developments are afoot.
In 2019 the town invested in a new roof for the former Grange hall in the center of North Hyde Park Village, and a committee formed to re-open the hall as the Gihon Valley Hall, a community space for events and live music. Currently the committee is also working with the Lamoille County Planning Commission on a municipal planning project to explore solutions to improve safety and accessibility for pedestrians, bikes, and folks looking to park their cars in the village center to attend events at the Gihon Valley Hall.
While large events are on pause at the moment due to COVID, the Gihon Valley Hall has recently hosted some functions on the front lawn for Green Up Day and July 4th, welcoming small groups into the building to see the lovely hall and the antique stage curtain which features a scene of Lake Eden hand-painted by Charles Andrus in 1911.
If you’re planning a drive along the Green Mountain Byway, do yourself a favor and take the long way up through North Hyde Park. When you reach the traffic circle just north of Hyde Park Village where Routes 15 and 100 split, take 100 north. Almost immediately the landscape opens up to undulating farmland as you leave the more densely populated areas of Morrisville and Stowe behind. Mt Mansfield is visible to the south and the rugged hills of the Northeast Kingdom line the horizon to the north. Rt 100 gently dips and curves past fields and forest until bending downhill into the Gihon River Valley where the North Village is nestled. In the winter snow the sight of the little cluster of homes lining Rt 100 looks just like a miniature Christmas Village you might place upon your mantle.
South of the village is the Fox Hollow Country Store where you can find local crafts year round and beautiful, plump pumpkins in the fall. On Ferry Street on the eastern end of the village the Aither family sells their maple syrup from a small gift shop. Around the holidays it’s a popular place to buy a Christmas tree. If you turn west onto Rt 100C to make the loop back to Johnson, you can gas up at the River Valley Store where they have a very well-curated selection of craft beers. Or if you drive north through North Hyde Park village toward the town of Eden, you can make a left onto Mudgett Hill Rd — which is a hill indeed that quickly gives you a sweeping view of Rt 100 below. From there take a left onto Ober Hill Rd and you’ll be on your way back to Rt 100C and onward to Johnson Village, also a gorgeous drive through rolling farmland, forest and river bends.