Find out why all the city slickers are heading to Jamaica, Vermont, for their weekend getaway. This small town nestled at the confluence of the West River and Ball Mountain Brook is a veritable destination all year round, a city that’s unmistakably Vermont in its look and atmosphere.
Jamaica was once a thriving industrial town with many ups and downs in its heyday after being chartered in the 18th century. Today, we can still see the traces of this rich history. One of the most notable relics of that era is the West River Trail, a beautiful all-season hiking trail on the former rail bed of the West River Railroad. The railroad was an ambitious public transportation project that connected towns along the West River banks to New York.
With so much of its history connected to the West River, you will find that Jamaica is a fishing destination in its own right. It also offers an excellent gateway to neighboring towns with equally good access to the river. So if you’re looking for a relaxing getaway in a quiet city that has great access to productive fishing, better include Jamaica in your Vermont bucket list.
Spending a quick weekend in Jamaica? Then head to Jamaica State Park, one of the most popular state parks in the region. It sits at the end of the West River and offers plenty of opportunities to fish in the river’s fast ripples and deep slow-running waters. Some fish species you can expect to find in the river are rainbow trout, brown trout, and smallmouth bass.
Combine fishing and camping at the nearby Winhall Brook Camping Area, located outside Jamaica in the village of South Londonderry. You can access West River, Winhall Brook, and Ball Mountain Lake from this modern campground. Enjoy casting a line for brook, brown, and rainbow trout in several shore fishing access and boat launches amid wooded forests home to remarkably diverse wildlife.
If you happen to be in Southern Vermont in winter, try your hand at ice-fishing over Retreat Meadows in nearby Brattleboro. This section is popular among ice fishers who set up ice shanties near the Brattleboro Retreat, north of downtown Brattleboro. The fish species anglers can find here include yellow perch, bluegill, chain pickerel, black crappie, bass, and northern pike traveling up and down the Connecticut River.
Just a few minutes away from Jamaica is the neighboring town of Londonderry, where you can fish Lowell Lake. It is situated in a well-loved state park with the same name. The lake boasts clean waters that support populations of largemouth bass, chain pickerel, pumpkinseed sunfish, yellow perch, northern pike, black bass, and bullhead.
After hiking and fishing in Jamaica, enjoy the company of locals at the various summer festivals and events all over town, including flea markets, craft fairs, and even local theater.
Whether you’re a fan of classical music or not, you will enjoy the Pikes Falls Chamber Music Festival in Jamaica and the rest of Southern Vermont around July every year. The setlist of the festival will appeal to music-lovers of all types, often including Baroque classics, electro-classical compositions, and selections from Schubert, Brahms, and more.