East Dorset, VT 05253
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Stay on Rt. 7 South for 23.5 miles. Then turn right onto Sweeney Lane and take an immediate left onto Emerald Lake Lane.
Stay on Rt. 7 North for 8 miles then turn left onto Sweeney Lane and take an immediate left onto Emerald Lake Lane
Located conveniently between Manchester and Rutland, the park is popular for its wooded hillside campground, beach and swimming area, and nearby attractions and tourist destinations. The park surrounds 20-acre Emerald Lake, named for the emerald green color of its waters when viewed from above. Restricted to non-motorized watercraft, the lake is ideal for swimming and paddling. The lake also offers anglers an opportunity to catch yellow perch, small mouth bass, northern pike and other warm-water species. The park is a favorite destination of hikers, with the Long Trail and Appalachian Trail nearby, and trails on Dorset Mountain.
The Dorset area became well known for its marble quarries by the early 19th century. The first commercial marble quarry to open in the region, and likely the country, was opened in 1785 by Isaac Underhill on Mt Aeolus. The quarry age of Dorset spanned some 130 years. In the early years, marble was cut for uses like headstones and hearthstones. The Feedley and Sons Quarry, on the southern end of what is now the state park, opened in 1804. Huge blocks of stone were cut from the mountainsides at the Feedley quarry where they were placed on an inclined rail system and sent a mile down the mountain to a finishing mill. Finished stone was sent out on rail cars. During the quarry age peak, as many as 30 quarries harvested stone for many uses, including projects like the New York City library and many bank and public buildings across the country. Many local buildings and sidewalks are made from the local stone. By the beginning of the 20th century, however, quarrying marble in Dorset began to draw to a close. Quarries further north in West Rutland and Proctor proved to yield higher quality stone much easier than the rugged mountain quarries in Dorset.
Between 1918 and 1921 Robert Alfred Shaw purchased more than 1,000 acres of land, establishing North Dorset Farms. His acquisitions included the area surrounding Dorset Pond, which is now known as Emerald Lake. In 1957, following Mr. Shaw’s death, the State purchased approximately 1,000 acres from his estate. Approximately 500 acres, located adjacent to the park on the east side of US Route 7, is now Emerald Lake State Forest. The 430 acres on the west side of the highway comprises the park. In 1960, Emerald Lake State Park opened to the public. The original facilities included a small campground, beach and picnic area.
Today, the remains of past quarry operations can still be seen. Stone remains of the Freedley and Sons finishing plant are located approximately 2 miles south of the park. Other former quarries remain as water-filled pits. Examples of these can be seen along US Route 30 in Dorset and on the mountainside along Route 7. One of the more unique features from this bygone era is the North Dorset Cemetery located on the hill overlooking the park’s contact station and parking lot. The cemetery has many headstones made of local marble.
Facilities / Amenities
The park, located on a heavily wooded ridge above Emerald Lake, has 66 campsites and 37 lean-tos. Flush toilets, coin-operated hot showers, and a dump station are provided. There is a small beach with a snack bar and boat rental facilities (canoes, kayaks, row and pedal boats). A hillside picnic area, as well as lakeside picnic tables are available. Trails throughout the park and in the surrounding area provide great hiking opportunities. Swimming, fishing, and boating (no motors) are popular in the lake.
The park also has a picnic pavilion that can be rented. The pavilion seats up to 100 people and has electricity, grills, picnic tables, and a pit toilet nearby. The cost is $100 to rent (Fri - Sun) and FREE Mon - Thu (except holidays).
This park has a park interpreter offering fun, hands-on activities. Interpreters are park staff solely dedicated to helping you learn more about the natural and cultural history of the park. Some popular activities include night hikes, nature crafts and games, campfire programs and amphibian explorations.
Check out the calendar of current events to see some of the programs planned during your visit.