Updated: Mar 22
Scott Wheeler, who publishes Northland Journal (a monthly magazine celebrating the people and places of the Northeast Kingdom) can explain the factors that lead to Newport’s Main Street demise: the pullout of the railroad in 1965 and the arrival of Interstate 91 in 1972. But, that’s old news.
Wednesday on the Waterfront!
The MAC Center for the Arts!
Dusit Thai Cuisine! Kingdom Brewing!
These are the headlines of Newport today.
With both an impressive history and an exciting future, the city boasts such recent ventures as a weekly summer music festival (Wednesday on the Waterfront); the Memphremagog Arts Collaborative (MAC) Center for the Arts; Dusit Thai Cuisine; and Kingdom Brewing. Kingdom Brewing (the northernmost brewery in Vermont) advertises itself as “a mile from Canada, but a million miles from normal.” Launched in 2011 by Brian Cook and his wife, Jennifer, Kingdom Brewing sells roughly 600 31-gallon barrels a year on-site, as well as thousands of growlers and 22-ounce bottles. “As fast as I fill them, they buy ’em,” says Brian. He also sends kegs to restaurants throughout the state and to Burlington International Airport. There’s a food truck in the parking lot in the summertime and live music every Friday and Saturday night. The biggest sellers are Out of Bounds, a double IPA whose name pays tribute to the skiing tradition in the Northeast Kingdom, and Round Barn Red, named after the largest round barn in Vermont, which burned down in nearby Irasburg in 2016.
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Newport has a famed history of live music. In the 20th Century, internationally celebrated performers regularly stopped in Newport on their way from Montreal to Boston. Stars such as Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, and Rosemary Clooney performed at the International Club, which at one time boasted the largest dance floor in all of New England. More than 200 feet long and 60 feet wide, it could accommodate 2,000 dancers.
Although the ballroom is long- gone, the arts are still alive and well in Newport today. Since 2007, local artists and handcrafters have had their own venue to display and sell their creations at the Memphremagog Arts Collaborative (MAC) Center for the Arts.
Besides offering an array of products, this non-profit’s 2,000-square-foot store on Main Street also offers classes, workshops, and performanc- es. In 2017, Newport launched a summertime series of outdoor music concerts. Wednesday on the Waterfront came about after local residents Andrea Carbine and Vero Rancourt spent an evening talking about how the waterfront was underutilized, and about the need for more culture in town. “We said ‘we should do this. There’s no reason why we can’t.’” Andrea recalls, adding that the support of the community has been “wonderful” with local banks, and nearby Jay Peak resort chipping in financially. “We definitely couldn’t have done it without them”.
Did You Know?
The city’s location lies at the southern end of Memphremagog, a 30-mile- long body of water with rolling hills on both sides, culminating in the 2,451-foot- high Owl’s Head on the Canadian side. Some claim the lake’s name is a derivation of a Native American term for “beautiful water.”
Featured in Newport!
Kingdom Brewing(802) 334-7096
Dusit Thai Cuisine
MAC Center for the Arts
Wednesday on the Waterfront
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