SEYON LODGE STATE PARK
Noyes Pond is best accessed from Seyon Lodge State Park in Groton, Vermont. Seyon Lodge is the only state-owned destination of its kind in the state, where guests can experience the rugged outdoors with the warm comforts of a cozy inn. It calls itself Vermont’s best kept secret for a good reason.
It was built as a hunting and fishing cabin in the 1890s, and purchased by the state in the 1960s to create the state park. In the 1970s, the lodge grew in popularity and was even used as a getaway place by several Vermont governors. Today, Seyond Lodge provides affordable year-round lodging for up to 16 guests.
Noyes Pond spans 39 acres is in the midst of the 27,000 acres of Groton State Forest. Its secluded setting allows visitors to enjoy some of the most beautiful and undisturbed scenery in the state. Probably the biggest draw to Noyes Pond is fly fishing — it offers Vermont’s sole public fly fishing-only pond. In addition, the pond is used for hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing in winter.
Not surprisingly, I also find Noyes Pond to be an excellent destination for landscape photography. Standing on its eastern shore, there are great vantage points for making compelling photographs here. And if you feel like photographing from the water, you can rent a row boat at the lodge.
To the south, Signal Mountain adds a shapely contour to the landscape, while partly-submerged boulders provide foreground for wide-angle images.
BEST TIME TO PHOTOGRAPH
Probably the best time to come to Noyes Pond is at the peak of fall foliage in late September or early October. You can make great photographs here at either sunrise or sunset, depending whether you prefer the sun to be over your shoulder or in your face (for different effects). Ideally come on a windless day to include a mirror reflection of the colorful foliage and surrounding hills.
If you come for sunrise on an autumn morn, there’s a good chance that you’ll be rewarded with a layer of fog over the calm pond, adding yet another element of photogenic interest to your images.
If you enjoy night photography, this can also be a night destination in late summer when the Milky Way passes to the south over Signal Mountain.
Seyon Lodge State Park is a bit out of the way, which adds to its rugged appeal. The lodge itself is located at 2967 Seyon Pond Road in Groton, Vermont. From the parking area, you can simply walk down to nearby Noyes Pond. Note that the posted hours to the state park for day visitors are from 6 a.m. to sunset.
Seyon Pond Road is off US-302 in Groton. Head west on US-302 from Groton and turn right onto Seyon Pond Road. The lodge and pond are located at the end of the three-mile dirt road deep in Groton State Forest.
Unless you decide to rent a row boat at the lodge, you’ll be photographing from shore, so the risk tends to be minimal unless you fall in the pond. Perhaps the bigger risk is the potential of running into wildlife as you drive the curved three-mile dirt road in and out of the state park.
As I mentioned earlier, Seyon Lodge State Park is open daily from 6 a.m. to sunset. So, if you need to photograph the pond outside the posted hours, be sure to ask permission from the rangers who run the lodge and state park — they’re very nice people from my experience.
Night photography is a bit trickier, as they do not allow non-guests to be in the state park outside the posted hours. So, the best way to take a night photo here is to make arrangements to stay at the lodge, which gives you 24-hour access. Be aware that the lodge is usually full in summer, so advance reservations are a must if you plan on renting one of the eight available rooms.
I hope you enjoy the pristine surroundings of Noyes Pond as much as I do. Wishing you great photos!