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Balance Rock

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medium_balance.jpgBalance Rock is a famous boulder situated on Long (formerly Manitou) Island in the middle of Lake Memphremagog. The rock has long been associated with Native legend. According to tradition, the Abenakis who used to inhabit the area believed that it guarded the entrance to the afterlife. It was a sacred place and few dared to venture near it.

Legend states that, on the day of the local Abenaki chief's wedding, he was ordered by a high priestess from the island to give his bride to the Manitou. The chief was grief-stricken but obeyed the command. He became deranged and, in a violent storm, tried to paddle out to the island. His canoe was overturned in the storm and he drowned. The storm continued to rage, and that night the large rock guarding the entrance to heaven mysteriously moved to the south end of the island, and all trace of the entrance vanished.

The name Balance Rock derives from the curious fact that the boulder was somewhat oval-shaped and balanced on its side. The rock, which no longer balances, is said to have been dynamited by a group of students in the 1920s.