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Vale Perkins

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medium_perkins.4.jpgA hamlet in Potton Township, Vale Perkins, or East Potton, as it was once known, was named after Samuel Perkins who settled in this vicinity in the 1790s.

medium_perkins.2.jpgAt one time, Vale Perkins included a school, a church, a blacksmith shop, a general store, a post office and a cheese factory. It was a thriving little community at a crossroads on the west side of Lake Memphremagog.

Just down the road, on the lakeshore, was Perkins Landing, where a dock was built for steamers plying the lake between Magog, Quebec, and Newport, Vermont. The Mountain Maid, the Lady of the Lake, the Anthemis and other vessels brought a steady flow of traffic through this community for over a century.

medium_perkins.5.jpgToday, little remains of Vale Perkins, apart from the general store, which is owned, as it has been for years, by the Jewetts, a family with deep roots in the area. The store seems to have changed very in the past century or so, and retains its air of yesteryear. In fact, a poster from one of steamers still hangs on the wall inside.

The local post office, which opened here in 1865, was closed in 1970. The last postmistress was Mrs. Arma Jane Jewett.

medium_perkins.1.jpgNot far up the road from the general store is the old Jones Cemetery. Located in the middle of a cow pasture, this graveyard was originally a family burial ground, but, over the years, became the neighbourhood cemetery. The oldest gravestone dates to 1845; the most recent, to 1959.

Today, the Jones Cemetery is tended by a small group of volunteers – Jewetts for the most part – who hold clean-up “bees” once or twice a year. Mostly, it's grass cutting or fence mending. The lichens that cover most of the old marble headstones seem to be there to stay.

medium_perkins.3.jpgThe public dock at Perkins Landing is still used during the summer as an access point for boaters on Lake Memphremagog. Cottages line the lakeshore in both directions. Looming a kilometre or so to the south of Vale Perkins is Owl’s Head Mountain.

A ski resort since the 1960s, Owl’s Head is today one of the main attractions in the area.