Home to Vermont’s oldest secondary school, Thetford Academy, Thetford, Vermont has a thriving local community with a population of approximately 2,600. This number fluctuates during the summer months because Thetford has many vacation homes as well as Camp Farnsworth, a Girl Scouts summer camp, which houses more than 300 Girl Scouts each summer.
Thetford, VT is broken down into six villages, East Thetford, North Thetford, Thetford Hill, Thetford Center, Rices Mills and Post Mills. Each village has its own unique characteristics and charm. Thetford is located along the Connecticut River, north of Norwich and across the river from Lyme, New Hampshire.
The Town of Thetford, Vermont
History of Thetford
Thetford was chartered in 1761, like many towns in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire and Vermont, by Governor Wentworth, through the New Hampshire Grants. Thetford was named after Augustus Henry Fitzroy, who was the 4th Viscount Thetford and moved on to become Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in 1768.
The town was settled by a man named John Chamberlin in 1764. Like many early settlers in the Upper Valley, John Chamberlin lived along the banks of the Connecticut River in the area that is now referred to as East Thetford. The town’s population waxed and waned over the years as it was a hub of activity.
Soon after its settlement, the town of Thetford saw its first mill come to town. A saw mill and grist mill both built, owned and operated by a man named Eldad Post. If you’ve ever wondered where the village of Post Mills got its name, now you know. Eldad Post operated his mills from very early in the town’s settlement up until 1782 when he sold the mills to his sons.
Over the next 100 years, Thetford became a hustling and bustling manufacturing community. The town was the location of many factories, shops and mills such as a blacksmith, furniture maker, woolen clothing mill, linseed oil mill, a fishing rod factory, four grist mills, a carriage shop and many more. The town progresses from there into what it is today.
As Thetford is divided into six villages, this gives the area a small town feel. For more than 250 years Thetford, Vermont has been welcoming visitors and new residents alike. The town being located on the Connecticut River made for an active hub during the early days of town, and today it is located not very far from major employers of the Upper Valley.
Approximately half of the town residents of Thetford work within the town limits, while the other half work throughout the Upper Valley. Major areas of employment can be found in nearby Hanover and Lebanon, New Hampshire as well as other area towns. The largest employers in the region are Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, located in Lebanon and Dartmouth College which is located in Hanover, New Hampshire. Other employment opportunities are found throughout the Upper Valley, with highlights on technology, industry, retail and hospitality.
There are two covered bridges in Thetford, the Sayers Covered Bridge, located on Tucker Hill Road and the Union Village Bridge, located on Academy Road. The Sayers Bridge spans the Ompompanoosuc River in Thetford, Vermont. It was built in 1839 and spans 127 feet across the river in the village of Thetford Center. The Union Village Bridge is 111 feet long and carries Academy Road across the Ompompanoosuc River. The Union Village Covered Bridge was built in 1867.
Both bridges, located in Thetford, are easily accessible and popular landmarks for travelers and visitors to photograph. There is parking along the sides of the roads, but caution is advised. Both the Sayers and Union Village Covered Bridges are a wonderful part of the town and its rich history.
In 1819 local citizens founded Thetford Academy and were granted charter by legislature. The school was destroyed by fire in 1942 but was rebuilt in its present location. Designated in lieu of a public high school, Thetford Academy in Thetford, Vermont is an independent school that serves as the town’s public high school. Not only do students from Thetford attend the school, but it is a highly coveted school for parents to send their children for high school education. Students from all around the Upper Valley attend Thetford Academy. Known for its challenging and well structured college prep program, Thetford Academy gives students great access to technical education programs.
It’s notable that Thetford Academy has a very successful VEX Robotics program. This is the first VRC (VEX Robotics Competition) in the state of Vermont. Vex Robotic Competitions encourage teams to build and program a robot to complete a specific task which is revealed at the previous years world championship competition. As it was the first in the state, Thetford Academy has taken the lead and has helped establish other teams in Vermont. VEX Robotics Design System is a robotic kit intended for educational purposes. The kit includes electric motors, wheels, gears, sensors, as well as many more sensitive and structural components.
Things to do in Thetford, VT
Year round recreational opportunities can be found at the Union Village Dam. The recreational area at the dam is one of the best in the area. Try your hand at fishing and catch some brown or rainbow trout, sunbathe out by the river, swim in the Ompompanoosuc River or hike the trails.
There’s a mystery at the Union Village Dam, and you can help solve it. Get out your magnifying glass (not really) and get to work, detective! The Mystery Trail is a fun adventure for people of all ages, and it changes each day. You walk the trail and piece together a fun historical puzzle. There is also a Forest Management Trail where you can see ongoing management practices and learn about Vermont’s land history.
When fall and winter arrive, the recreational area becomes a prime location for leaf peeping, hunting and then onto cross country skiing and snowmobiling on the system of multi-use trails. There’s a little bit of everything and something for every person in the family here. There are shelters available for functions and gatherings which can hold up to 75 people. You’re encouraged to make reservations ahead of time at recreation.gov.
Aside from the Union Village Dam and other area recreational activities, the town of Thetford, Vermont has a great Rec department with a slew of programs. They offer residents the opportunity to participate in athletics and other activities. There are town programs that begin with Kindergarten aged children including sports programs such as basketball, softball and skiing. There are also adult opportunities such as pickup basketball and soccer games.
Aside from sports programs, the town also offers a Future Stars Performance program, which is for children in grades K-6. This program gives kids the change to discover music, theater, story telling and more. The events take place at the Thetford, VT Elementary School.
Calling Thetford Home
Living in Thetford, Vermont means you’ll be immersed in a wonderful, small town community. Not too far from the local hustle and bustle of White River Junction, Hanover and Lebanon, but far enough to enjoy peace and quiet in the country.
Surrounded by the trees, rolling fields and rolling hills, Thetford, Vermont offers many wonderful neighborhoods, quiet country roads and hilltop homes. Each village has its own unique characteristics and provides for a small, New England town feel.
There seems to be an endless list of activities to do in and around Thetford, especially for those who love the adventure of being outdoors in Vermont. In Thetford, you can enjoy everything fro hiking to biking, camping, swimming, snowmobiling and everything in between.
Thetford is served by one of the areas best high schools, Thetford Academy. Not only do students from Thetford attend the school as it is utilized in lieu of a public school, but parents of students from all over the Upper Valley opt to send their children to Thetford Academy.
There is a wide selection of real estate in Thetford. Beautiful modern homes and country farm homes with plenty of character make up part of the market. The median home value in Thetford is approximately $260,000. While this is a modest median home valuation for the area, there are plenty of homes that fall both below and above this median value. There are typically lots of land available if building your dream home is something you’ve always wanted to do. Thetford has a housing options for everyone, and it is a wonderful place to live.