Waterfalls of Vermont (and New Hampshire)

October 27, 2015


From the late autumn of 2014 I started photographing waterfalls in the vicinity of my residences in Dummerston and Morrisville, Vermont – southern and northern ends of the state. It is not that I hadn’t taken plenty of waterfall pictures before this time, I had. But around this time I became fascinated with the long exposure effects I could obtain, first with a tripod and shutter release cable and later by adding a neutral density filter that added, well, density to the images. Technology and photographic effects aside, I have always been attracted to water. Just take a look at my swim book here and you make the connection between me and water.

But I am certainly not the only one who is fascinated by waterfalls. I have a photo gallery on Instagram (find me @stavella2314), where I follow mostly landscape photographers. What do I see a lot of?  Sunsets and sunrises, mountains, and … waterfalls! What is the human fascination with falling water? I am not a psychologist, so I can’t explain it. I don’t think it needs explaining, however. Water moves something deep in us. Water – especially ocean and waterfall – evokes feeling, emotion, something beyond words, something deep within us. For me, a waterfall talks to me at a place beyond words.

I live above what I consider one of the most beautiful streams and multi-level falls in southern Vermont: Stickney Brook. I have attempted to photograph these falls from practically every angle and I still do not feel I have captured their essence. One picture in this series is from there. For nearly 30 years I have been enjoying those falls and they never grow old. They always invite me back for more. Starting late last year I discovered a whole other area of my beloved Vermont in the mountains, valleys and hidden falls of the Montpelier/Morrisville/Stowe area. Among the many discoveries were some of the waterfalls pictured here. Another thing I discovered is that some of them do not seem to have names. I looked everywhere on the internet to find them, but only mapped one. So I took the liberty of giving some of them my own names. I visited them regularly in the spring time when the light grew longer, often without my camera. I have always said that the best pictures I have taken were the ones I never took.

All photographs use exposures between 10 and 25 seconds, and are taken with my Nikon D3100 digital SLR.


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The upper portion of the Stickney Brook cascades, otherwise known as Jelly Mill Falls

Dummerston, Vermont


My partner – @surfsidecp on Instagram and a wonderful photographer – and I “discovered” this waterfall as we were bush-whacking through the woods below our home. It feeds a well-known waterfall that can be seen on the west side of route 30 between the green iron and covered bridges in Dummerston. To my knowledge, it does not have a documented name. I call it “The Secret”

Here is a video clip of the entire waterfall

Dummerston, Vermont


Moving north and west to the Manchester area and Lye Brook Falls, which at 160 feet (nearly 50 meters) is Vermont’s tallest. This visit was made during a prolonged dry-spell, so the fall was not flowing very heavily.

Manchester, Vermont


Moving north and slightly east: The falls at the old mill.

Brandon, Vermont


Staying on the west side of the state and into the center of the beautiful college town of Middlebury. Viewing Middlebury falls, an old mill site on the Otter Creek.

Middlebury, Vermont


In north central Vermont along scenic route 100 you find possibly the most photographed waterfall in the state – Moss Glen. Driving here, either from the north or the south is one of the most beautiful drives in the state.

Granville, Vermont


Northfield is a town many visit for its four covered bridges – three of them within site of each other at the right season. Cox Brook rambles under all these bridges with long stretches of cascading falls.

Northfield, Vermont

 VT_rt12_Falls01Along a stretch of route 12 between Montpelier and Morrisville, on the edge of what is known as the Northeast Kingdom in Vermont, lie four falls on the North Branch of the Winooski River. I discovered them through complete serendipity on my commute from Barre to Morrisville from late 2014 to the middle of 2015. I drove this road initially because of its reputation for moose sitings. Spending time at hidden waterfalls soon became my primary pursuit. I could only find a documented name for one of these waterfalls, thus I have attributed unofficial names to three of them.

Above, “Hidden Gem”






This waterfall has an official name: North Branch Falls. How boring for such a beautiful fall. The only indication that this exists is a rough pull-off on the side of remote route 12.



“Hemlock Grove”


“The Other” Moss Glen Falls. There are two named Moss Glen in Vermont. At 125 feet (approximately 38 meters), this fall once was used as a source of water power, as were several other waterfalls in this post. Peregrine falcons sometimes nest in the steep cliffs adjacent to the falls.

Stowe, Vermont


The Winooski Falls, (adjacent to Vermont’s largest city, Burlington) comprising two drops (this is the first one),  has provided waterpower for about as long as there have been settlers in Vermont. The Winooski is one of the largest rivers in the state. Winooski is an Abenaki (Native American) word meaning “onion” for the wild onions that commonly grow all along the banks of the river.


In September of this year my partner and I hiked in one of my favorite spots in the U.S. northeast – the Presidential Range of northern New Hampshire. Pictured here, the Ammonoosuc River that spills down nearly the entire Ammonoosuc ravine leading to the summits of Mts. Washington and Monroe.

In my next post I will transition to a photographic journey of my new, temporary life in the Republic of Georgia where I currently reside and work as a management adviser to a peace center. I will reside in Georgia from September, 2015, through March, 2016.

See you soon… I hope.  🙂


In the White Mountain National Forest: Swirling waters at Willey House, Crawford Notch, New Hampshire

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All content copyrighted © Stephen Tavella


4 thoughts on “Waterfalls of Vermont (and New Hampshire)

    • Hello Susanna! Always so good to hear from you. Spending at least the next six months in Georgia (the country) helping a peace institute here in Tbilisi. I guess I can be a city boy too. Beautiful city, and incredible history. Hope to see more of the countryside in the coming months.

      I trust your you had a busy growing season and are stocked for the winter? How is your music going? I must stop by Facebook. I’m not a frequent visitor. Sending blessings and warmest thoughts. Miss seeing you and hearing your enchanting music. Steve

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