Jackson’s Lodge Offers Tranquility and a Peek into the Border’s ‘No Man’s Land’
July 28, 2022
Jackson’s Lodge sits along Lake Wallace, a small international lake that straddles Vermont and Quebec. Gloria Jackson grew up at Jackson’s Lodge, a family-owned, lakeside lodging property in the Vermont Northeast Kingdom town of Canaan that her parents bought in 1958.
Jackson purchased the Northeast Kingdom property from her parents in the 1980s. Today, Jackson’s Lodge includes lakeside cabins—some built 100 years ago and one that sits less than a dozen feet from the Canadian border.
-Cabins at Jackson’s Lodge in Canaan.
Canaan has a population of just under 900 and is located in the far eastern corner of the Northeast Kingdom. About 25 percent of the residents speak French as their primary language, making it one of New England’s “Little Canadas.” Jackson’s parents were born in Quebec and later moved to Canaan, where she has lived her entire life.
“My grandfather, Arnold Jackson, owned most of the land on the Canadian side of Lake Wallace,” Jackson says. “He was a logger and had a mill on the outlet of Lake Wallace. What’s interesting about his sawmill was that he would harvest timber and put it into the sawmill in Canada. But when it came out of the mill, it was in the U.S.”
That proximity to Canada is part of what makes Jackson’s Lodge appealing. In the summer, you can cross the lake into Canada if you’re kayaking, swimming, or boating—as long as you don’t set foot on the Canadian shoreline. But in winter, when Lake Wallace is frozen and considered “land,” you can’t cross the border from the lake.
“A lot of people ask in the summer, ‘How does this work?’” Jackson says. “We say you can go anywhere you want in the lake; you just can’t touch Canadian soil.”
-Partners in life and work: Mark Leveillee and Gloria Jackson at Jackson’s Lodge.
The Slash Along the Border
At first glance, it may seem as if there isn’t an obvious border marker near the water. But look across the mile-long lake, and it won’t take long to spot “the Slash,” a treeless zone of land that runs along the entire U.S.-Canadian border.
The U.S.-Canadian border extends 5,525 miles from Maine to Alaska. Keeping the boundary vista in proper condition is the responsibility of the International Boundary Commission.
The commission, founded under the Treaty of 1908, was created to complete re-establishment and mapping the boundary from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The commission inspects, maintains, oversees more than 8,000 monuments and reference points. It also manages 1,000 survey control stations and keeps a 20-foot-wide clear vista along the land boundary line.
-A view of the Slash behind Jackson’s Lodge.
Behind Jackson’s lodge sits one of the boundary monuments, and an impressive view to the east of the Slash.
“It’s considered no man’s land. It’s neither the U.S. nor Canada,” says Mark Leveillee, Jackson’s partner who helps her run the lodging property. “We’ve been told that people hike from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean in the Slash—because they can.”
Leveille says he’s never seen hikers in the Slash, but he and Jackson welcome guests who come just to see the Slash.
“Occasionally, we have guests on a mission—people who travel the border. Their goal is to start in Maine and head toward the Pacific—they travel and visit sites on the border,” he says. “People book with us so they can stand in the border and experience it. There’s a niche group of people, and that’s their travel endeavor.”
-The U.S. side of Lake Wallace.
Why to Visit Jackson’s Lodge
Whether you’re intrigued by the Slash or just looking for a place to unplug and get away, Jackson’s Lodge is ideal for a summer of early fall escape. Guests from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, and beyond typically return yearly, usually visiting for about a week. Visitors generally find Jackson’s Lodge by word of mouth.
“I think people love quiet time, family time, and reconnecting,” Jackson says. “They’re all making wonderful family memories. And that’s what we try to deliver—families making memories and being happy when they’re here. People come here once, and then they’re like, ‘We’re coming back.’”
Happy Vermont Podcast: Jackson’s Lodge, The Slash, and a Tiny International Lake
-A summer campfire at Jackson’s Lodge on Lake Wallace.
Happy Vermont’s latest podcast episode features Gloria Jackson and her partner Mark Leveillee sharing what makes Jackson’s Lodge, Lake Wallace, and Canaan special. You can find Happy Vermont on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and Google Podcasts.
Visit Jackson’s Lodge at www.jacksonslodgevt.net.