Bordering the Connecticut River in southeastern Caledonia County, Barnet is bounded by Waterford, St. Johnsbury, Ryegate, Peacham and Danville.
Barnet is the home to 7,000-acre Harvey’s Lake in the southwest part of town, which got its name from Scotland-born Colonel Alexander Harvey. The area around the lake has many camps and year-round houses, making it a popular destination for locals and summer residents. The town is well watered with several streams running into the Connecticut River. The Stevens River issues from the north end of the lake and runs southeasterly before emptying into the Connecticut.
Home to several farms, Barnet was originally settled by the Scots. It was the first town chartered in the region in 1763. The date Barnet was organized is unknown, though town meeting documents date back to 1783. Town residents took a very active role in Vermont’s declaration of independence and the formation of the state constitution and government. Alexander Harvey represented the town in three conventions in 1777, which declared the state independent and formed the constitution. Barnet was named for the town of Barnet, England, where the great-grandfather of Enos Stevens once lived. Stevens, who was born 1739, was an early resident of Barnet who had 10 children born here. Barnet has five quaint villages – Barnet Village, East Barnet, West Barnet, McIndoe Falls and Passumpsic. All have at least one church, the foundation of these communities.
McIndoe Falls is the location of a hydroelectric dam on the Connecticut River, which separates Barnet from Monroe, N.H. It is one of three power-generating dams on the river in the Northeast Kingdom. There are no big box stores in Barnet, just specialty shops of Vermont products and necessities. Barnet is home to Karme Choling, a Shambhala Meditation Center, and the Milerapa Tibetan Buddhist Center. Two of Vermont’s governors, Erastus Fairbanks and Horace Fairbanks, were from Barnet.
Barnet students are educated at the town’s PK-8 elementary school and then have the option of attending any approved secondary school in the area. Barnet is easily accessed of I-91 Exit 18, or by Route 5.