For people who love Vermont, images of the state have a Brigadoon-like quality: dark green or snow-blanketed mountains, fields of cows softened by floating mist, the view across Lake Champlain, main streets of towns lined with one-of-a-kind storefronts. Vermonters have always evolved to make the best of a tough land and climate, most recently by developing tourism. Dairy farms and orchards have nurtured dynamic food, wine and beer offerings. Outdoors people welcome visitors to ski mountains and water sports. Lodgings run the gamut from posh lakeside resorts to cabins and yurts in the hills. Creativity is busy everywhere. There are great things to do on all sides. Map.
Surrounded by nature beauty on all sides, Vermonters are outdoor people. State and local parks welcome people to do walking and hiking, and there are many bike trails. In fact, off-road biking is a very big activity in the northeastern section of the state known as the Northeast Kingdom. The Green Mountains are busy with skiing, snowboarding and other snow sports in the winter, but they also host a lot of mountainside outdoor activities fun in the warm seasons. In fact, Jay Peak has a monstrous indoor water park that keeps guests happy in all seasons.
On the Water
Vermont has no ocean shoreline, but its magnificent Lake Champlain, on the western side of the state, extends north to south for many miles, and offers all the water sports at fresh-water beaches, fishing locations, and public boat ramps. Theirs is a lot of water play on lakes, rivers, and ponds. A Vermont classic is the swimming hole – of which there are many – formed from cube-shaped cuts in the mountain created by the quarrying industry.
Vermont has a long history of dairy farming, which led to its global-caliber prowess in particular products like cheese, chocolate and ice cream (think of Cabot Cheese or Ben & Jerry’s, both of which you can visit and tour). Vermont has many acres of apple orchards and sugar maple groves. The latter, especially, bring visitors every fall to see the glorious display of colored foliage and every March and April to enjoy maple treats during the maple harvest season. Historically a place of small entrepreneurs, Vermont has more than its share of craft beer makers, and all of them seem to enjoy a cadre of enthusiastic followers. Vermont has a strong culture of chefs; this is a state for creative and fine dining. Finally, don’t forget to visit the farmers markets for fresh food and homemade fun.
Anyone who has been to Vermont can tell you: it is a beautiful place simply to simply enjoy a scenic drive. The State’s only cities are Burlington, on Lake Champlain, and Montpelier, the capital (the only U.S. state capital city that does not have a McDonalds). All of this is to say: the state is dotted with towns, many along the river valleys, and farmland. The scenery is glorious. People enjoy photographing the covered bridges, most of them dating to the mid-1800s and still in use.
And, for course, the fall foliage, which usually peaks around Columbus Day, is unequally by any place else on Earth.
Vermont’s museums, like the state in general, seem to tip toward nature. Examples include Echo at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain in Burlington, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Vergennes, Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium in St. Johnsbury. Vermont Marble Museum in Proctor describes the history of the marble and granite quarries and industry, which brought skilled stoneworkers, mostly from Italy, to the Green Mountain State more than 100 years ago. A perfectly fabulous museum, united art, history, and natural beauty and consisting of buildings, gardens, a conserved lighthouse, and a landed riverboat, the Ticonderoga, is Shelburne Museum in Shelburne. Find a glorious art museum at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in St. Johnsbury (pictured above).
Liberty Hill Farm & Inn in Rochester welcomes guests to farm living. People who stay in one of the farm’s seven comfortable guest rooms experience the everyday adventure that is farm life. You can milk cows, bottle-feed newborn calves, pick berries or just cuddle with kittens. Farm stays also include award-winning country breakfasts and sit-down family-style meals.
Cheddar Gougeres With Smoked Salmon Filling — These delicious little treats will add a little something special to your meal! Perfect for dinner parties or special occasions. (Makes 24 appetizers)