Montpelier is named after the French city of Montpelier and is the smallest US state capital. Its location in the geographic center of Vermont was key to its selection as the seat of government.
Montpelier is situated in the foothills of the Green Mountains. The city is approximately 35 miles southeast of Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, less than 100 miles southeast of Montreal, and approximately 155 miles northwest of Boston. Interstate 89 runs alongside the city, and US 302 connects Montpelier with neighboring Barre and points east. Amtrak and several bus services connect the city with other Vermont cities and towns.
Incorporated in 1818, the falls on the Winooski River were an important factor in the city’s growth. The falls powered mills for a variety of 19th century industries, including lumber, furniture, carriages and sleighs. In 1884, the city built Vermont’s first water-powered system to generate electricity for street lamps.
While granite from nearby quarries is still processed in Montpelier today, the mills no longer drive the local economy. Government, insurance and tourism are now principal industries.
Montpelier’s historical attractions include the grand, gold-domed Vermont State House and the Vermont Museum maintained by the Vermont Historical Society. With its close proximity to the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain, Montpelier also offers scenic appeal and outdoor activities.
Average temperatures range from 7 degrees Fahrenheit to 25 degrees Fahrenheit in January, typically the coldest month, to 57 degrees Fahrenheit to 78 degrees Fahrenheit in July, typically the warmest month. August tends to the rainiest month with an average rainfall of just over 4 inches, while February is usually the driest month with precipitation averaging just under 2 inches.
Current Montpelier Weather
Chance of Rain75°/54°
Chance of a Thunderstorm84°/55°
Chance of a Thunderstorm77°/57°