Experience the wondrous adventure of the Green Mountain State of Vermont, a land rich in natural beauty and historical significance. Vermont became the 14th state of the union and the first state after the 13 original colonies. Its history is entrenched in early struggles of the French Indian wars and the fight between the original colonies for jurisdiction of its lands. For a brief time Vermont, (named for “verts monts”, French for green mountains), was an independent sovereign nation before receiving statehood.
What lobsters are to Maine, maple sugar products are to the State of Vermont. Treasured by the connoisseur, these sweet delights have been a Green Mountain trademark for over a hundred years.
The Outdoor Experience of Vermont
Its’ picturesque mountains, lakes, and rivers that seem unchanged by time and the encroachment of modern society, call out to anyone longing to experience of the purity of nature’s beauty within easy reach of urban America.
The “Long Trail” is a hiking trail located in Vermont, running the entire 272 mile length of the state, starting at the Massachusetts border (near Williamstown, Massachusetts) and ending north at the Canadian border. It is the oldest long-distance trail in the United States and was constructed between 1910 and 1930 by the Green Mountain Club, who is the recognized custodian of the trail system today. It runs alongside the main ridge of the Green Mountains offering spectacular views of all the major summits including Glastenbury Mountain, Stratton Mountain, Killington Peak, Mount Abraham, Mount Ellen, Camel’s Hump, Mount Mansfield, and Jay Peak. Vermont is also home to 149.8 miles of the Appalachian Trail, about a hundred of which follow the famed Long Trail. Another long distance trail in Vermont is the Cross Vermont Trail that runs 90 miles east to west across the state.
Without a coastline, Lake Champlain fills the need for boating, swimming and beach like fun with plenty of family activities. Throughout the state, outdoorsman will find pristine areas for hunting, fishing, and camping, and the sportsman/thrill seeker will find the skiing, white water rafting, and rock climbing challenging at all skill levels. The colors of the autumn are on the list of some of the most breathtaking in all of New England.
A Sample of Fun Adventures in Vermont
- Agricultural Fairs and Farmers Markets – Visit local Farmers Markets all over the State to enjoy authentic locally grown produce, and specialty products. Or you may wish to take in one of the many agricultural fairs across the State. Almost every county in the State has its’ own “Ag Fair”.
- Arts and Culture – Across the state you will find local artists, galleries, antique shops, playhouses, and unique artistry such as CIRCUS SMIRKUS, a youth oriented circus troupe.
- Christmas in Vermont – Spend a unique Christmas in Vermont at the charming West Mountain Inn, Arlington. Swedish heritage is brought to the Christmas celebrations with a “Troll Night”, dinner of fungus, followed by “Field Beast of the Valley Dwellers”, which looks suspiciously like steak. After dinner guests equipped with torches hunt for hidden troll dolls in the undergrowth of the grounds. Visitors arriving before Christmas help decorate the tree with homemade ornaments, and sit around the tree by a toasty log fire to drink Glogg, an alcoholic Nordic punch.
Covered Bridges – There are dozens of classic New England covered bridges across the State of Vermont, each with its’ own unique character, such as Emily’s Bridge in Stowe, Vermont that is purported to be haunted!
- Fall Foliage – When the fall season comes, the Vermont country side becomes a sea of red, orange, and yellow and all shades in between. Vermont’s fall foliage is world renown with Mother Nature putting on a spectacular but brief show every fall. One way to take in all the splendor is to ride an old fashioned train coach deep into the hills and mountains. What a grand adventure! Green Mountain Railroad takes you all over the state and during the winter it even goes far north to visit Santa!
- Go for a Bike Ride – Try your hand at bike riding on many paths and mountain trails such as Burlington’s Lake Champlain Bikeways, featuring over 1,100 miles of trails that stretch all the way to New York and Canada.
- Historical Adventures – Feel the rich historical heritage of Vermont first hand by visiting unique places such as The Hyde Log Cabin. Built in 1783, it is one of the oldest log cabins in the United States. Explore the Underwater Historic Preserves at Lake Champlain, five underwater sites for certified scuba divers where The Horse Ferry, The Phoenix, The Cola Barge, The General Butler and the Diamond Island Stone Boat are identified by buoys and guidelines. Go back in time with the Chimney Point State Historic Site, an exhibit of Native American and French artifacts, contemporary issues and cultural traditions.
- Nature Hikes – There are a seemingly endless number of trails and paths to walk, hike, or backpack in Vermont. There are various guided nature tours, walks and hikes such as Wonder Walks, which features easy, slow paced walks through country lanes, foot paths, rail trails, and forgotten byways.
- Paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail – Grab your canoe or kayak and take on parts of the 740 mile long Northern Forest Canoe Trail, the longest such trail in the northeast. 174 miles of this trail pass through Vermont and part of Quebec on its way to New Hampshire and Maine.
Scenic Byways – Take in Vermont’s beauty by driving one of its’ many scenic byways. Vermont byways range from 30 miles in length to over 400 miles in length. Some of the most breathtaking are the Connecticut River National Byway, Green Mountain Byway, Lake Champlain Byway, Mad River Byway, Molly Stark Byway, and Stone Valley Byway.
- Some Serious Exercise – Experience the Sugarbush Adventure Games, a two-day Triathlon fun fest in Vermont’s Mad River Valley that tests your athletic versatility with running, whitewater boating, cycling, and cross-country skiing. Children can also participate with the Valley Kids’ Triathlon featuring pond kayaking, running and cycling! If that kind of strenuous exercise appeals to you, you may also want to take in the Vermont City Marathon & Relay that takes place every spring in Burlington; or you can run the Green Mountain Marathon that takes place every Fall on Grand Isle in Lake Champlain near Burlington.
- Vermont Home Grown – You cannot leave the State without seeing iconic state treasures such as Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory tour, and one of the several maple sugar farms. Other favorites include Cabot Cooperative Creamery, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Morse and Bragg Farms who produce quality maple sugar products, Vermont Butter & Cheese Company, and Grand View Winery.
- Winter Fun – Ski or snowboard the breathtaking vistas at places like the 50 alpine trails of Pico Mountain in Killington or the 140 trails of Killington Resort, or go snowshoeing at the Green Mountain Club’s Snowshoe Festival where the whole family can enjoy walking trails, indoor and outdoor kids’ activities, educational workshops, nature walks, a raffle, hot chocolate, and more. Experience the latest rage in skiing – snowkiting – harnessed to a kite zooming over the ground. Get free demos, clinics and speed contests at Stormboarding Kitestorm, Sand Bar State Park, Milton VT. And don’t forget the fabulous cross country skiing! In addition to numerous ski touring centers, Vermont is home to the Catamount Trail, the longest back-country Nordic ski trail in the United States.
Vermont’s Major Cities
Brattleboro – The Town of Brattleboro was listed as one of “Eight Great Places You’ve Never Heard Of,” by Mother Earth News in 2007.
- Burlington – On the banks of Lake Champlain, Burlington is Vermont’s largest city.
- Killington – Located in the heart of the Green Mountains, the Town of Killington and the surrounding area are an all-season vacation destination.
- Montpelier – Montpelier is the capital of the State of Vermont and the Nation’s smallest state capital.
- Stowe - The Town of Stowe is home to Vermont’s highest mountain peak, Mt. Mansfield, the Stowe Mountain Resort, and the famous Trapp Family Lodge.
Photo credits: The pictures of the covered bridge and fall foliage are by chensiyuan from Wikimedia Commons. These files are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, 2.5 Generic, 2.0 Generic and 1.0 Generic license. The picture of Burlington, VT is by Jared and Corin from Wikimedia Commons and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.