Nestled between the mountains of the Adirondack National Park and the woods and streams of New Hampshire, beautiful Vermont is a bucolic paradise. With rolling hills, green fields, and picturesque farms covering its landscape, this is a food lover's haven. Head to Vermont for exquisite cheese, produce, and ice cream, for long hikes in the woods, and for a laid-back, friendly culture. Even Vermont's small towns have plenty of culture and history to offer.
The Long Trail
Slicing lengthwise through the middle of the state is the oldest long-distance trail in the U.S. The Long Trail was built between 1910 and 1930 by Vermont's Green Mountain Club. From its southern start at the Massachusetts border, the trail winds through all of Vermont's highest peaks until it reaches Canada. If you take some time to hike a piece of the trail or one of its side trails, you'll cross picture-perfect ponds, hardwood forests, and fast-running streams. The trail is 270 miles long, and includes 175 miles of side trails.
Vermont is famous for its farms and farm produce. You can get a taste of this bounty by visiting local farm stands and sampling the maple syrup, cheeses, ice cream, apples, and other homegrown delights. In Wilmington, visit the Adams Farm, a homestead that's been in operation since the Civil War making maple syrup. At the Allenholm Orchards in South Hero, the owners bake pies made with fruit from their own orchards.
Begin your tour of Vermont in the south at Brattlebro, voted Vermont's best small town. This charming village is set between the West and Connecticut Rivers. Its downtown is a National Historic District that has a lively shopping area with plenty of small stores and boutiques. You can see the 1930s art deco Latchis Theater, visit one of the five independent bookstores, or see the traditional old hardware store.
Brattlebro is known for its lively arts scene. If you're looking for some amazing art, tour through Brattlebro's many art galleries and the museum. Even the cafes and bakeries here are filled with locally-made art. You can often catch readings, performances, and impromptu artists' gatherings at the bookstores or one of the coffee shops.
In June, Brattlebro celebrates a quirky festival that's all its own -- the Strolling of the Heifers. In early Fall they host Puppets in the Green Mountains, and in the winter the town puts on DecemberFest.
Head north on Interstate 91 to Interstate 89 until you reach our next destination:
This is Vermont's capital city, but it still retains its small-town charm. Montpelier has a fabulous collection of historic buildings that date back to the 1700s. Today you'll also find plenty of modern shopping and dining opportunities as well as a thriving arts scene. If you enjoy history, be sure to visit the gorgeously restored State House with its marble floors and portrait gallery. Visit between January and April to see congress in action!
From the State House, take yourself on a walking tour of the downtown. You'll find four independent bookstores, fabulous delis and restaurants, and small shops selling one-of-a-kind items. This is the home of the Green Mountain Film Festival, held in March every year, as well as a pocket park music series and Wednesday night band concerts. Many people use Montpelier as a jumping-off point for cross-country ski trips, hiking in the North Branch River Park, or touring the many first-rate art galleries.
Follow Interstate 89 northwest toward Lake Champlain to explore the lively college town of Burlington:
With its bustling waterfront and vibrant college atmosphere, Burlington is known as Vermont's Queen City. This charming city is home to four colleges, grand architecture, and the brick-paved Church Street Marketplace, a gathering space for friends and locals. In the summer, you'll see street vendors and entertainers as well as outdoor cafes and live music around the marketplace. Enjoy a romantic dinner on the square or head to the shipyard to explore the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and Burlington Schooner Project.