17 Reasons to Visit Vermont
Reprinted Courtesy of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing – www.VermontVacation.com
Vermont – Cruiser’s Paradise
Whether it is on a motorcycle or bicycle or in a car, Vermont is a cruiser’s paradise. Vermont has three major north/south routes that take you from the Massachusetts border to Canada (Routes 5, 7 and 100) and three major east/west routes that take you across the entire state (Routes 2, 4 and 9). Each road offers its own unique treasures and all of the roads showcase the range of Vermont from its smallest towns to its Vermont-sized cities. Route 2, for example, takes you from the beautiful Lake Champlain Islands east through Montpelier, the smallest state capital in the country and further east toward St. Johnsbury and the gateway to the rural grandeur of the famous Northeast Kingdom. At only 157 miles from top to bottom, you can see most of Vermont in a week’s time and find your own special places to fall in love with.
Vermont – ‘Surprisingly Sophisticated’
When doing some brand research a few years back, we surveyed recent Vermont visitors on their impressions of the state. Not surprisingly, the leading responses were ‘beautiful,’ ‘peaceful,’ ‘foliage,’ ‘four-season fun’ and ‘friendly people.’ One of the terms that caught our attention, however, was ‘surprisingly sophisticated.’ You find that some people’s impressions of Vermont and its people were formed by Newhart and other similar depictions.
People are genuinely surprised at how sophisticated Vermont is with top quality musical and dramatic performances held in beautifully restored, turn-of-the-century theaters and music halls. They delight in the Vermont Symphony Orchestra and our more than 30 independent bookstores. They savor world-class cuisine, some of which is prepared by graduates of the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier that is fast becoming one of the country’s leading training grounds for top new chefs. Our art galleries and museums feature everything from hand-crafted wood products and local artists to the works of Rodin and Andy Warhol.
For some it is ‘surprisingly sophisticated.’ For others, it is just another reason to love Vermont.
Vermont – ‘Moab of the East’
With 9,000 miles of mostly rural roads and hundreds of miles of off-road trails, Vermont is rapidly gaining attention as a mountain biking destination. Recent major articles in the New York Times and Men’s Journal touted Vermont as a mountain biking mecca. From leisurely municipal biking trails to peaceful back roads to hard-core off road terrain it may not be long before you hear Moab referred to as ‘the Vermont of the West.’
Vermont – A Glimpse Into The Creative Process
Each Memorial Day Weekend, artisans of all kinds from painters to glassblowers to sculptors open their doors wide for an amazing weekend of fun and insight into the creative process called Open Studio Weekend. Vermont is home to some of the finest crafts people in the country and has more artisans and artists per capita than any other state. The unusual beauty of Vermont’s countryside and the solitude and peace found here nurture the creative spirit. Vermont’s community of 1,500 professional craftspeople includes quilters, printmakers, potters, furniture makers, metal workers, weavers, and glassblowers.
Vermont Maple – Accept No Substitutes
Nothing makes a real Vermonter crazier than the brown liquid that sits on the store shelf that purports to be syrup that in fact is mostly cane sugar. References to ‘maple flavored,’ while legal, rankle maple-proud Vermonters. Vermont has the strictest maple laws in the country and produces the most maple syrup of any state in the country – about 37% of the entire annual national crop. We celebrate maple as part of our heritage with Maple Open House Weekend in March and the Vermont Maple Festival in April. While the technology has changed, the process remains the same and is a major part of Vermont’s agricultural and cultural heritage.
Vermont – You Can Get There From Here!
There is a long standing piece of folklore about the Vermont tourist who, when asking directions from the crusty old Vermonter, is told, ‘you can’t get theah from heah.’ In truth, while still very rural, Vermont is very accessible. With the arrival of discount carriers Jet Blue and Independence Air, getting to Vermont has never been easier and less expensive. Burlington International Airport continues to expand to meet demand, bucking the trend of small regional airports nationwide that have seen service levels plateau. Vermont is also serviced by Amtrak and is a seasonal feature of the American Orient Express. Furthermore, Vermont is within 300 miles (less than 5 hours) driving distance of nearly 80 million people.
Vermont – Crazy For Cars
Vermont is the best state in New England for viewing antique and classic automobiles. The scenic Vermont countryside is a great backdrop and the venues include some of Vermont’s top attractions. The annual Hildene Antique and Classic Car Show takes place on the grounds of Hildene, the Manchester home of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln and one of Vermont’s grandest estates. Stowe hosts two events each year, the Antique and Classic Car Show in August and the British Invasion – the largest British motorcar show on the East Coast – in September. Vermont is also home to the Precision Valley Corvette Museum in Springfield.
When people think of Vermont, they usually think of white clapboard villages. Vermont is also home to some spectacular mansions like Hildene (Manchester), Wilson Castle (Rutland), Shelburne Farms (Shelburne) and the Park McCullough House (North Bennington). These estates are reminiscent of a very different era, but are an indelible part of our cultural heritage.
Vermont – For Free!
Vermonters believe in offering value for the money, that’s why we open up a good part of the state for a test drive in mid-June – for free. The event is known as Vermont Days and it happens every year during the second week of June. For this weekend, admission to all state parks and state owned historic sites is free. Saturday is also Free Fishing Day where anyone can fish without a license and clinics are offered in selected locations for folks who want to sharpen their skills. Vermont gives you 808 lakes and ponds and over 7,000 miles of streams with the greatest variety of high quality fresh water fishing in the Northeast to choose from.
Vermont – The Bridges of Addison County?
Sure, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep and Robert James Waller can make anyone’s bridges famous. Still, without a New York Times bestseller and a big budget picture to back it up, Vermont has managed to carve out a reputation for itself as the place to come for covered bridges. You’ll notice that those Madison County folks aren’t crowing about having the longest covered bridge in the world – that’s because the Windsor-Cornish Bridge in Vermont holds that distinction. Vermont is home to more than 100 covered bridges and each one has a story to tell. You can find at least one covered bridge in 13 of our 14 counties.
Vermont – Water Country
When most people think of Vermont, they think about white clapboard villages and rolling hills. But make no mistake – Vermont is water country. Vermont is home to Lake Champlain, the sixth largest freshwater body in the United States. Our senior senator once even tried to get it declared the sixth Great Lake. Vermont has 808 lakes and ponds, 284 of which are larger than 20 acres. Vermont is also home to over 7,000 miles of streams. Whether you’re into canoeing, kayaking, sailing, fishing, tubing or swimming, you can find the right venue in Vermont’s waterways.
Vermont – Join the Club
How many states have a fan club? People develop a special bond with Vermont. How strong is this bond? So strong that more than 4,000 people now belong to the ‘251 Club.’ The Vermont 251 Club is an organization whose members attempt to visit every town in the state of Vermont. Those who visit all 251 towns are known as “plus” members. The 251 Club was first suggested in a 1954 Vermont Life article by commentator Arthur Wallace Peach. The club meets twice a year and a newsletter is distributed to club members. There are no secret handshakes and the uniting bond is a love for the Green Mountain State.
Vermont – The Art of Stone
Vermont granite and marble can be found around the world in monuments and buildings. The quality and creativity of the craftsmanship is stunning. It was Barre, Vermont craftsmen who cut and finished the stones used for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. From the Slate Valley, to the Proctor Marble Works to the granite quarries of Barre, stone craftsmanship is a major part of Vermont’s cultural heritage. Vermont green marble is found in the state capitol of Idaho and Vermont granite is found in the state capitol of Kentucky. The Cook County Courthouse in Chicago features Vermont granite and Memorial Hall at Harvard has Vermont slate on its roof. Literally dozens of venues in Washington, D.C. are built with Vermont stone products, including the Jefferson Memorial, the Department of Agriculture, the Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian, the Capitol, the Supreme Court and Union Station, to name but a few, and most recently, major portions of the World War II Memorial.
Vermont – Skiing
Vermont is famous for alpine skiing and boarding for a very good reason. Skiers and snowboarders can choose from more than 5,700 acres of terrain at 17 different alpine resorts throughout Vermont. Vermont offers terrain to suit every ability level from gentle teaching slopes, miles of novice and intermediate trails, wide open boulevards for cruising and gladed terrain, steep mogul fields and technically demanding terrain for experts. Annual mountain snowfall averages 250 inches and 70% of Vermont’s terrain is covered by state of the art snowmaking. What more needs to be said?
Vermont – More Than Just Skiing In Winter
Vermont is where the world celebrates winter. Vermont is well known as a downhill skiing and snowboarding mecca throughout the Eastern United States, and a growing number of people are seeing that Vermont has a lot more to offer for wintertime fun.
Vermont offers hundreds of kilometers of terrain through woodlands, fields, foothills and mountains at its 37 cross country ski touring centers.
With more than 120 groomers in action and over 6,000 miles of trails, Vermont is a snowmobiler’s paradise. Vermont’s 145 community based snowmobile clubs offer activities all winter long from ride-ins and dinners to radar runs and snocrosses.
Snowshoeing is one of Vermont’s fastest growing winter sports and is one of the easiest in which to get started. Many nordic centers and other businesses offer rentals and there’s terrain for all ability levels.
In addition, there’s ice fishing, ice climbing, sleigh rides, skating, sledding and more.
Vermont – Agricultural Heritage
Contrary to popular belief, cows do not outnumber people in Vermont (not since the 1960’s anyway). But we do love our cows and we treasure our rich agricultural heritage. Vermont’s beautiful working landscape is one of the primary draws for visitors and Vermont agriculture is celebrated at fairs and field days throughout the summer. While you need to go to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls, we bring you the Strolling of the Heifers in June, not to mention the Vermont Dairy Festival. Vermont has also emerged as a national leader in agritourism featuring everything from farmstays to tours of working farms, sugarhouses and more.
Vermont – The Questing Continues
Valley Quest is a series of more than 175 treasure hunts stretching across 50 towns in the Connecticut River Valley in Vermont and New Hampshire. Quests, making use of hand-drawn maps and riddle-like clues, lead to hidden special places, such as remote lakes, old cellar holes, favorite trees, and forgotten cemeteries. Quests are exciting adventures that gently share and teach the natural and cultural history of the region. The idea is based on a based on a 150-year-old British model.