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Did You Know…?

  • Vermont has the lowest percentage of urban residents of any U.S. state.
  • The state is the nation’s largest producer of maple syrup.
  • Montpelier has the lowest population of any state capital (7,855 in the last census, 2010).
  • At Haskell Opera House, much of the audience sits in Vermont; the stage is in Quebec.
  • Vermont declared war on Germany in autumn 1941, before the U.S. Congress did.

Ski slopes and maple syrup

Vermont, a tiny piece of geography in the far northeast of the U.S., is very popular with travelers because of its scenic beauty, especially the fall foliage colors and winter’s snow-covered mountains.

Visitors comment as well on the excellent skiing, breakfasts with pure Vermont maple syrup, the typical “New England look” of its covered bridges and historic town centers and efficient but friendly service from their hosts. Travelers emphasize the attractiveness of the state’s rural environment, its lack of commercialization (billboards are illegal) and the relaxation and peace they experience while there.

Skiing dominates sports in Vermont, but other options include camping, golf, horseback riding and fishing — complemented by a “sport” of another kind: shopping, whether in country stores selling unique Vermont-made goods or discount outlets for nationally known brands.

As for the ever-popular skiing, there are several choices for both alpine and nordic pursuits. Downhillers cite Killington, Stowe and Sugarbush as favorites. For cross-country choices, a couple of the best are Mount Prospect east of Bennington and Mountain Top at Chittenden, site of the Mountain Top Inn.

Vermonters have a long history of thinking for themselves. Although Vermont was home to the Green Mountain Boys and supported the American Revolution, it stood aside politically, creating the Republic of Vermont in 1777, only joining the great American experiment in 1791, as the 14th state. Evidence of the state’s history lives in museums, historic buildings (including Ethan Allen’s home) and Revolutionary War sites — thus adding to the list of attractions for visitors.

There is no such thing as a big city in Vermont. The largest, Burlington, counts less than 45,000. Like many smaller cities and towns, it boasts a charming historic downtown section that lures tourists for picturesque strolls — and some shopping for local cheeses or other goods that bespeak this tiny New England state.

For another type of attraction, summer theaters stage productions in small towns throughout Vermont. It is extremely popular, as well, to tour Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, and irresistible to sample the state’s cheeses and maple syrup — as well as that ice cream.

Things to do for Venturers

  • For serious mountain biking, try East Burke where the nonprofit Kingdom Trails has created a 100-mile mapped complex of off-road trails and single track. The area claims the highest ratio of moose to mountain bikers in the U.S.
  • Treat yourself to a fall foliage tour, but do it on a bicycle.
  • Take a snowmobile tour of several days, sampling some of Vermont’s 3,900-mile trail system for snowmobilers.
  • Bring your fine antique car to the August Stowe Antique and Classic Car Meet, or at least come to town to see these vehicles in their annual parade. Or, attend the September British Invasion, a fest described as a “salutation to the great British motorcar and all manner of other things British.”
  • Go whitewater rafting in summer.
  • Hike the Long Trail in the Green Mountains. This is a footpath that winds through the mountains from Massachusetts to Canada. Overnight camps lie along the trail every six to eight miles.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Combine seeing the fall colors with a visit to the Stratton Arts Festival at Stratton Mountain. More than 200 Vermont artists participate.
  • Go cross-country skiing. You don’t have to know how to downhill ski. Vermont offers groomed trails at various sites up and down the state.
  • Take a self-drive fall foliage tour through Vermont.
  • Visit an Ethan Allen residence at the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum at Burlington and/or visit the preserved remains of Revolutionary War fortifications at Mount Independence in Orwell.
  • Or, get in touch with the 18th century by staying at the Rabbit Hill Inn in Lower Waterford, and ask for the Turnabout room in the Tavern Building. That room was the tavern in 1795.
  • Go to the Tavern at Red Fox Inn in Bondville for live Irish music (and other live music) plus Guinness to wet your whistle.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Norman Rockwell lived in Arlington when he was doing illustrations for the Saturday Evening Post. Today you will find an extensive Rockwell exhibit in a 19th century Arlington church. There is also a Rockwell museum in Rutland.
  • Visit the Shelburne Museum, an extensive reconstruction of 37 historic structures from all over New England. These hold collections of items and artifacts depicting early New England life. They’ve got formal gardens, as well.
  • Tour a maple sugar factory (given that Vermont is the country’s leading producer).
  • Shop until you drop at outlet stores in Manchester, an attractive and popular village where new construction is determinedly in line with traditional New England style And, buy Vermont’s cheddar cheese.
  • Attend summer theater. The Dorset Playhouse and Weston Playhouse are the best known, but there are about 30 other choices.
  • Tour the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, which uses advertising that always features black and white Vermont cows. Touring the Vermont Teddy Bear factory in Shelburne is another fun choice.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing at