Vermont is a beautiful state, one that has made a conscious decision to embrace and emphasize the natural beauty that’s so abundant within its borders. It’s also a place rich with culture. Tucked away amidst the family farms and co-ops is some incredible food, music, and more. Here are some must-see bucket list attractions to see while you’re there.
10. Couture’s Maple Shop and Bed and Breakfast
(image via Facebook)
Located in the wooded region known as the “Northeast Kingdom,” Couture’s lets you stay at a working farm. As farm stays are starting to gain popularity in America, there’s extra motivation to visit this specific one—Couture’s specializes in maple syrup. Not only can you buy genuine maple syrup here (notice how most syrup at the grocery store says “pancake syrup” these days?), but you can also buy a ton of candies and other things made with maple. The place is also a charming Vermont B&B. It doesn’t get better in the countryside than this.
9. Green Mountain National Forest
(image via Wikimedia)
Addison and Rutland Counties
Green Mountain National Forest takes up 400,000 acres of central Vermont. There are ten ski areas and some 900 miles of trails for hiking, cycling, and more. Check out the CCC campground at Hapgood Pond, or wander through the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail, commemorating the legendary poet who served as the state’s poet laureate. The legendary Appalachian Trail also passes through Green Mountain, so fans of long-form walks may want to check that out.
(image via Flickr)
Hildene was the home of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln. While his father may have been born in a log cabin, Robert became chairman of the Pullman Company and built a huge, beautiful Georgian Revival home in Manchester in 1905. It housed only Lincolns until 1975, and today the home, grounds, and gardens are open to the public. There’s also a Pullman Sunbeam train car from 1888, lovingly restored and a testament to the work Lincoln did at the company.
7. Historic Grafton Village
Grafton Village has been carefully restored by the locals and by the Windham Foundation to look just about the way it did when it was founded. But it’s not a museum display disguised as a town—it’s a real, functioning place where people live and work, and those people are happy to share the history of the place. You can watch cheesemaking at Grafton Village Cheese, learn about blacksmithing at Grafton Forge, and see sap turn to syrup at Plummer’s Sugar House.
6. Drive the Highways
Vermont doesn’t allow billboards along its highways, giving drivers an unobstructed view of the lushness of the countryside. Driving down the interstates, you almost don’t notice—you just feel different, better somehow—until someone points it out to you, and everything falls into place. It really is worth taking a drive to experience it because every drive is a scenic one.
5. Woodstock Farmer’s Market
(image via Instagram)
There are farmer’s markets all over the state, but Woodstock goes above and beyond. They refer to themselves as a “farm-to-table grocery store,” and they are a bit more like a traditional store than the average market. They also have meet-and-greet sessions with the producers whose wares they sell. There’s a cafe that cooks and serves amazing meals, and they have an amazing bakery—all of which, of course, use the same top-tier local ingredients they sell in the store.
4. Church Street Marketplace
This four-block open-air mall in the heart of downtown Burlington is a shopping center and a community hub. There are over 100 places to shop and eat, and if you’re not in the mood for retail, you can enjoy the constant festivals, street entertainers, and musicians in the brisk Vermont air. While you’re in Burlington, grab crepes at the Skinny Pancake, or see the world’s tallest file cabinet, just to say you did.
3. Three Penny Taproom
(image via Instagram)
Three Penny Taproom is a must-see destination for lovers of craft beer—and craft food to go with it. Located right in the middle of downtown Burlington, Three Penny is such a local fixture that it has 7,400 Facebook “likes” in a town of only 7,700 people. Of course, nearly every place to eat in Montpelier is going to emphasize locally sourced, fresh food, but what Three Penny has on all of those is a great atmosphere and lots and lots of beer. If you really need that Bud Light, though, you can order from the “Dark Side” of the menu.
2. Ben and Jerry’s Factory
(image via Flickr)
Ben and Jerry’s is almost as well-known for its activism as for its unique flavors. Ben came up with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream because he can’t actually taste, so he values texture in his ice cream. The factory tour includes a guided walk-through with a little bit of free sampling at the end, a history of the company’s almost comically tragic early years, and a view of the flavor graveyard where the retired flavors of the past are laid to rest.
1. Stowe Mountain Resort
Near Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak is the Stowe Mountain Resort. Here you can ski and snowboard, even race if you’d like. The golfing here is a collection of short par fours that meander along the slopes of the mountains. You’re also near a great small town, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, and the Cabot Creamery Annex.