Vermont is a state that combines myth and reality, offering a unique charisma that sets it apart from other states in the US. Just the mention of Vermont conjures up images of sunny meadows with black and white cows, clean hillside farms, maple trees, stone walls, covered bridges, and clean mountainside farms. This state is a treasure waiting to be explored and photographed, with its scenic beauty, historic buildings, and charming towns.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the top 10 places to visit in Vermont, each offering its own unique charm and attractions.
1. Quechee Gorge
Often referred to as Vermont’s answer to the Grand Canyon, Quechee Gorge may not be as large as its western counterpart, but it still offers breathtaking views. This 165-foot deep gorge was formed over 13,000 years ago by glacial activity. Visitors can hike through the forest to the bottom of the gorge, where they can enjoy stunning views of the lower portion of the gorge from water level. For the more adventurous, white water rafting is possible on the nearby Ottaquechee River. One of the main highlights of the area is the historic Quechee Gorge Bridge, which connects the banks of the gorge. Built in 1911, it is the oldest remaining steel arch bridge in the state. Visitors can walk along the iron bridge and admire the scenic views of the gorge and Route 4.
Described as charming and quaint, Woodstock is a quiet village that exudes historical charm. As one of America’s prettiest small towns, it offers a picturesque setting with a red covered bridge, sugar maple farms, and unique boutiques and galleries. The town is also home to the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, the only national park in the US that focuses on land stewardship. Visitors can explore the working farm and Victorian mansion, as well as admire the formal gardens designed by renowned landscape architects. A visit to the Sugarbush Farm is a must, where you can sample Vermont classics like maple syrup and cheese, along with other local delicacies.
3. Mount Mansfield and Smugglers Notch
Mount Mansfield is the highest mountain in Vermont and offers breathtaking views from its summit. Visitors can reach the top by taking a gondola ride at the Stowe Mountain Resort. The mountain is known for its ridge trail, which stretches over two miles above the tree line. The nearby Smugglers Notch is a natural attraction that runs between Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak. This narrow road is famous for its massive boulders and caves, where 19th-century smugglers used to hide. It is also the only place in Vermont where you can find rare arctic alpine tundra.
As a historic city, Manchester serves as an excellent base for exploring the Green Mountains. It is known for its shopping options, including outlet malls that attract visitors from New York City and Connecticut. Manchester is divided into three districts: Bonnet, Main, and Depot. Each district offers its own unique attractions, such as beautiful historic homes, like Hildene, built for wealthy families. Manchester is also home to the Inn at Ormsby Hill, a charming bed and breakfast located near Hildene.
Located seven miles south of Burlington, Shelburne is the largest town in Vermont. With its roots firmly in agriculture, Shelburne is home to several farms, including vineyards that are open to the public. The Vermont Teddy Bear Co. is a popular attraction in the town, where visitors can learn about the process of making teddy bears and even create their own. Shelburne Farms is another must-visit destination, offering a glimpse into a completely different type of farming than what is usually associated with Vermont. This 1,400-acre gentleman farm features grand turreted barns and a farmyard.
As the capital of Vermont, Montpelier may be the least populated capital in the US, but it offers plenty to see and do. The Vermont State House is a significant landmark and a popular tourist attraction, with its Greek Revival architecture and decorative collections. In honor of France’s contributions to the American Revolution, the city was named after the French city of Montpellier. Visitors can also visit the statue of Ethan Allen, a Revolutionary War hero and founder of Vermont. For a taste of Vermont’s famous maple syrup, a visit to Morse Farm Maple Sugar Works is a must.
7. Vermont Ski Resorts
Vermont is renowned for its ski resorts, which attract visitors from all over the world. From Jay Peak in the north to Mount Snow in the south, there are nearly 20 ski mountains that offer downhill skiing experiences for all skill levels. The ski resorts are open from December to March, ensuring excellent conditions for skiing and snowboarding. However, these resorts are not limited to winter activities. Many large resorts offer on-mountain activities throughout the year, including mountain slides, mountain biking, rope courses, and scenic chairlift rides.
8. Lake Champlain
Running between Vermont and New York, Lake Champlain is a 120-mile stretch of water that offers beautiful scenery and outdoor recreation opportunities. With its undeveloped shoreline, it serves as a haven for wildlife, making it a paradise for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Lake Champlain is also home to several wildlife reserves, as well as the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, which offers educational exhibits and interactive displays. The lake’s historical significance is also explored at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, which overlooks Basin Harbor.
Located on the scenic shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington is a vibrant city with a rich arts, culture, and culinary scene. Despite its small size, it offers a wide range of interesting activities, including breweries, museums, and markets. Burlington is home to a large student population, giving it a youthful and energetic atmosphere. Visitors can explore the picturesque Church Street Marketplace, which is the heart of the city’s bustling downtown. The waterfront area offers stunning views of Lake Champlain and is a popular spot for leisurely strolls.
Stowe is an ideal village and a popular tourist destination year-round. Known as the ski capital of the East, it offers a plethora of outdoor activities, including skiing, biking, and hiking. During the summer, visitors can enjoy the scenic Stowe Recreation Path, which takes them past beautiful scenery and local restaurants. Stowe’s historic district is filled with charming buildings, colorful shops, and unique boutiques. It’s a place where history meets the great outdoors, creating a perfect balance for visitors.
With its stunning landscapes, charming towns, and rich history, Vermont offers a wealth of attractions for tourists to explore. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or a taste of Vermont’s unique culture, this state has something to offer everyone. Plan your visit to these top 10 places and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of Vermont.
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