Vermont – New England’s Rebellious Idyll
Vermont is different. For example, if you cross the state border coming from New York, you quickly notice that something is missing. The roadsides appear strangely bare, even though they aren’t plastered over with advertising. Billboards are banned in Vermont.
This is not only advantageous in autumn, when the leaves on the trees change color and Vermont’s forests shine in particularly intense red and orange tones, even by New England standards. Vermont is famous for its vistas, mountains and green meadows that dot the ups and downs of the countryside. Nature and agriculture belong together here like nowhere else and have always formed an organic connection.
According to usaers, Vermont is the only one of the six New England states that has no access to the sea. Instead, the Green Mountains extend centrally from south to north like the back shield of a lizard. It was they who gave the state its name as “les monts verts”, many of them are well over a thousand meters high. Tiny villages cling to their hillsides, cows graze peacefully in blooming pastures.
It’s not wrong to describe Vermont as a country idyll. Here you can hike, cycle or explore the rivers and lakes by canoe. In the cold winters, the Green Mountains, for example around the small town of Stowe, are great for skiing. There are around 70 islands in the 120-mile-long Lake Champlain in the west of the state, and you can dive down to shipwrecks and sandbanks in its clear waters. A ferry crosses the lake to New York.
A curiosity is Vermont’s capital Montpelier: just 8,000 people live here. Vermont’s big politics is made in a tiny village with neatly manicured front yards and white wooden cottages. Only the State Capitol, with its granite facade, golden dome and ancient columns, indicates that the governor and parliament are seated here.
Speaking of politics, as I said, Vermont is different. Vermont was the first state to outlaw slavery and the last to get a Wal-Mart. It was the first state in the USA to introduce a bottle deposit – like many things a sign that ecology is valued more highly here than in other parts of the country.
The unruly spirit of Vermont is still in the tradition of Ethan Allen, in a way the forefather of all free-thinking firebrands from the north-eastern corner of the USA. With the “Green Mountain Boys” he founded a militia that taught the English to fear during the War of Independence. Vermont became the first state to secede from England in 1777.
The hippie movement flocked here in the 1960s and ’70s, and the long-established farmers welcomed them with open arms. The newcomers were looking for a simpler, more natural life, and they found it here. They founded communes, raised sheep and grew vegetables. The farmers here have always practiced organic farming out of conviction, and a Vermont label on food is still considered a seal of quality today.
Nearby Windham County is home to 30 historic covered bridges. Writer Rudyard Kipling wrote “The Jungle Book” in Little Dummerston. Mount Vermont is considered the state’s most important Revolutionary War site. The fort that once stood here was destroyed by British troops in 1777. Today, walking trails explore the grounds with outstanding views over Lake Champlain – another outstanding testament to the independent spirit of Vermonters.
Location and Size
Vermont borders New Hampshire to the east, where the Connecticut River forms the border. It borders New York to the west, Massachusetts to the south, and Canada to the north. Almost 80% of the 24,900 km² state area is covered by deciduous forests, the majority of which are maple trees.
625,700 people live in Vermont, almost 8,000 of them in the capital Montpelier.
Numerous international airlines fly to Boston. You can choose to travel via New York or Montréal. Boston is 498 km from the capital Montpellier, 597 km from New York and 213 km from Montréal.
Summers are generally mild and winters are cold. Low precipitation is possible in all seasons. Vermont has four distinct seasons. In winter, expect cold weather and snowfall from December to March. From April spring begins to assert itself. Summer starts at the end of June and ends in the last week of September. The temperatures can reach up to 32° C – high humidity is to be expected.
Fall is considered by many to be the most beautiful time of year in Vermont because of the changing colors of the leaves. The hills and valleys turn to red and gold in a riot of color known as Indian Summer . Dry, temperate weather prevails, which can last for several days. The timing of Indian Summer varies from year to year, as the true color of the leaves does not occur until after the first frost.
|Average temperatures in Montpelier, Vermont in °C|
VUSA tips for Vermont visitors
Vermont is a travel destination for every season: whether it’s winter sports, outdoor activities or the blaze of color of the Indian summer. The villages and small towns of Vermont with white churches and houses and numerous covered bridges offer a picture book setting.
Stowe & Mount Mansfield in northern Vermont
Mount Mansfield is the highest mountain in Vermont. Several hiking trails lead to the 1,339 m high summit and promise an unadulterated experience of nature. On a clear day you can see as far as the Adirondack Mountains in New York State or as far as Canada. Cycle the 5-mile Stowe Bike Path, a scenic recreational trail that crosses the West Branch River 11 times on arched bridges as it winds through meadows and forests.
Or continue biking to Smugglers’ Notch State Park and enjoy the stunning views of dramatic beauty.
The historic town of Stowe in the middle of nature.
A visit to a classic farmer’s shop or one of the many galleries that showcase local handicrafts is worthwhile. But you can also have a picnic and taste fresh produce and regional cheese specialties.
Stowe is also home to the Trapp Family Lodge .
Family-run mountain resorts based on the Austrian model have graced the Stowe countryside for more than half a century. Today, this beautiful accommodation also includes an in-house brewery and a mountain bike rental and serves as the perfect starting point for a wide variety of outdoor activities all year round.
Ben & Jerry’s Icecream Factory
Those with a sweet tooth shouldn’t miss a tour of Ben & Jerry’s Icecream Factory near Waterbury.
1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Route 100, Waterbury, VT 05676
Stroll through Woodstock, a quintessential New England town with its public park and bustling shopping streets.
Billing’s Farm & Museum ,
The Rockefellers’ working dairy farm (and 1890 farmhouse) still conveys a glimpse of Vermont’s farming past. If you want to taste homemade cheese and learn about maple syrup, you should pay a visit to Sugarbush Farm. Or head to Quechee Gorge to soak up the sun on the river rocks along this wild gorge aptly nicknamed “Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon”
Manchester in southern Vermont
Hildene, the home of the Lincoln family in southern Vermont
The beautiful countryside around Manchester, in southern Vermont, has been a magnet for visitors for centuries. The most famous example was Abraham Lincoln’s eldest son, Robert: he built his summer residence Hildene here. This 24-room, Georgian-era stately home offers visitors an intimate glimpse into the Lincoln family history.
1005 Hildene Road, Manchester, VT 05254
In the West
To the west lies New England’s largest lake, Lake Champlain. It is 180 km long and 19 km at its widest point. The Main Center Burlington, Vermont’s largest city, is bustling with students. Here, browse the unique shops and galleries along the historic Church Street Marketplace or take a Burlington Brew Tour. A guided boat trip on the lake, where you can also go kite surfing, is also very nice. During the summer months you can enjoy a free concert on the lake shore. If you want to be active, you can rent a bike and cycle along the 12 km long circular route with its inviting beaches.