The United States is a vast and beautiful country. With mountain ranges, beaches, lakes, rivers, and oceans, it’s easy to get lost in all she has to offer. Oftentimes, travel addicts spend so much time overseas, they never truly experience their own country.
Contrary to popular belief, the United States is not one, singular culture, or one, monotonous landscape. The diversity of her people makes every state and region entirely different. To group Americans into large cultural groups does a disservice to one’s understanding of this country. One state in particular has an exceptionally independent spirit and is a microcosm in its own right. Vermont, the jewel of the Northeast, this brave little state deserves to be a destination in its own right.
Vermont’s Unique Culture
Originally inhabited by the Abenaki tribe, the area was eventually settled by French fur trappers and hard working Puritans.The individualistic mentality that founded Vermont still shapes the identity of its population. 49th out of 50 in terms of overall population, its small geographic area of 9,623 square miles makes it the 45th largest state. But don’t let its small stature fool you, there is plenty to do and see.
Even today, the state still retains its hard working ethic. Most people work 5-7 days a week and take limited vacation days. If you’re not working in Vermont, than you probably don’t live there. This mentality is clear to see, especially if you’re a tourist. That being said, Vermonters love their tourism and it makes up the largest sector of the economy. From vacation homes to skiing, the Green Mountain State is no stranger to people staying for the weekend.
The least populated region of Vermont, the Northeastern area of the state is also referred to as the Northeast Kingdom. Full of lakes and pastoral scenes, the gently rolling hills of this plateau beckon the outdoors man. Here are the top three things to do:
- Lake Willoughby. The second deepest lake in the state, Lake Willoughby is an immaculate glacier lake, resting between two mountains. The steep cliffs and cold waters makes it one of the most beautiful areas of the state.
- Cabot Cheese tour. Vermonters have a proud history of dairy farming, and Cabot Cheese is perhaps the most famous brand. Delicious, rich, and full of history, an afternoon tour of the Cabot factory is a must do.
- Victory State Forest. What once was timberland is now a preserved state park, offering mountain lakes and wild trout fishing. Hook up the canoe and enjoy a weekend in the woods. If watching Moose and Bear sounds like your type of vacation, this is the park for you.
In the middle of Vermont lies the Green Mountains. Vermont means green mountain in French! This rolling mountain range, part of the Appalachian Mountains, is as gentle as they are beautiful. Carpeted in deciduous forest and topped in spruce trees, wildlife is abundant and the water quality is top notch. 360 degree views and endless hiking and skiing opportunities are available, making any time of year spectacular. Here are the top three things to do in the Green Mountains.
- Hike the Long Trail. The oldest long distance hiking trail in the world, the Long Trail was the inspiration for the Appalachian Trail. Running from the border of Massachusetts all the way to Canada, walk along the tallest mountains in Vermont. If you don’t have two weeks to hike the whole thing, smaller day hikes and weekend trips offer the perfect way to see the back country.
- Go Skiing. With over a dozen ski resorts throughout the state, there are ample opportunities. Vermont’s snowy winters and plentiful water supply means snow is never in short supply. Big name resorts such as Killington and Stowe promise endless days of excitement.
- Maple Syrup. No article about Vermont would be complete without mentioning the most delicious maple syrup in the world. The Sugar Maple forests (sugar bush) of the Green Mountains are so dense that almost everyone makes some. Driving through the state during tapping season will yield hundreds of maple syrup producers. Delicious and always available. No trip to Vermont is complete without buying at least a gallon of the substance.
Burlington and Lake Champlain
The largest city in the state, Burlington sits along the shores of Lake Champlain. So big is the lake that many refer to it as the sixth Great Lake. With a population of just over 42,000, this is America’s smallest largest city for any state.
- Waterfront Park. Originally conceived by the Mayor at the time, Bernie Sanders, this beautiful urban park is a sight to behold. Walking trails and boat docks allow you to engage with the clean, beautiful waters of Lake Champlain. Bring a fishing pole and a picnic and enjoy an afternoon in Burlington.
- Burlington Farmers Market. Farmers markets are a big deal in Vermont. And going to the largest one in the state guarantees you an unforgettable experience. Enjoy locally grown produce all summer long. Artisanal cheeses, bread, and wine are also available.
- Magic Hat Brewery. Delicious beer coupled with a unique artisan designed brewery makes this a must see. Enjoy some of the best beer in the world surrounded by a classic Vermont vibe. If getting weird sounds like a good time, then this is a must see destination.
Start Planning Your Vacation Now
Vermont is a gorgeous and sometimes forgotten about vacation destination. Get your fill of the Northern Woods and local culture by visiting for the weekend. There is plenty to do for all ages, and Vermont’s family friendly atmosphere makes it a perfect place to bring the kids.