‘The Green Mountain State’
Set on the western edge of New England, picture postcard-pretty Vermont is particularly well known for its charming towns and villages, such as Woodstock, Bennington and Middlebury…
Vermont in a nutshell
Set on the western edge of New England, picture postcard-pretty Vermont is particularly well known for its charming towns and villages, such as Woodstock, Bennington and Middlebury, with their white-spired churches, welcoming old inns, prestigious colleges and impressive art and history museums. A close second are the ski resorts such as Stowe, Sugar Bush and Killington.
Other notable attractions include the beautiful Green Mountains in the centre of the state, the spectacular autumn foliage and more than 400 lakes and ponds, the largest being immense Lake Champlain. Sited on the New York State border, it is overlooked by Vermont’s only city, attractive Burlington, and – just to the south – by Shelburne’s museum, with its outstanding collection of Americana.
An historian once described Vermont as ‘Every American’s second state’. Wedged into northwestern New England, between Canada and Massachusetts, this is rural America at its most romantic. Say ‘Vermont’ to an American, and up comes a vision of red barns and covered bridges, clapboard houses and white churches, apples and cheese, maple syrup and ice cream, contented cows and the most famous fall (autumn) scenery in North America.
Best of all, the vision is much like the reality.
It doesn’t matter which way you point your camera, Vermont is easy on the eye.
Considering that only seven other USA states are smaller than Vermont, its scenic variety is surprising. Along its left flank is sausage-shaped Lake Champlain, New England’s 150-mile long ‘West Coast’, with grand views across to New York State. To the east, the Connecticut River forms a natural border with New Hampshire. Running north and south are the Green Mountains, described by French explorer Samuel de Champlain as verts monts back in 1609. Anglicise that, et voilà!
There are a number of right ways to approach Vermont. Drive up from Boston and two hours later, you are in Brattleboro. What was a gritty mill town has had an imaginative facelift, with the old Union Railroad Station now the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. The entire state is a retreat for artists and craftspeople, from painters and potters, to sculptors and glass blowers.
In Brattleboro, on the first Friday of the month, you can stroll around 20 galleries and studios, all open, all offering a welcoming drink and artists happy to chat, even if you don’t buy.
Just up the road, outside Dummerston, is Naulakha, home of Mr and Mrs Rudyard Kipling a century ago. Here he wrote The Jungle Books and began the Just So stories. Now owned by Britain’s Landmark Trust, the lovely old house can be rented, so you can play tennis on the same grass courts as the creator of Mowgli.
UNMISSABLE: A visit to poet Robert Frost’s grave in Bennington’s Old First Church cemetery as well as to the Bennington Museum’s Grandma Moses paintings and other collections.
(You might also want to drop by Rutland’s Norman Rockwell Museum or Rudyard Kipling’s home, Naulakha, near Dummerston.) A stroll past the old houses and churches of exquisite Woodstock; a gondola ride up Vermont’s highest peak, 4,393ft Mount Mansfield; or a soar down the slopes of the nearby Stowe ski resort.
And don’t forget to stop by for a tasting at Waterbury’s world-renowned Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory.
Only in Vermont
In 2004, the National Geographic Society applauded the Moosalamoo Region of the Green Mountains in their World Legacy Awards.
Near Brandon, it has 30 acres of wild blueberry bushes, 60 miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails, and plenty of wildlife:
moose, bobcat, bear, falcons and hawks. Angling has a long tradition here, especially on the hallowed Batten Kill River.
That’s why Manchester Village is home to the small but beautifully presented American Museum of Fly Fishing, with its collection of celebrity rods and flies.
What to do / Sightseeing
Towns & Cities
Newfane, Grafton, Peru, Hildene, Brattleboro, Quechee Gorge, Woodstock, Plymouth, Waterbury, Stowe, Burlington
Indian Summer in Vermont
On January 17, 1777, Vermont was declared an independent republic in a meeting held at Westminster. This independent course, with the little republic minting its own coin and providing postal service, was followed until 1791 when Vermont was admitted to the union, the first state to join the original thirteen. The first governor was Thomas Chittenden.
After playing an important role in the American Revolution, Vermont resisted the advances of the neighboring colonies and declared itself an independent Republic in 1777. Fourteen years later it was the first state to join the original 13.
Calvin Coolidge, 30th President, was sworn in by lamplight in his Vermont home at 2:47 a.m. August 3, 1923, following the death of President Warren G. Harding. Chester A. Arthur, 21st President, was born at Fairfield. Justin Smith Morrill, U.S. Senator, championed legislation that started the nation’s land grand colleges.
Firsts in the Nation
State admitted to the Union after the ratification of the Constitution was Vermont on March 4, 1791. Constitution to outlaw slavery was Vermont’s in 1777. Constitution to abolish the requirement that voters must be property owners was Vermont’s in 1777.
In 1805, Montpelier was made the permanent seat of government by the Legislature. The first State House was a three-story, 10 sided wooden building. The legislators had plank seats with wooden backs. It deteriorated and became overcrowded and was torn down in 1836.
State Data & Essentials
Vermont – State Abbr.: VT
– Statehood Ranking: 14
9,250 square miles (23,957 qkm)
– Land Area Ranking: 43
625,741 (2010 Census); 608,827 (2000 Census)
The Green Mountain State
Freedom and Unity
1.340 m / 4,396 ft (Mt. Mansfield)
29 m / 95 ft (Lake Champlain)
Daylight Saving Time: yes
“Hail, Vermont” (by Josephine Hovey Perry)