|Vermont Travel Highlights|
|Autumn foliage and winter skiing draw the largest crowds to Vermont, but summer is good for hiking, camping and antique-hunting.|
Vermont is known as the Green Mountain State because of the 250-mile (402-km) range of forested mountains extending from the Massachusetts state line to the border with Québec. Abundant annual precipitation adds to the greenery in summer and the snowpack in winter, making Vermont the prime skiing destination in New England.
Although winter is perhaps Vermont's prime season, for visitors, the state is also beautiful in summer. Lodging rates are lower, many ski resorts run their chair and gondola lifts for sightseers, and the state parks do a booming business with campers, hikers, and picnickers.
The spring thaw is "mud season," good only for maple sugaring: collecting the sap of sugar maple trees and boiling it down to syrup: nearly a half-million gallons of syrup produced annually (37% of the US total production).
Just about any road in Vermont is scenic, but VT Route 100 (map) is special. This winding two-lane 200-mile (322-km) route goes through the heart of the state from southwest to northeast, connecting many of Vermont's most beautiful lakes, streams, mountain vistas, ski resorts, towns and villages: Wilmington, Dover, Londonderry, Weston, Ludlow, Plymouth, Killington, Rochester, Warren, Waitsfield, Stowe, the Northeast Kingdom, and Newport.
Many of Vermont's ski resorts are now four season resorts with all manner of indoor and outdoor programs, but beyond the organized activities are the hiking trails.
Every Vermont state park has its own trail system, as do many towns and counties. Then there are the truly long routes: the Green Mountain Club's 273-mile (439-km) Long Trail following the ridge of the Green Mountains from the Massachusetts state line to the Canadian border, with 175 miles (282 km) of side trails; and of course 150 miles (241 km) of the Appalachian Trail, which follows the same path as the Long Trail for 100 miles (161 km) in southern Vermont.
State parks and local parks and forests offer campgrounds with some comfort facilities. On the long trails, primitive campsites and shelters are scattered along the way.
Vermont is the only New England state without a seacoast, but northern Vermont does have New England's "great lake," Lake Champlain, 125 miles (201 km) long by 14 miles (23 km) wide, with 80 islands. Car and passenger ferryboats cross the lake between Burlington VT and Plattsburgh NY.
Vermont has dozens of artisanal cheesemakers producing a variety of tasty products. Some offer tours of the cheesemaking facilities, all offer their cheese for sale. More...
Climate change, and progress in breeding vinifera and French-American hybrid vines, now allow successful viticulture in Vermont. Quality wines made by a number of Vermont wineries are just the right sip with Vermont cheeses and other artisanal foods. More...
The mountain cable cars and aerial tramways of some Vermont ski resorts operate in summer, providing spectacular views. A bit more down to earth, kids like the elevator ride to the top of the Bennington Battle Monument in Bennington, and the panoramic view from the top.
Morgan Horse Farm
—by Tom Brosnahan