The mountains burst with colors, the air is clean, and people are friendly. Restaurants are unique and emphasize local food, and there are more breweries per capita than any other state.
Vermonters are protective of this little piece of land we call home. We would love to keep the best hiking trails, orchards, farms, swimming holes, restaurants, views, and activities all to ourselves, for fear they will become overrun, but that would be just cruel. To not share the amazingness that is Vermont with the rest of the world would be unfair.
With plenty of opportunities to get active outdoors and a massive local food movement, this small state in the northeast corner of the USA is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and food lovers.
Whatever season you find yourself in the Green Mountain State, be prepared for incredible landscapes, fresh and local food, and any outdoor recreation that you fancy.
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Bike the Notch Road
Connecting Stowe to Jeffersonville is the Notch Road, 18 miles of hairpin turns over the top of Mount Mansfield. You could experience the beauty of this road from the comfort of a car, but it’s even better from the seat of a bike. Start your adventure at Smugglers Notch (you can rent bikes there if needed) and pedal to the top of the notch. Once at the top, enjoy the views and take a little hike if you can handle it. From here, it’s 8 miles of downhill straight into Stowe. This road shuts down in the winter, which means fall is the last time to make the scenic trip – it’s well worth it!
Hike Camel’s Hump
Camel’s Hump juts 1,200 meters above sea level in the form of two humps (hence the name) and is one of Vermont’s most loved mountains. Climbing to the top offers views of Mt. Mansfield (the highest peak in the state), various mountain peaks in the nearby White Mountains, and Lake Champlain. The best time to hike this mountain is in the fall when the trees are bursting with color, though it is great for Spring and Summer as well. It’ a challenging hike, so plan for 6 hours.
Hit the Slopes
Vermont and skiing go hand in hand. The state had the first ski tow, first chairlift, first Nordic ski center, and first ski academy in the country. The snow is the best on the east coast, and with 19 ski resorts, there is enough trails and terrain for every kind of skier or rider.
Stowe and Sugarbush, in the middle of the state, are very family friendly mountains. Killington, in the southern part of the state, is the biggest with the largest number of trails. Jay Peak, in the northern part of the state, gets the most snow. And Mad River Glen is for skiers who like the mountain to themselves – no snowboarders allowed at this resort.
Whatever you are looking for when it comes to shredding some fresh powder, you will definitely find it in Vermont.
Find a Swimming Hole
The summer in Vermont is short, so this means each summer day is chock full of outdoor adventures. The summer energy is vibrant and addictive, and the long days make for some great exploring – particularly for swimming holes. There is something special about swimming in the fresh, clean and clear waters of Vermont. The whole state is filled with well-known and secret swimming holes that are fun and free. Check out:
- Bristol Falls in Bristol
- Warren Falls in Waitsfield
- Buttermilk Falls in Ludlow
Go Out on Lake Champlain
Once considered one of the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain is one of the most accessible (and fun) lakes in the state. With 587 miles of shoreline, everyone will find something to do in, on or around the lake in all seasons. My favorite things to do on the lake are ice skating in the winter, paddleboarding in the summer, and boating from the Vermont shores to New York shores. If you are looking for things to do on Lake Champlain, there is no shortage:
- Go fishing → Over 81 species of fish waiting to be caught!
- Take a ferry → Three ferries connect Vermont to New York and are great scenic rides
- Search for Champ → Vermont’s very own Loch Ness Monster. Legends say Champ still swims throughout the lake.
- Go Cliff Jumping → Many spots around the lake have places to safely jump from rocks into the water. Fun, and adventurous, activity in the summer.
- Go boating → There are plenty of places to rent canoes and kayaks along the lake.
Seek Out All Things Maple
The Spring is an interesting time in Vermont, as the seasonal switch from the whites of winter to the greens of summer bring about a buzz of excitement for the warmer days ahead. If you ask a Vermonter about spring, they will refer to it as mud season when the ground thaws and the air warm turning everything into a squishy mess. But besides mud, the spring brings something special to Vermont: maple.
As the nation’s leader in maple syrup, the sugaring season takes off each March. Visit one of the 1,500 sugar houses across the state and try your hand at making maple syrup. A day of sugaring will most likely involve eating some tasty maple treats, like sugar on snow and maple candy, don’t deprive yourself! Don’t forget to take home some Vermont maple goods and support the local economy. Check out the St. Albans Maple Festival each April.
Take the Vermont Brewery Challenge And Fill Up Your Passport
Vermont may very well take the cake when it comes to the number of world-class breweries in such a small space. The Vermont Brewers Association offers a ‘beer passport’ to motivate you to travel around the state tasting beer from all of the local breweries and brewpubs. Get your passport stamped at every brewery – when it’s complete, send it in and receive a t-shirt! It’s a great excuse to go on scenic drives (make sure you have a non-drinking driver!), taste delicious beer, and support local businesses.
Where to Stay in Vermont, USA
Located in central Burlington, this modern hotel boasts on-site dining and contemporary artwork. Free bicycles and yoga classes are also available. Church Street Marketplace is 10 minutes’ walk away. The shores of Lake Champlain are a short walk away. The University of Vermont is 1.6 km away.
Hotel Vermont Burlington features bright rooms with a flat-screen cable TV and a work desk. They are equipped with an en suite bathroom and free toiletries. Some rooms have a window seat and views. Guests can use the on-site fitness center at the Burlington Hotel Vermont. Massage services are available for relaxation. The hotel provides a business center and free Wi-Fi.
Located on Jay Peak, this Jay resort offers on-site facilities like skiing, golfing and a seasonal indoor water park. The North Troy town center is 16 minutes’ drive away. Hazen’s Notch is 22.5 km from the resort.
The suites at Jay Peak Resort – Tram Haus Lodge include a flat-screen cable TV, sofa bed, and iPod docking station. There is also a kitchenette with a refrigerator and a microwave. Other facilities for guests staying at the Tram Haus Lodge include a sauna, swimming pools, hot tub and spa services with massages, manicures and more.
Nestled in the Green Mountains of Vermont, this hotel boasts skiing, an indoor lap pool, and uniquely decorated guest rooms. The Green Mountain Cultural Center is located on-site. Sugarbush Golf Course is 15 minutes’ drive from the Round Barn Farm Inn. Ole’s Cross Country Ski Center is 8 km away.
The Inn at The Round Barn Farm offers rooms with plush bedding and an en suite bathroom. Decorated with floral accents and hardwood floors, Select rooms feature a fireplace or a spa bath tub. A common room with billiards, cable TV, and a variety of games and books are available for guest entertainment. A hearty breakfast is served in the dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the gardens. Breakfast includes homemade baked goods and a hot entree.
About the Writer
Katie McGrain is a food enthusiast, active traveler, and writer at Around the World in KT Days. She is a teacher, amateur chef, and Crossfiter who teaches by day, blogs by night, and travels at every chance she can get. She helps travelers discover ways to authentically explore the world through experiential activities. Check out her stories, itineraries, and inspiration at www.aroundtheworldinktdays.com.
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