From mountain resorts offering year-round fun to lively entertainment along the waterfront, the small state of Vermont has a ton of big attractions for visitors seeking a true taste of New England.
More than 25 hot-air balloons soar through the air during the annual Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa Hot Air Balloon Festival. This 3-day event includes a variety of kids' activities, live entertainment, a beer and wine garden and, of course, hot-air balloon rides. The rides are offered either tethered (for the curious) or untethered (for the brave). Either option provides unsurpassed views of the Stowe area's broad fertile valley.
Nestled in the heart of the prized mountain resort village of Stowe, VT, Topnotch Resort and Spa first opened in 1959 as a family-owned inn and has since grown into a luxury hotel that still maintains its rustic charm -- all in an ideal location. "The ski capital of the east," Stowe is home to Vermont's highest peak as well as one of the country's top 10 spas, making it a must-visit for ski-enthusiasts and relaxation-seekers alike.
City Market/Onion River Co-op is not only downtown Burlington's only grocery store, it also happens to be a 16,000-square-foot community-owned food cooperative that supports the local economy and food system. The food co-op offers a wide selection of locally sourced, fresh produce and Vermont-made products.
Killington Resort offers visitors year-round outdoor adventures: in the winter, dog sledding, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling, ice skating -- not to mention 190 trails that include classic runs, moguls and tree skiing areas; in the summer, a championship golf course, a mountain bike park with 45 miles of trails, alpine slides, climbing walls, disc golf and more. All these activities span 7 mountain areas, amid more than 100 restaurants and bars.
Simon Pearce opened his first glassblowing studio in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1971. Ten years later, this Irish-American entrepreneur moved his entire operation to Quechee, VT, where he restored a historic wool mill on the Ottauquechee River. Today, the mill is home to a glassblowing workshop. It's also open to visitors, who can see the hydroelectric turbine that powers the glass furnaces, see the glassblowers at work and even enjoy a meal at the Glassblower Café that overlooks the river.
The town of Waterbury, VT, in the Green Mountains range is home to a factory where ice cream dreams come true. The Ben & Jerry's Factory offers tours that begin with a film on the company’s history and finish with a tasting in the Flavoroom. Explore the Flavor Graveyard to see where your favorite bygone flavors have gone to rest.
In downtown Montpelier -- the smallest capital city in the US -- the Vermont State House sits proudly in the wooded hillside. Regularly open to visitors, the State House features evening concerts during the winter months in Representatives Hall. In warmer months, the public lawn hosts the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, as well as bands from around the state and dance concerts.
There aren't many man-made landmarks in the small state of Vermont, but Vermontasaurus definitely belongs on the list. The 25-foot-tall, 122-foot-long dinosaur was made of scrap lumber by a retired teacher. Vermontasaurus came under fire when the state had to decide whether it was a piece of public art or a structure requiring a permit. In the end, the dinosaur won and the folk art structure still stands at the Post Mills Airport.
Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, VT, is a lively open-air mall that bustles with activity year-round. Filled with historic architecture, festivals, street entertainers and over 100 places to shop and dine -- Church Street Marketplace is a must-see destination on any visit to Vermont.
The North Burlington Breakwater Lighthouse sits on Lake Champlain. Along with the accompanying South Burlington Breakwater, the lighthouse is actually a replica of an 1800s-era lighthouse that succumbed to ice and wind.
The Quechee Gorge Bridge is the oldest standing steel arch bridge in Vermont. It was built in 1911 so that tracks for the Woodstock Railway could be carried over the gorge. Then in 1933, the bridge was converted for highway use. Today, the bridge is open to pedestrians looking to catch a breathtaking glimpse of the gorge -- a 165-foot-deep gap that locals call "Vermont’s Grand Canyon."
The "coasties" of the Coast Guard Station in Burlington, VT, mainly patrol Lake Champlain, the largest freshwater lake in the US. Bordered by more than 580 miles of Vermont and New York shoreline, the lake offers boaters impressive views of the Adirondack and Green mountains.
A trip to Vermont isn't complete without grabbing a jug of pure, local maple syrup.
On the eastern shoreline of Lake Champlain you’ll find Burlington, the largest city in Vermont. Boasting a revitalized waterfront and a thriving arts community, the city is known for its fine Victorian-era architecture.
South Burlington is where the magic happens -- at the Magic Hat microbrewery. Known as the Artifactory, the brewery offers both free guided and self-guided tours. Top off your visit with a stop at The Growler Bar. The bar has 48 beers on tap, and constantly rotates the lineup of Magic Hat’s best brews.