NYC Escape: Spend the Weekend in Stratton, Vermont

Take a break from the busy city and explore a winter wonderland at Stratton Mountain in Vermont.

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Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival

Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival

More than 25 hot-air balloons soar through the air during the annual Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa Hot Air Balloon Festival. This three-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. 960 1280

Eric McCarthy, flickr  

Topnotch Resort and Spa

Topnotch Resort and Spa

Nestled in the heart of the prized mountain resort village of Stowe, 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. 960 1280

Topnotch Resort & Spa  

City Market/Onion River Co-op

City Market/Onion River Co-op

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. 960 1280

Church Street Marketplace, flickr   

Killington

Killington

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 seven mountain areas, amid more than 100 restaurants and bars. 960 1280

Killington Resort  

Simon Pearce Glass Factory

Simon Pearce Glass Factory

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, Vermont, 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 Cafe that overlooks the river. 960 1280

Lacylouwho, flickr  

Ben & Jerry's Factory

Ben & Jerry's Factory

The town of Waterbury, 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. 960 1280

Qfamily, flickr   

Vermont State House

Vermont State House

In downtown Montpelier -- the smallest capital city in the U.S. -- 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. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Vermontasaurus

Vermontasaurus

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. 960 1280

HopsonRoad, Wikimedia Commons  

Church Street Marketplace

Church Street Marketplace

Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, 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. 960 1280

Church Street Marketplace, flickr  

North Burlington Breakwater Lighthouse

North Burlington Breakwater Lighthouse

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. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Quechee Gorge Bridge

Quechee Gorge Bridge

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." 960 1280

Sage Ross, flickr  

Coast Guard Station

Coast Guard Station

The "coasties" of the Coast Guard Station in Burlington, mainly patrol Lake Champlain, the largest freshwater lake in the U.S. Bordered by more than 580 miles of Vermont and New York shoreline, the lake offers boaters impressive views of the Adirondack and Green mountains. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup

A trip to Vermont isn't complete without grabbing a jug of pure, local maple syrup. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Burlington

Burlington

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. 960 1280

Getty Images   

Magic Hat Brewery

Magic Hat Brewery

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. 960 1280

Getty Images  

January

January

Jam Cruise - Ft. Lauderdale, FL
By taking the music to the seas, Jam Cruise makes the music festival a full-blown vacation. When you set sail from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, enjoy all the amenities of a cruise and see your favorite jam bands while making stops in locales like Mexico and the Bahamas.

More Festivals in January:
Chicago Blue Grass and Blues - Chicago
Ann Arbor Folk Festival - Ann Arbor, MI
MusicFest - Steamboat Springs, CO
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Dave Vann  

February

February

Noise Pop - San Francisco
One of the biggest indie music festivals in San Francisco, Noise Pop also embraces indie art and film. With 6 nights of shows taking place in more than a dozen venues, Noise Pop makes it difficult to not feel inspired by all the creative energy.

More Festivals in February:
Cabin Fever Camp Out - East Peoria, IL
Winter Jibberjam - Camp Hill, PA
Snowlive - Crystal Bay, NV
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March

March

Ultra – Miami
Held in downtown Miami, Ultra Music Festival has grown into a 3-day dance party and is now North America's second largest electronic music festival. After Madonna's surprise appearance this year, it's sure to keep on growing.

More Festivals in March:
South by Southwest - Austin, TX
Snowball Music Festival - Vail Valley, CO
Savannah Stopover - Savannah, GA
Treefort - Boise, ID
Mission Creek - Iowa City, Iowa
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April

April

Coachella - Indio, CA
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, commonly known as "Coachella," is held annually in the desert area of Indio, CA. Featuring rock, indie, hip-hop and electronic music, Coachella has gained a reputation as one of the top music festivals of the year with this year's tickets selling out in a record 3 hours.

More Festivals in April:
Middle of the Map - Kansas City, MO
Country Thunder Arizona - Florence, AZ
Old Settler's - Austin, TX
New England Metal and Hardcore - Worcester, MA
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - New Orleans
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Getty  

May

May

Summer Camp Music Festival - Chillicothe, IL
Every Memorial Day weekend, the Summer Camp Music Festival takes over Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL, with bands like The Avett Brothers and Jane's Addiction. Also a family affair, the music festival includes a kids' camp area where children can dress up in costumes provided by the festival and participate in a parade that encompasses the festival site.

More Festivals in May:
Beale Street Music Festival - Memphis, TN
Hangout Music Fest - Gulf Shores, AL
DelFest - Cumberland, MD
Wakarusa - Ozark, AK
Sasquatch Festival - George, WA
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Jason Kaczorowski  

June

June

Wanderlust Vermont - Stratton, VT
The Wanderlust Festival, held in Stratton, VT, as well as Squaw Valley, CA, and expanding to Canada this year, not only has a top lineup of musical acts, but also a lineup of top yogis who provide yoga classes in between the music sets. If that wasn't enough to recharge you, enjoy a farm-to-table dinner with the freshest in local cuisine.

More Festivals in June:
Bonnaroo - Manchester, TN
Starscape Festival – Baltimore
Free Press Summerfest - Houston
Governors Ball - Governors Island, NYC
Summerfest - Milwaukee
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Saeger Media Group  

July

July

All Good - Thornville, OH
The All Good Music Festival and Camp Out has been held all over the East Coast -- in Brandywine, MD, Masontown, WV, and most recently in Thornville, OH. Featuring up to 16 hours of music a day ranging from folk to reggae to rock, the festival has no overlapping acts so you can actually hear all the scheduled music.

More Festivals in July:
High Sierra Music Festival - Quincy, CA
Gathering of the Vibes - Bridgeport, CT
Floyd Fest 11 - Floyd, VA
Newport Folk Festival - Newport, RI
Firefly Music Festival - Dover, DE
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Sam Friedman  

August

August

Electric Zoo - New York City
Each Labor Day weekend, electronic music fans flock to Randall's Island Park in New York City for Electric Zoo. Featuring all genres of electronic music, with DJs and live acts from around the world, Electric Zoo has become a top event for those looking for an outrageous dance party.

More Festivals in August:
Lollapalooza - Chicago
Gnarnia Festival 2012 - Beech Mountain, NC
Outside Lands - San Francisco
Musikfest - Bethlehem, PA
Abbey Road on the River - Louisville, KY, and Washington, DC
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September

September

Monterey Jazz Festival – Monterey, CA
Starting in 1958 with headlining acts Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong, the Monterey Jazz Festival in California is one of the longest-running jazz festivals in the world. A nonprofit organization, the festival donates its proceeds to musical education.

More Festivals in September:
DeLuna Fest - Pensacola, FL
Bumbershoot - Seattle
The Americana Music Festival - Nashville, TN
Catskill Chill Music Festival - Hancock, NY
Telluride Blues and Brews Festival - Telluride, CO
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Cole Thompson  

October

October

Voodoo Experience - New Orleans
Voodoo Experience in New Orleans features national artists from all genres such as Eminem and 311 alongside local acts. The festival also includes "Le Carnival," with burlesque and circus acts rounding out the "voodoo experience."

More Festivals in October:
Austin City Limits - Austin, TX
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival - San Francisco
BayFest - Mobile, AL
A3C Hip-Hop Festival - Atlanta
CMJ Music Marathon and Film Festival - New York City
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Getty Images  

November

November

Fun Fun Fun Fest - Austin, TX
In a city known for its music festivals, Austin, TX, Fun Fun Fun Fest or F3F, as it is commonly abbreviated, brings together underground musicians from indie, punk and hip-hop genres. Known as one of the most "relaxed" music festivals, F3F is perfect for festival-goers looking for a new music experience.

More Festivals in November:
Sun and Sand Festival - Biloxi, MS
Bear Creek Music Festival - Live Oak, FL
Anti-Pop Music Festival - Orlando, FL
Arizona Classic Jazz Festival - Chandler, AZ
Pee Dee Blues Bash - Florence, SC
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Kristin Hillery   

December

December

Snowglobe Festival – South Lake Tahoe, CA
Over New Year's weekend, music takes over the mountains of South Lake Tahoe, CA, with the Snowglobe Festival. Be sure to bundle up since the festival is outdoors. But with 7 surrounding ski resorts allowing attendees to hit the slopes before catching a show, the cold should be just what you're looking for.

More Festivals in December:
Together as One - Silverado, CA
Sea of Dreams - San Francisco
Bradenton Blues Festival - Bradenton, FL
Orange Drive Miami Beach Music Festival – Miami Beach
Treme Creole Gumbo Festival - New Orleans
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Japan: Mochi Ice Cream

Japan: Mochi Ice Cream

This frozen treat fuses “the most American of treats (ice cream) and the most Japanese of desserts (mochi)” into an international taste sensation. The frozen sweet consists of golf-ball-sized mochi (sticky rice pounded into a soft texture) with an ice-cream filling in flavors like green tea and red bean. This popular Asian-American fusion dessert can be found in grocery stores all over the world. 960 1280

Charles Nguyen, Wikimedia Commons  

Vermont: Ben and Jerry's

Vermont: Ben and Jerry's

You can’t pass a ice-cream aisle without seeing this iconic American ice-cream brand staring you down, tempting you to try its latest concoction. It is the American ice dream -- two college grads, Ben and Jerry, open their first ice-cream shop in Burlington, VT, in 1978 and then take over the world ... one scoop of “Chunky Monkey” at a time. 960 1280

istock  

Italy: Gelato

Italy: Gelato

If you want to piss off an Italian, call gelato “ice cream.” While the two are quite similar in their deliciousness, gelato is typically denser and milkier than traditional ice cream. And the good news? Gelato contains less fat than ice cream, since it uses more milk than cream. And less fat means more room for flavor, like our favorites -- nocciola (hazelnut) and fragola (strawberry). 960 1280

Thinkstock  

Israel: Halva Ice Cream

Israel: Halva Ice Cream

Israel’s take on ice cream? Halva ice cream. Halva, a sweet candy-like treat made from sesame seeds mashed into a sugar-and-honey paste, is common in many Israeli dishes. On a hot day in Tel Aviv, cooling off with Halva ice cream is a popular pastime. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

France: Foie Gras Ice Cream

France: Foie Gras Ice Cream

Leave it to the French to turn their ice cream into a delicacy. While the world continues to debate the cruelty of making foie gras -- overfattened duck liver -- we think everyone can be in agreement that ice cream doesn’t need to include over-the-top ingredients to taste gourmet. You had us at vanilla. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Iran: Faloodeh

Iran: Faloodeh

On a warm summer day in Iran there’s nothing more refreshing than this Persian frozen dessert. Made of thin vermicelli noodles frozen with corn starch, rose water and lime juice, it’s a unique blend of citrus and floral tastes. 960 1280

Scott Dexter, flickr  

Turkey: Dondurma

Turkey: Dondurma

Stretchy ice cream? While it sounds unusual, Turkish ice cream, dondurma, has a similar pliability to taffy. The dondurma street vendors in Istanbul have fun with its pliable texture, wowing passerby with its ability to not fall off a stick or melt. It’s thickened with salep, a flour made from orchids, which only adds to its exotic appeal. 960 1280

istock  

Philippines: Cheese Ice Cream

Philippines: Cheese Ice Cream

Two comfort foods mix in this classic Filipino dessert, cheese ice cream. Once sold only by street vendors, today it’s crafted with real cheddar cheese by the brand Magnolia and sold in grocery stores all over the Philippines. 960 1280

istock  

Germany: Spaghetties

Germany: Spaghetties

While it might resemble pasta, Germany’s spaghettieis is vanilla ice cream drawn through a pastamaker and then topped with a strawberry topping (to look like tomato sauce). This playful play on pasta was created by an Italian in Germany in the 1960s and has been a popular dessert with kids and adults alike ever since. 960 1280

Christian Cable, flickr  

Alaska: Akutaq

Alaska: Akutaq

In a place with freezing temperatures, it’s hard to imagine a need for a cool-down dessert, but “Eskimo ice cream” is a popular local treat in Alaska. Traditionally, this native dish includes meat and fat from animals like seals, moose and caribou, although nowadays Crisco is a common substitute for animal fat. But seasonal ingredients like salmonberries and blueberries are still used in the modern version. 960 1280

Eric Ellefson, flickr  

India: Kulfi

India: Kulfi

A mix of condensed milk, sugar and exotic flavors like saffron and cardamom, this popular Indian frozen dessert has a dense texture more similar to custard than ice cream. Traditionally, this cool treat was only found in India’s street markets, kept frozen in earthenware pots of ice and salt. Now its popularity is so widespread, you can find it in Whole Foods’ frozen-food aisles. 960 1280

Getty Images  

U.S. Wide: Frozen Yogurt

U.S. Wide: Frozen Yogurt

After Americans had one too many Ben and Jerry’s pints, they dreamed of a way to satisfy their love for cold, creamy desserts … while maintaining their waistline. Thus, frozen yogurt was born in the late 1970s and took off in the 1980s all over the United States as a low-fat alternative to ice cream. America’s craving for lower fat varieties didn’t stop Ben and Jerry, though … those brilliant guys now even offer Greek frozen yogurt, the latest healthy frozen indulgence. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

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