Vermont unfolds as a visual feast, its landscapes a canvas of breathtaking vistas and its towns an assemblage of historic charm. Known for being one of the most picturesque states in the United States, its beauty is a magnetic pull for photographers and sightseers alike. With each season, Vermont transforms itself to offer a new palette: fall showcases a firework of foliage; winter boasts pristine skiing conditions; and spring to summer bursts with cultural festivals and the call of the wild for outdoor enthusiasts.
As you embark on exploring the best places to visit in Vermont, you’ll be greeted by an array of experiences. From the silent trails in the woods that offer solace and the echo of nature, to the vibrant small towns brimming with local tales and treasures. Vermont doesn’t just have something for everyone—it has something to inspire awe in every visitor. Whether you’re strolling through the quaint streets, reveling in the autumnal glory, or etching trails through winter’s white, there’s a timeless quality to this New England gem that resonates deeply with those who wander its varied landscapes.
In the heart of New England, Woodstock greets you with vistas that seem sprung from a vintage postcard. This village, often hailed as one of America’s prettiest towns, offers a serene escape with its red-covered bridges and quaint streets.
- Historical Charm: Traverse the village known for its timeless appeal.
- Natural Beauty: Experience the enchanting forests and hiking trails nearby.
- Local Flavors: Indulge at farmsteads producing authentic maple syrup.
- Unique Retail Therapy: Browse through the unique boutiques and art galleries.
Grasp the essence of Vermont here, where traditional charm harmoniously blends with the natural landscape.
2. Quechee Gorge
Depth: 165 feet
Formation: Around 13,000 years ago via glacial action
- White-water rafting for the bold
- Scenic walks to Mill Pond Falls
- Crossing the historic steel arch bridge (from 1911)
As you wander through Vermont’s Green Mountains, you’ll be greeted by the majestic Quechee Gorge. Often called Vermont’s little Grand Canyon, the gorge offers breathtaking views from its 165-foot depth. The Ottauquechee River carves through the ancient rock bed, where you can indulge in the thrill of white-water rafting or enjoy a peaceful walk to the charming Mill Pond Falls. Traverse the Quechee Gorge Bridge, marvel at its historical significance, and appreciate a panoramic view that has stood the test of time.
Discover Manchester, a haven nestled within Vermont’s Green Mountains, steeped in rich history and brimming with retail allure. Here, you’re not just a visitor but a traveler embarking on a journey through America’s past, where hidden stories lie in three historic districts: the bustling Depot district, and the picturesque Bonnet and Main streets.
|Shop ’til you drop with a plethora of outlets right at your fingertips.
|Delve into early American jurisprudence with the first American wrongful murder conviction case right in Manchester.
Stroll down the streets where the echoes of a significant 19th-century legal event resonate. Imagine the fusion of that historical gravity with the present-day charm as you enjoy local anecdotes from friendly shopkeepers. Each purchase from Manchester is a tangible piece of your journey through the tapestry of New England culture.
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Montpelier may be small in numbers when the evening descends, but by day, it’s teeming with activity from those serving the state. This intimate capital, echoing Montpellier in France, appreciates its Revolutionary ties.
- Visit the State House: A must-see location, where the halls of governance meet history.
- Taste the Local Flavors: Embark on a journey to a nearby maple syrup factory, indulging your taste buds.
- Statue of Ethan Allen: Pay homage to one of Vermont’s founders at his monument.
The streets of Montpelier offer a calm yet vibrant atmosphere, marrying history with the daily hum of modern life.
Nestled a mere seven miles from the bustling streets of Burlington, Shelburne embraces you with its tranquil, agrarian charm. Mosey through the town’s pastoral landscapes and sip on the fruits of finely cultivated vineyards. In a nod to its heritage, William Petty’s namesake township celebrates a rich agricultural lineage open for exploration.
For a touch of whimsy, visit the Vermont Teddy Bear Co., a beacon of joy since 1981, crafting plush companions to delight the child in everyone. Embrace lakeside serenity along the shores of Lake Champlain, where the water’s expanse whispers tales of New England’s heart.
6. Killington Resort
At Killington Resort, you’ll embrace the thrill of Vermont’s second-highest mountain. Notoriously known as New England’s premier skiing destination, this resort boasts the largest vertical descent in the region. Since its inception in 1958, Killington has become the most extensive ski area on the eastern seaboard.
Here’s what awaits:
- Mountains: 6 diverse mountains, including the famed Killington Peak.
- Trails: 155 trails catering to all expertise levels, from novices to pros.
- Lifts: A total of 21 lifts, ensuring a swift ascent for repeated runs.
Intriguing features like ramps and jumps sprinkle across a few trails, inviting both the daring and the skilled to test their limits. Whether seeking the serenity of a snow-covered path or the adrenaline rush of a challenging descent, your time at Killington Resort will be etched into your memory as the quintessence of Vermont’s skiing landscape.
Amid the charm of New England lies Grafton, a picturesque hamlet where time appears to stand still. As you stroll through the streets, your gaze will be met with buildings whose restorations pay homage to their original splendor.
- Visit: The Grafton Inn, an operational haven since 1801, offering more than a night’s rest but a historical journey.
- Landmark: The White Church, sentinel of the village since 1858, captures both the eye and the spirit.
- Origin: What was once Thomlinson now bears a name rooted in auctioned lore, acquired for a mere $5 and a promise of spirits.
Your experience in Grafton transcends mere sightseeing; it’s a voyage into the authenticity of a village preserved in time.
8. Charming Champlain Isles
Nestled within Lake Champlain’s gentle waves, the Champlain Isles stretch like a verdant ribbon between Vermont and New York. A journey here offers moments of tranquil seclusion, best explored through leisurely drives revealing postcard-worthy landscapes at every turn.
- Reach the aisles by ferry for an added touch of adventure.
- Scenic Drives: The isles offer some of Vermont’s most picturesque roadways.
- Summer Activities:
- Unwind at Vermont’s pioneer vineyard for a sip of local flavor.
- Cycle along the Island Line Trail, embracing lake breezes.
- Pitch a tent for an evening under the stars.
- Winter Delights: Embark on an ice-fishing expedition amidst frozen serenity.
With the archipelago’s longest town housing a mere 2,000 souls, your escape from the bustle is assured. Whether it’s the warmth of the summer sun or the crisp winter air brushing against your cheeks, the Champlain Isles promise a serene sojourn, rich in solitude and scenic splendor.
Nestled within Vermont’s scenic landscape, Stowe offers a tapestry of experiences throughout the year. Your winter getaway isn’t complete without indulging in the exhilarating snow sports. As the snow melts, prepare for a summer adorned with colorful festivals, from high-flying balloon fests to vibrant art exhibits.
Come September, automobile enthusiasts marvel at British engineering during the British Invasion event, a celebration of automobiles from across the pond that graces local fields.
For a brush with history, explore the grounds where the iconic von Trapp family established roots post their flight from Austria, a tale immortalized in The Sound of Music. The Trapp Family Lodge, aside from its historical allure, has hosted melodious notes under the open sky for the Vermont Mozart Festival. And for those craving adventure, the trails surrounding Stowe beckon hikers and mountain bikers alike.
Your visit to Stowe is an invitation to immerse in a locale where every season sings its own distinct melody.
Renowned for its delectable ice cream creations from Ben & Jerry’s, Burlington offers a blend of culinary delight and outdoor escapades. Nestled against the vast Lake Champlain, this locale invites you to sail its waters, providing a perfect balance for any indulgence.
Stroll through the Church Street Marketplace, a bustling pedestrian mall where local culture thrives. Here, your senses are treated to a medley of events from artful exhibits to a celebration of autumnal gourds. The marketplace also anchors a prominent farmers market, a testament to Vermont’s bountiful harvests where you can mingle with artisans and taste the region’s seasonal offerings.