6 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Vermont
Mounted on the spine of the United States, Vermont, the smallest of its states, has always been a haven for people yearning to get away from it all. Yet this bucolic state in the Northeast has more in common with other, larger American cities than the urban sprawl found in New England.
Home to a thriving resort industry, it's no surprise that Vermont is one of the country's top tourist destinations. What you won't find are big crowds; the main focus here is the remarkable natural beauty and outdoorsy lifestyle. Just outside of the cities, small towns dot the map, preserving their charm while offering cheap beer and jukebox music and plenty of country charm and culture. There's plenty to do, and you can get a feel for this laid-back state and enjoy some of the world's best scenic beauty.
Discover the best places to visit in the United States with our guide to the top tourist attractions in Vermont.
You don't have to be a billionaire to purchase a home in the U.S.S.A. It's still possible to find some reasonably priced summer vacation homes in Vermont and other locations throughout the country. Visitors who choose to purchase a property in Stowe, a picturesque town on the western edge of Vermont's Green Mountains, are promised a quick escape from a frenzied New York City lifestyle. Stowe, only 18 miles from the picturesque peak of Mt. Mansfield, is a year-round destination for visitors who enjoy skiing, riding, hiking and shopping. Known as the Switzerland of the East, the town attracts a crowd of blue-chip wealthy and famous who seem to come here for the superb golf courses and country clubs that await them in and around the town of Vermont.
For more than two centuries, Bellows Falls, in the green, rolling hills of southern Vermont, has prided itself on being one of the most unspoiled and picturesque towns in the United States. Settled in 1762, Bellows Falls is also among the oldest American cities, and the town is still less than 3,000 residents, making it nearly as old as the United States itself. A popular day trip from Boston, the town's main draw is the chance to stroll down the main street, which is lined with storefronts, farmers' markets, a handful of gift shops, and restaurants, including eateries named after traditional New England dishes like clam chowder, baked beans, and pickled pig's feet. There are also historic hotels, like the Orchards, which dates back to 1815 and has been operating continuously for 142 years. Besides shopping and sightseeing, the town is also one of Vermont's oldest holiday destinations, hosting an arts and crafts market in the summer and serving as the location for a popular film festival in the winter. This is a good destination for those seeking quiet, yet also interested in being in close proximity to a bustling urban area.
Mad River Valley
Mad River Valley is one of the most picturesque spots in the Northeast. Located in the Green Mountains of Vermont, the area is known for its historic, winding Mad River and a number of idyllic lakes that reflect the surrounding pine-covered slopes. Once part of a vital Native American trail between Montreal and Canada's New York State, it became the main route for early American settlers heading westward. Most people travel to this region to visit many of the charming New England villages that were once home to a number of well-known 19th-century families, including the Fosters, the Madisons and the Hamiltons. But for those looking for something more off the beaten track, there are a few excellent fishing lodges and inns, where guests can indulge in some piscatorial pursuits of their own. A local hangout is the Vermont Country Store, an old-fashioned general store famous for its live local bands. The Vermont Air Tour, which operates out of Burlington Airport, allows visitors to ride a helicopter over the area, one of the most spectacular ways of seeing it all, particularly in the autumn when the leaves turn beautiful reds and golds.
Located in rural Vermont, Mount Snow is one of the earliest mountain resorts in the U.S. A pure alpine experience, the "mountain" as it is often referred to in the Northeast, enjoys a total elevation of just over 9,000 feet and sports five ski lifts and three chairlifts that convey up to 2,100 skiers per hour to a variety of slopes, perfect for intermediate skiers. The beginner's high intensity trails are located above the cross-country ski area, which stretches for more than 7,000 acres. Snowmaking is made possible by 75 miles of Nordic trails and 50 miles of ski and snowboard cross-country trails, designed to teach "backcountry" skiing. If you're looking for a ski vacation that won't break the bank, consider a package ski-and-stay package at the mountain.
White Mountain National Forest
The hardwood forests of New England are the oldest in the nation and also home to some of the longest continually functioning ecosystems. White Mountain National Forest, for example, was established in 1897 and is home to Mount Tom and Bear Mountain. It has earned the title of the New England wilderness and is home to both the 16-mile Jacob's Ladder trail that allows visitors to climb the highest peak, Jacob's Ladder, and the A.T., Vermont's oldest trail. It has long been a favorite spot for summer hiking, climbing, and mountain biking. Best known for its snow-capped and rock-laden mountains and forests, White Mountain National Forest also has excellent spots for water sports such as kayaking and whitewater rafting and has natural trails to adventure travelers of all kinds. It's also a fine destination for cross-country skiing and, in winter, downhill skiing and snowboarding. White Mountain National Forest has a campground, lodges, and more than 30 rustic cabins to stay in and vacation rentals to rent by the day, week, or month. For lodging at another time of year, head for the serene and historic town of Bridport.
Bennington Battle Monument
Mortally wounded and hallucinating from multiple small wounds in his chest, Bennington's Alexander Hamilton witnessed Washington's inauguration on 4 June 1789, but died two months later on 23 July. Marking his grave with a simple brass plate, Hamilton remains a vivid icon of America's origins and an enduring challenge to tyranny. Erected and designed in 1927 by Charles A. Platt, Bennington's 150-foot marble column is the largest stone monument in the United States. The city's natives erected the monument in his memory with the stated objective of creating a lasting example of union between the American states and a symbol of historic pride in the region. Adjoining the monument is Bennington's equally striking Forbes State Airport, a 2-million-dollar installation modeled on San Francisco's famous Sutro Tower. It houses an exhibition about air travel and passengers through the ages, with live-action simulations on its observation deck.