Central Vermont is roughly Rutland through Middlebury, or either side of route 4, more or less. In central Vermont you'll find rugged mountains, small mill towns, and a couple of very large ski resorts.

Vermont's Crown Jewels: by area: North, Central, South

Calvin Coolidge's Birthplace: In Plymouth. My number one pick... if you see nothing else in Vermont, see this. Widely considered the best preserved presidential birthplace in the nation, the center of Plymouth (now a historic site) features the President's father's General Store, the church, cheese factory, even the "dance hall." Ten buildings in all, and a little restaurant with real pie. Coolidge's favorite beverage was a soft drink called "Moxie" which they sell at the general store... buy one and sit on the steps with it, and you can almost see yesterday across the fields.

The Town of Weston: Home of the Vermont Country Store, which does have a web site, but you really have to see it in person. Uneven wood floors, plank shelves, and merchandise your great grandmother would recognize that leaves most kids just puzzled. What the heck is a "hair rat?" Pretty, picture pretty, town green, and little shops up the main street. A tourist town, no question, but a fun little town too.

Billing's Farm and Museum:Woodstock. This is a "living museum" so the cows, chickens, and sheep are all quite real. Even a barn cat or two. From our perspective another of those wonderful repositories of lost skills and information. The film is worth twice the admission price, it is that well done, and for most people introducing offspring to large animals for the first time, this is a nice safe place to "experience" a farm. Working exhibits, and some great family events sprinkled through the year.

Montshire Museum of Science: Truthfully, I've never been on the nature trails, although they're said to be something. Montshire helps the "scientifically impaired" get a grip around concepts. But I think one of the most interesting experiences I had there was when I took a busload of senior citizens in on a rainy day, when their other activities had been canceled. A curator took the boa constrictor out of his (her?) cage and was explaining the snake's habits and environment. He then asked if anyone would like to touch the snake, and a very frail woman reached out and laid a finger on the snake. "Oh," she said in surprise "he feels nice!" From early childhood, her brothers had terrified her with snakes, and she'd never actually touched one. It was a pretty neat moment. If you don't like snakes, there's frogs, fish, and bubbles to play with.

Lake Champlain Maritime Museum:At Basin Harbor (just west of Vergennes). A working conservation project with some exciting work currently going on, including restoration and reconstruction of several period vessles. Not a "full day" sort of stop, but a nice side trip with an educational component.

The Vermont Folklife Center: Just north of Basin Harbor in Middlebury. Tricky to find, but worth the trip, Vermont Folklife is the repository of the Vermont story... 20,000 images, 3,500 recorded interviews, 635 video tapes, these are the people who keep family stories alive. Rotating exhibits guaranteed to make you feel humble and awed.

continue on to Northern Vermont, home of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream (of course) <go>

continue on to Southern Vermont, since Putney is a small town, you'll need some other attractions to fill out the day. <Visit Southern Vermont>

continue on to Northern Vermont, home of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream <Northern Vermont Travel Guide>

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