A concentration of Vermont's history and science: northern Vermont
North, Central, South
Vermont State House:in Montpelier. Open M-F year round,
Saturdays 11-4:30, July-Mid October, with tours. Considered one
of the most beautiful, and wonderfully restored, Capitol buildings
in the United States, I love this building for its history, graces,
and (of all things) sound. The acoustics in the lobby make footfalls
ring... it is the sound of a citizen's power in this small state.
(free) (learn more)
Vermont Historical Society Museum: Next to the State House,
this little museum has a changing exhibit of Vermont's history and
past lifestyles. While it only takes about an hour to browse, I'm
almost always pleasantly surprised when I take the time to go through.
Farm: East Montpelier (directions on their website) The
oldest continuously operating family owned sugar works in the...
world, probably. And the only place you can reliably get sugar on
snow any time of the year. An absolute must if you're in the area
and have never had this New England treat.
Ages: Down the road in Barre. The tour takes you to the
50 acre, 600 foot deep, quarry... a nice fence protects you from
vertigo. On a clear day, it is nothing short of spectacular. But
more to the point, you're looking down into a century or more of
man's attempt at immorality. It is a view worth contemplating. (sm
Cabot Creamery: Cabot. If you were doing a tour of the Vermont food products
industry, you'd start at Ben and Jerry's in Waterbury, continue
to Morse Farm in East Montpelier, and end at Cabot Cheese Factory
in Cabot, Vermont. Depending on how adventurous you feel (and how
well you can read a map), you could take some very small and scenic
roads to get from here to there... or stick to pavement. The trip
there is the point of Cabot, although the tour starts out with a
nice film... and you can taste test everything they make.
Stowe: Several times
I list a town as an attraction, this is one of them. Between the
mountain (Gondola ride, Alpine slide, hiking) and the town (shops
to browse, galleries, fine dining) Stowe is a vacation unto itself.
Not the least expensive place to stay in Vermont by a long shot,
Stowe's advantage lies in her many amenities... and her central
location. Every attraction listed here is but a short and scenic
drive... with a fine meal to look forward to at the end of the day.
Echo Science Museum and Aquarium:
ECHO has just been recognized as Yankee Magazine’s “Best Aquarium” in their “Travel Guide to New England,” standing and revolving exhibits, a great stop on the lake especially for families traveling with children. Set right next door to:
The Spirit of
Ethan Allen: On the Burlington waterfront. A narrated tour
of the lake that is actually fun and informative, while giving you
a ride out on the open lake... in comfort. The Spirit also offers
sunset and dinner cruises, bring a warm jacket though, because it
will be cold when you disembark.
Ethan Allen Homestead: Burlington. You can do The Spirit
of Ethan Allen, lunch on the Church Street Marketplace, and spend
part of the afternoon at the Ethan Allen Homestead. Part of an archaeological
site, the homestead shares its history with 5000 years of human
habitation, but I love this attraction for its peaceful grounds.
Although the media show in the "tavern" isn't too shabby
Museum: Shelburne. Vermont's largest attraction (37 buildings
on 45 acres of beautiful gardens, including a wide variety of apple
trees and lilacs), Shelburne Museum's advertising is so ubiquitous
its easy to think it is over hyped. But buried on these grounds
are some wonderful Impressionists (Monet, Manet, Degas etc) as well
as some early Vermont portraits and landscapes that give me shivers.
We've used the buildings and objects at the museum to reconstruct
our own farm, plan outbuildings, and restore gardens. Expensive
admission by Vermont standards, but worth it. The museum opens at
10 am... be there, and plan on spending the entire day.
Farms: More of an educational experience than a passive
tour, Shelburne Farms is best visited during an event, so check
their website for the calendar. And it is a great website!
The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory: Shelburne. Just past the
Shelburne Museum (and most people will combine the two into a full
day) the tour is a wickedly funny bit with a hyperactive tour guide.
Ben and Jerry's
Ice Cream Factory: Waterbury. I include them here because
you expect to see them... but the attraction is very crowded from June to October. You have been warned!
continue on to history rich Central Vermont, home of Plymouth and
Billings Farm. <Central Vermont Visitor's Guide>
continue on to Southern Vermont, <Southern Vermont Vacation Planning>