How many states have a fan club? People develop a special bond with Vermont. How strong is this bond? So strong that more than 4,000 people now belong to the ‘251 Club.’ The Vermont 251 Club is an organization whose members attempt to visit every town in the state of Vermont. Those who visit all 251 towns are known as "plus" members. The 251 Club was first suggested in a 1954 Vermont Life article by commentator Arthur Wallace Peach. The club meets twice a year and a newsletter is distributed to club members. There are no secret handshakes and the uniting bond is a love for the Green Mountain State.
Contrary to popular belief, cows do not outnumber people in Vermont (not since the 1960’s anyway). But Vermont does love their cows and treasures their rich agricultural heritage. Vermont’s beautiful working landscape is one of the primary draws for visitors and Vermont agriculture is celebrated at fairs and field days throughout the summer. While you need to go to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls, Vermont brings you the Strolling of the Heifers in June, not to mention the Vermont Dairy Festival. Vermont has also emerged as a national leader in agritourism featuring everything from farmstays to tours of working farms, sugarhouses and more.
Vermont has a number of roads that have stood out for their historic, recreational, and natural wonders. All have easy access parking and/or pullouts for photo opportunities or impromptu rest stops.
- Scenic Route 108, the Smuggler’s Notch Road, attracts hikers and rock climbers as it passes through Mansfield State Forest and near the Smuggler’s Notch Ski Resort.
- Scenic Route 131, Cavendish Road, runs through the town of Cavendish and follows the well-stocked Black River where anglers can be found casting for fish.
- Scenic Route 125, Middlebury Gap Road, is an ideal location to view autumn colors as it passes through the Green Mountain National Forest, a popular camping spot.
- The Lake Champlain Byway offers outstanding views of the state’s largest lake, surrounding Green Mountains and Adirondacks, as well as the area's working landscapes.
- Route 9, the Molly Stark Trail, is named after the wife of New Hampshire's General John Stark who was the victor of the August 16, 1777 Battle of Bennington.
- The Connecticut River Scenic Byway is the natural bridge that unites New Hampshire and Vermont for over half of the waterway's 410-mile journey from the Canadian border to the Atlantic Ocean.
Vermont’s cool climate is perfect for producing apples. Almost 70 percent of the apples grown in Vermont are MacIntosh, a variety good for eating fresh picked, fresh pressed or fresh baked. When apples are harvested in September and October, there are a number of festivals with apples as the centerpiece. These celebrations feature diverse entertainment including music, crafts, cider pressing, pie baking and more. Apple picking at an orchard is a unique Vermont experience and taking home fresh cider makes for a tasty souvenir.
Vermont also has some of the best foliage in the world, so autumn is the perfect time to hop in the car and take a drive through the country lanes, winding streets, and scenic byways. With the backdrop of blue skies and a myriad of fall colors on the horizon, Vermont is ready for exploration
Crazy For Cars: Shows and Museums
Vermont is the best state in New England for viewing antique and classic automobiles. The annual Hildene Antique and Classic Car Show takes place on the grounds of Hildene, the Manchester home of Robert Todd Lincoln, son of President Abraham Lincoln, and one of Vermont’s grandest estates. Stowe hosts two events each year, the Antique and Classic Car Show in August and the British Invasion — the largest British motorcar show on the East Coast — in September. Vermont is also home to the Precision Valley Corvette Museum in Springfield.
Many of Vermont’s mountain peaks offer panoramic views. Killington Resort has a gondola ride to the state’s second highest peak, where a clear day can provide views into Canada. At Killington and Bolton Valley, you can bring your mountain bikes along for the ride and bike a trail back to the base. In the Northeast Kingdom, rise to the top of Jay Peak in a sixty person capacity tram. In southern Vermont, Bromley Mountain, Stratton Mountain and Mount Snow both have lift services to their summits. The 3816-foot Mount Equinox peak can be reached via a winding drive with views of the Green Mountain range.
Vermont’s countryside is dotted with a treasure trove of collectibles and antiques. Given the richness of history, Vermont has an abundance of interesting artifacts and unique bric-a-brac. Pieces are often displayed on the roadside to lure shoppers inside where hunting among the rooms and rafters is part of the experience. In autumn, there are a number of expos, including the Annual Vermont Antique Dealer’s Association gathering and the Annual Weston Antiques Show. These shows and others make antiquing easy by assembling vendors to display, highlight and sell their wares.
Dog sledding is another great way to get outside and explore the backcountry of Vermont. The day starts with an introduction to the basics of mushing, including dog commands and sled maneuvers. This one-of-a-kind ride travels across valleys, through forests, and can involve the whole family. One can snowshoe or cross-country ski along with the dog sled team, or take turns riding on the sled. The ancient art of skijoring has reappeared on the Vermont landscape where a cross-country skier is pulled by one or two dogs.
Vermont boasts 37 cross-country ski touring centers and the longest cross-country ski trail in America, the 300-mile Catamount Trail. The trail is divided into 26 sectors, each taking about a day to cover. Accessing the Catamount Trail is relatively easy, with intersections at 11 ski centers. Using a network of existing ski and snowmobile trails, old logging roads and wilderness paths, the Catamount Trail runs the length of Vermont's most beautiful terrain.
Well-known as a downhill skiing and snowboarding mecca throughout the Eastern United States, Vermont is famous for a very good reason. Skiers and snowboarders can choose from more than 5,700 acres of terrain at 17 different alpine resorts. Vermont offers terrain to suit every ability level including gentle teaching slopes, miles of novice and intermediate trails, wide-open boulevards for cruising, gladed terrain, and steep mogul fields for experts. Annual mountain snowfall averages 250 inches and 70% of Vermont’s terrain is covered by state-of-the-art snowmaking.
Snowshoeing has been a way of life in the Green Mountains for well over a century. It’s one of Vermont’s fastest growing winter sports, and is also one of the easiest to start. Many Nordic centers and businesses offer rentals, and there’s terrain for all ability levels.
In January, Stowe hosts a ten-day winter carnival with ice carving, sports, kid friendly activities, and village night. Festive costumes, vibrant colors, and family events fill the town to celebrate winter. Brattleboro stages a week-long carnival that started as a one-day ski-jump competition 40 years ago, but has grown to include a parade, snow sculpting, competitive skiing and an outdoor evening of fireworks. In February, Middlebury College Winter Carnival, the oldest and largest student-run carnival in the country, has fireworks, a cultural gala, an ice show, and ski competitions. The Burlington Winter Festival, also in February, has Vermont's own sanctioned snow sculpture competition, a family activity expo, snowshoe obstacle course, outdoor playground, and entertainment.
For a small state, Vermont has more than its share of superior restaurants. Vermont has 37 restaurants that have been awarded the prestigious Wine Spectator ‘Award of Excellence’ including one ‘Grand Award’ and two ‘Best of’ Awards of Excellence. Mobil Travel Guide awarded 19 restaurants Three Stars and 14 establishments received a Four Diamond rating by AAA- making the state of Vermont a standout for award winning fare. Many of these locations are part of the Vermont Fresh Network, which partners chefs with locally produced ingredients. Home of the New England Culinary Institute (NECI), Vermont is a great place to take some courses to improve one’s skills in the kitchen.
When people think of Vermont, they usually think of white clapboard villages. However, Vermont is also home to some spectacular mansions like Hildene (Manchester), Wilson Castle (Rutland), Shelburne Farms (Shelburne) and the Park McCullough House (North Bennington). These estates are reminiscent of a very different era, but are an indelible part of Vermont's cultural heritage.
Vermont is home to Lake Champlain, the sixth largest freshwater body in the United States. Vermont's senior senator once tried to get it declared the sixth Great Lake. Vermont has 808 lakes and ponds, 284 of which are larger than 20 acres. Vermont is also home to over 7,000 miles of streams. Whether you’re into canoeing, kayaking, sailing, fishing, tubing or swimming, you can find the right venue in Vermont’s waterways.
Wording courtesy of the Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing