New England is a special place in the summer. When I lived in Boston, we used to go on random trips up north without planning anything other than a route we chose on a Friday evening before we’d venture off for a weekend. We’d point to a place on the map – typically northern or western Massachusetts, New Hampshire or Vermont. I have fond memories of those days. Below is a fun top ten list of things to see and do in Vermont for your planning purposes – best times to travel are summer and fall if you want to catch the foliage.
Cornish Colony Museum: See the colonialists at their most prolific and inspired at this art gallery which features solely the work of the initial American settlers and their immediate followers. Your interpretation of these works of art may well be one of the best windows you have to viewing the world and happenings of the 17th- and 18th-century colonialists who laid down the democratic foundations of our nation as we know it today.
147 Main Street
Windsor, VT 05089
Gifford Woods State Park: Don’t miss an opportunity to come to Gifford Woods State Park and hike The Appalachian Trail. The trail runs through the park, and many hikers pass through on their way from Georgia to Maine and vice versa. Visit in the fall, when you can enjoy the spectacular colors of the foliage, or take in the beautiful panoramic views from Deer Leap Mountain at any time of year.
34 Gifford Woods
267 Springfield Road
Killington, VT 05751
Wilson Castle: You’ll be taken back to days past. The castle is an homage to, well, castles. Above and beyond that rather obvious sentiment, it serves to symbolize the complex developments of Western Civilization which ushered our country into its modern age. An architectural masterpiece, the castle will wow guests with its authentic designs and ornate embellishments. Passed down through five generations of Wilsons, the public has finally inherited the castle, and may now gape in wonder at its blend of medieval European style.
West Proctor Road
Center Rutland, VT 05736
American Precision Museum: This museum, housed in an authentic brick building dating back at least 100 years, tributes the improvements which led from the antiquities of artisans and blacksmiths to the mass-production technologies which nowadays churn out sufficient quantities of gizmos and gadgets to satiate the world. Yes, this institutionalized celebration of the American industrial revolution pits you against a world of machine tools, rifles, and a working 19th century gun shop, all behind the glass like you’ve never seen it before.
196 Main Street
Windsor, VT 05089
Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour: A false statistic: 1/4 of all ice cream purchased in the US is of the “Chunky Monkey” flavor of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. Now, finally, the real statistics: we are 100% sure that guests to Ben and Jerry’s Factory Tour will enjoy a deliciously insightful time on their 30-minute guided tours into the Ben and Jerry’s factory’s scrumptious inner-workings. Educate yourself on the subject of your creamiest indulgences before you treat the family to a daily sample provided gratis by the happiness-toting BJ Co. themselves.
1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road
Waterbury, VT 05676
Billings Farm and Museum: See firsthand the process from cow to carton, and then take part in the interactive activities and historical exhibits which have won this Farm awards.
Route 12 North and River Road
Woodstock, VT 05091
Boyden Valley Winery: Take a day to meander through the grape-laden fields proffered in Boyden Valley will be relived when they discover this winery’s whereabouts. Tours offered will educate guests on the intriguing fermentation process which so many empty glasses have come to rely upon. Boyden Valley specializes in producing International award-winning wines so bring your favorite glass.
64 VT Route 104
Cambridge, VT 05444
Vermont History Museum: The Vermont History Museum is wholly dedicated to the preservation of Vermont’s rich history, from pre-America to the modern century. Old antiques and relics of times past are harbored behind the glass you’ll find garnishing the interior displays of this wonderful cross-section of a glorious state’s past.
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609
VINS Nature Center: Learn about the natural inclinations of Vermont’s most intense creatures. We’re not talking about humans here; we’re talking about raptors, those birds of magnificent prey such as owls, eagles, hawks and falcons. The VINS Nature Center has all of these in rampant abundance, as well as 20 additional species, all for your live amazement. Nature trails and a nature shop add a major dose of green to the monochromatic hues which these fascinating denizens of nature sport around.
Route 4, just 1/4 mile west of Quechee Gorge
Quechee, VT 05059
Rock of Ages Granite Quarries: At the quarry, you’ll find an abundance of granite in its natural setting. Join a spectacular narrated tour through the world’s largest active granite quarry, and watch as the industry of Graniteville comes to life, performing a perfectly nonchalant expose on the amazing process which starts deep within the earth and ends up at the tip of your pencil.
558 Graniteville Rd
Graniteville, VT 05654
Photo credit 1: CornishColonyMuseum blog/blogspot.com. Random on Flickr (state park). Trip advisor.