On 500 acres in Williston, the nonprofit Catamount Outdoor Family Center maintains more than 20 miles of trails for running, biking and hiking. You can take part in organized races or do your own thing.
The towns surrounding Chittenden County are full of surprising finds — you just have to know where to go. A car comes in handy. At the area’s last-remaining drive-in, certainly, you’ve gotta have wheels. Colchester’s own al fresco movie theater shows double features on four screens every night at sunset. Bring bug spray.
The sturdy, studly Morgan horse is unique to Vermont. That’s because Justin Morgan — originally of Springfield, Massachusetts — was living in Randolph when he bred the animal to perfection back in the 1700s. Strong and versatile, the animals worked on farms, pulled stagecoaches, competed in early harness racing and carried the First Vermont Cavalry to the Civil War. The National Museum of the Morgan Horse recounts this uniquely American equine story.
Walk through the vineyards or visit the new tasting room to try some of their award-winning wines. The latest release? Cote de Champlain, celebrating Samuel de Champlain's voyage of discovery in 1609.
The views of Lake Champlain, the Champlain Valley and the Adirondacks are breathtaking from this hillock that also happens to be a state park. It’s a short, winding climb to the top — on a road that you have to share with cars, and you have to pay either way — but somehow the exhaust fumes don’t spoil the experience. Must have something to do with all those happy people at the top.
A happy obsession is in evidence at the Birds of Vermont Museum — home to hundreds of life-sized wooden birds expertly carved by Bob Spear. The loon family alone took him 850 hours to carve and paint. Spear founded Vermont’s first chapter of the National Audubon Society in 1962, and is still carving birds today. Photo: Matthew Thorsen
(Published in 7 Nights 2008-09)
It's the closest thing to a palace that exists in Vermont: The crimson damask lining the walls matches the upholstery on the chairs. The floor is a checkerboard of black-and-white marble, and imposing portraits of former proprietors Lila Vanderbilt Webb and William Seward Webb grace the walls.
The Sheldon Museum, on Middlebury’s town green, serves as both a municipal archive and showcase of 19th-century small-town Vermont life.
The Shelburne Museum: Just do it. Electra Havemeyer Webb’s collection of fine and folk art may be Vermont’s greatest cultural treasure. The “gallery” experience could not be less intimidating. You can walk leisurely between the buildings, where people in period dress act as printers, blacksmiths and apothecaries. Or wander through the staterooms on the lovingly restored passenger steamer S.S. Ticonderoga. In the Electra Havemeyer Webb Memorial Building are some of the museum’s — and the world’s — most precious paintings by Manet, Monet, Degas and Cassat.
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