People have been fighting over Lake Champlain as long as there have been personal flotation devices. The waterway’s strategic value is evidenced by the dozens of shipwrecks on the bottom. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has been discovering, researching and protecting those rusty relics, and the result is the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve, a gallery of sunken ships accessible to divers. But there’s plenty to look at on land, too. The dry museum chronicles the maritime history of the area through exhibits, boat-building demonstrations, lectures and festivals.
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.
The crack of the bat, the call of the hot-dog vendor — it wouldn’t be summer without minor-league baseball. In Burlington, the Vermont Lake Monsters — formerly the “Reds,” then the “Expos” — play through Labor Day at UVM Centennial Field. The 103-year-old ballpark is a jewel in the middle of a city neighborhood that once hosted the likes of Barry Larkin, Ken Griffey, Jr., Orlando Cabrera and Jason Bay.
Nonprofit Preservation Burlington leads guided tours — upon request — with an eye toward architecture of historic and stylistic interest. Learn about how the Queen City was developed, and find out who built it. Look for contact information on the Preservation Burlington website.
Don't wait until you're dead to enjoy the Queen City's scenic garden cemetery. Wander the winding paths toward the waterfront, and you'll pass headstones that read like a Who's Who of local history. A former governor, the second U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., the namesake of Howard University in Washington D.C. and Civil War hero General George Stannard are among the notable residents.
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.
Stowe Mountain Resort, like every other Vermont ski area, is in global-warming gear. An “All Day Summer Attraction Package” — $70 for adults, $64 for kids — includes use of an alpine slide that drops 2300 feet; a bungee trampoline that requires a full body harness; and an inflatable obstacle course. The traditional gondola skyride is always nice, especially when there’s a restaurant serving gourmet Vermont lunches at the top of the mountain. Prefer to get there on your own?
The Vermont Teddy Bear Company is known for its cuddly and creatively clothed critters — including "Bingo Bear" and "Lady Bowler." For $2, you can take a 30-minute tour of the factory floor (kids 12 and under are free). Open year-round, seven days a week, except Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day.
This park was once home to an exclusive girls camp, but it's now a natural area known as a great spot for weddings. Locals picnic and swim here. Bike down flat, open, back roads to nearby Button Bay State Park.
This waterfront retreat was built in 1903; the Briggs family of Burlington ran it as a hotel. They sold it to the Sisters of Mercy in the 1950s, and the nuns opened a summer camp for girls on the property. They donated it to the Preservation Trust of Vermont in 1997, and today the historic house hosts weddings and corporate functions — and a Vermont Mozart Festival concert.
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