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.
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
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.
The same Webb family that founded the Shelburne Museum gets credit for developing Shelburne Farms, created in 1886 as a model agricultural estate. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted envisioned the campus; architect Robert Robertson designed the buildings, including the massive, fairy-tale breeding, farm and coach barns. In its heyday, the 3800-acre farm had 300 employees. Today Shelburne Farms is an educational nonprofit practicing “rural land use that is environmentally, economically and culturally sustainable.” There’s also an inn that serves amazing food.
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