27 Things You Need To Know About Vermont Before You Move ThereVermont is visually breathtaking, agriculturally masterful and full of excitement. With a hopping nightlife and quiet getaways, there’s something for everyone here.
1. No One Does Farmers’ Markets Better Than Vermont
From Montpelier to Burlington to Brattleboro, Vermont is known for its strong agricultural roots. With up to 100 vendors in each town’s market, you’re sure to find a surplus of farm fresh, totally organic options. And some raw milk for the brave.
2. The Penguin Plunge Is For The Courageous Only
For those who want to prove that they can brave the North, the annual Penguin Plunge is a must-do event. With three separate events in Burlington, North Bennington, and Newport all in February, you’ve really got no excuse not to go. Plus, the Penguin Plunge is a charitable event for Special Olympics funding, so you won’t get icicles in your hair for nothing.
3. Vermont Is A Beer Geek’s Paradise
It’s hard to know where to start for this – from Long Trail to Hill Farmstead to Alchemist, there’s no shortage of top notch beer in Vermont. Hill Farmstead’s small family run brewery produces the world class “Edward” beer, and Alchemist’s “Heady Topper” is all the rage in Vermont these days.
4. The Trees Aren’t Just Beautiful; They’re Delicious
The sugar maple isn’t Vermont’s state tree without reason–maple products are a huge deal here. With more maple syrup produced than the next four states combined, you can be sure that Vermonters do it right. And if you want the best of the best, check out the annual maple festival in St. Albans and get a first-hand look at the year’s maple ambassadors.
5. Cheese Is A Way of Life And Cabot Creamery Is The Life Blood
The farm co-op has made Vermont internationally known for its cheese prowess. And if you want to see the whole process of vow to consumer, the Cabot Creamery in Cabot will happily oblige.
6. Ben And Jerry Will Be Your Homies
Everyone knows that the closer you are to the source of a food, the better it’s going to be. Well Vermonters are in luck, because the Ben and Jerry’s factory is in Waterbury, VT. So if you want to get a tour and first dibs from these ice cream innovators, you’re in the right neighborhood.
7. Vermont Does Autumn Better Than Any Other State
Vermont may be the Green Mountain state, but boy do those mountains light up with other colors come October. There’s no shortage of Fall Foliage Festivals, which are held in practically every town in the state. And don’t worry if you’re an out-of-state leaf-peeper–natives are proud to show off their colors.
8. Shreddin’ Powder May As Well Be A Religion Here
The cult of snow sports in the Northeast is not centralized around Vermont without reason. With Mount Snow, Stowe, Stratton, Killington, and Sugarbush Resorts (that’s not even half of your total choices), there is a virtually unlimited amount of exploration for skiers and snowboarders.
9. There's Actually A Lake Monster
…although most of the time, Champ is portrayed as a pretty friendly guy. In any case, getting out on the water of Lake Champlain is a must. If you’re a skeptic of the real Champ or you just like baseball, come to a Vermont Lake Monsters game, where Champ is sure to be in attendance.
10. Pay Homage to the Balance Master
Okay–this one’s not really something you “need” to know about, but it’s cool nonetheless–the world’s largest filing cabinet is in Burlington. Unless you have the world’s largest stepstool, it’s really just something to gawk at and ask “Why?” But, as any true Vermonter will respond, “Why not?”
11. The Highways Won’t Try To Sell You Stuff
For over 40 years, Vermont has prohibited roadside advertisements, which is a good thing for a state so vibrant and colorful. Plus, you’ll never have to make the choice between the speed and scenic draw–in Vermont, the highways are one in the same.
12. The Vast Wilderness Gets All Vermonters In Great Shape
With all the local farms, newly implemented GMO labeling laws, and oodles of outdoor adventure spots, it’s no wonder that Vermont has been ranked #1 in health of all states by the United Health Foundation for 4 years running.
13. Equality Is For Everyone
In 2009, Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage by state legislature. Vermont is welcoming and supportive of all its citizens, and this historic first is a serious source of well-deserved pride for Vermonters.
14. Score Some Beads And Brews At Magic Hat Mardi Gras
A proper Mardi Gras celebration need not be in New Orleans. Burlington’s own Magic Hat has been putting on a festival worth remembering (though you probably won’t) for 19 years. So see a parade, toast a beer, and earn some beads–in a family-friendly way or otherwise.
15. Nightlife Is The Best Life
There are great clubs and concert halls over Vermont – too many to talk about, actually. Burlington is probably the most bumping though. So give your ears something sweet to listen to at Nectar’s club or get a better vista at Higher Ground concert venue – you won’t be disappointed either way.
16. People In Vermont Don't Want None Of That GMO Stuff
Vermont takes a lot of pride in its agricultural industry, and with good reason. The latest step they’ve taken to help promote organic, natural products is passing a law that requires genetically modified food to be labeled as such. It’s an ongoing fight, but it’s good that one state is moving towards packaging laws that match up with the rest of the civilized world.
17. Taverns Are Good For Your Soul
If you think of taverns as a place reserved for burgers and fries you’re dead wrong. Bluebird Tavern and Guild Tavern in Burlington both use ingredients from those famous VT farms I’ve been talking about so much, making them as suitable for a date as they are for place to drink and watch sports.
18. Winter Isn’t the Death Of Summer Fun At Pump House Indoor Waterpark
Open year round and unroofed only on warm, sunny days, this 50,000 square foot park in Jay features 65 foot drops from La Chute (which is French for AHHHHH), the Double Barrel Flowrider (think skateboarding on water), and the Big River, which is anything but lazy.
19. Corporate America Takes A Backseat Here
Up until 1996, Vermont was the only state without a WalMart. Today, there are only five in the whole state. On top of that, Montpelier remains the only state capital to not have a McDonald’s. Kudos to Vermont for keeping things local.
20. Stowe Is A Winter Wonderland
If you’re into winter sports, you’ll definitely go to Stowe at some point (and probably often). But even if you don’t like shreddin’ fresh powder, the Stowe Winter Carnival is truly a spectacle. There are ice carvers, snow volleyball and snow golf (which MIGHT end with a lost ball).
21. Free Farm Samples Are Not To Be Passed Up
We’ve already established that Vermont farms are, as a rule, top tier. So to say that Sugarbush Farms is especially noteworthy means it’s a place you need to visit. The grounds are beautiful for a stroll, but the real treasure is inside, where visitors can get free samples of cheese and maple syrup.
22. Vermont Is Dog Heaven–Literally
St. Johnsbury’s Dog Chapel may seem slightly off to you when you enter–apostles replaced with puppies in the stain glass windows, carved canine heads in place of prim chapel pews, and a dog statue instead of a saint. Even if you’re a cat person, the surrounding idyllic Dog Mountain are treats for humans and furry friends alike.
23. Vermont’s Got You Covered
With over 100 covered bridges in the state, driving in VT is sure to provide ample photo opps. If you’re going for size, the Windsor-Cornish bridge is the largest single span covered bridge in the country. But if you’d rather hit a few on a small road trip, Brattleboro’s scenic Route 30 will take you past several of these wondrous constructions.
24. Rocking Out Takes Many Forms In Vermont
The Rock of Ages in Barre is a nearly 600 foot deep granite quarry so alien looking that it was used in the 2009 “Star Trek” movie. If you’re a hands-on person sandblast your own souvenir instead of watching the pros at work. You can even bowl at the world’s only outdoor granite bowling lane–Flintstones style.
25. Vermonters Are Proud Of Their State’s History
In Bennington, you can’t help but see the Bennington Battle Monument, which stands as VT’s tallest structure at 306 feet. The monument is located where a ragtag bunch of untrained soldiers, under the command of John Stark (no relation to Eddard) held off the far better equipped British troops. You’re welcome, America.
26. Fine Dining And Comfort Food Are Equally Viable Options
At Leunig’s Bistro in Burlington, you’re sure to get perfectly crafted French cuisine, from fine cheeses to Boeuf Bourguignon. But if you’re on a budget and craving some New York pizza, look no further than Papa Frank’s in Winooski.
27. Vermonters Always Have A Furry Friend
Vermont is about as wholesome a place you’ll ever come to, and the Vermont Teddy Bear Company is a good piece of evidence for that. It is the largest maker of hand-crafted, American-made teddy bears in the country. So if you’ve ever dreamed of rolling around in a massive pile of stuffed animals, come to the factory for a tour (this might be frowned upon). What do you love about living in Vermont? Tell us in the comments below!