20 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Vermont

Written by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers
Updated Jun 23, 2023

Vermont is equal parts myth and reality, home to a mystique that other states can only envy. A mere mention of its name, and images appear: sunlit meadows of black-and-white cows, dazzling white ski trails, tidy hillside farms, blazing red maple trees along a stone wall, covered bridges, buckets collecting sap for maple syrup.

Certainly these idyllic scenes still exist, although less picturesque plastic tubing has replaced most of the buckets, and many of the farms may now be chic B&Bs where you can stay while sightseeing.

Taftsville covered bridge in Vermont
Taftsville covered bridge in Vermont

Another Vermont exists alongside this idealized one, represented by bustling Burlington, the outlet malls of Manchester, Killington's frenetic après-ski scene, and Brattleboro's unlikely blend of gritty blue-collar and '70s hippies grown up.

Even the state's mainstay of agriculture has a new look, as dozens of artisanal cheese makers transform Vermont's dairy industry, and tourists eagerly follow the Vermont Cheese Trail to sample them.

Other trails lead to traditional tourist attractions: maple farms boiling sap and welcoming visitors each March, and covered bridges – seven of them in the far northern town of Montgomery alone. You'll enjoy both Vermonts.

I live 20 miles from Brattleboro, Vermont, where I do my shopping at the Farmer's Market and in the locally owned stores on Main Street. My travels frequently take me back and forth across the Connecticut River, which separates my western New Hampshire town from my favorite skiing and hiking trails in Vermont's Green Mountains. I consider both states to be our backyard.

Join me to discover the best things to see and do there, with this list of the top attractions and places to visit in Vermont.

1. Stowe


With a covered bridge, white-spired church, weathered barns, and ski trails down the mountainside, Stowe is everybody's image of Vermont. At the foot of Mt. Mansfield and in the heart of the state's snow belt, it's also the town that most personifies the glory days of Vermont's early ski industry, a heritage that's explored here in the Vermont Ski Museum.

Although avid skiers had climbed the mountain long before that, and a rope tow was installed in 1937, things really took off in 1940, when the first chairlift was opened. Stowe Mountain Resort is still one of New England's premier ski destinations, and the gondola that carries skiers in the winter takes sightseers to the summit for more views in the summer and fall.

It's not all about skiing and the mountain; you'll find shops and boutiques, art galleries, dining, and lodging of all sorts. Exhibits of works by Vermont-based artists are shown in the Helen Day Art Center and you can find quality Vermont- and New England-made jewelry, glass and fiber arts at Remarkable Things at Stowe Craft at the beginning of Mountain Road. When hunger strikes, I like to grab a hand-built sandwich at Back Cap Coffee & Bakery on Main St.

You can rent bicycles to ride, or you can walk or skate along the 5.3-mile Stowe Recreation Path, a paved multi-use route through meadows and woods alongside the river, with beautiful views of Mt. Mansfield. The best views of Mt. Mansfield's distinctive profile are from the upper part of the path, which you can access from Thompson Park, on Mountain Road.

You can find things to do here all year, and you'll quickly see why it's considered one of the best small towns in Vermont.

Author's Tip: If your canine friend accompanies you to Stowe, look for the 1.8-mile Quiet Path, a low-impact extension of the Recreation Path, where dogs can run free. You can reach it from Cemetery or Mayo Farm Rd.

2. Church Street Marketplace

Church Street Marketplace in the evening, Burlington
Church Street Marketplace in the evening, Burlington

In the heart of downtown Burlington, Church Street is only four blocks long, but it forms a wide, traffic-free space for public events and a lively street life even in Vermont's cold winters. Along with the festivals scheduled throughout the year, it's a place for sidewalk cafes, benches, and public artworks, and the buildings alongside it are filled with shops, restaurants, and boutiques. In the summer, when everyone is outdoors, it has the feel of an Italian piazza.

A mural, Everyone Loves a Parade! by Canadian muralist Pierre Hardy decorates a wall, and other artworks include a life-sized statue of a local jazz artist and a fish fountain crafted of metal. It's no wonder this has been named one of the Great Public Spaces in America; it's also listed as a National Register Historic District.

Opposite Church Street, The Flynn Center hosts top performers and musicians, in a state-of-the-art theater.

Author's Tip: For bargains that will astonish you, go downstairs at Outdoor Gear Exchange, part sale and clearance clothing and gear, and part consignment shop. My daughter bought a name-brand jacket there for less than ¼ its original price. So, if you find that your children have outgrown their ski boots or jacket, you could leave them there for sale instead of hauling them home from vacation.

Address: Church Street, Burlington, Vermont

3. Hildene


Robert Todd Lincoln, son of the president, visited Manchester with his mother shortly before his father's assassination. After he had become president of Pullman Company, in the early 20th century, he returned to build the Georgian Revival Hildene as his country estate.

Hildene represents a fine example of homes built as retreats for the families of wealthy magnates and is furnished with several pieces from Mrs. Lincoln's family. Personal belongings of President Lincoln include his famous stovepipe hat.

Other highlights are the thousand-pipe 1908 Aeolian organ, in working condition, and the elegant dining room furnished in Queen Anne style. The home remained in the Lincoln family until 1975, thus preserving the original furnishings and memorabilia. The formal gardens on the terrace overlooking the broad valley have been restored from records of original plantings.

If you can, go to Hildene in late May or early June, when the formal garden is filled with more than a thousand bright peonies in full bloom. These blossoms, some the size of dinner plates, fill the air with their heady fragrance. Mesmerized by the peonies and by the view that reaches across the Battenkill Valley to the mountains beyond, I couldn't stop clicking photos.

You can stay in another of these elegant mansions built in Manchester by wealthy industrialists. The Inn at Ormsby Hill, near Hildene, is now an elegant bed-and-breakfast.

Address: 1005 Hildene Road, Manchester, Vermont

4. Mount Mansfield and Smugglers Notch

Winding road through Smugglers Notch
Winding road through Smugglers Notch

Mountain Road climbs out of Stowe and up the shoulder of Mount Mansfield, past Stowe Mountain Resort, where a gondola carries skiers and sightseers to the summit. Beyond the resort, the road narrows to snake through Smugglers' Notch, one of Vermont's most engaging natural attractions.

The road through this pass between Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak is so tight and narrow as it winds upward that at some curves only a single car can pass through the openings between the giant boulders.

Snowplows can't get through it in the winter, when the road closes just past the ski area. The rest of the year, you can park the car and walk the paths among this massive jumble of glacial rock and discover the caves where 19th-century smugglers once hid.

The caves and gigantic boulders were formed when the glacier stalled here during the last ice age, smashing the mountain ledges and dropping them into the notch, where they were carved and tumbled by more glacial action.

Snow-covered Mount Mansfield
Snow-covered Mount Mansfield

Mansfield is Vermont's highest mountain, and at its top are sweeping views and more than two miles of ridge-top hiking above tree line. This is one of only two places in Vermont where rare arctic-alpine tundra exists. A number of routes reach its summit. The Long Trail crosses Route 108 at the foot of Smugglers' Notch, climbing steadily for 2.3 miles to the ridgeline.

Although the Long Trail traversing the ridgetop is one of the top hiking trails in Vermont, there are easier ways to get to the summit of Mt. Mansfield. Built for skiers, in summer and fall the Gondola SkyRide is a sightseeing attraction, revealing summit views to Lake Champlain, New York's Adirondacks and New Hampshire's White Mountains. The 10-minute ride on the gondola takes you close to the Long Trail, so you can hike the summit part for the best views.

Driving the Auto Toll Road takes about 20 minutes, and from its terminus you can also access trails to the summit ridge, or just enjoy the views from there. The Toll Road isn't scary – there are no vertigo-inducing drop-offs (or I wouldn't drive it) – and a lot better value than the gondola. The Toll Road costs less for a car and up to six passengers than a gondola ticket for one person.

Both the Gondola SkyRide and Auto Toll Road are open through foliage season in the fall.

Close to the point where the Long Trail crosses Route 108 at the base of Smugglers' Notch, Topnotch Resort is a luxurious base for exploring the area, with mountain views, three pools, a full-service spa, and a fine-dining restaurant.

5. Burlington Bike Path and Waterfront Park

Waterfront Park in Burlington
Waterfront Park in Burlington

A paved bicycle path borders eight miles of Burlington's Lake Champlain shoreline, extending from Oakledge Park north to the Winooski River. Alongside is a graded path for walkers and runners, with benches at points with the best views across the lake.

The path connects several parks that mark the shoreline, and a boardwalk forms a promenade along the central section. Here, you'll find the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain and Vermont's only All-America Display Garden, where flowering ornamental plants bloom through summer and fall.

Waterfront Park is the site of several festivals in the summer, and picnic tables along the route invite a lakeside lunch. In the spring, the path is lined by brilliant blooming azaleas and at any time of year, this is Vermont's best spot for watching the spectacular sunsets over Lake Champlain.

6. Vermont's Year-Round Ski Resorts

Sugarbush Resort, Vermont
Sugarbush Resort, Vermont

From the slopes of Mount Snow in the south to Jay Peak in the north, skiing extends the entire length of Vermont. Some of the top ski resorts in the east are here, and the state's nearly two dozen ski mountains offer downhill ski experiences for everyone, from young children and beginners to experts training for the Olympics. State-of-the-art snowmaking and grooming keeps slopes and trails in top condition from December through March.

Winter isn't the only time you can enjoy Vermont's ski resorts, however. The larger ones have on-mountain activities all year, offering mountain slides, rope courses, mountain biking, and scenic rides on the lifts that carry skiers to the summits in the winter. Resorts at the base have spas, swimming pools, Segway rides, golf, and activities for all ages.

Okemo Mountain Resort has the Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster; a spa; a mountain bike park; scenic chairlift rides; disc and miniature golf; and the Haulback Challenge Course, an aerial journey from tree to tree. Killington Ski Resort has the Beast Mountain Coaster, a ropes course, and an Adventure Center.

Stowe Mountain Resort whisks visitors to the top on the state's only gondola lift, or drivers can ascend to the summit of Mt. Mansfield on the Toll Road. Stratton Mountain has a mountain bike park and a 27-hole championship golf course.

In the winter, each resort has its own individual style and atmosphere that draws its loyal fans. For example, the two major mountains in central Vermont, Okemo and Killington, although close geographically, couldn't be farther apart in style or atmosphere.

Both offer top-quality skiing and boarding, but while Okemo has a family vacation vibe of a mountain ski village, after the lifts close Killington is all about the nightlife and apres-ski scene, with a road lined by evening venues as its nucleus. For me, the important thing is that they both have "bubble" chairlifts with domes to break the mountains' icy winds (as do Stowe and Mount Snow).

7. Quechee Gorge

Quechee Gorge
Quechee Gorge

Vermont's deepest gorge was formed by glaciers about 13,000 years ago, and has continued to deepen by the constant action of the Ottauquechee River, which you will see flowing 165 feet below. The best place to view Quechee Gorge is from the walkway along the arched iron bridge that carries Route 4 across the top, about 7 miles from Woodstock.

A trail leads through the woods beside the rim to the bottom of the gorge, where you can see the lower part of it from water level. Close to the gorge, also on Route 4, is the excellent Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences (VINS), a nature center where injured raptors are rehabilitated and returned to the wild.

Address: Route 4, Quechee, Vermont

8. Bennington Battle Monument and Museum

 Bennington Battle Monument
Bennington Battle Monument

The 306-foot-high obelisk, visible for miles around, commemorates the 1777 battle fought about five miles west of Bennington, which turned the tide against the British by splitting British General John Burgoyne's forces in half, making the final American victory possible. You can bypass the monument's 412 steps by taking an elevator to the top for views.

The nearby Bennington Museum is best known for its extensive collection of works by primitive folk artist Grandma Moses, along with her schoolhouse painting studio.

The museum is also especially strong in its collections of Bennington pottery, furniture, toys, American glassware, and Victorian quilts. You'll also find fine art and artifacts from the colonial and Civil War periods.

Between the monument and museum, you'll pass the lovely little settlement of Old Bennington with its 1762 Old First Church. In the cemetery behind it is the grave of Robert Frost, and fans of his poetry will want to stop, as I always do, to pay respects. His tombstone is marked with the epitaph he chose for himself: "I had a lover's quarrel with the world."

Address: Route 9, Bennington, Vermont

9. Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park

Mansion in the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park
Mansion in the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park | Photo Copyright: Stillman Rogers

The only national park to concentrate on land stewardship in America incorporates both a working farm and a Victorian mansion on the hill above, set in formal gardens designed by several of America's foremost landscape architects.

The Queen-Anne-style mansion is decorated with the finest of Victorian artistry, including embossed wallpaper and stained-glass windows by Tiffany & Co. Also displayed in the house is the Rockefellers' collection of works by artists of the Hudson River School.

Both rail magnate Frederick Billings, and later, the Rockefellers were dedicated to land conservation and used this property to put it into practice. You can walk the trails on Mt. Tom, where park rangers can explain forestry practices and help identify trailside plants and trees.

Tours of the art-filled Rockefeller home and grounds include themes of gardening, forestry, and their relationship to conservation.

Note to parents: my kids loved getting their Junior Ranger book at the Carriage Barn Visitor Center and taking a self-guided trip through the Junior Ranger loop. They left proudly wearing their badges (crafted from wood grown in the park). In July and August kids can join special events.

Address: River Road, Woodstock, Vermont

10. Lake Champlain

Grand Isle State Park on Lake Champlain
Grand Isle State Park on Lake Champlain

Extending for 120 miles between Vermont and New York, with its northern tip in Canada, Lake Champlain lies mostly in Vermont, and draws visitors for its recreation, wildlife, and historical attractions. Its watershed covers more than 8,000 square miles.

Much of its 587 miles of shoreline are undeveloped; a haven for wildlife; and one of the best places to visit in Vermont for canoeists, kayakers, and sailors. On the Vermont side, 318 species of birds depend on Lake Champlain, and 81 species of fish swim in its waters.

According to Samuel de Champlain, for whom the lake is named, a 20-foot serpent-like creature also swims in the lake. His was the first, but certainly not the last reported sighting of what is now known as "Champy." You might catch sight of it from one of the several lake cruises, or even from one of the three ferries that cross to the New York side from Charlotte, Burlington, and Grand Isle. ( I have not seen Champy myself, so I'm not making any promises.)

Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain

Several wildlife reserves protect its shore and neighboring wetlands, including the Dead Creek WMA, where thousands of migrating snow geese stop to rest in late October. You can learn more about the ecology at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, on the waterfront in Burlington.

The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, overlooking Basin Harbor in Vergennes, explores the lake's role in the Revolution and War of 1812. You can also visit Mount Independence, an important sister fort to Fort Ticonderoga across the lake in New York, and attacked in July 1777. Learn more at the visitor center and explore the 400-acre site with the help of trail maps with historical notes and descriptions.

Although Champlain doesn't have the quiet intimacy of many lakes in Vermont, you'll find plenty of things to do along its shores and in its waters. Several state parks north of Burlington have sandy beaches. The longest is the 2000-foot beach at Sand Bar State Park, its gently sloping shore good for young children. You can rent boats here and on the beach at Grand Isle State Park.

Except in protected bays, these waters are not for beginning kayakers, but the bays and shoreline campsites of Knight Island State Park make a great adventure for those who can paddle more than 3 miles of open water.

Author's Note: Pay close attention to the weather forecast so you won't be caught, as I once was, in a sudden thunderstorm. Waves and wind can make a lake the size of Champlain seem like mid-ocean.

11. Billings Farm & Museum

Billings Farm & Museum
Billings Farm & Museum

Spreading across the wide, flat landscape of the Ottauquechee River valley, the Billings Farm & Museum carries on the education mission of Frederick Billings, former owner of the farm and of the forests above that are now part of the national park. Billings created the farm to demonstrate the value of sound environmental practices in raising livestock.

The working farm continues to educate, as well as show what Vermont farming and rural life was like in the days before modern equipment did much of the work. You can tour the farm manager's house and dairy, visit livestock barns, watch cattle milking, make your own butter, and learn other old-fashioned rural skills in hands-on programs.

The small museum shows tools and equipment used in daily farm activities, such as ice-harvesting and maple sugaring, in eye-catching and informative exhibits.

Author Barbara Radcliffe Rogers at the Sunflower House
Author Barbara Radcliffe Rogers at the Sunflower House | Photo Copyright: Stillman Rogers

Try to visit in August or early September when the Sunflower House is in full bloom. Each spring, 20,000 square feet of field is planted in more than 100 varieties of sunflower, some growing as tall as 14 feet. Arranged in a circular labyrinth pattern, the flowers are massed by variety, with colors varying from yellow to orange to red; some are as short as 18 inches and others had multiple rows of petals and centers so small they looked more like dahlias.

Address: 69 Old River Road, Woodstock, Vermont

12. Visit a Maple Farm

Maple syrup farm in Vermont
Maple syrup farm in Vermont

The maple trees that bring a blaze of color to Vermont's autumn landscape also make Vermont the nation's top producer of maple syrup. The time to be here for the complete maple experience is late February through early April, when sugar houses are at full boil and you can sample the golden syrup as it's made.

That's the time for "sugaring off" parties and the chewy candy made by pouring syrup onto snow. Many farms take visitors into the grove – called a sugar bush – by horse-drawn sled or wagon, and some serve hot cider and fresh cider doughnuts.

Two of these farms you can visit at any time of year to learn about the process and sample syrup and other maple products. Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks in Montpelier is an 8th generation family-owned maple syrup farm, where you can sample maple products and see displays on tapping trees and making syrup. The gift shop has a selection of maple goodies and other Vermont-made products. As a bonus, there is an outdoor Vermont farm life museum, too.

At Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock, you can sample two classic Vermont products: maple syrup and cheese. Both are produced at the 3rd-generation farm, and if there's cheesemaking in process in the dairy, you can watch. The shop also offers samples of jams, mustards, smoked meats, and other locally made delicacies.

Author's Tip: Driving to Sugarbush Farm, you'll feel as though you are heading deeper and deeper into nowhere, but have faith—a series of signs will point you the right way at every intersection. A word of advice, however: without four-wheel drive, don't go in March "mud season."

13. Brattleboro Farmers' Market

Brattleboro Farmers Market
Brattleboro Farmers' Market | Carly Lesser & Art Drauglis / photo modified

In a region known for its small farms and agriculture, Brattleboro Farmers' Market is the poster child of farmers markets. More than a place to buy fresh-picked vegetables and fruit from small independent local farmers, it is a social event, a meeting place, a Saturday lunch stop, and part of the weekend routine for southern Vermonters.

You'll find old favorite vegetables and all the trendy new varieties, along with flowers, artisanal breads, farm cheeses, handmade soap, local honey, maple syrup, pottery, jewelry, smart scarves, and French pastries. Plan to be there around lunchtime, when there will nearly always be live music and maybe Morris dancers on the shaded lawn.

Some vendors sell prepared foods to eat at picnic tables under the trees. You may find savory stews from Mali, Thai noodles, Lebanese dolmas, even Breton crepes. In the winter, the market moves indoors to a Main Street location.

A Saturday morning tradition for my family, the farmers' market isn't just about the fresh vegetables and fruit. I get tips for growing herbs and suggestions on how to cook foraged ramps and fiddlehead ferns. And I get fresh-squeezed lemonade and eat really great Thai food for lunch while listening to music and watching the kids play in the big sandbox. It gets the weekend started right.

Brattleboro itself is a cultural and social phenomenon, one of Vermont's few towns with an industrial past, but also one where back-to-the-landers settled in the 1960s and '70s and never left. The arts flourish here, and on any night of the week, you'll find a choice of gallery openings, performances, classes, community action meetings, concerts, public forums, and other activities.

Address: Route 9, West Brattleboro, Vermont

14. Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry's factory
Ben & Jerry's factory | videak / Shutterstock.com

Unquestionably Vermont's most popular tourist attraction for children, Ben & Jerry's factory tour is a favorite experience for adults, too. On the 30-minute guided tour of the factory, you'll watch workers as they make and package ice cream, while a guide explains the process.

On days when the factory is not operating, you'll still see inside it, but a movie will show it in action. Of course, a sample of the day's flavor is included, and you can sample more flavors before choosing your favorite at their scoop shop.

The gift shop sells B&J goods, and you can take ice cream with you in insulated carriers. Be sure to visit the Flavor Graveyard to mourn the loss of their "dearly de-pinted" flavors and to smile at the past tongue-in-cheek names. In case you wondered, my favorite is rich, dark "Chocolatey Love A-fair" -- chocolate with salted caramel swirls, caramel chunks and sea salt fudge.

Address: Route 100, Waterbury, Vermont

15. Shelburne Museum

Historic barn at the Shelburne Museum
Historic barn at the Shelburne Museum

Restored historic buildings and the collections they house at the open-air Shelburne Museum reflect Vermont's rich history and America's folk and fine art traditions. You can explore a round barn; the lake steamer SS Ticonderoga (now on dry land); a lake lighthouse; a barn filled with vintage carriages and wagons; a print shop; and collections of carved decoys, American quilts, handmade hatboxes, hooked rugs, and trains, in a bucolic village setting among manicured gardens.

In contrast to the simple farms represented at the museum, you can glimpse an entirely different kind of farming in New England at nearby Shelburne Farms. The grand turreted barns and farmyard of this 1400-acre working "gentleman farm" are still in operation, and you can sample their cheese, visit the gardens, and even have tea, depending on the tour you choose.

Address: 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne

16. Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium

Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium
Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium | redjar / photo modified

Exuding all the charm and fascination of an old-time Victorian museum, without the mustiness, the museum endowed by the owner of Fairbanks Scales covers subjects from Vermont wildflowers to the mysteries of the universe.

The 1891 Fairbanks Museum building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, exhibits many of the usual things you'd expect – mounted birds and animals, Native American stone tools, Civil War memorabilia – as well as many delightful surprises. Take, for example, the bizarre collection of Victorian portraits of Washington, Lincoln, and others formed entirely of bugs and beetles.

Vermonters love visiting the live broadcast studio for their favorite weather report, Eye on the Sky. Downstairs is a hands-on nature center with wasp hives, frogs, iguanas, and creepy things kids love. Planetarium programs examine the sky above St. Johnsbury and beyond.

Across the street is the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, whose Art Gallery was added in 1873, making it the oldest art gallery in the United States still in its original form. The collection features American and European artists from the late 18th- to mid-19th century.

These and other outstanding examples of Victorian architecture on Main St. are described in a walking tour map of the street, available at the museum.

Address: 1302 Main Street, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

17. Montshire Museum of Science

Montshire Museum of Science
Montshire Museum of Science | Heather Katsoulis / photo modified

"Do touch," seems to be the motto of the Montshire, where each of its 125 exhibits begs for hands-on interaction. Kids can make soap bubbles grow bigger than they are, understand how movies are made by creating their own, experiment with light beams, navigate a labyrinth powered by air, watch a live boa constrictor, or see leafcutter ants at work demolishing foliage.

Even the building is designed for curious kids, with color-coded ventilation ducts and exposed construction supports. Nature trails explore the 110 acres of grounds alongside the Connecticut River.

Address: 1 Montshire Road, Norwich, Vermont

18. Rock of Ages Quarry and Hope Cemetery

Rock of Ages Quarry
Rock of Ages Quarry

Granite quarries were founded at Barre after the War of 1812 and are still operating today. You can visit the Rock of Ages quarry, a staggering hole in the earth, and at 550 feet wide, a quarter mile long, and 450 feet deep, the world's largest quarry.

Barre granite's exceptionally fine grain makes it the preferred stone for finely detailed, durable outdoor sculpture, such as monuments and architectural detail. While there, along with touring the quarry and workshops, you can sand-blast your own granite souvenir, and go bowling on what is believed to be the world's only outdoor granite lane. (No, the bowling balls are not made of granite.)

Barre drew expert stone workers and carvers, many from Italy, and as you might expect, you can find their work in public sculptures and in Hope Cemetery. This is filled with elaborate carvings by early-20th-century stonecutters, highlighted by some remarkably lifelike sculptures and by symbols of employment or favorite pastimes: a soccer-ball, an oil truck, or an outdoor scene with a fishing rod.

Address: 558 Graniteville Road, Graniteville, Vermont

19. Park-McCullough Historic Governor's Mansion

Park-McCullough Historic Governor's Mansion
Park-McCullough Historic Governor's Mansion | J.A. Johnson / Shutterstock.com

One of New England's finest examples of Victorian architecture and decoration, the Park-McCullough Historic Governor's Mansion is also one of the best preserved. The 35-room mansion represents the height of the Second Empire style popular in the 1860s, with finely detailed construction and artistic features.

The mansion remained in the same family for generations, so it is furnished with original pieces and decorative arts that show the opulence and tastes of the mid-Victorian era. Surrounded by manicured grounds and gardens, the mansion is open from spring through fall and hosts cultural events, including a classical music series, theater performances, and a summer croquet league.

Address: 1 Park Street, North Bennington, Vermont

20. Green Mountain National Forest

Green Mountain National Forest
Green Mountain National Forest

Vermont's vast National Forest lies in two sections along the mountain chain that forms the state's spine–and makes east-west travel a challenge. Nearly every route across these mountains leads over a gap, a mountain pass that may be good for viewing the scenery, but not so good for winter travel. In fact, some of these roads close entirely during the winter.

Follow these the rest of the year to discover waterfalls, National Forest campgrounds, scenic places to picnic, trails to hike, and a world of nature. The Appalachian Trail crosses through the southern section of the National Forest, and the Long Trail follows the chain the entire length of the state from the Canadian to the Massachusetts borders.

Route 100, often called "The Skiers' Highway," weaves back and forth among the mountains as it makes its way north, connecting many of Vermont's ski areas, from Mount Snow to Stowe and Jay Peak. Route 9 crosses the Green Mountains in the south; Route 73 traverses Brandon Gap; Route 125 climbs over Middlebury Gap (passing Texas Falls); and Route 17 climbs Appalachian Gap, the highest that is open in the winter, at 2,356 feet.

I like camping at the well-maintained campgrounds located throughout the National Forest, especially those at Moosalamoo (near Middlebury), Silver Lake and Hapgood Pond. The latter, near Manchester, also has a day-use recreation area with swimming, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. It is the only place in the Green Mountain National Forest where a day use pass is needed.

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What to Do in Vermont: In addition to those described here, there are more attractions to see in Burlington, and you can explore outside the city on Vermont's outstanding hiking trails. Or you can enjoy winter sports at any of Vermont's top ski resorts.


Where to Go Next: Just a ferry ride across Lake Champlain are the Adirondack Mountains, one of the top attractions of New York state. This is a popular area for hiking, camping, and other outdoor pursuits. And across the Connecticut River to the east is New Hampshire, where you'll find mountains, lake and ocean beaches, and top-rated resorts.