My Top Choices: The Places I Love for their special magic.
Under each area (North, South, Central) you'll find attractions
I enjoy visiting... but these are the places I love. The places
that make me feel good about Vermont. So, without rhyme or reason:
Coolidge's Birthplace: In Plymouth. My number one pick...
if you see nothing else in Vermont, see this. Widely considered
the best preserved presidential birthplace in the nation, the center
of Plymouth (now a historic site) features the President's father's
General Store, the church, cheese factory, even the "dance
hall." Ten buildings in all, and a little restaurant with real
pie. Coolidge's favorite beverage was a soft drink called "Moxie"
which they sell at the general store... buy one and sit on the steps
with it, and you can almost see yesterday across the fields.
Vermont State House: in Montpelier. Open M-F year round,
Saturdays 11-4:30, July-Mid October, with tours. Considered one
of the most beautiful, and wonderfully restored, Capitol buildings
in the United States, I love this building for its history, graces,
and (of all things) sound. The acoustics in the lobby make footfalls
ring... it is the sound of a citizen's power in this small state.
What is a vacation without shopping? Some of Vermont's best surprises can be found hidden in small towns and shops you wouldn't think to go into. In Stowe on the Mountain Road (route 108) across from the Baggy Knees Shopping Center is a little shop called "Erica's Attic." Who'd think to go into a consignment store to find incredible deals in antiques? Erica is the person to call when your mother is downsizing.. and in the mismatched tea cups and odd books you'll find antique persian rugs, some stunning furnishings, collectible Royal Doulton, cut crystal.. when you're out and about, look for the little places. You may find a pleasant surprise!
Allen Homestead: Burlington. You can do The Spirit of Ethan
Allen, lunch on the Church Street Marketplace, and spend part of
the afternoon at the Ethan Allen Homestead. Part of an archaeological
site, the homestead shares its history with 5000 years of human
habitation, but I love this attraction for its peaceful grounds.
Although the media show in the "tavern" isn't too shabby
Museum: Shelburne. Vermont's largest attraction (37 buildings
on 45 acres of beautiful gardens, including a wide variety of apple
trees and lilacs), Shelburne Museum's advertising is so ubiquitous
its easy to think it is over hyped. But buried on these grounds
are some wonderful Impressionists (Monet, Manet, Degas etc) as well
as some early Vermont portraits and landscapes that give me shivers.
We've used the buildings and objects at the museum to reconstruct
our own farm, plan outbuildings, and restore gardens. Expensive
admission by Vermont standards, but worth it. The museum opens at
10 am... be there, and plan on spending the entire day.
The Town of
Weston: Home of the Weston Country Store, which does have
a web site, but you really have to see it in person. Uneven wood
floors, plank shelves, and merchandise your great grandmother would
recognize that leaves most kids just puzzled. What the heck is a
"hair rat?" Pretty, picture pretty, town green, and little
shops up the main street. A tourist town, no question, but a fun
little town too.
The Town of
Putney: Now, I could spend a lifetime in Putney, so I'm
slightly biased. Squeezed between The River and the interstate,
Putney is more community than tourist attraction, with the best
food coop in the state just as you exit the highway. In Putney you'll
find the Green Mountain Spinnery, where they spin small lots of
premium fleece and mohair into exquisite wools, and a thriving fiber
arts community. Basketville has its home here, as does a pick your own orchard operation
(Haskals?) I stop at every time I pass through so I can load up
on the berry of the season.
continue on to Northern Vermont, home of Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream
(of course) <Northern Vermont Vacation Guide>
continue on to history rich Central Vermont, home of Plymouth and
Billings Farm. <Central Vermont Visitor's Guide>
continue on to Southern Vermont, since Putney is a small town,
you'll need some other attractions to fill out the day. <Southern Vermont Vacation Planning>