When you think of Vermont, you might imagine abundant maple syrup and natural beauty, but this New England state offers so much more. Whether you want to walk on water; see a “doe, a deer, a female deer”; or board a ship bound for nowhere, there’s something for everyone in Vermont. After settling into your Vermont vacation rental, venture out to explore these hidden gems.
1. The Old Red Mill, Jericho
Arguably, the most fun at the Old Red Mill lies on the trails out back and along the river where you find the terrific swimming spots. The former grist mill, which dates back to the mid 1800s, houses a museum, artists’ showroom, and a gift shop. On the first floor, you find antique machinery on the mill floor, old photos, and historical artifacts. This picturesque site gives you more than a pretty place to see and photograph as you can get some delicious maple syrup and other local goodies. Look for the self-guided tour pamphlet in the arts and crafts shop.
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2. Hogback Mountain, Pittsford
The Hogback Mountain lookout makes a delightful place to stop and soak up the beauty of the Adirondacks. Hiking in the summer to reach the lookout, you see stunning shades of green everywhere, with majestic mountains rising in the distance. It’s a 2.7 mile loop trail near your Pittsford vacation rental. The trail is good for all skill levels, and hikers use it for walking, enjoying nature, and bird watching. Take your dogs on this trail as long as they stay on their leashes. It’s best to use this area between April and October, when the weather is best.
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3. Osmore Pond, New Discovery State Park, Peacham
Osmore Pond shimmers in a pristine, primitive mountain setting, surrounded by cool, shady forests, squirrels, and singing birds. Stage an epic picnic for your family at one of the secluded picnic shelters with stone fire pits that sit scattered around the shore. Soak up the refreshing sense of privacy as you hike the trail around the pond to discover the wonderland where your stress melts away with each step. Swim or paddle the silent pond in a kayak, free from noisy motorboats and jet skis.
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4. The Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe
The Von Trapp Family, of “Sound of Music” fame, settled in America after leaving Austria. The chose Vermont, where they established a 2,500-acre mountain resort that features a lodge, vacation rentals, a restaurant, a brewery, and a wine cellar. Visit any time of year to enjoy the tap-room, the Bierhall, carriage rides, and seasonal sports adventures.
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5. Rock of Ages Granite Quarry, Barre
To tour Rock of Ages Granite Quarry, the world’s largest granite quarry, you ride a bus or follow it in your own vehicle to the mining site that’s been in operation since 1885. You get to watch huge machines cute and move huge blocks of granite that go to the granite plant for cutting, polishing, and engraving.You get a chance to try your hand at bowling on the outdoor granite bowling alley or pick up a free souvenir scrap piece of granite. Many visitors also stop by the Hope Cemetery, in Barre, to see the exquisite craftsmanship of the stone cutters who make headstones from the granite.
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6. Floating Bridge, Brookfield
The Brookfield floating bridge gives you a chance to walk, or drive, on water. Dating back to 1820, this unusual bridge crosses Sunset Lake, buoyed by pontoons that keep it afloat. This little hidden gem gives you a pretty spot to swim, float on a tube, fish, hike, and take scores of photos. As you imagine, this bridge rocks in more ways than one.
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7. Bread and Puppet Museum, Glover
The Bread and Puppet Museum serves up kitschy exhibits in a funky atmosphere–a barn where defunct puppets and stray animals hang out. Get some free bread when you attend the summer puppet shows on Sunday afternoons, a tradition dating back to the 1960s origins of the puppet theater. The life-sized puppets tell stories based on social and political agendas. The exhibits lead you through a social history of the world, especially America. During the winter, when they close the museum, it’s okay to go inside the barn, turn on the lights, and look around.
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8. Giant ship in a landlocked Vermont, Shelburne
Ahoy, and welcome aboard the Ticonderoga as she sits high and dry in this landlocked state as one of the stunning exhibits at 45-acre Shelburne Museum. She’s the last vertical beam, side-wheel steamship in America. The museum includes over 150,000 displays in 39 exhibition buildings and on the grounds. The full site opens May 1 through October 31, and opens selected exhibition buildings the rest of the year.
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9. Forgotten Village of Greenbank’s Hollow, Danville
To preserve the forgotten village of Greenbank’s Hollow, the Danville Historical Society turned it into a historical park. Cellars and granite foundations remain extant along the banks of the river, the only signs of the thriving community that once occupied the spot. A fire in 1885 destroyed the five-story woolen mill, a store, the covered bridge, and several homes. Residents and business owners deserted the ruins, relocating to New Hampshire instead of rebuilding. The historical society and caring volunteers rebuilt the covered bridge in its original place. Markers and brochures at the park include historical information.
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10. Haskell Free Library and Opera House, Derby Line
You put your right foot in; you take your right foot out—of Canada, that is. The black line on the floor in the Haskell Free Library and Opera House marks the international border between America and Canada. Built in 1904, this unique library and opera house gives visitors a fun opportunity to pass back and forth between Derby, Vermont and Stanstead, Quebec, or to stand in both countries simultaneously. Check the schedule for plays, musicals, and symphonies to get a chance to attend a show in the exquisite auditorium.
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