Ahh, Vermont. The Green Mountain State is a honeymooner’s dream, packed to the brim with breathtaking landscapes, quaint villages, a vibrant local culture and activities galore. Like its New England neighbors, Vermont works hard to preserve local history, charming visitors with postcard-perfect barns in the countryside and walkable downtowns lined with Victorian-style homes. Vermont’s vibe is different from other New England states, though, which is due in part to its geographic location. With historic ties to Quebec (the name “Vermont” literally means “Green Mountains” in French), the state’s culture has been heavily influenced by its proximity to Canada. What’s more, Vermont’s western border hugs the entire shoreline of Lake Champlain, boasting pretty beaches and striking sunset views of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. It’s no wonder newlyweds from all over flock to this state for romantic getaways.
If you haven’t already been captivated by the area’s natural beauty, Vermont’s charming culture will lure you back for your anniversary. No matter where you go, you’ll witness a sense of local pride that is unmatched by other states. Vermonters are proud of their home state and demonstrate this affection by consciously supporting the local economy. Farm-to-table restaurants around the state boast menus with labels identifying which local farms their ingredients are from (they’re often organic, too). Quaint shops selling local artisan clothing, crafts, and artwork can be found in most town centers, and each one is worth a day of wandering. If it’s a cultured retreat you seek, pay a visit to Montpelier, the funky state capital, Stowe, with classic beauty and stunning mountains, or Burlington, a hip hub of young creatives with killer views of Lake Champlain.
Vermont is an outdoor enthusiast’s wonderland all year round. In the wintertime, it is home to some of the best downhill skiing on the East Coast of the U.S. Glide down the slopes of Stowe or Jay in the north, and Killington or Stratton in the south. Off the slopes, snowshoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating and snowmobiling are widely available and popular alternatives for winter fun. In the spring and summer months Vermont really comes alive, revealing the lush, verdant, mountainous beauty which lead to its name. Hiking is the natural choice for a warm weather adventure in VT, followed by splashing around in a mountain stream or stand-up-paddle boarding in Lake Champlain. Grab your bikes and cruise along one of the state’s wonderfully scenic bike paths, or rent a canoe and set out to explore a serene lake. As the weather cools in September and October, bring your camera. Autumn is one of the most popular times to visit Vermont, and it’s easy to see why. You’ll catch yourselves gazing in awe at the striking red, yellow and orange foliage blanketing the mountains, and you may never want to go back home. And no matter what season you’re in, be sure to look up: a starry night sky in Vermont is absolutely incredible.
At a Glance
- TAKE A HIKE: Hiking is one of Vermont’s favorite pastimes. Get some exercise and soak up the scenery with your love while summiting one of the state’s many mountains. Experienced hikers should take on Camel’s Hump or Mount Mansfield, two of the tallest mountains in the state. NOTE: The mountains in VT are difficult to hike and not for the faint of heart. If you and your love are looking for an easier trek to the top, try summiting Mount Philo or Snake Mountain.
- STROLL DOWN CHURCH STREET: Burlington’s most popular thoroughfare is a pedestrian street with no cars allowed. Visitors and locals alike spend their days just wandering amongst the many boutiques, shops and restaurants that line this cultural and commercial center.
- VISIT A LOCAL BREWERY: With the most craft breweries per capita of any U.S. state, Vermont takes local beer very seriously. No matter where you are in the state, there’s bound to be some delicious, hoppy local brewpubs nearby. Grab a punch card from Vermont Brewers Association and see how many you can visit in a day. Seasoned beer enthusiasts should make an effort to try some Heady Topper or Hill Farmstead brews, considered to be some of the nation’s finest.
- SKI, SWIM & STAY: For a fun ski retreat, go to Jay Peak Resort in the Northeast Kingdom, where you can ski some of Vermont’s deepest snow one day and surf, drink and float your way around a giant indoor water park the next. If you stay in its recently built hotel, you’ll never even have to leave the resort.
- TOUR THE BEN & JERRY’S FACTORY: Who doesn’t adore the deliciously original and famous ice cream brought to you by Vermont’s finest? Snag a tour and tasting in the place where happiness and joy are frozen into pint-sized cartons.
- BROWSE A FARMER’S MARKET: No countryside getaway would be complete without a leisurely morning spent at the local farmer’s market. From April to October, Vermont’s working farms supply a fresh bounty of produce and organic ingredients to lovely farmer’s markets in towns around the state. Do not leave without trying at least one local Vermont food, like cheese, maple syrup, ice cream, bread, beer & wine, chocolate, berries, coffee, apples, and so much more…
- GRAB DINNER EARLY: Vermont’s restaurants are so popular that many do not take reservations, even for large groups of people. To avoid long waits, call the restaurant ahead to ask if they take reservations, and get there early if they don’t. If faced with a wait list, just put in your name and relax with a local beer at the bar while you wait.
- READ SEVEN DAYS: A free and beloved weekly newspaper, Seven Days is a Vermont cultural authority, covering local news and entertainment around the state. Pick up a copy at any grocery or convenience store and skim the events section to discover the fun activities going on in your area.
- WEAR LAYERS: In typical New England fashion, VT’s weather can be unpredictable, humid, hot, or cold, so dressing appropriately can be a challenge. Remember that comfort is key, so it’s best to wear layers you can remove in the heat and bundle up with if it’s chilly.
- GETTING THERE: Depending on where you’re headed, a drive to Vermont can take 4-7 hours from New York City and 3-5 hours from Boston. You can also fly into Burlington International Airport (BTV) or take Amtrak’s “Vermonter” train. Bus companies like Megabus and Greyhound run services to and from other cities in the northeast.
- GETTING AROUND: Driving is the best way to see Vermont, so unless you are staying at a ski resort, it’s a good idea to bring or rent your own car.
- CLIMATE: Brace yourselves for a cold winter, with average January highs around 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Summers are pleasantly warm, with July highs around 81 degrees.