Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Vermont Fall Travel Ideas

Article and photo (views from mid-Burke Mountain, Northeast Kingdom Vermont) by Eric H.

Bookmark and ShareVermont is one of those "You had to be there" states.

Vermont's incredible mountain and lake scenery is almost impossible to fully describe, and has to be seen to be fully appreciated. The laid-back lifestyle, the quaint, quintessential small towns with tall white church steeples, and the long winding country roads bring back previous travelers, attract new ones constantly, and even prompts many to move to the "Green Mountain State" for its wonderful quality of life.

What better time to see Vermont than the colorful fall foliage season? The feeling of staying at a Vermont country inn surrounded by marvelous mountain and lake scenery, taking a leaf peeping driving through the Green Mountains, or going for a walk through the cool crisp fall air, rustling through the leaves, and having a nice warm cup of apple cider makes for a pure New England fall experience.

Vermont features myriad attractions any time of the year, but, to us, is especially impressive in the fall -- we can't help but fall in love with the fall foliage colors. To fully appreciate the area, VermontVacation --one of New England's most visually appealing and content-rich travel Web Sites -- offers a wealth of information for the Vermont traveler and the media. Given our media background and presence here at The Weekly New England Travel and Vacation Gazette, we thought we'd share the following press release "story ideas" documents for you, the traveler, courtesy of VermontVacation's Vermont Online Press Room:

Vermont has some of the best foliage in the world. Autumn is the perfect time to hop in the car and take a drive through the country lanes, winding streets, and scenic byways. With the backdrop of blue skies and a myriad of fall colors on the horizon, Vermont is ready for exploration.

Have Car, Will Travel; State Recognized Scenic Byways

Vermont has a number of roads that have stood out for their historic, recreational, and natural wonders. To jump-start your foliage viewing, try these routes during your travels. All have easy access parking and/or pullouts for photo opportunities or impromptu rest stops.
• Scenic Route 108, the Smuggler’s Notch Road, attracts hikers and rock climbers as it passes through Mansfield State Forest and near the Smuggler’s Notch Ski Resort.
• Scenic Route 131, Cavendish Road, runs through the town of Cavendish and follows the well-stocked Black River where anglers can be found casting for fish.
• Scenic Route 125, Middlebury Gap Road, is an ideal location to view autumn colors as it passes through the Green Mountain National Forest, a popular camping spot.
• The Lake Champlain Byway offers outstanding views of the state’s largest lake, surrounding Green Mountains and Adirondacks, as well as the area's working landscapes.
• Route 9, the Molly Stark Trail, is named after the wife of New Hampshire's General John Stark who was the victor of the August 16, 1777 Battle of Bennington.
• The Connecticut River Scenic Byway is the natural bridge that unites New Hampshire and Vermont for over half of the waterway's 410-mile journey from the Canadian border to the Atlantic Ocean.

Vermont: The Best Way to Enjoy the Best Foliage

Vermont has the highest percentage of maple trees of any of the New England states, a tree with foliage that turns vibrant orange and yellow in the fall. Foliage progresses from the north to south and from higher elevations to lower elevations. Therefore, the earlier in the season you visit, the more northerly you want to focus and the later you come, more southerly. If you want to do more planning before your arrival, research your trip on Here you can find suggested drives, read foliage reports, learn the insider’s tips, and watch the Foliage Forecaster which helps you strategically plan where and when to visit Vermont based on the natural progression of foliage in a typical year. It is a handy tool if you've never been to Vermont before or come from an area where foliage doesn't change so dramatically.

Winding down with Wine Tour: Vermont Vineyards and Wineries

Starting in northern Vermont, begin your wine tour at Boyden Valley in Cambridge for a September Harvest Festival. Continue west to the Snow Farm Vineyard in South Hero, a leader in the Vermont wine field establishing the first commercial grape vineyard. At the Grand View Winery in East Calais, sample something decidedly different like elderberry or dandelion wine. Try a few award-winning organic grape wines at Shelburne Vineyard in Shelburne. At the Ottauquechee Valley Winery housed in the Historic Dewey Mill near the Quechee Gorge, enjoy any of their seven wines. End the tour at the southern tip of the state with the North River Winery in Jacksonville, which offers Vermont Harvest dessert wine containing cinnamon and Vermont maple syrup. For contact details, visit

An Apple a Day: Farms, Festivals and More

Vermont’s cool climate is perfect for producing apples. Almost 70 percent of the apples grown in Vermont are MacIntosh, a variety good for eating fresh picked, fresh pressed or fresh baked. When apples are harvested in September and October, there are a number of festivals with apples as the centerpiece. These celebrations feature diverse entertainment including music, crafts, cider pressing, pie baking and more. Apple picking at an orchard is a unique Vermont experience and taking home fresh cider makes for a tasty souvenir. For a complete listing of orchards and apple events, visit

The Vistas of Vermont: Accessing the State’s Many Mountaintops

Many of Vermont’s mountain peaks offer panoramic views, especially breathtaking in fall. Killington Resort has a gondola ride to the state’s second highest peak, where a clear day can provide views into Canada. At Killington and Bolton Valley, you can bring your mountain bikes along for the ride and bike a trail back to the base. In the Northeast Kingdom, rise to the top of Jay Peak in a sixty person capacity tram. In southern Vermont, Bromley Mountain, Stratton Mountain and Mount Snow both have lift services to their summits. The 3816-foot Mount Equinox peak can be reached via a winding drive with views of the Green Mountain range.

Take it From the Top: Viewing Foliage from Another Angle

For an entirely different perspective of Vermont foliage, take a hot air balloon ride, go skydiving, or ride the air currents on a sailplane. From the faint of heart to the hearty adventurer, there is a bird’s eye view opportunity for everyone. Soar over the treetops in a romantic sunset balloon ride over the Quechee Gorge. Tandem, static line, and accelerated free fall jumps all are available with professional instructors within a setting of mountains, valleys, and lakes. Enjoy the views on a quiet sailplane tour or take a day lesson and learn to pilot the air currents on your own. Contact the Vermont Outdoor Guide Association at for information on any of these activities.

The Bridges of Addison County: Covered Bridges in Vermont

Sure, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep and Robert James Waller can make anyone’s bridges famous. However, without a New York Times bestseller and a big budget movie to back it up, Vermont has managed to carve out a reputation for itself as the place to come for covered bridges. Vermont is home to more than 100 covered bridges and each one has a story to tell.

Treasure Hunting in Vermont: Shopping for Antiques

Vermont’s countryside is dotted with a treasure trove of collectibles and antiques. Given the richness of history, Vermont has an abundance of interesting artifacts and unique bric-a-brac. Pieces are often displayed on the roadside to lure shoppers inside where hunting among the rooms and rafters is part of the experience. In autumn, there are a number of expos, including the Annual Vermont Antique Dealer’s Association gathering and the Annual Weston Antiques Show. These shows and others make antiquing easy by assembling vendors to display, highlight and sell their wares.

Editor's note: We personally love Vermont's Northeast Kingdom for its pristine and largely unspoiled scenic small town communities. Also at the top of our list is Stowe, perhaps Vermont's best example of a quintessential village that has retained its charm but still has lots of things to do. For more information on Vermont, we recommend logging onto VermontVacation, or reading Vermont: An Explorer's Guide (Explorer's Guides)

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