Things to do in Vermont
May 31, 2023 9:50 AM   Subscribe

Planning a road trip for mid-June over the course of a long weekend. Where to go? What to see? Where to stay? What to watch out for?

In addition to sights to see, if you know of any good hotels or bed-and-breakfasts, I'm all ears.

(As far as activities: preferably not long-ish hikes, since my companions won't be up for that. Anything else goes.)
posted by queen anne's remorse to Travel & Transportation around Vermont (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The tallest filing cabinet on earth!

Also the Quechee Gorge for the beauty, Brattleboro for the quaint Vermont town charm, swimming holes, Bennington College campus if you are a Donna Tartt fan...
posted by virve at 10:28 AM on May 31, 2023 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Which direction are you coming from? Only asking because North-South travel in Vermont is much easier than East-West travel because of the Green Mountains so some of this will depend on how much time you want to spend in the car. Keep in mind you'll be here during one of Vermont's tourist seasons so the sooner you can nail down places to stay, the better. Usually I suggest people choose a "base camp" of sorts and stay there and then go to little outings from there. A few things to think about...

- rural or urban? you can really stay in the middle of nowhere up in the Northeast Kingdom (i.e. the upper right three counties) and commune with nature, or you can stay somewhere in the Burlington-Montpelier corridor (or one of Vermont's other small cities).
- culture or nature? Kind of the same thing. Do you want to go to restaurants or stay at home and cook some nice local foods?
- rustic or posh? There are some really nice places to stay (usually in the nicer areas) or you can stay in a cabin with no electricity and an outhouse
- Drive a lot or no? If you don't want to do a lot of driving, you'll want to stay somewhere that is nearby a lot of things. If you enjoy driving, that's less important.

I live in Randolph, a town that is pretty centrally located and I'm a big fan of this area, what we call the Upper Valley (though I do love that dumb filing cabinet that virve mentions). There's no place to stay here except for AirBnBs and I don't know any of them specially. Things I like to do in the summer include

- catching a minor league baseball game Mountaineers or Lake Monsters
- get a creemee (what the locals call soft serv). They are EVERYWHERE, just pick one
- swimming holes, as virve mentions
- walk around and look at sculpture. There are some out of the way places like the Carving Studio or Lemon Fair Sculpture Park (some walking, but not long hiking)

And a lot of the rest of it kind of depends what you like to do and how you like to spend your time. I'm a big walk-and-talk fan so just finding a destination and noodling about and eating at snack bars. Vermont also has 184 libraries though many of them will be closed on Sundays. Often I'll tell people to poke around Roadside America or "Only in Vermont" to see what tickles your fancy.
posted by jessamyn at 10:38 AM on May 31, 2023 [1 favorite]

Best answer: In the Brattleboro area, visit the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center for a changing series of small contemporary art exhibits; from there, walk a few blocks up Main Street and the side streets for an eclectic mix of stores and eateries. There are a few breweries and distilleries in town if you're into that. Cross the state on Route 30, stopping in Newfane and Townshend for the village greens, try a few dirt side roads for views. End up in Manchester for outlet shopping if that's your thing, or visit Hilldene, the historic estate of Robert Todd Lincoln. Stay in the Equinox hotel for a luxurious night, or at least have a meal in their pub. Swing down to the Bennington Museum for their Grandma Moseses, or head back east stopping in Chester, another interesting old town center. Detour for covered bridges. If you want to head north, take Route 100 as far as you want to go, the scenery will not fail you. Montpelier is the coolest little state capitol there is. Be sure to do a self-guided tour of the capitol building, visit the state historic museum next door, and ramble on the main streets. Then on up to the Shelburne Museum where you can spend days if you want to, and visit cosmopolitan Burlington. Enjoy! (Sorry, didn't notice you only had one long weekend. You'll have to pick and choose...)
posted by beagle at 11:04 AM on May 31, 2023

Best answer: I've never spent much time in VT but the tiny main street of the town of Bristol is charming, has a good bakery and some other eateries, and looks just like something from a studio back lot.
posted by zadcat at 11:30 AM on May 31, 2023

Best answer: The pinball museum in Manchester.
posted by metasarah at 2:00 PM on May 31, 2023

Best answer: I stayed in The One Cat in Brattleboro and found it charming. It was five plus years ago, but hopefully it retains the charm. Brattleboro was fun to poke around in--lovely co-op, bead store, fabric store.

I've got family in Quechee and second it. Check out the Vermont Institute of Natural Science while you're there.
posted by carrioncomfort at 3:53 PM on May 31, 2023

Best answer: I went to Calvin Coolidge's birthplace when I was in high school, just out of historical interest, and around the same time tried to visit Hildene, Robert Todd Lincoln's summer home, but it was closed and I ended up revisiting nearly 20 years later just to ensure I could go inside. I liked both.
posted by Whale Oil at 4:19 PM on May 31, 2023

Best answer: Separate comment because it's in a separate part of the state; St. Johnsbury is in the rural Northeast Kingdom, and if you want to do the natural scenery stuff, as endorsed by Jessamyn, there's all that nice nice natural scenery stuff, and the actual downtown has the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, a library with some nice paintings (Hudson River School style), and the Fairbanks Museum, a natural history museum founded by a 19th century industrialist who basically donated a bunch of taxidermied animals - depends on whether you are into Hudson River School painting and taxidermy, but for people who are interested, it would be a good town in Vermont to go to.
posted by Whale Oil at 4:25 PM on May 31, 2023

Best answer: Shelburne Farms (close to Burlington) is a delightful lodging and dining experience, and to walk the grounds on a clear night is a top-tier experience. Even a lunch or a daytime visit to the farmyards (and dairy) (and bakery!) would be very worthwhile.
posted by knotty knots at 4:53 PM on May 31, 2023 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I am cheesy, but had a great time at the ben & jerry's factory.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 6:07 AM on June 1, 2023

Best answer: if you search the r/vermont subreddit you'll find a lot of good suggestions. The sidebar has some helpful links too. Renting a bike (or e-bike) and riding out along the causeway in Burlington would be a lot of fun.

Have fun! You've picked pretty much the ideal time for a visit.
posted by nixxon at 2:45 PM on June 1, 2023

Best answer: 2nd'ing @Knotty Knots about Shelburne. My parents took me when I was young and it was fantastic if you're going to be near Burlington.

Also, Fiddlehead Brewery is great and some really good pizza for VT is right there. It's right by Shelburne as welk.
posted by packfan88c at 8:23 PM on June 1, 2023

Best answer: Something different is the Morrill Homestead. A small, historic house with some interesting architectural details.
posted by evening at 6:37 AM on June 4, 2023

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