Nudged up against the Canadian border, Vermont is the very opposite of urban - making it the perfect place to escape the city hubbub. For starters eighty per cent of it is forest, with the trees putting on a spectacular show as they turn from vibrant green to fiery red in autumn. Then there's the beautiful Green Mountains, hushed by snowfall in winter, as well as the glittering jewels of Lake Champlain and Lake Willoughby.
Even the towns in Vermont seem to come straight from the pages of a story book. They're quintessentially New England, which means a pointed church steeple rising from a cluster of white clapboard houses surrounding the village green. Red-barned farms dot the rolling countryside too, yielding the fresh produce that the State is known for; expect to find exquisite cheeses in the farmers' markets, and plenty of delicious farm-to-fork dishes in local restaurants.
One of the best things to do on holidays in Vermont is simply to take pot luck. Take a back road and you'll soon find yourself twisting past rivers and through tree tunnels, or trundling across a covered bridge. But if it's a destination you want, there are plenty of them, too. The Ben & Jerry's factory tour in Waterbury (with tasting!) is a must for ice cream addicts; the kids will love seeing the animals at Woodstock's Billings Farm and Museum; and history fans can visit the preserved village where President Calvin Coolidge was born.
The other great thing about this State is that it it's the perfect place to visit all year round. Spring brings beautiful blooms; summer is tops for hiking and getting out on the lakes; autumn is when the fall colours steal the show; and winter has snow sports galore. Just pick your favourite season.
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TAKE THE LONG ROAD
The hiking on holidays in Vermont will blow you away. There's countless trails to choose from, but one of the classics is the Long Trail, which runs for 270 miles through the Green Mountains past tumbling streams, peaceful forests and the peaks of low mountains. Just choose a section to suit - and don't miss the panoramic view from the top of the Mount Glastenbury fire tower.
Fans of the white stuff should head to Vermont in winter. There's fabulous skiing in resorts like Killington and Mount Snow, while Stowe combines slopes for all levels with a picture-postcard setting. Stop for a warming drink at the Trapp Family Lodge, owned and run by the famous Sound of Music family - then strap on your skis and take on the Front Four trails down the steep face of Mount Mansfield.
KALEIDOSCOPE OF COLOUR
With so much forest, New England's fall colour is perhaps at its most vivid in Vermont. Pick any road and you'll drive past an endless sea of oranges, reds, and golds in every hue imaginable.Or walk one of the trails through the trees to see the fiery colours close up.
An absolute treasure trove of art and Americana, this quirky collection includes Impressionist paintings, folk art, quilts and textiles, decorative arts and furniture - and is a must-see on holidays in Vermont. What's more, some of the 150,000 exhibits are displayed across 25 historic buildings specially relocated from elsewhere. There's a lighthouse, rail station and a stagecoach inn!
Sweet, sticky and heavenly tasting, no State produces more maple syrup than Vermont - and it's top quality, too.
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