Vermont is a wonderful state. The natural beauty of its lush forests and rolling hills are a huge draw, and I have always loved its laid back, progressive attitude. When I grow old and my traveling days are over, I hope to retire there.
My first significant venture into the state came at the tail end of my first cross-country trip in the summer of 2000, which took my friend Cein and me from California to Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana and through the eastern states before delivering us to Vermont. After a thrilling and adventurous week-long journey, Cein's grandmother's house in Bennington, VT provided a great place to relax and reflect on our trip. We spent lots of time sitting on the back porch, where we enjoyed this marvelous view:
We made one excursion during our stay there, a quick trek to the resting place of famous New England poet Robert Frost.
A few years later, I would find myself studying at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which is close to the Vermont border. When my friends and I needed to get away, we'd cruise over to Brattleboro, VT, a charming small town with a handful of restaurants, bars, head shops, vintage stores and other attractions that were perfect for college students. Brattleboro's classic brick buildings and its proximity to the Connecticut river added to the appeal. If you're in the area, I definitely recommend a stop there.
Burlington is another popular destination in Vermont. I have only been there once, but I would welcome the opportunity to visit again. This town embodies a lot of what people think of when they think of Vermont. Young hippies are common sights, the attitude is relaxed, and there's a lot of brick and wood. My college comedy friends and I cruised up to Burlington for a show by the Jazz Guys, a band that featured one of the original members of our sketch group, Casual Sketch. They played at Nectar's, a fantastic music venue that is famous for helping launch Phish's career. The Jazz Guys were on point that night, and it was a blast to dance like maniacs while they rocked out. As an added bonus, they treated us to a rendition of the Jam Dog song. Jam Dog was my nickname in college, and my musically inclined comedy friends wrote this song so it could be my theme song. It was a ton of fun to hear it performed live on stage.
The Ben and Jerry's Factory is another popular destination in the state. Located in Waterbury, VT, the factory offers tours that include the history of the company, a view of the huge ice cream-making equipment, and a sample scoop. The time I visited, I patiently waited while people of all ages rushed up and grabbed samples as quickly as they could. My patience was rewarded by missing out on the Half Baked tasting, leaving me with a sample of Fat Free Strawberry Swirl. Sheesh.
If you go, be sure to make the hike up to the flavor graveyard, a quirky, tongue-in-cheek resting place for ice cream flavors that are no longer offered.
Don’t tell Massachusetts or Maine that I said this, but Vermont is easily my favorite New England state for road tripping.
Must See in Vermont:
- Ben and Jerry's Factory (Waterbury)
- Nectar's (Burlington)
Check it Out:
The "Next Time" List:
- More time in Burlington
- Retiring and living at a lake house