Vermont is the second smallest state in terms of population (it has 609,000 residents) and the sixth smallest in geographic area. Lake Champlain, the nation's sixth-largest freshwater body lies at the northwest border with New York State and Canada. The state is split east-west by the Green Mountains, which are popular for recreational activities. The eastern border with New Hampshire is defined by the Connecticut River. Vermont is the only landlocked state in New England which leads to its often being short-changed in guides to the region. Its highest point is Mount Mansfield at 4,393 ft, and its lowest point is Lake Champlain, at 95 feet.
The state is extremely rural, its valleys littered with farms. Its largest city is Burlington, pop. 38,889. Among the state's major exports are cheese, maple syrup, marble, slate, and granite. Tourism is also a very large industry in Vermont, as skiers travel from Boston, New York, Canada, and elsewhere to ski resorts up and down the Green Mountain spine during the winter. In summer, the many bed and breakfasts fill up with couples and families wanting to visit the state's small towns and wild areas. Vermont's autumn foliage is known for being the most spectacular in the country, and possibly the world. It occurs quite early -- usually mid-September to mid-October. The only time that the visitor might try to plan around is "Mud Season" (March-April), when unpaved ground becomes unwalkable during the thaw. Even Mud Season has its charms, though.
Vermont was the 14th state admitted to the United States. It was not among the original 13 colonies because of a border dispute between New Hampshire and New York which was originally resolved in New York's favor. Vermont residents, led by Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, fought New York's land claims tooth and nail until declaring independence and soon thereafter being admitted to the union.
Vermont attracted settlers during the early nineteenth century, but population remained stagnant as flatter land to the West grew in favor. Significantly deforested by upland sheep farming during the 1800s, the forest has regrown (now covering 80% of the state) since dairy became the predominant form of agriculture.
Vermont's urban areas have always been minuscule compared to the Northeast; the rural state, once seen as the most conservative in the nation, is now considered politically independent, progressive and protective of its environment and rural character.
The Appalachian Mountains that enfold Vermont were most likely created during the Taconic Orogeny, when the North American plate collided with the African plate approximately 550 to 440 million years ago. The mountains have subsequently been eroded by ice, water, and wind, such that they are rather humble in their current state (they are suspected of having reached the heights of the Himalayas). Today Vermont is home to many wild habitats and their constituent flora and fauna, including northern deciduous forests, coniferous forests, wetlands, farmlands, powerline greenways, and patches of tundra (most notably on Mount Mansfield). Notable fauna include the black bear, moose, and the pileated woodpecker.
The Vermont dialect uses broad “a” and “e” sounds for vowels. Also, words that end with “r” get an “uh” sound, and one-syllable words are turned into two syllables. Here are some examples of Vermont speak: cow would be “kyow”, that is “tha-at”, there would sound like “they-uh” and idea is “oi-dea”. If you are not a native Vermonter, you will likely be called a “flatlander”.
There are flights to and from Atlanta, Chicago (O'Hare), New York City (LaGuardia, Kennedy), Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, Washington DC (Dulles and National), and Detroit to the Burlington International Airport (BTV). It is a small airport, which mostly serves regional jets and turboprops for civilian passenger use.
Rutland State Airport (RUT) has two flights a day to Boston Logan and one on weekends.
Another alternative is the Manchester Airport (MHT) in New Hampshire as it serves as an alternate hub for all of northern New England and is a 3 hour or less drive to just about anywhere in Vermont.
Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport  (IATA: YUL) (formerly Dorval Airport) is another alternative.
There are two Amtrak trains that service Vermont:
The "Vermonter" with daily service between Washington, D.C., New York and St. Albans, Vermont makes nine stops in Vermont.
The "Ethan Allen Express" with daily service between New York and Rutland, Vermont.
Driving access to Vermont is Interstate 91 that runs north-south and Interstate 89 that runs northwest-southeast.
Ferry service is available from three locations in Vermont that provides access to New York across Lake Champlain from Burlington,VT to Port Kent, NY, Grand Isle, VT to Plattsburgh, NY and Charlotte, VT to Essex, NY.
Vermont State House
Vermont State House, 115 State St., Montpelier. This golden-domed building is the most notable in the capital and is the meeting-place of the Vermont Legislature. The building is open to the public.
Burlington Waterfront and Church Street, Burlington. This charming pedestrian and waterfront area along Lake Champlain is home to galleries, shops, and restaurants where you can find live music, an excellent sampling of local micro-brews, and great people-watching. Home to what may be Vermont's only "urban" nightlife.
Fall Foliage During September and October, Vermont's wooded mountains burst into fiery color. Hotels, restaurants, and roads fill quickly during this season, so make reservations early. Columbus Day weekend is usually the most crowded. The small geographical size and rural character of the state make it easy to view foliage from almost any location. Bus and bicycle tours will often guide tourists to the best foliage-viewing areas. Several ski resorts in the region offer foliage-viewing ski-lift rides to mountaintop overlooks. Foliage season begins in mid to late September, with color increasing day by day until "peak" around the first or second week of October. During peak, most deciduous trees will display some color change. Maples will blaze orange and red; birches, ash, and aspen will glow yellow; and oaks will turn a warm purplish-brown. After peak, the leaves drop and color quickly fades from the hillsides over the next week or so. Foliage change is partially triggered by cold, so "peak" will arrive sooner in the north of the state and at higher elevations, moving south and down during the season. Bring warm clothing and an umbrella, as the New England weather can be unpredictable.
Manchester Center is a town in southern Vermont, nestled at the foot of 3,816-foot Mount Equinox. It's tranquil old-world atmosphere and Manchester Center a shopper's paradise that is completely different from the village with its signs, sights and many shops. Manchester (Vermont) is also home to Hildene, Robert Todd Lincoln's 412-acre summer estate
Maple syrup products and cheddar cheeses are the foods for which Vermont is most famous.
There are many outstanding restaurants throughout Vermont that use local produce and participate in the Vermont Fresh Network (). Burlington, the largest population center in the state, has the most variety of restaurants, but there are gems hidden even in the smallest towns, like Hardwick and Plainfield. Vermont also offers a variety of ways to see the farm to table connection, from guided tours () of the people and places behind the flavors of Vermont to on-farm lodging ().
Vermont is home to some very original and high quality breweries. When in the Green Mountain State, stop by for a tour or look for titles from some of these fine companies:
Alchemist Pub & Brewery, 23 So. Main St., Waterbury, +1 802 244-4120, . Very good beer, but only available at the brew pub. Just in Waterbury from the Stowe exit on the Interstate. They also have an excellent selection of single malt Scotch.
Vermont has one of the lowest crime rates of any state in the country. Outdoor hazards are much more common. Avoid wilderness areas during hunting seasons (November) when accidental shootings can occur. Always stay on marked ski trails while skiing. The areas around resorts may be trackless wilderness, and the cold is potentially deadly. Use good outdoor safety practices when hiking, boating, and biking.
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