Vermont  is a state in the New England region of the United States. Known colloquially as the Green Mountain State, Vermont is known for its beautiful fall foliage and its maple syrup in addition to being a popular destination for hiking and skiing.
With only 626,431 residents, Vermont is the second smallest state by population and the sixth smallest by geographic area. Lake Champlain, the nation's eleventh-largest freshwater body, lies at the northwest border with New York State and Canada. The state is split east-west by the Green Mountains, providing the state with a plethora of opportunities for such outdoor activities as hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. Throughout much of the state, the Connecticut River marks the border with the neighboring state of New Hampshire. At a height of 4,393 feet (1,339 m), the state's highest point is Mount Mansfield, located a few miles north of the town of Stowe, and its lowest point is Lake Champlain, at 95 feet (29 m).
The state is extremely rural; its valleys are dotted with farms. Its largest city is Burlington, pop. 42,417. 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 undriveable 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 terms of temperament, not politics) 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.
As is the case in most other rural regions of the United States, a rudimentary working knowledge of English is generally necessary for successful communication in Vermont. Road signs, restaurant menus, and tourist information are generally available in English only, and staff at restaurants and hotels are generally unilingual in English.
Within a few miles of the Canadian border, one may encounter speakers of Canadian French. Though distinct in pronunciation from Metropolitan French, European speakers of French generally report that they are able to comprehend the dialect with minimal difficulty. However, the number of native speakers of the French language in Vermont is steadily declining, and French is seldom known to anyone but the small number of native speakers who have remained in the state.
There are two Amtrak trains that service Vermont:
The easiest way to get around the state is by car. Most roads to tourist destinations are paved and in good shape; however, be warned that in more rural areas the roads are usually dirt and can be a little unsafe. Major Interstates 89 and 91 as well as Vermont State highways and scenic byways provide direct routes to downtowns and diverse outdoor recreation.
The Chittenden County Transportation Authority (GMT) has 16 local bus routes, which extend throughout eight cities and towns in the greater Burlington area, as well as three link routs which connect Burlington to St. Albans, Montpelier and Middlebury.
The Burlington Metro Area is very bike friendly, even offering designated bike paths on roads and along Lake Champlain. The Island Line Bike path goes through Lake Champlain and then connects to the Champlain Islands via ferry.
Skiing and mountain activities
Maple syrup products and cheddar cheeses are the foods for which Vermont is most famous, not to mention Ben & Jerry's, which was founded in Vermont. Tours of the factory in Waterbury are available from 10 to 6 every day.
There are many outstanding restaurants throughout Vermont that use local produce. 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:
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.
Roads can be poorly plowed during winter weather events. Do not expect completely clear roads even the morning after a significant snowfall in some areas. During snowfall, interstate highways frequently will only have the right lane plowed until after the storm ends, particularly on I-91 along the sparsely populated eastern edge of the state. If you are unused to and/or poorly equipped for winter driving, plan accordingly. Additionally, many secondary roads outside of the Burlington area are dirt and/or gravel and can be difficult for smaller cars to navigate during "mud season", which is usually around late March to mid April, after the snowpack melts in the spring.
Vermont is an 'open carry' state, in that the carrying of holstered, unconcealed handguns is perfectly legal. Vermont is one of the few states in the nation in which the concealed carry of a handgun without a license is also legal. Visitors to Vermont who plan to carry a handgun must bear in mind that this state shares a very lengthy border with New York State to the west, home to some of the strictest handgun laws in the nation. New York State does not recognize licenses from any other state.
Fireworks - Although Vermont allows the purchasing and use of consumer fireworks, only sparklers and novelty fireworks can be bought and be in possession. So if you wish to use more explosive fireworks, it's best to go to a neighboring state to purchase and use them. Unfortunately, New Hampshire is the only nearby choice as all other neighboring states ban consumer fireworks. Do not bring your purchased non-legal fireworks back into Vermont, that qualifies as smuggling as you(the consumer) is in possession of fireworks. And punishments for smuggling fireworks in Vermont will lead to serious jail time. Lighting them in the countryside isn't recommended as you'll never know if there's someone nearby watching. This also goes for anyone who is just driving through the state with a vehicle full of non-legal fireworks.
Vermont is one of the most unapologetically liberal areas in the US. Despite also being one of the most heavily white states in the country, jokes at the expense of other races or nationalities are generally received very poorly. Similarly, jokes perceived to be at the expense of LGBT people or seen as being sexist and/or degrading to women are also generally frowned upon. Violence is rarely a result of such things, but it will not likely earn you many friends here. Expression of support for President Donald Trump and in particular his stances on immigration is likely to be met with something between amusement and hostility. These things are all particularly true in Burlington.
While religious diversity is welcomed and celebrated here, including Christianity, Vermont is among the least religious states in the US. Attempts to proselytize any religion, including Christianity, are likely to be brushed off or not taken seriously at first, and met with hostility if attempts become perceived as aggressive. This is particularly true where lifestyle changes are concerned.
In what may seem to be a paradox to people unfamiliar with the local culture, Vermont is also one of the most gun-friendly states, with many people that are otherwise quite politically liberal holding strong views in support of the 2nd Amendment (right to bear arms in the US). This is a place where it is not uncommon to see a home flying a rainbow gay pride flag or some similarly liberal symbol only to find several guns or even a mounted deer or moose head inside. Most gun owners in Vermont are very responsible with their weapons, and you will rarely see a gun in public unless you ask to.
Vermont and its neighboring state New Hampshire have been hit particularly hard by a growing opioid addiction epidemic in recent years, and many towns particularly in the northern part of the state have issues with drug smuggling to and from Canada. While you are extremely unlikely to see the effects of the opioid crisis firsthand and it is also unlikely to come up in conversation, bear in mind that many Vermonters either have themselves been or know someone who has been affected by it in some way. Heroin dealers, particularly those from out of state, are highly despised here outside of circles in which it is used. Marijuana use on the other hand is widespread, generally socially acceptable, and even celebrated in some circles (although it is still illegal at the state level, for the time being).
Vermont is one of the few areas in the US where there is no law against public nudity, however "lewd and lascivious" conduct is still illegal, and the way this has been interpreted in practice is that being naked in public is legal so long as you do not disrobe in public and do not perform any sexual acts in public. While public nudity is quite uncommon, even in Burlington, this is a good thing to keep in mind should you encounter it, as it does occasionally happen that some of the local hippies decide to go for a "nature" walk down Church Street. There are a few nude beaches on lakes dotted throughout the state, although these tend to be in secluded areas and you are unlikely to come across one by accident. Some localities and specific beaches have local ordinances against public nudity.
Vermonters are very proud of their state's natural beauty. As you are driving through the state, you may notice the complete absence of advertising billboards due to a state law against them. Likewise, littering is both illegal and not well tolerated, and is likely to result in a citation and fines if you are caught.
Buy local if you can, and in some towns, there may not be any other option! Vermonters are very proud of their state's relative independence from large national retailers and fast food restaurants that are ubiquitous in the rest of the US. Many Vermonters in rural areas grow some of their own food, even if they are not farmers by primary occupation. You'll notice a conspicuous dearth of McDonald's, Walmart, Subway, Burger King, and Wendy's here.. try to enjoy it!
The northern part of Vermont is close to Montreal. There are also nearby mountainous areas in New York (the Adirondacks), New Hampshire (the White Mountains), Massachusetts (the Berkshires), and Maine (the Speckled Mountains), all of which have their unique charms.