One trek through Vermont is enough to make it obvious why it is named the Green Mountain State. Summer landscapes are verdant with shades of green, from the light green of a leaf in sunlight whose edges are nibbled by a hungry caterpillar to a deep green of the woods when the sun begins to fade and night creatures emerge.
In the fall, verdant turns vibrant as a flamboyant crazy quilt of yellows, golds and reds drapes over the hills, creating those world famous picture-postcard settings of quiet country lanes in a New England autumn. Whatever the season, Vermont proudly wears its bucolic cloak of nature.
However as the hues of autumn give way to the frosty whites of winter, a different set of postcard images are revealed, this time peaceful scenes of covered bridges spanning icy streams and sparkling slopes framed by snow-laden trees. For business travelers in search of an idyllic winter getaway from the city chill, the towns of Killington, Brattleboro and St. Albans City are only a few from a long list of rustic destinations.
Killington is known as one of the largest ski areas on the East Coast. When the green turns to white, and the mountain grows its whiskers to the delight of winter sport enthusiasts, Killington has become one of the hottest – or coldest – destinations in all of Vermont.
From professional ski tournaments to themed weddings, the slopes of Killington are alive from early November to late in May. In addition, if all play and no work is a concern, Killington proudly hosts groups, meetings and conferences in the 40,000 square feet of dividable space at Grand Hotel and Snowshed Lodge.
Stowe is called the Ski Capital of the East, and is home to Stowe Mountain Resort, which runs its ski activities between Mount Mansfield and Spruce Peak, challenges skiers with a drop of 2,630 feet. Speaking of mountains in Stowe, here one can visit the Trapp Family Lodge Outdoor Center, final resting place of Maria Von Trapp. She was governess of the Von Trapp family, depicted in the Academy Award winning 1966 movie, The Sound of Music. The lodge offers accommodations, dining, a brewery and a wine cellar. In addition, the lodge offers massage services, meeting spaces and wedding receptions platforms.
Brattleboro is one of the gateway cities into Vermont. Sitting ten miles above the north border of Massachusetts, Brattleboro offers hiking and biking trails in its 218 acres of protected forest at Fort Dummer State Park. Though Brattleboro sees its own retinue of skiers and snowboarders, it is nearby Mount Snow and Stratton that get more notice. Brattleboro’s scenic vistas, especially viewed from the banks of the Connecticut River, might have the inspiration for writers Rudyard Kipling and Saul Bellow to live here for a time.
St. Albans City is in the northwest region of the state, only 16 miles south of the Canadian border. It is known as the Maple Sugar Capital of the world, and even has a maple festival in late April.
Melt into Spring
Speaking of April, as the winter retreats, one of the most interesting and secluded spots in the area is found by arranging a boat ride (there is no dock) to Woods Island State Park. Here, the views are remarkable but since it is so remote, there are minimal sanitary facilities and no potable water. Together with the camping reservations, one might want to make other “roughing it” arrangements as well.
Along Lake Champlain, though, a variety of local cruises aid travelers who want to discover the pastoral New England countryside. The Lake Champlain region is rich with wildlife, historical attractions and watersports.
For families, couples, and others looking for a more touristy vacation, the cities of Burlington, Stowe and Essex can offer a variety of experiences to match any taste and interest. From famed companies to steep inclines to intoxicating moments, these three locations bring surprising excitement in small town packages.
Burlington is the first city in the US to run entirely on renewable energy. An easy flight of one hour and ten minutes from New York City, (all major carriers fly nonstop) Burlington offers business travelers a variety of meeting and event spaces large and small.
Its historic downtown is highlighted by the Church Street Marketplace, a four-block pedestrian retail and dining enclave. To cap off a day of bargain hunting and gallery hopping, great food and drink choices abound, like prime steaks at EB Strong’s, craft beer at Vermont Pub and Brewery, or – what else? – ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s, a company that got its start in Burlington.
Essex might be slightly less well-known than Burlington and Stowe, but it is no less attractive to visitors looking for all five senses to be included in the journey. Despite it being only half the population of Burlington, Essex has the busiest Amtrak Station in the state. Yet another Vermont locale with great natural vistas and small town charm, Essex is also home to The Essex (essexresort.com), Vermont’s culinary resort and spa.
This sprawling property combined natural beauty with homespun comforts and a healthy serving of luxury. One of the features of the experience is the culinary aspect of the resort, which not only offers gourmet dining using many homegrown ingredients grown on site, but also classes in cooking, perfect for couples, families or business groups as a team – building activity.
In fact, The Essex Corporate Club is specially curated with business travelers in mind. In close proximity to both Burlington airport and downtown Burlington, the Essex Corporate Club is convenient and economical with its discounts and incentives. All guests can enjoy a spa, workout room, hot tub and a myriad of creature comforts within a landscape fully Instragamable. The Essex Resort and Spa is reason alone to visit Essex.
The picturesque landscape is just one of the attractions for new residents and businesses to the area. In fact, the state has recently been stepping up its efforts to attract new residents through its Remote Worker Grant Program, in which eligible applicants can receive grants worth up to $10,000 to move to Vermont and work remotely.
In addition, the city of Burlington, Vermont’s most populous at nearly 43,000 (the least ‘most populous city’ in any state), has seen triple digit growth from 2017 to 2018. Certainly high-profile presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders has been nothing but a net positive for his state. First the mayor of Burlington and later state senator, Sanders has enjoyed great media visibility and enthusiastic crowds in both the 2016 and 2020 presidential election campaigns.
However, make no mistake – the greatest draw to Vermont is the sheer beauty. Those who grew up with Sesame Street may remember the song, “It’s Not Easy Being Green.” However, Vermont was obviously not listening. Whatever the color on the hillsides, the Green Mountain State lives up to its name.
While one stands at the banks of Lake Eden near Johnson, and hears the haunting call of the loons at dusk, or from the top of a ladder while picking apples at Shelburne Orchard, one realizes that green comes in many forms and textures.
Some states try to be everything, boast that they have lush countryside and thundering cities. But Vermont owns its specialties, the breweries, farms, rolling hills and hiking trails, foliage and fauna, progressive politics and green energy. From maple products, often sold in quaint shops with a variety of jams and homemade soaps, to the chance of crossing paths with a larger than life moose, to the sharp twang of Cabot’s cheddar cheese, Vermont is, if nothing else, a state most at peace with itself.