Nestled in the heart of New England, the quaint state of Vermont attracts thousands of visitors who want to experience rural charm and simple natural beauty. Despite the state's cold climate, visitors can find plenty to do while enjoying the outdoors and walking between popular attractions. The state's largest city, Burlington, offers plenty of urban attractions, including seasonal festivals, art galleries, traveling museum exhibits and concerts.
- 10 Vernon Street Brattleboro, VT 05304 in Brattleboro, VT
Around the first weekend of June, just under a hundred heifers are doused in flowers and paraded down Main Street, all clean and pretty, to highlight the festival and its important aspects. This is the polar opposite of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain but makes a good point: eat local and encourage local family farms to keep producing food for "locavores." The requisite performers, music, dance, food, balloon artists and face painters are all present along with demonstrations, exhibits and "The Hammys." Over 40,000 visitors enjoy a farm tour, food market, farm summit, dairy princess pageant and top-shelf entertainment. Can you really pass this up?
- Burlington, VT in Burlington, VT
Around the end of May and the first week of June, Burlington puts on a 10-day jazz extravaganza that celebrates local talent and world-class jazz performers so that "civilians" and musicians can enjoy various forms of live jazz. Stages indoors and out are filled with talent from around the globe during this 30-year tradition, and many events are free. From the Church Street Marketplace to the Flynn Center, live jazz fills the air, reflecting Vermont's active jazz community.
- Marshland Farm 91 Village Green Quechee, VT 5059 in Quechee, VT
A three-day weekend in mid-June brings 20 hot air balloons to the Village Green, and rides can be booked online in advance or during the event. Over 60 craft artisans and other vendors show their wares, and there is plenty of food and a beer and wine garden. Many kids' activities keep the young ones busy with a bounce house, train rides and freeze dance. Yankee Magazine listed this festival in the "top 20 events of the summer." Music and entertainment run continuously, so no one is bored. Celebrate the summer!
- Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, VT
This largest and oldest quilt festival in New England runs for three days over the last weekend of June. For over 30 years, this annual event has hosted over 80 vendors and has displayed 400 quilts for our visual pleasure. Learn all there is to know about quilting from the 75 or so classes and lectures available and find supplies at more than 70 booths devoted to quilting. Bring quilts to be appraised and find out their value; compare and contrast antique and contemporary quilts. The air-conditioned Champlain Valley Exposition hall keeps everyone comfortable during demonstrations and gift-buying forays. Come in and be amazed.
- Middlebury, Vermont, USA Under a tent on the Middlebury Village Green in Middlebury, VT
Just after the July 4th holiday, a week of musical performances regales area residents with concerts every evening from 7p-10p. Noontime Brown Bag events are family-friendly, and there is a kids' hour daily. Contemporary pop, Bluegrass, Spanish folk music and big band music can be heard in evening concerts. The Vermont Jazz Ensemble plays for the Saturday night Street Dance to close out the festival. About 1,000 visitors attend nightly, sitting on their blankets on the grass, eating ice cream and watching the kids dance around. It's all on the Village Green and it's all free.
From about mid-July through mid-August, over five or six weekends, classical music is performed by world-renowned concert artists and music students from around the world. A young Yo Yo Ma attended this festival and decided that he would take the professional track, and that worked out well. Founded by Rudolf Serkin in 1951, this more than 60-year-old festival continues to bring in talented young artists who love to study and perform classical music in several forms. This small town becomes a gold mine of musical talent every summer, and the concerts reflect the students' intensive study and exchange of ideas.