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.
- 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.
Over a long weekend in mid-July, at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa, about 25 colorful hot air balloons ascend and descend morning and evening into the valley. Food, live music and a beer garden provide other diversions, and balloon rides are available. Kids' activities add to the mix as visitors peruse the tethered balloons while they're on the ground.
- 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.
- Burlington, Vermont, USA Burlington Waterfront Park in Burlington, VT.
Picture yourself sitting outside, craft beer in hand, gazing at Lake Champlain, and beyond, the Adirondack Mountains. You can actually do that on the third weekend of July at the Burlington Waterfront Park. Artisan craft beer is the focus of this event, and beer lovers and brewers have gathered to drink it and discuss it for over two decades. Brewers from all over New England and some from Quebec enjoy the beer and the local Vermont food without any pesky plastic bottles. This was the first event in the state to ban plastic bottles, and who drinks beer out of plastic? Craft beer drinkers most certainly do not! Come on down and have a glass of beer.
- Burlington, VT in BURLINGTON, VT.
For about four days in mid-August, the waterfront is energized to keep the summer going with live music, exhibits, wine and food tastings and a 5K-Pirate Run. Located on the shores of Lake Champlain, a vintage boat show, paddle-boating and free sailboat and canoe rides are available. An antique boat show, Jim Carter Air Show and remote-controlled airplanes also provide gawk-worthy entertainment. An Eco-Zone exhibit, kids' interactive activities and Vermont wine and food vendors are also worth some quality time, and there is an ALS silent auction. Three stages draw people in with national and international level artists. Some events in the concert series are free and others require an admission fee, but it's still good weather for outdoor fun.
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.