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.
Mid-February, when most are feeling winter-bedraggled, the Winter Carnival offers 10 days of fun and celebration to revive the spirit. Snow sport competitions and live entertainment lure people out of their warm nests to defy the cold and fully enjoy themselves. Outdoor activities like ice-fishing, skating, sleigh rides and a parade flout the weather and top it off with fireworks. Indoor events are just as exciting with the Queen's Pageant, junior Olympic events, pancake breakfast, karaoke, variety show, country & western jamboree and a beach party.
About three days at the end of April, sugar house tours and sap runs celebrate the glories of maple syrup. The carnival, arts and crafts, food, entertainment, contests and antique show lure visitors, and the art exhibit, grand parade and youth talent show keep them here. Naturally, there is a pancake breakfast, but the 5K and 10K runs work off the calories. Oh wait, maple syrup has no calories during this festival, does it?
- 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!
- 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.
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.