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.
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?
- Downtown Main St Bennington, VT 5201 in Bennington, VT
Arts and crafts combine with food and entertainment to take over the downtown as 75 or so vendors display their wares over the Memorial Day weekend. Items made from fabric, glass, metal and wood, along with pottery and jewelry, will line the way. Ethnic foods of Germany, India and Italy and American favorites dominate School Street like it's a food-fest. Eat gourmet seafood, wood-fired pizza, fried dough and ice cream, among other things.
The whole state participates in this event on Memorial Day weekend by inviting the public to more than 260 studio sites. Celebrating the creative process in the visual arts, artists and craftspeople of Vermont display their pieces all around the state. It's a nice springtime drive through scenic areas of Vermont.
- 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!