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.
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.
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.
- Champlain Valley Exposition Essex Junction, VT 5453 in Essex Junction, VT
About a week into September, the chance for one last summer fling for thousands of visitors presents itself with all the bells and whistles. It began as an agricultural event and stays true to its roots; there are educational exhibits, too. For over 90 years, ten days of food, rides, exhibits and free shows have entertained the crowds, and this fair draws big names in entertainment. It has made a lot of vendors very happy.