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?
- 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
[For COVID-related security reasons, the 2021 edition will be an online virtual festival]: 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.
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.