The state of Vermont is usually synonymous with ski resorts and harsh winters. While that's not entirely untrue, these things also don't account for the state's beauty throughout the rest of the year. Winter doesn't last forever (sorry, ski fans) nor do the snow and ice; hiding under all of that is a truly beautiful landscape.
It's also the one state that offers so much for every type of traveler, whether it's bonding with the Great Outdoors or getting one's shop on at small boutique shops. Its major cities (if you can even call them that!) are home to more than people realize, and they're best explored during the summer months.
Bennington Is More Than Skiing
Bennington is a city that most people think of when it comes to Vermont, if only because its picturesque small-town atmosphere and exploding fall colors are a winning combination. Only visiting during one season, however, would be to miss out on all of the explorations that can be done in this city when temperatures are above 70 degrees. Museums, art galleries, and historic homes should all be part of any Bennington Itinerary.
What To See
Bennington Museum is the first museum stop that should be on the list, if only for the fact that the city's local history is fascinating.
This historic stone building houses many exhibits which, at the time of writing, includes:
- Standoff at the Breckenridge Farm
- NBOSS at the Museum
- Askwa n'daoldibna iodali: We Are Still Here
- Robert Frost, 'At Present in Vermont'
- Love, Marriage, & Divorce
- NEVERUSES: BEYONDER by J Stoner Blackwell
- Performative Acts: Dona Ann McAdams
- Across the Street: Historic Bennington
- Grandma Moses
- Bennington Modernism
- Gilded Age Vermont
- Early Vermont Gallery
- Center Gallery
- Church Gallery
- Sloane Gallery
- Bennington Pottery Gallery
The Bennington Battle Monument is easy enough to fit in as a quick stop when exploring the city, as well. It's also one of the most visited attractions in Vermont and gives visitors insight into the city's Revolutionary War history. Visiting During Vermont's Battle Days entails historic reenactments, cannon fire, and a parade downtown.
- Usually held annually during the second week in August
Those interested in combining nature and history should visit the Robert Frost Stone House Museum, where they'll learn all about the late poet. A trail around the homestead reveals Lake Paran and the lush greenery that surrounds it. Not far is Robert Frost's gravesite, which is found in-town at the Old Church cemetery.
Where To Stay
The beautiful and historic Four Chimneys Inn is located within walking distance of all three of these destinations (and so much more). Most are located within a quarter of a mile which means renting a car is unnecessary, but driving is easy.
- Cost: $199-$339/night
Only a few more miles away is the circa-1937 Harwood Hill Motel. This is a budget-friendly option with great reviews, and all the amenities visitors need during their stay. While the motel is not as close to Bennington's major attractions, it's only three miles from most of them - so a short drive makes for easy all-day access. The hotel also offers free breakfast and pet-friendly accommodations.
- Cost: $110/night
The City Of Burlington Is An Artistic Haven
Out of all the places in Vermont, Burlington is undoubtedly the best summer destination. Not only is it the biggest city in the state but it's also home to any number of activities - hiking, shopping, dining, sightseeing, museums, festivals, concerts - you name it. During the summer, the main cobblestone street that runs through the center of town, Church Street, is positively exploding with activity. Festivals are held here throughout the summer, and sidewalk sales happen on and off during certain weekends. The Burlington Waterfront shows off stunning views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks and is also home to several major lakeside festivals during the summer.
What To Do
Exploring Red Rocks Park is a must for anyone wanting to get stunning views of Lake Champlain that go beyond that of the dock. The trails are short, easy, and well-maintained, and are the perfect way to see the more tranquil parts of the city. Those who don't feel like hiking can head down to Waterfront Park, where they'll find various lakeside eateries, as well as park benches and plenty of green space to settle down.
In the city, shopping is a major activity and anything from hiking gear to high-end fashion can be found along Church Street. This is also where some of the city's best restaurants can be found, some even featuring rooftop dining.
A scoop of ice cream from the Ben & Jerry's Scoop Shop is an absolute must to finish off the day, before hanging around the explore the nightlife on Church Street as clubs, lounges, and speakeasies (Lincoln's) pull in the crowds.
Where To Stay
The Lang House is a quaint, historic B&B that's found in the college district and is only a short walk to downtown. Its Main Street location is unbeatable and the style and charm of its interior are good reminders of just how charming this city can be.
- Cost: ~$220/night
A short drive away in South Burlington, visitors will find the Anchorage Inn which is a more budget-friendly option. This simple, cozy hotel offers free breakfast, and some rooms feature kitchenettes and living areas.
- Cost: $177/night