When we imagine a quintessential New England holiday we think of idyllic scenes found only in beautiful Vermont; farmland and mountains blanketed by freshly fallen snow, charming villages and downtowns, and festive celebrations from first night events to the season’s best skiing.
After all, escaping the city is the best way to enjoy the season, from Thanksgiving through New Year’s. Here’s why a getaway to Vermont is the ideal winter destination for families and friends:
- Festive winter events in historic downtown communities
Vermont’s thriving downtown centers are scattered throughout the state’s 200+ towns, and each offers a rich, vibrant community that’s distinct.
Popular hotspots include Montpelier and Burlington, with its tree lighting events, boutiques at the beautiful Church Street Marketplace, and performances at the Fynn Center for the Performing Arts.
Meanwhile, picturesque towns like Woodstock host their popular “Wassail Weekend” where horse-drawn sleigh rides at Billings Farm and Museum are just part of the enchanting itinerary. And, just outside Woodstock there’s artisan shopping like Simon Pearce in Quechee, King Arthur Flour in Norwich, and Shackleton Thomas in Bridgewater.
Still, many decide to “Go Stowe” with no shortage of Stowe-area events and celebrations at every turn in town, while Manchester’s popular outlets are packed with designer fashions and Norwich is home to the Montshire Museum of Science—an excellent interactive museum for kids
2. Spectacular ski resorts
Snowshoeing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing attract outdoor enthusiasts in winter, but nothing compares to a season spent skiing Vermont. Premiere mountain destinations like Sugarbush Resort in central Vermont and Mount Snow and Stratton in the southern part of the state offer breathtaking views that are just off of Route 100—the scenic byway commonly referred to as “Ski Highway” for obvious reasons.
Along the route you’ll find top slopes from Stowe, Magic, and Okemo Mountains. There’s also the Jay Peak resort, whose amazing trails and indoor water park are by the Canadian border. Plus, lots of people can’t wait to check out the brand new hotel at Burke Mountain.
Wherever you land, it’s easy to find the best ski resort for your trip based on your desired location, amenities, itinerary, and budget.
3. Quaint inns and bed & breakfasts
With the state’s ten designated byways ranging in length from 14 to over 400 miles, an exploration down any Vermont path will lead to truly authentic experience. There’s everything from the classic Vermont Inn and nearby ski destination Killington, or romantic hideaways like the Rabbit Hill Inn in Waterford or Newfane’s Four Columns Inn. Searching for a bed and breakfast? Don’t worry there are plenty of those too.
And of course, there’s the beautiful Barrow’s House in the southern part of the state in Dorset, and the classic Dorset Inn—the oldest continuously-run inn in the state since 1790.
Regardless of your taste in accommodations, just be sure to book accommodations that are near your favorite attractions and meet your getaway expectations—whether you visit Vermont around Thanksgiving to view what’s left of the gorgeous fall foliage or had a specific art gallery in mind.
4. Local and farm-to-table dining experiences
The people of Vermont Fresh Network, Dig In Vermont and communities all over the agricultural state believe in supporting those who feed the community. That’s why restaurants and kitchens at many of the inns we mentioned (like The Four Columns) are renowned for dining options at their respective restaurants, like the fabulous Artisan Restaurant Tavern, Kitchen, and Garden.
Tourists also flock to Hen of the Wood locations in Waterbury and Burlington, Kismet in Montpelier, and Starry Night Café in Ferrisburgh for exceptional farm-to-table dining.
Later, support the local community even more with a tour at the Ben & Jerry’s factory (where 30-minute guided tours are given seven days a week) and stop at the nearby Cabot Creamery Annex to sample aged cheddars. From there check out produce from nearby farm stands and markets whose fresh bounty boasts artisanal goat, sheep, and cow cheeses from over 45 makers in the state, 100 percent pure Vermont maple syrup from local sugar houses, and savory chocolates like the gourmet creations of local chocolatiers, Lake Champlain Chocolates.
5. Craft beer breweries
Founded in 1995, the Vermont Brewers Association promotes the culture of craft brewing in Vermont and (in the same spirit of Vermont’s farm community) advocates for the consumption of locally-produced goods.
Where do we start with Vermont’s many beer breweries, tastings, and social events? Enjoy lagers at the Von Trapp Brewery in Stowe, explore Vermont Bed & Brew in the Mad River Valley, or learn about Middlebury’s famed craft beer, wine, cider and spirits at a Middlebury Tasting Trail & Tour event in Addison County. You can even 8-24 of your closest 21+ friends for a safe, responsible ride along Okemo Valley’s Good Bus that takes guests on their own customized brew tours.
Hill Farmstead in Greensboro was named the best brewery in the world twice by Ratebeer, and Alchemist in Stowe brews the immensely popular Heady Topper double IPA you’ve simply got to taste.
Plan your perfect Vermont escape today by visiting VermontVacation.com