Vermont is Classic New England
Thoughts of Vermont often evoke images of maple syrup, covered bridges, country inns, ski resorts and fall foliage, but the Green Mountain State has so much more to explore.
Vermont has a long history, rich in seasonal culture and traditions. It is classic New England and its steadfast residents have an innate respect for community and character.
A 12,000-year history can be discovered through hands-on explorations, interpretive walks, and illustrated lectures at the new Vermont Archaeology Heritage Center in partnership with the Vermont History Center in Barre. Artifacts, photographs, field notes and soil samples unravel the state’s past from glacial activity.
Reality-based tours and reenactments are available through state-owned historic sites. Before the early European settlers, Native peoples hunted and fished the Champlain Valley. In 1777, Colonists in the Revolutionary War were crucial to the defeat of the British and delegates from the newly formed Republic crafted a constitution. Vermont soldiers and civilians also played key roles in the Civil War. A new visitor’s guide shows 46 places to visit, including New England’s highly documented stop on the Underground Railroad. Vermont has since been the home of presidents and senators.
History is also found in one of the nation’s most historic waterways, Lake Champlain. It contains countless shipwrecks with five state-maintained underwater historic sites for scuba divers. And last, but not least, there are 106 iconic covered bridges that span streams and rivers.
The diverse landscape spans 9250 square miles including valleys with small farms, steepled villages, apple orchards and corn mazes as well as mountainsides ablaze with swatches of vivid colors. The agricultural heritage is rich, with sugarmakers, cheesemakers, dairy producers, vintners and brewers. Being America’s largest producer of maple syrup, every county in Vermont contributes. The ideal climate grows sugar maple trees, allows good sap flow, and encourages the maple syrup-making know-how to pass from generation to generation.
Now that you have had a glimpse of the culture, you can take a better look while staying at these five Vermont bed and breakfast inns, each with their own historic heritage.
The village of Poultney is at the base of the Taconic Mountain Range in the Lakes Region of Rutland County, known for where much of the slate comes from that graces many roofs. The Bentley House was built as a wedding present in 1895 for Edward Broughton’s eldest daughter. This Queen Anne Victorian was their private home until her younger sister stole her husband. It was sold to the academy across the street (Green Mountain College). This B&B is now owned by the Mikkelsens who offer spectacular accommodations.
Historic Windekind Farm and Country Inn, in Huntington, was originally named Higley Hill Farm, and innkeeper Mark Smith admits the house is often called Grand Dame or Great Lady. Mark built a 1/5 scale railroad and historic reproduction coal trains with various antique tools and machines that have become something of a mini-museum. Mark says, “We are happy to find the marks of past generations…today the old house lives on with fresh purpose for new generations.”
Hand-carved marble mantles accent seven fireplaces at the Marble Mansion Inn on the village green in Fair Haven. The Allen family, relatives of the Revolutionary War hero, Ethan Allen, became Vermont’s first marble investors when it was readily available and inexpensive. Ira Allen built the three-story French Second Empire home with unique marble grandeur in 1867. Relax amid the opulent elegance.
Built in 1789 by Noah Hoyt, Applewood Manor is one of the three oldest houses that remain from historic colonial Castleton. Noah’s older brother Nehemiah was an early settler and assisted in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga. Innkeepers Ralph and Nancy searched New England for three years before finding the perfect property and location. Lovingly preserved with careful renovations, it is now an award-winning bed and breakfast inn.
Hospitality meets history at 12 Franklin Street B&B, one of the oldest homes in Brandon, a picturesque town midway between Rutland and Middlebury. Surrounded by Revolutionary and Civil War-era battlegrounds and other historic sites, the area ignites an enthusiastic interest in our nation’s past. The well-preserved Federal house was built in 1816 and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
No matter what season you decide to visit Vermont, history awaits as you explore this great state in person.
--Shirley Anitra Swagerty