A few words about Vermont
Vermont is a state located in the northeastern United States on the border with Canada, New York State, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Since the 1960s Vermont has been politically progressive. For example, Vermont was the first US state to recognise same-sex couples union. Also more recently, in 2018, Vermont was the first state to have a transgender candidate for governor. It is also among the safest states in the USA. In addition, Vermont is a paradise for nature and mountain lovers (and the beach is not far). Finally, it is an American leader in maple syrup production.
We visited the Vermont capital city, Montpelier (with a single “l” unlike French Montpellier). It is the least populous state capital of the United States. The atmosphere of this family town surrounded by nature is charming and relaxing. Here are our recommendations for a fantastic day there.
24h at Montpelier
We advise you to start the day with an easy hike to Hubbard Park (the path starts behind the state house). Climb to the top of the tower to enjoy the view. This morning walk in the forest will also certainly allow you to cross some deer. Indeed, there are many in the area and they even venture to the gardens in town. Finally, you will have a beautiful view of the city on your way back.
When you return, do not miss the state house and admire the beautiful capitol. Feel free to push the imposing door and visit the interior. If possible, take part in a free guided tour (we loved it). As you are in Vermont, a state where crime is not a major issue, you can walk around on your own and it is even possible to sit behind the senators’ desk!
If you are getting hungry we recommend you to go to the trendy restaurant Down Home Kitchen which specialised in Southern comfort food. Guests can enjoy dishes such as chicken waffles while sipping cocktails or coffee. The restaurant also serves hearty breakfasts. Our book nerds, Clémentine, appreciated the decoration and books and we both had a great time waiting for our food thanks to the many board games available.
If it is a sunny day you can also get a sandwich or lunch to go from Pinky’s on State.
To help your digestion we advise you to walk the main streets with all the shops as well as the more residential areas. Indeed, we appreciated the architecture and colours of the typical American houses.
Book Nerds Alert !
For such a small city Montpelier has a lot to offer for literature lovers!
First of all do not miss to visit the beautiful and very large Kellogg-Hubbard Library where you will want to spend days.
Then check out the lovely general bookstore Bear Pond Books. Also, check in advance the events organised by the bookstore during your visit.
To our delight, there is a second independent bookstore in the city center. The board games and comic shop The Books Garden is also worth a visit.
If you have a car available, the rest of the afternoon should be used for a scenic drive in the surroundings of the city. Finally, do not forget to visit the maple farm Morse Farm. The maple syrup making explanations are really interesting. In addition, it is an opportunity to taste different colours of syrup and leave with your favorite one. The farm setting is beautiful and we advise you to hang out there for an afternoon snack. You should try the ice creams and they even offer lactose free cookies.
Dinner and evening
After dinner you can either enjoy one of the city’s two cinemas (the art-house Savoy Theater or the Capitol Showplace for the block-busters) or go for a play at the theater on the City Hall’s first floor.
If you do not have a car Montpelier is easily accessible by bus or train (direct from Montréal or New York). The nearest international airport is at Burlington, nearby city easily accessible with public transport.
We travelled to Montpelier by bus from Montréal (booked with Greyhound). To cross the border everybody gets off the bus and go through customs (it is also a toilet break opportunity). Expect delays due to customs.
To get from Montpelier to New York we took the famous Vermonter train: 8 hours which went very quickly watching beautiful landscapes scroll from our comfortable seats.
As mentioned before, Montpelier’s homes are as charming as their inhabitants. For this reason we think homestay is the best option. There are many offers on Airbnb , please find a discount on our Tips and discounts page.
We think Vermont is a good destination all year round but it depends on the activities you prefer. In the spring it is perfect timing to observe the fauna and flora. In summer you can enjoy the weather for hiking and camping. In winter it is skiing time.
We visited early in the fall and were not disappointed. We were lucky because the Fall Foliage was at its best. If you visit Montpelier in autumn, do not miss out on the ‘Halloween house’, which every year surprises locals with incredible decorations.
Thank you for reading our article, leave us a comment if you have tips about Montpelier and the surroundings. And for more adventures in North America, check out our United States section.