Pastoral hills, covered bridges, quaint, white-steepled villages, great skiing, delicious maple syrup and sweet, rich ice cream,Vermont has something to offer all different tastes all year round.
VERMONT TOURIST INFORMATION: (802) 828-3236
STATE HOUSE, State Street, Montpelier (802) 828-2228
Open year round, Mon. - Fri., 8-4. Closed Holidays.
Don't know how they do it but this State House is actually homey. First off, at the main entrance, just to the right of the glorious grand staircase, is a table set up with maple sugar candies and rich, semi-sweet and milk chocolates. A little taste of Vermont at your fingertips. Upstairs are beautiful tall windows with red-carpeted windowseats. On this rainy day I sat there comfortably munching on my candy watching the rain -- and no one asked me to move. Just beyond the hall is a wonderful "living room" of overstuffed chairs placed around a big old fireplace in a luscious room filled with gorgeous paintings. Beyond that is a cafe offering a delightful lunch at very reasonable prices.
Check it out . . . Ever see those Dickens Village ceramic houses that usually appear in Hallmark stores at Christmas? Well, that's the town of Montpelier. The buildings and houses and bridges and sidewalks with gas lights all look like life-sized knick-knacks.
BILLINGS FARM AND MUSEUM, Rte. 12, Woodstock (802) 457-2355
Open daily 10-5 May through October
Got milk? You bet! And butter, and ice cream and cheese. This is a terrific place to bring kids to see how a 19th century dairy farm operated and see how milk gets from the cow to the kitchen table. There's lots more things to see and touch -- some are even alive! The museum also has special events in addition to its regular exhibits. For example, the day we were there they hosted a Halloween party. The staff and visitors were all dressed in costumes and they served pumpkin ice cream!
Tip: For an elegant dinner try Bentley's in Woodstock Center. It's very romantic! Or, visit the lounge at the beautiful Woodstock Inn for a hot drink by the fire.
CALVIN COOLIDGE MUSEUM, Plymouth Notch (802) 672-3773
Open daily 9:30-5:30 Mid-May to Mid-October
This is more than just a president's birthplace. It's his entire village. The homes of Coolidge's family and neighbors as well as the church, the general store Coolidge's dad operated, the cheese factory, which still uses the original 1890 recipe, the post office and the dance hall, which served as the "Summer White House" when Coolidge was president, are all frozen in time to the year 1923. Be sure to follow the walking trail leading to "the Notch" where Coolidge's grave lies among six generations of his family.
Check it out . . . The cheese factory is still run by Coolidge's son, John, now in his nineties. If you go, be sure to buy some cheese. It melts in your mouth. No kidding!
Tip: Don't miss the upcoming Homestead Inaugural activities in August of 1998. It's the 75th anniversary of Coolidge's swearing in (Coolidge's dad, a Justice of the Peace did the honors 75 years ago in this very place). Two days of activities including a well-known Calvin Coolidge impersonator, bands and fireworks. Tickets for the event are only $10.