As the world comes to a standstill as we try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we encourage all of you to hunker down right now, too. In the meantime, we'll keep publishing news to help you navigate the state of travel today (like whether travel insurance covers the coronavirus), as well as stories about places for you to put on your bucket list once it's safe to get back out there.
As part of an effort to get more people to relocate to Vermont, Governor Phil Scott recently signed a new bill into law, called the Remote Worker Grant Program, that will cover up to $10,000 in moving and living expenses for a select number of recipients who bring their own job with them. Sounds pretty good, right? In case you need even more reasons to make the move, we asked a bunch of former and current residents about their favorite things to do in the Green Mountain State. Consider this your welcome wagon.
Spend Time on a Farm
From cheese to apples to maple syrup, agriculture is a mainstay of Vermont’s economy. Golden Well Sanctuary, a 170-acre family owned organic vegetable and berry farm in New Haven, hosts wellness retreats, yoga classes, and workshops on medicinal plants, basket weaving, and drum making. In summer, come to pick berries and stay for a community pizza night or farm-to-table dinner accompanied by a ballet performance. Don’t miss the honey kombucha, made from the farm’s own hives, or the swimming hole on the New Haven River, which passes through the farm’s front yard.
Hit the Water
Lake Champlain is the state’s most famous body of water, and there are many ways to explore it: Charter a sailboat in Burlington, sea kayak the Paddler’s Trail, or scuba dive among sunken ships. Our favorite? Camping on Burton Island, a 253-acre island state park that can be accessed only by a ten-minute ferry ride from Kamp Kill Kare State Park. A small store and café serve up basic necessities, and hiking trails cross the island.
Ride Gap to Gap
In Vermont, mountain passes are called “gaps,” and there’s a stunning six-gap road ride that covers 130 miles and more than 10,000 feet of climbing in the mountains outside Burlington. Not up for that big of a ride? Head to the First Stop Board Barn in Killington instead, where you can stock up on bike gear and snag a map of the 20-mile gravel and paved Stream Ride. Along the way, stop for a cheese tasting at the Plymouth Artisan Cheese factory and a soft-serve maple creemee at Green Mountain Sugar House. End the ride with a plunge into the Ottauquechee River and a cold beer at the waterfront Long Trail Brewing Company.
Learn a Craft
Get a crash course in Vermont’s do-it-yourself spirit at Yestermorrow, a design and building school in Waitsfield, where they’ll teach you how to build a yurt or a treehouse, press your own skis, and make furniture. Courses range from two to 55 days, and you can stay in dorms, cabins, or tents on the 38-acre campus, meals included. When class is out, relax in Warren Falls, one of the state’s best swimming holes, before grabbing a slice of wood-fired pizza at American Flatbread’s classic red barn. There’s also a relatively new mountain bike trail, called Revolution, that starts right behind the restaurant.
Hike a Ski Area
Vermont’s ski areas are ramping up their summertime offerings. Stop by Bolton Valley for its Thursday night dinner series for a farm-to-table meal, craft beers, and a round of disc golf. Okemo is expanding its lift-accessed Evolution Bike Park, you can surf an indoor wave at Jay Peak’s water park, and Stowe has a new climbing gym. A local favorite? Hiking the trails at Mad River Glen and the fish fry at General Stark’s Pub in the lodge.
Mountain Bike the Kingdom Trails
You’ll find some of the best singletrack in the state on the Kingdom Trails in East Burke. There are routes for all levels of riders, including a pump track for the kids. Stay at the Burke Mountain Hotel (from $129) for easy access and free bike storage, or score a spot at the nearby rustic Burke Bike Barn (from $240). After your ride, grab a pint at Mike’s Tiki Bar, which has more than 30 microbrews, live music, and a rotating cast of food trucks.