Vermont Vacations and the Seven Wonders of the Green Mountain State
By Cliff Calderwood
It matters not in which season you take Vermont vacations, you’ll see these seven scenic wonders and fall in love with the Green Mountain state. And just in case you mistakenly think there are only seven wonders - think again. Each of these is a vacation in itself, full of the wonders of adventure, breathtaking views, wildlife, and fine dining and lodging.
It all begins here...
GREEN MOUNTAIN NATIONAL FOREST
The Green Mountain National Forest is 400,000 acres stretching across two-thirds of the length of Vermont. The Forest comprises six wilderness areas offering camping and 900 miles of trails, and a backcountry environment for all ages. Campgrounds are available on a first-come basis during the summer season.
Popular destinations in the Forest include the Robert Frost Trail near Ripton, Texas Falls Recreation area close to Hancock, the Moosalamoo area near Brandon, and Lake Dunmore and Brandbury State Park
Located in central Vermont near the town of Woodstock, Quechee Gorge is a geological wonder. Nicknamed Vermont’s Grand Canyon, the gorge was carved when the last glacier covering New England receded about 12,000 years ago. Today the Ottauguechee River flows through the gorge and is spanned by a bridge, which offers a marvelous photogenic vantage point for visitors.
The entrance to the park is just west of the bridge, and offers trails down to the gorge and wooded nature walks.
SCENIC ROUTE 100 FROM KILLINGTON TO WATERBURY
Vermont boasts many scenic drives but none more scenic than the portion of Route 100 from Killington to Waitsfield. The route borders the Green Mountain National Forest and meanders through mountain valleys, rivers, streams, waterfalls, and small farming villages. Along this route you’ll move from open farmland to steep mountain cliffs either side of a winding narrow road, and then eventually back to open fields.
The latter part of the journey to Waterbury offers marvelous views of the distant northern Green Mountains.
Nestled between two mountain ranges is perhaps the most picturesque town in New England - Stowe. The draw and attraction for many to Stowe is Mount Mansfield, and the mountain dominates the landscape.
After the snow melts, families have an endless assortment of things to do on their Vermont vacations, including swimming, hiking, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, and scenic driving tours. Mount Mansfield itself provides hiking trails for the fit and energetic, or you can take in amazing views from your own car as you drive to the summit ridge on the historic toll road.
LAKE CHAMPLAIN AND ISLANDS
Lake Champlain seems like a lost cousin of the Great lakes. Long and deep, but with an average width of only 12 miles, its northern area is dotted with a magnificent string of Islands popular for Vermont vacations. Routes 2 and 78 connect the larger ones together and to the Vermont mainland. One of the last "undiscovered" treasures of New England, the Lake Champlain Islands offer magnificent vistas of Vermont’s Green Mountains to the east, and New York’s Adirondacks to the west.
The Northeast Kingdom is a vast 1.3 million acres of mostly wilderness land, which includes public forests, parks, lakes, ponds, rivers and streams. This is an area where little has changed since the glaciers left, and the adventurous will find plenty of opportunity to live out their dream Vermont vacation.
Nature shares the Northeast Kingdom with people, and this is an area where wildlife and scenery is king, and folks gladly take a back seat. Load up your camping stuff and supplies in St. Johnsbury, check your gas level, and be prepared for an exhilarating experience!
No mention of Vermont wonders can bypass the finest collection of covered bridges in the United States. If you include the bridges shared with New Hampshire and spanning the Connecticut River, the state has 106, which is more than any other New England state. Most bridges are accessible to the public, in excellent condition, and a joy to discover and photograph.
The craftsmen who designed these monuments had no idea they were building a legacy now enjoyed by visitors from all over the world. Wherever you are in the state you’re not far from a Vermont covered bridge
This brief journey has been but an introduction to an area in the U.S. where not only the people, but nature, does things just a little differently - And that makes all the difference for Vermont vacations.
For details on these and other destinations on Vermont vacations and to pick up your free vacation reports go to Cliff's New England Vacations site at: http://www.new-england-vacations-guide.com/
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