People from Vermont are of a hearty stock. As one of the most northern states in the U.S. that also borders Canada, Vermont gets cold and long winters, but the result is a gorgeous landscape that most locals are proud to call their own.
Because Vermont is a small state with an even smaller population, there are a lot of cliches. (No, there aren’t more cows than people). I’m here to dispel the myths and explain what it’s really like to live in Vermont.
From a born-and-raised Vermonter, who traveled the world and recently returned home, here are 10 things that anyone from Vermont knows to be true.
1. Nice summer days are sacred — don’t waste them
Like any northeastern state, summer is fleeting. Vermont gets a few months of summer, a season that’s often plagued with rain. When it’s warm and sunny, you don’t waste the day inside. Vermonters flock to parks, take out their boats on Lake Champlain or hike one of the many surrounding mountains. Even after a hard rain, Vermonters are quickly back outside, enjoying the dry weather while it lasts.
2. Winter can be just as fun
Winter can last from October to April so Vermonters don’t bat an eye at a late spring snowstorm. Instead, with most of the winter months covered in snow, Vermonters know how to enjoy themselves in the winter wonderland. Skiing and snowboarding are the sports of choice, with 18 ski resorts on various mountains.
But don’t worry, if you don’t like downhill skiing or boarding, there are plenty of other winter activities you can do during the snowy winter months:
- Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing: Either at a ski resort or on one of the many cross-country trails. Check out these places to go.
- Sledding: Vermont’s hilly terrain means you can ditch skis for a sled and hot cocoa.
- Ice-fishing: Once Lake Champlain freezes over, anglers take to their on-the-ice huts.
- Winter carnivals or fairs: Take your pick of fun events during the winter, including the Stowe Winter Carnival, Middlebury Winter Fest or Brrrlington Winter Bash.
3. The craft beer scene rivals other large cities
The state of Vermont is small but mighty when it comes to the craft beer industry. Vermont is home to many world-class breweries that rival their craft-beer counterparts in cities like Portland or San Diego.
Vermont is also home to some of the World’s Best Beer according to Beer Advocate, including the No. 5 beer in the world, Heady Topper, which is also rated as the No. 1 New England IPA.
Vermont is also famous for its many apple trees that bear fruit in the fall. Being a “local-first” state, Vermont has also embraced craft-cider, the perfect alternative to beer.
4. We have a kingdom
The northeast corner of the state is known as the Northeast Kingdom. While it may sound like something out of a Game of Thrones episode, if you plan to go to Essex, Orleans or Calcedonia county, you say that you’re heading up to the Northeast Kingdom.
5. There are many ways to be active and outdoors
Vermonters are active all year long and take full advantage of the terrain and seasons to get exercise. You’ll find mountain bikers and rock climbers on the trails, water skiers on the lake and ice skaters both indoors and out. No matter the season, there’s a way to get moving.
6. Maple syrup can go on everything
Vermonters take maple syrup seriously as the No. 1 producer of maple syrup in the U.S. While there are several syrup impostors out there, made with added corn syrup or sugars, Vermonters know the difference. Real maple syrup comes from a tree, is 100-percent pure and can go on anything, including snow, also called Sugar on Snow, a winter delicacy.
Maple Syrup can also be found in craft cocktails, dressings or glazes, marinades, smoothies, baked goods and so much more. If you need a natural sweetener, Vermonters have you covered.
7. There are many fun Vermont-only quirks
Vermont has only one area code, 802. That’s why you’ll see it on clothes, bumper stickers and as the name of many local stores. One place you won’t see it, though, is on a billboard. Vermont is one of the few states that has banned billboard advertising. You can’t block that beautiful view!
What’s more, Vermont has their very own Loch Ness monster, who lives in Lake Champlain and is affectionately referred to as Champ. While many debate if Champ is real, there’s a very real law that protects any type of lake monster.
8. You’ll inevitably run into someone you know
The state population is slightly more than 625,000, which makes it the second least populated state, behind Wyoming, according to recent data. Still, there are many small towns and family-friendly neighborhoods.
Once you’re here, you meet the genuine people who live near you and then see them at the grocery store, in line at a cafe or grabbing a creemee — what Vermonters call soft-serve ice cream.
9. Flannel is appropriate for all occasions
Vermonters wore flannel long before it became a hipster fashion staple. Flannel is functional, keeping you warm in the winter months, and being durable enough to withstand many years of use.
Companies like Vermont Flannel Company are locally-owned and pride themselves on making all their products in the U.S. Because of the many seasons, in the winter, locals opt for functionality instead of high-fashion making flannel shirts, sturdy winter boots, and wool parkas the go-to fashion staples.
10. Leaf peeping is a real thing
Vermont is known as the Green Mountain State because there’s an abundance of green trees. Come fall, those green leaves turn to bright yellows, oranges and reds, creating a picturesque landscape that brings countless out-of-town visitors from New York, large nearby cities and even international travelers.
We affectionately refer to these groups as leaf peepers, here to basque in Vermont’s most scenic season.
If you’re from Vermont, you know
Vermonters are a proud, resilient and healthy bunch and the many unique characteristics of this small state make it a place they love. If you’re lucky enough to visit this beautiful state, you’ll quickly find out why Vermonters love their home so much.