As Vermonters we are both proud and smart, and we love to share stories and trade facts. So the next time you find yourself chatting around a campfire, enjoying a craft beer at your local watering hole, or making chit-chat on the chair lift, here are 23 interesting things about Vermont you may not know. Read on and soak up these little ditties, they just may come in handy someday!
1. Say cheese!
Up until recently, there were no photos on driver’s licenses. Legal licenses were mint green and flimsy and the printing often smudged off parts. They were mailed to your home and the only way a Vermont driver could get their photo put on their license was to drive to the DMV in Montpelier.
2. No greens, no problem!
What do you do when you’re craving a game of golf in the middle of winter? Well, Rudyard Kipling solved that problem by inventing snow golf here in Vermont! He painted his golf balls red so that they were easier to find in the snow.
3. Silently blowing bubbles.
Yup, it’s still illegal to whistle underwater in Vermont. It’s also kind of impossible, which makes you wonder what happened for this law to be proposed, not to mention passed!
4. But that’s not all...
The town of Brattleboro had to put laws against public nudity on the books in 2007. Why? Well, it had become trendy for people to stage hula hoop contests and bike races through downtown in nothing but their birthday suits.
5. Live, laugh, love.
The state consistently ranks among the top states in many different surveys for health, happiness and intelligence. According to the Vermont Tourism Facebook site, Vermont is also in the top five states for happiest Twitter users.
6. Staying power.
Vermont made it all the way to 1996 as one of the only states to still not have a Wal-Mart. And still no Targets.
7. Speaking of not welcome…
Billboards are illegal in the state of Vermont, which is lovely. I could personally do without pictures of giant buckets of chicken or which legal firm is the best if you get a DWI. Seriously people? I’ll stick to the unobstructed gorgeous scenery, thank you very much.
8. But wait!!!!
The first exception to Vermont’s no-billboards rule came when a hand painted mural advertising downtown Bellows Falls was allowed in 2008. This opened up the possibility for advertising as long as the signs are hand painted murals meant to support and endorse a downtown district.
9. A different kind of board.
Former ski racer, Jake Burton, created history and revolutionized the snowboard industry with designs that changed the face of the sport. Burton started off as a tiny snowboarding company based out of South Londonderry, but it quickly exploded into the biggest snowboarding brand in the world. Burton designed the uniforms for the 2014 USA Olympic Snowboarding Team.
10. Letterman jackets.
Vermont is one of only two states in America to offer snowboarding as a varsity sport that comes with a state championship.
11. Check please!
Brattleboro resident Ida May Fuller was the first American citizen to receive a Social Security check. She collected her first check in 1940 and lived to be 100 years old.
12. Lights, Camera, Action!
Vermonters aren’t the only ones who know we have perfect backdrops for some jaw dropping scenery. Several movies were filmed in Vermont including “Beetlejuice,” “Ethan Frome,” “The Spitfire Grill,” “Where The Rivers Flow North,” “The Four Seasons” and “Baby Boom.”
13. The Green Mountain State.
More than three quarters of Vermont is covered in forest.
14. We've got you covered.
There are more trees in Vermont now than there were in 1859, when Vermont was mostly farmland.
15. Welcome aboard!
Vermont was the first state to sign into the Union after the first 13 states in 1791 and it was one of the first of all the states to strictly prohibit slavery in its constitution. It was its very own independent country for 14 years before signing into the Union.
16. Hands Off!
At one time or another, the states of New Hampshire and New York both claimed Vermont as their own.
17. Great things come in small packages.
The capital of Vermont, Montpelier, is the smallest state capital in the country, with a population of under 9,000 people. Vermont’s state capitol building is one of very few capitals to be adorned by a gold dome and it’s the only capital in the United States that doesn’t have a McDonald’s restaurant.
18. Lots of cuddles… Most of the time.
The Vermont Teddy Bear Company is one of the largest producers of teddy bears by mail order and internet. It creates each bear by hand with all sorts of themes and costumes and churns out almost 150,000 custom Teddy Bears per year. However, the Vermont Teddy Bear Company caused quite a stir in 2005 when it unveiled its “Crazy For You” bear, which came dressed in a white straight jacket embroidered with a red heart and came issued with “commitment papers.”
19. Bridging it.
The state of Vermont has more covered bridges per square mile than any other state in the country. Each bridge is unique and beautiful.
20. Not one of the crowd.
Lake Champlain is the sixth-largest interior body of water in the country. Only the five Great Lakes are bigger. In March of 1998, President Bill Clinton signed a bill that officially made Lake Champlain the sixth Great Lake, an action that was pursued by Senator Patrick Leahy. However, that status was rescinded just a few weeks later. What was that all about, Bill?
21. To butter, or not to butter?
Vermont wasn’t the only state discourage the use of margarine, not wanting to take away from the local dairy business. It was considered illegal to use margarine in restaurants in Vermont unless the menu specially states that it is used with lettering at least two inches high. It was also required to be colored pink.
Vermont has almost one half of the dairy farms in all of New England.
You probably know Vermont is famous for its maple syrup, but did you know the state produces more than 500,000 gallons every year? And it could take between 40-80 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup.