It turns out you don’t have to travel out of state to run away with the circus or take a or make sticky buns right in a flour factory. Despite being such a small state, we certainly have many talented individuals and unique venues that offer unusual things to do here in the Green Mountain Street.
1. Learn to cook in a flour factory.
Everyone can learn to cook with Vermont-made King Arthur Flour
in Norwich where you can not only shop for great baking items, but learn how to use them, too. The campus has a bakery, a cafe, a retail store where you'll find every sort of baking tool, and classrooms where you can learn baking from the pros. At their state-of-the-art Baking Education Center, you can learn to roll pie crusts, shape baguettes, bake sticky buns, and create the perfect cake. They can teach you simple techniques for making flavorful breads, or old-fashioned cinnamon buns, and they even have classes where you can learn to bake with your child, too. They also offer advanced baking workshops lasting several days for baking professionals. After all, homemade foods made with love are always better.
2. Relax and shop at the same time.
Manchester Center is a classic New England village that can give you an extraordinary shopping experience.
Any shopping experience is improved in a classic and historic New England village and unique to Vermont is Manchester and its Designer Outlet shopping (MDO). The town also swells with cozy inns, world-class restaurants, and many different tourist attractions. The MDO provides a special collection of luxury stores with designer name brands like Armani, Eileen Fisher, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade New York, J. Crew, Tumi, Eddie Bauer and New Balance. The picturesque surroundings make your shopping experience more than a day spent in retail, discounted though it may be. You may look like you spent the day shopping on Rodeo Drive, but you feel like you never left a small, quintessential Vermont town. Shop til you……relax.
3. Climb to the top of Mount Mansfield.
It’s the highest point in Vermont, but if you’re not up to the 4,393 foot climb up, you can take the Toll Road. This road will take you to the top of Mt. Mansfield so you enjoy the views without hours of trekking up.
4. Join the circus.
If you’ve ever wanted to run away and join the circus, you needn’t go too far. The New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro has you covered!
Here you can drop in for a visit or take a class. This is a circus school that welcomes new students (even for a one-shot class), visitors, and observers. It operates year-round. Students range from crawling tots who swing on a trapeze with their parents to a grandfather who includes trapeze in his daily workout. You can stop in and watch, or make advance arrangements to take a group or private class.
5. Soak in the Vermont scenery from a hot air balloon.
Up and Away! If you’ve never lifted off in a hot air balloon and floated freely above a beautiful landscape of fields, farms, and villages, you are missing an unforgettable experience that can be rectified with help from Above Reality Hot Air Balloon rides in Jericho. They will take you aloft in appropriate weather conditions year-round for one-hour flights that literally go wherever the wind is going. Flights depart from the Inn at Essex in Essex and travel above the foothills of Mount Mansfield. Balloons operated by the company can take from two to eight passengers and provide a trip to remember.
6. Taste Vermont beer and wine in style (and safely).
A day with Back Road Brewery & Winery Tours is your chance to wander the back roads of Vermont with an experienced guide and to stop and sip at several of the state’s craft breweries or wineries. The Northern Tour travels Route 7 and starts at Middlebury’s Otter Creek Brewery. The alternate Eastern Tour uses Route 4 and begins in Bridgewater at Long Trail Ale. The day closes with dinner. The tour company picks up customers in the Rutland/Ludlow/Killington area with advance reservations and tours are held daily.
7. Ride the trails on an Icelandic Horse.
These majestic beauties are the ideal saddle horse and will take you on a trail ride at the Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm in Waitsfield, in the heart of the Sugarbush area. The farm hosts full-day and half-day trail rides as well as two- to six-day treks. In winter, the Icelandic Horse is at its best, growing a shaggy coat and reveling in the snow. And the best part is there is no experience necessary.
8. Go from Vermont to Canada without ever going outside.
The Haskell Free Library and Opera House is a neoclassical building that is located on the international border in Rock Island, Quebec and Derby Line, Vermont. The Opera House opened on June 7, 1904, and was deliberately built on the border between Canada and the United States. Today, the library has two different entrances, one from each country, and hence, two different addresses. Exiting the library through the opposite entrance requires one to report to the country's customs thereafter.
9. Channel your inner artisan.
Artistree in South Pomfret offers classes in acrylic painting, pottery, drawing, sculpture, clothing transformation, photography and even a date night program. What a fun way to express your creativity and perhaps discover a new talent!
10. Live the simple life.
If you’re new to Vermont (or even if you’re not) have you ever gotten up close to a Jersey cow or churned cream into butter? Take the time to enjoy a simpler life and learn all about farm life as it was a century ago at Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock. They have a herd of Jerseys and a flock of Southdown sheep, just like those once raised there by the Billings family, and you'll also see draft horses, oxen, and many kinds of chickens. Every afternoon you can see the cows being milked and tour their heirloom garden and learn about the different varieties of vegetables and fruits. Join in with seasonal work from planting to harvesting and enjoy their craft activities, too, where you'll learn to make everything from butter (and sample some of what you've made) to old-fashioned toys.
11. Get your adrenalin going on a ZipTour Adventure.
The Stowe Mountain Resort’s thrilling ZipTour Adventure includes a series of ziplines ranging in length from 150 feet long and 10 feet off the ground (Demo Trainer) to the Nosedive Zip at 4,462 feet long and 130 feet up! The launching point for Stowe’s ZipTour Adventure is atop the high-speed summit Gondola, near the top of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak. From the top of Vermont, you will descend back to the base on a series of ziplines. There are two side-by-side lines on each zip span, so you can travel alongside a friend.
12. Go back to school.
When you stop learning, you stop living. In the state of Vermont there are 23 colleges and universities currently operating so it shouldn’t be hard to find something that interests you. Recharge your brain and learn about things you really enjoy.
13. Swing Dance Lessons.
Get your groove on at Vermont Swings in Burlington. Whether you go alone or with friends, this is a great way to keep your body moving and meet new people. There is no better way to add fun, romance and excitement to your life than dancing and the music is infectiously fun.
14. Take a train adventure.
In Vermont we are used to getting places in our cars, so sometimes we overlook other options. The Vermont Rail System in Burlington offers many rides from the Seasonal Polar Express ride, to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day rides from Burlington to Middlebury, Fireworks shows, wine and beer tastings and even a murder mystery theater ride. So sit back, have fun and let someone else take the wheel for a while.
15. Visit Vermont’s largest candy store.
Middlebury Sweets in Middlebury was established in 2007 and has over 1,000 different products to choose from. The best part is that you don’t need a golden ticket to get in, just a sweet tooth!
What are some other surprising things you’ve found in Vermont? Like this post if you have an adventurous spirit!