When out-of-town guests come to visit, it’s only natural to want show them some things in Vermont that are a bit different from the red barns and covered bridges they are probably expecting. The Green Mountain State is filled with fun, exciting and offbeat places to entertain people of all ages – and leave them wanting more. Here are some of our favorite places to take visitors to show another side of our amazing state. Happy trails!
1. Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home - 1005 Hildene Rd, Manchester
Hildene, the Lincoln Family Home of Robert Lincoln, son of President Lincoln, offers walking trails, a working farm, a 1903 Pullman car and the historic mansion. Tours are offered daily and you'll get a tour of the mansion, which is perched on top of a beautiful hill with gorgeous views of the surrounding countryside.
2. VINS Nature Center - 6565 Woodstock Road, Route 4, Quechee
VINS affords its visitors the unique opportunity to see the type of birds they would rarely see otherwise. Many of the birds have been permanently injured through accidents and they are housed in huge cages that recreate their natural habitat as best they can. You can tell the birds are treated with the utmost care and attention. It is very impressive to witness the dedication of the caretakers while they work.
3. Shelburne Museum - 6000 Shelburne Road, Shelburne
Only 4 of the museum's buildings are open in the winter, but you'll enjoy the heavily discounted admission price. The variety of items on display in the winter is amazing. From Cassatt paintings to waterfowl decoys to horse-drawn carriages to Tiffany pieces. You'll find an incredible collection and your guests will surely want to come back in season to see more.
4. Trapp Family Lodge Outdoor Center - 700 Trapp Hill Rd, Stowe
The hills are alive in Stowe! Cross country skiing at the Trapp Family Lodge is always a crowd pleaser to see the outdoors if your guests aren't looking for a downhill experience. The Center has a friendly and knowledgeable staff who will outfit you with all the necessities and give a lot of great pointers. After a day of cross country skiing head over to the main lodge for a wonderful meal and great bar and enjoy a truly a magical experience.
5. Sugarbush Farm - 591 Sugarbush Farm Rd, Woodstock
If you're looking for something to do besides skiing, the Sugarbush Farm is a great destination.
The staff is always friendly and you can try free cheese and syrup tastings before walking through their country store. Both the syrup and cheese are out of this world and you can't get more authentic than this.
The farm itself is quaint and sits on a scenic backdrop of rolling hills and farms with the Green Mountains in the background.
Perfect for couples or families and they love dogs so make sure not to leave the pup at home.
6. Quechee Gorge - Route 4, Quechee, Hartford
Whether you view the breathtaking gorge from above on the bridge, or take a beautiful walk across the snow covered field, you'll love the amazing sights. Good winter walking gear a must. Bring your camera, you never know what nature has in store.
7. Bennington Battle Monument - 15 Monument Circle, Bennington
The Battle Monument is definitely worth visiting, along with a stop by the Bennington Museum just a few minutes drive away. There you can see an ammunitions room with weapons, along with battle maps and history. It's well worth the price to take the elevator to the top (the stairs are closed). It's a short ride and once at the top, you're fully enclosed so even those with a fear of heights feel secure. The views of the surrounding mountains and vistas are stunning!
8. Cabot Visitors Center & Tour - 878 Main St., Cabot
This is a great tour where you'll want to take all your guests. The amount of delicious cheese Cabot makes every year is astounding and the fact filled tour tells you about it and shows you how it's made. Don't miss the tasting room and be sure to take home a few of your favorites.
9. Magic Hat Brewing Company - 5 Bartlett Bay Road, South Burlington
Another great activity to do to do with your out-of-towers is take a tour of the Magic Hat Brewery. With free admission and tastings, this is definitely a cool stop to visit. There are professional and self-guided tour which takes you backstage of the brewing process and a Magic Hat museum of their eclectic art work. This is definitely worth the visit.
10. Montshire Museum of Science - 1 Montshire Rd., Norwich
This museum, now celebrating it's 40th anniversary, has been in this beautiful wooded but easily-accessible from I-91 (Hanover/Norwich exit) spot since 1989. The main structure is a glorious, light-filled open post-and-beam building that has two main levels and a tower that offers great views of the grounds (with many outside exhibits and trails), the Connecticut River, and the Ledyard Bridge to Hanover, NH.
The museum caters to both school children and adults, and the exhibits are first-rate.
11. Dog Mountain & The Dog Chapel - Spaulding Road, Saint Johnsbury
If you or your friends have four legged friends, this destination is a must. Bring the pups with you to explore this 150-acre mecca which is fun for people, but the dogs are ecstatic. Nice trails to walk on, benches to sit on while dogs play. Definitely visit the chapel.
12. Catamount Film & Arts - 115 Eastern Ave, Saint Johnsbury
Always an interesting place with many activities available - some for a fee, some not. Films, art gallery, coffee shop and many other things. Many good evening activities as well.
13. St. Albans Historical Society - Church Street, Saint Albans
If your guests fancy a bit of local Vermont history, this is a great stop. The staff is very knowledgeable, local, and able to make the place seem like a trip to your grandmother's attic.
14. Tasting Center - 150 Main Street, Newport
Show your friends a sampling of local flavor, and enjoy inexpensive tastings of local cider, vodka, gin and rums. The cider options are quite unique - oak aged, interesting infusions and tasty dry options. The gins were over the top - unique and made for sipping. A great way to try a variety of local tastes.
15. Moss Glen Falls - Granville
The Moss Glen Falls can be seen from the road and there is a parking pull-off. They are one of the prettiest falls your guests could see while visiting Vermont. Don't miss the other falls on the right before you walk down the boardwalk- they are beautiful, too!
16. Visit a farmers market! All over, every season.
Whether you're in the market for fresh, organic, local produce, fresh baked bread, meats, locally made granola, cheese, wine and more or looking for a great place for lunch....this is the place to go on a cold day! It is a social experience with great food. For a list of winter farmer's markets in Vermont there is a link at the end of the article.
17. Church Street Marketplace - Main St., Pearl St., Burlington
Checking out the local and boutique shops on Burlington's Church Street is always guaranteed to please. The hustle and bustle of people is fun day or night, and a great destination in all seasons.
18. Vermont Institute of Contemporary Arts - 15 Depot Street, Chester
If you have a love for love for art and local artists, this is a great spot. In fact, you'll enjoy the entire town of Chester with its unique shops and all it has to offer.
Add your favorite activities to show out of town guests the best of Vermont in the comments below. For a complete lists of farmers markets in Vermont click
here. Have fun entertaining!