A Long Weekend in Central Vermont
Museums, cultural heritage and more
From the Mad River Valley to Vermont’s “Little Grand Canyon” and some of the state’s best hiking in Camel’s Hump, Mt. Tom and Mt. Peg all await. Here is an itinerary for a long weekend in central Vermont to help kickstart your planning.
Day 1: Montpelier and BarreClocking in at just under 8,000 residents, Montpelier is one of the country’s smallest state capitals, but it packs plenty activity in the historic downtown. The Vermont Statehouse, built in 1859, is crowned with a Greek-style gold dome and a figure of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture. The statehouse is opens for guided tours and features beautiful flower gardens in the summer. Located next door, the Vermont History Museum offers changing exhibits exploring Vermont’s past and present.
In the mood for one of Vermont’s sweetest treats? Sample real Vermont maple creemees and buy Vermont maple syrup and other products at Bragg Farm Sugarhouse and Gift Shop or Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks.
The capital region offers outdoor recreation opportunities for all ages and skill levels. In downtown Montpelier, Hubbard Park has a birch grove, meadows and a stone observation towner. Just outside town, set in a 28-acre preserve, North Branch Nature Center connects people with ecological education and opportunities to experience Vermont’s forests firsthand. The center’s educational opportunities are child-friendly and engaging for the whole family.
Avid hikers will appreciate the challenge of Camel’s Hump, one of Vermont’s most prominent mountains, shaped like a camel’s back. At just over 4,000 feet, the summit affords 360-degree views of the Green Mountains.
In Barre, Rock of Ages offers guided tours of a Vermont granite quarry, the bedrock on which the town of Barre was built. After the tour, head to the Vermont Granite Museum. In downtown Barre, sculptures made with Vermont stone lead visitors along an art tour of the town.
Day 2: Woodstock and Quechee
Woodstock is known as one of Vermont’s most charming small towns, and it’s easy to see why. Shopping and dining abound in its storied downtown and its architecture lends it a cozy, classic New England vibe.
The area is home to Quechee Gorge, a 165-foot drop visible from above via a walking bridge. Hike down into the gorge and swimming holes and views of this natural wonder. Nearby, Vermont Institute of Natural Sciences (VINS) in Quechee gives visitors the chance to see eagles, falcons, and owls up close. VINS also offers a trail network and its Forest Canopy Walk, an interactive and walkable exhibit for all ages.
Vermont’s past, present and future as an agricultural state is showcased at Billings Farm, where the whole family can meet farm animals and watch demonstrations on sheep shearing, milking and skills like candle-making.
Day 3: The Mad River Valley
Vermont’s Mad River Valley is celebrated for its foodie culture, its access to outdoor recreation and the area’s endless scenery. Find tucked-away shopping and dining in Waitsfield and Warren, like the Mad River Taste Place, for Vermont-made products to add to any plate, including cheeses and cured meats. Nearby Bundy Modern displays contemporary art in a rural and peaceful setting.
During the warmer months, plan on a paddling trip on the Mad River with a guide; Warren’s Sugarbush Resort offers hiking, mountain biking, ziplines, a bungee trampoline and scenic lift rides to experience the landscape from above in the summer. During the winter, ski and ride at the resort.
GET THE MAP
As you navigate your way around this itinerary, use this map to pinpoint destinations and get directions. Where you go from here is up to you!