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Take In Vermont History This Fall

The stories of Vermont’s history date back to our state’s earliest days, from settlement to Vermonters’ roles in the fight for civil rights and women’s suffrage to today. Vermont’s state historic sites are excellent ways to take in those stories; visitors can learn about the Civil War, explore beautiful historic buildings and get to know the Vermonters who helped build the Green Mountain State. Some, as well as other museums and historic spots, remain open through October and offer the opportunity to learn Vermont’s history before the backdrop of stunning foliage. Vermont State Historic Sites Section Chief Tracy Martin offers a few ways to enjoy Vermont’s fall foliage through a historic lens.

Justin Morrill Historic Site in Fall

What are some of the best ways for visitors and Vermonters to explore Vermont history in the fall?
TM: Hiking the interpretive trails at Mount Independence or the Hubbardton Battlefield is a terrific way to enjoy the outdoors this season while learning fascinating Revolutionary War-era history. Mount Independence affords spectacular views of Lake Champlain, while the rolling hills and mountains around. Hubbardton offer glorious views of fall foliage in all directions. 

What historic sites remain open, and when do they close?
TM: The Chimney Point, Mount Independence, Hubbardton Battlefield, and Sen. Justin Morrill State Historic Sites are open through October 11. The President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site is open through October 18, and the ground level of the Bennington Battle Monument is open through October 31. 

What museums or other non-state-owned historic sites do you recommend folks visit during the fall to learn more about Vermont history?
TM: The list below is far from comprehensive, but it includes museums currently open. Even so, visitors should be encouraged to call ahead as some facilities require appointments, or may have other COVID-related changes to their operations. 
Some of the many places where folks can learn more about Vermont History include:
Vermont Historical Society, Montpelier
Bennington Museum, Bennington
Billings Farm & Museum, Woodstock
Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home, Manchester
Rokeby, Ferrisburgh
Shelburne Museum, Shelburne
American Precision Museum, Windsor
Old Stone House Museum, Brownington

How can people combine history exploration with fall foliage viewing? 
TM: Many communities have developed self-guided walking and driving tours that feature historic events and sites. Visitors can reach out to the local historical society in the town where they are staying for information on such tours. The Vermont Historical Society maintains a comprehensive list of local historical societies and museums around the state

What’s one fact about Vermont history that may surprise people?
TM: Vermont was an independent republic for 14 years before joining the original colonies in 1791 as the 14th state.