Posted by: VisitVt | January 25, 2011

Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont!

Have you ever tried cross-country skiing? I went for the first time this winter, and it sure was different than what I expected! Normally, I’m a downhill skier; I love the thrill and excitement of swooshing down a mountain, turning and pivoting and racing the wind on snow. I always looked at Nordic skiers and thought: “What’s so fun about dragging yourself on a flat trail?” With no downhill rush, I thought cross-country skiing would be boring. Boy, was I wrong!

Cross-country skiing provides its own set of challenges, and it is both fun and exhilarating. First, you have to get the hang of the lunging type of motion involved in propelling yourself forward on skis. And you have to balance this with the motion of picking up your heels, since only your toes are strapped into the skis. Then you have to keep up the momentum as you traverse level trails (well, as a beginner, I stuck to the flat ones!).

Strength and stamina are needed to keep up your Nordic groove, and once you get it, it’s a very enjoyable blend of cardio, snow, and beautiful scenery. I really enjoyed the pace of cross-country skiing; how I was able to take deep breaths of winter air and take in the surrounding landscapes of forest and farms.

Vermont truly provides a winter playground! It’s time for you to go out and play in the snow. Here is a list of some Vermont Chamber of Commerce members who feature cross-country skiing in Vermont:


Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center
783 Townshend Road, Grafton, VT 05146

Hildene Nordic Center
1005 Hildene Road, Manchester, VT 05254

Stratton Mountain Sun Bowl Adventure Center
5 Village Lodge Road, Stratton Mountain, VT 05155


Bolton Valley Nordic Center
4302 Bolton Valley Access Road, Bolton, VT 05477

Morse Farm Ski Touring Center
1168 County Road, Montpelier, VT 05602

Mountain Top Inn & Resort Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Center
195 Mountain Top Road, Chittenden, VT 05737

Okemo Valley Nordic Center
77 Okemo Ridge Road, Ludlow, VT 05149

Rikert Ski Touring Center at Middlebury College
12 miles east of Middlebury on Route 125, Middlebury, VT 05753

Three Stallion Inn
665 Stock Farm Road, Randolph, VT 05060

Woodstock Inn & Resort Nordic Center
14 The Green, Woodstock, VT 05091


Catamount Outdoor Family Center
592 Governor Chittenden Road, Williston, VT 05459

Craftsbury Outdoor Center
535 Lost Nation Road, Craftsbury Common, VT 05827

Highland Lodge Ski Touring Center
1608 Craftsbury Road, Greensboro, VT 05841

Jay Peak Resort Nordic Center
4850 VT Rte. 242, Jay, VT 05859

Sleepy Hollow Inn, Ski & Bike Center
1805 Sherman Hollow Road, Huntington, VT 05462

Smugglers’ Notch Nordic Ski & Snowshoe Adventure Center
4323 VT Rte. 108 South, Smugglers’ Notch, VT 05464

Stowe Mountain Resort Cross Country Ski Center
5781 Mountain Road, Stowe, VT 05672

Trapp Family Lodge Nordic Center
700 Trapp Hill Road, Stowe, VT 05672

Happy Trails! The Author Cross-Country Skiing with Her Son at Morse Farm, VT

Posted by: VisitVt | December 3, 2010

2010/2011 Top Ten Vermont Winter Events!

Events listed chronologically:

Vermont Holiday Festival, Killington, December 9 – 12, 2010


Enter into a world of magical holiday fun! Take in the smell of fresh balsam and create special memories with family and friends. Events include the Festival of Trees, with over 100 themed trees decorated by local businesses on display for viewing, horsedrawn sleigh rides, and Santa’s Workshop, a satellite workshop of the North Pole, where children can help Santa build toys. Fees vary by event., 800-337-1928.

Woodstock Wassail Weekend 222wassail6x.jpg
Woodstock, December 10 – 12, 2010, events from 10 am – 7:30 pm each day, horse parade at 2 pm on December 11, 2010
Wassail Weekend in Woodstock celebrates the twinkling holidays in the quintessential New England Village. A festive holid ay weekend with a spectacular horse parade and caroling around the village green, holiday house tour, musical events, yule log, luminarias at twilight on the green, Santa’s visit to the winter wonderland. Shop, dine, stay – find gifts for everyone in our unique shops or relax in a cozy inn and dine on fine cuisine. Experience the magic of the holidays in Woodstock, Vermont! Many events are free., 888-496-6378.


Stowe Winter Carnival
Stowe, January 17 – 29, 2011, hours vary for events
Stowe Winter Carnival is a fun-filled, zany winter festival of entertaining events, such as snowvolleyball, snowgolf, ski races,       kids carnival, ice carving, a village night family block party and live music throughout the last two weeks of January. What     better way to celebrate winter, than to come to picturesque Stowe during the 37th Stowe Winter Carnival! At the Stowe Winter Carnival, there is a winter event for everyone to enjoy! Free for all spectators., 802-253-7321.

2011 TD Bank Craftsbury Marathon
Craftsbury Common, January 29, 2011, 9 am – 3 pm
The TD Bank Craftsbury Marathon is the premier cross-country ski event of the East: a twenty-five kilometer loop course classic technique event traversing Vermont’s spectacular Northeast Kingdom. The marathon features 25 and 50-kilometer races., 802-586-7767.

Sleigh Ride Week at Billings Farm & Museum 222image_261.jpg
Woodstock, February 19 to 27, 2011, 10 am – 3:30 pm
Climb aboard the Billings Farm sleigh for a ride through the frosty farm fields and take a turn with a jack jumper sled. On the weekends, in commemoration of Presidents Day, sample favorite cookies of the Presidents. On Monday, Feb. 20th at 3 pm, Billings Farm will host the Vermont Humanities Council program “John Quincy Adams: Spirit Unconquerable.” (Free admission to program, reservations recommended.) Sleigh rides: $12 adults, $11 seniors, $6 children 5-15, $3 children 3 & 4., 802-457-2355.

Vermont Flower Show
Essex Junction, March 4 – 6, 2011, Fri. 10 am – 8 pm, Sat. 10 am – 6 pm, Sun. 10 am – 4 pm
Vermont’s premier flower show offers three days of Spring the first weekend in March. Visitors see a grand central display filled with flowering plants, bulbs, water features and stonework. The 2011 theme is “Sweet Dreams” with a focus on relaxing the mind, body, and spirit as well as stirring up wistful memories, and engaging the fantasies of one’s dream. The show includes three days of seminars and educational workshops, and a professional floral competition and amateur floral competition through the Federated Garden Clubs of Vermont. “Cooking from the Garden” demonstrations will be held all three days. Kids will find a special room all their own devoted to hands-on activities and entertaining scheduled performers. Vermont Certified Horticulturists are on hand all three days to answer any gardening or landscaping questions. Adults $15, seniors (60+) $12, students (13-17) $6, kids (3-12) $3., 888-518-6484.

222TopTenMiddleurysm.jpg9th Annual Mardi Gras

Jay, March 7 – 13, 2011
Come celebrate our 9th Annual Mardi Gras Week! A week filled with authentic New Orleans food, music, events for kids and adults, ice skating at the new rink, and great spring skiing and riding. New Orleans chef Marc Uddo will be back in town, and beads will be flying. Laissez les bons temps rouler!, 800-451-4449.

Middlebury Winter Carnival & Chili Contest
Middlebury, March 12, 2011, 2 – 4 pm
The Better Middlebury Partnership presents the 3rd Annual Middlebury Winter Carnival & Chili Contest. Last year, 43   vendors served 76 different kinds of chili – and this year we expect that number to grow! Amateurs and professionals are encouraged to enter – the public votes! Join us on downtown Middlebury’s beautiful Main Street for chili, live music, dog sled demonstrations and more. This quintessential Vermont festival is fun for the whole family! Free admission, unlimited chili samples: $1 kids, $2 adults., 802-388-4126.

U.S. Open Snowboarding Championships
Stratton Mountain, March 14 – 20, 2011
The U.S. Open is the longest running snowboard event on the planet, attracting the world’s best athletes and Vermont’s finest riders. The event’s open format allows qualifiers the chance to compete against Shaun White, Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark on the same 22-foot pipe. Free admission.,, 800-STRATTON.

Green Mountain Film Festival 222GMFF.jpg
Montpelier, March 18 – 27, 2011
One of the best film festivals in the region, the growing popularity of the Green Mountain Film Festival derives from the quality of the programming, the caliber of the guests, and the loyalty of an audience that knows it will be educated, entertained and informed. Feature films, documentaries and short films from around the world are presented in a relaxed and informal atmosphere at numerous venues throughout this vibrant Vermont community. Basic admission $8.50, discounts available, some events are free., 802-262-3423.


Each year, a panel of independent judges chooses Vermont’s best activities, selected for their diversity and wide appeal. This year’s winners display a wide-range of family-friendly activities and represent many different parts of the state.

In order to qualify as a Vermont Chamber of Commerce Top Ten Event, events must appeal to out-of-state visitors as well as Vermonters; appeal to a diverse audience, including children and families; and due to the additional attention a Top Ten garners, the event must be able to accommodate an influx of visitors up to twice the normal count.

Posted by: VisitVt | August 3, 2010

Vermont Specialty Foods – Yum!

I never realize how good the food in Vermont really is – until I travel outside the Green Mountain State. Nowhere else can I find theMade in Vermont warm, crusty bread of Klinger’s Bakery, the smooth, creamy Bonne Bouche of Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, or the crisp, sweet taste of Woodchuck Hard Cider. Or can I?  

An ever-growing array of Vermont specialty food products are popping up all over the country! You can find them in supermarkets, natural food markets, coops, and even some specialty shops and cafes. I just discoverd a place in Atlanta, Georgia, called Vermont Mustard, a cafe and catering company. Not only do they cook with Vermont food brought in especially for their menu, but they have a little shop that sells yummy preserves, maple syrup, cheese, and other Vermont products! Very neat.

If you arHomemade Jame not familiar with our delicious foods, I suggest you visit these websites and order some samples today. We have everything from artisan coffee, wine, beer, cheeses, breads, jams, chocolates, and cookies! If you are familiar with our specialty food products, what are you waiting for? Enjoy the taste of Vermont from wherever you are – your tastebuds will thank you. – “World’s Best Cheddar!” – 30 varieties of all natural cookies, including gluten-free. – “What Vermont Tastes Like!” – Coffee sampler packages available. – Vermont made wines and vineyard with 200 stunning hillside acres in West Halifax. – Artisan breads such as Sourdough, VT Maple Oat Walnut, and Black Pepper Parmesan, and cakes, cookies and treats. – Farmhouse cheddar, maple syrup, hams, and more! – Jams, drizzles, and fruit butters cooked in small batches and hand-stirred using the finest natural uingredients and generations-old recipes. – Confections made from family recipes passed down through four generations. – Organic, fair trade specialty coffees and estate teas roasted and packed on demand. – Fresh Ravioli, Pastas and Sauces for the chef at home! – The finest jams, jellies, conserves and chutneys since 1983. – A smooth, unique hard cider that is true to Vermont roots.

Posted by: VisitVt | July 16, 2010

Vermont Top Ten Events for Summer!

Vermont may be a small state, but we hold big, fun events!

Each year, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce hosts the Top Ten Events contest for Summer, Fall and Winter. A panel of independent judges pick the winners. Now it is up to you to join the fun!

Here are some Top Ten Events that are happenning RIGHT NOW in Vermont:

Vermont Summer Festival Horse ShowEast Dorset, July 7 to August 15, Wednesdays to Sundays, 8 am – 4 pm.

The Vermont Summer Festival is a six-week-long show jumping event featuring five rings of equestrian jumping action. The largest event of its type in New England, it’s a chance to see world-ranked horse and rider combos as well as kids on ponies, competing for blue ribbons and over $750,000 in prize money. All the action takes place on show grounds complete with food vendors, shopping and a bar. Wed.- Sat. $5, Sun. $7., or call 802-362-7548.





SolarFest: the New England Renewable Energy Festival

Tinmouth, July 16 to 18, Fri. 12 – 10 pm, Sat. 9 am – 11 pm, Sun. 9 am to 7 pm.
SolarFest’s 16th annual festival is a renewable energy-powered celebration of the performing arts, sustainable living, and community. The weekend is packed with education and entertainment. Six tents house over 100 workshops on renewable energy and sustainable living topics, plus world-class performers on two solar-powered stages, Theater-in-the-Woods, over 100 exhibitors inside and out, crafts, clothing, food, children’s activities, bonfire art and much more.  See website for more information. or 802-235-1513.    


Vermont Mozart Festival
July 18 to August 8, see website for individual event details and locations.
Entering its 37th summer season, the Vermont Mozart Festival continues to enrich people’s lives with beautiful music in special Vermont places. The festival brings more than 90 artists from around the world to perform classical masterpieces at 19 concerts in a variety of scenic and historic venues. The 2010 season will celebrate the works of Chopin and his concertos and solos for the piano. or 802-862-7352.



More events run through Labor Day. To see the rest of the Top Ten Summer Events, please visit

Happy Summer!

Posted by: VisitVt | June 22, 2010

Road Trip to Vermont!

Now that the weather is nice, it’s time for a road trip! Tune up your cars, grab your map, and head to the Green Mountains of Vermont for some amazing scenic travel.

What, did she say map? That’s right. Here in Vermont, some of our roads that meander through rolling green fields and up and over mountains, are not GPS compatible. That, and we’re kind of in touch with a simpler lifestyle, and we just don’t much care for GPS. We like maps, the kind you can hold in your hands, look over the whole state, and see the big picture of where each road will take you. Some may say it’s old-fashioned, but doesn’t everyone need a little old-fashioned road trip adventure in their lifetimes?

Pick up an Official Vermont Road Map & Guide to Vermont Attractions at any Vermont Welcome & Information Center. Or, call 802-229-4581 to have a free map mailed to you in time to take your road trip.

Planning your road trip to Vermont, you’ll want to hit the byways, a unique collection of roads recognized for their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational or scenic qualities. Vermont has six nationally recognized byways:

  • The Connecticut River Byway, 498 miles stretching from the Southern borders of VT and NH to the Canadian border.
  • The Molly Stark Byway, 48 miles traversing the state along Route 9 from Bennington to Brattleboro.
  • The Stone Valley Byway, 30 miles along Route 30 from Manchester to Poultney,
  • The Mad River Byway, 36.5 miles with views of the Mad River through Middlesex, Waitsfield and Warren.
  • The Green Mountain Byway, 13.6 miles along Route 100 in Waterbury and Stowe.
  • The Lake Champlain Byway, 81 miles starting in Middlebury and ending at the Canadian border, including Vermont’s Grand Isles.

Whether by car, bike, motorcycle, or horsedrawn wagon, Vermont’s roads and byways are a splendid way to travel!

For more information and to download a map of Vermont’ byways, visit

Samantha Kolber,, 802-223-3443.

Posted by: VisitVt | May 24, 2010

Vermont Goes to Pow Wow

I just got back from the US Travel Association’s International Pow Wow, a four-day show that unites international tour buyers with US destinations. I was representing Vermont Chamber members; our group was comprised of several representatives from the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, Killington, Jay Peak, and Stowe Mountain Resort. Pow Wow’s website says that the show is the largest generator of Visit USA travel – and I believe it! In just three days of intensive pre-scheduled business appointments, more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations from every region of the USA, and close to 1,500 International and Domestic Buyers from more than 70 countries, conduct business negotiations that result in the generation of over $3.5 billion in future Visit USA travel.

Vermont is a meaningful part of Pow Wow. I really enjoyed having productive contact with people from all over the world, talking about visiting our members, and pointing them to resources within the Vermont Vacation Guide, Vermont’s official visitor fulfillment publication. Here are some impressions from my time at Pow Wow:

1) International travelers, particularly Europeans, have experienced the high-profile US destinations (such as Las Vegas, LA, Disney, NYC, western ski resorts) and are asking, “What’s next?”. Vermont is well positioned to host these visitors because our major drive markets of New York and Boston are also European fly/drive gateways. Within 2-4 hours, a visitor can leave the city and experience rural and pristine Vermont. Many of these travelers originate from urban areas so Vermont truly is uncharted territory.

2) Adventure travel is of great interest, and tour operators relate adventures to Vermont. Resorts such as Bromley, Stowe, and Smugglers’ Notch are well positioned to embrace this market with their fun parks, alpine slides, ropes courses, and canopy tours. Smaller lodging properties can take advantage of this interest too, by partnering with outdoor guides to create a package. Strangely enough, culinary tourism is a distant second in terms of the international market – of course, everyone likes fresh food (and maple syrup is still a big draw), but it can be a little challenging trying to sell a cheese and wine itinerary to the French! Also, interestingly, there is not a lot of buzz about ecotourism. It appears that marketing these concepts domestically is a better target for culinary tourism and “green” travel efforts. Overall the iconic New England images of fall foliage, white steeple churches, covered bridges and country back roads still resonate with international travelers and entice them to visit Vermont.

3) You would never know it by watching our stock market, but the global economy appears to be alive and well. The great majority of our appointments were about high-end travel. Despite the economic news out of other countries, there’s plenty of money in Europe and South America. I was surprised at how few requests we got for budget or value-based travel. Every country has its wealthiest demographic, and among those people, they are traveling to the US without much financial consideration.

All in all, it was a great trip. Many thanks to my travel companions and fellow booth denizens – I’ll sell Vermont with you any time!

Posted by: VisitVt | April 26, 2010

Hit the Trail: Spring Hiking in Vermont

The sun shines bright, our days are longer, our mountains are singing with birdsong, buds are opening, and critters are foraging in our forests. Nature lovers and hikers are no doubt ready to hit the trail as well. But, hiking in early spring can damage vulnerable trails that are muddy. What is a boot-wearing trail-hound to do?

The Vermont State Parks have some great options for trail-friendly hiking during mud season: Volunteer Park Clean-Up Days!  Now you can help get our beautiful state parks ready to open and get some tread under your boots.

For giving your time and energy to the parks, all volunteers will receive a punch card or a FREE night of camping!  Help rake leaves, pick up brush and trash, and other outdoor tasks that help get the parks ready for the busy season.  Bring water, lunch, and sturdy shoes.  All other needed supplies, such as work gloves, rakes, trash bags, etc., will be provided. Pick a date and time below:

If you are interested in participating in a Volunteer Day or have questions, please contact Lesley Porter via email,, or phone, 802-417-7630 to sign up.

You can come and go as you please during the cleanup hours. Just let Lesley know you are coming. To receive your free night of camping or punch card, a commitment of at least 4 volunteer hours is requested.

What are you waiting for?  See you on the trail!  For more information please visit

Posted by: VisitVt | April 8, 2010

April Showers Bring May Flowers

I know it’s a cliche, but with the fresh smell of rain and damp earth all around me, what else could I write about?

Spring in Vermont brings a host of things: happy people coming out of their winter doldrums (or sad skiers and riders!), sap and boiling maple syrup, flowers, green buds, birdsong, and mud.

Although it’s hard to enjoy the great outdoors this time of year (most of the hiking trails are closed as usage would ruin them in this delicate, wet, and muddy state), there are many fine attractions in Vermont to entertain, educate, and uplift you.

The Vermont Attractions Association is a wonderful resource of 67 of Vermont’s finest attractions, including events, excursions, museums, farms, science and history centers, crafters, and more!

A free map – The Official Vermont Road Map & Guide to Vermont Attractions – is available for your reference. It is handy to have with you as you explore Vermont. Call 1-802-229-4581 or visit

Happy exploring!

Posted by: VisitVt | March 30, 2010

Natural Toys from Vermont!

Did you know that Vermont is a leading producer and retailer of natural children’s toys? From wooden puzzles, rattles, and trains to non-toxic teddy bears, Vermont has that special toy to entertain and educate your little ones.

Schoolhouse Naturals is one brand of all-natural toys from Maple Landmark Woodcraft, a Vermont family business located in Middlebury, VT. Made with hard maple and no added chemicals other then a little wood glue where needed, with the detailing chemical free, these simple blocks, rattles, and truck and car scoots are a sound choice for babies and toddlers who inevitably put everything in their mouths! Other brands of games and toys for older ages are available as well, and you might already be familiar with their popular Name Trains Wooden Railway System, where each letter of the alphabet is a wood block with magnets and little train wheels. Kids have fun pushing their name train around, and they learn spelling!

Maple Landmark Woodcraft is open for tours at their woodshop at 1297 Exchange Street in Middlebury, just off Route 7 north. Store hours are 9-5 Monday-Friday and Saturday 9-4. But you can find their products in stores all over the country, so be sure to check their website to locate a retailer near you (

If you are visiting Montpelier, Vermont’s capital, be sure to stop in and say hello to my good friends Karen and Brandy at Woodbury Mountain Toys at 24 State Street, Montpelier, VT:   

Woodbury Mountain Toy Store

With floor-to-ceiling toys and games, including classics like hoola hoops, kites, and Scrabble, to modern science kits, Playmobile, and natural wooden puzzles, Woodbury Mountain Toys is a fun and unique store that really has it all. And, if you don’t see what you are looking for, just ask! Brandy and Karen (and any other employee who is on shift) are always happy to help you find the perfect toy. (I will be headed there shortly on a search for a stuffed parrot for my son’s birthday – he is collecting one of every kind of stuffed animal, and Woodbury Mountain Toys has a ginormous stuffed animal collection. They even have a stuffed llama! ) For directions and store hours call 802-223-4272 or click HERE.

Speaking of stuffed animals, what’s soft, cuddly, handmade in Vermont and guaranteed for life? A Vermont Teddy Bear of course!  The Vermont Teddy Bear Company is a leading producer of American-made teddy bears, and you can visit their factory and bear shop, where you can “Make a Friend for Life” at 6655 Shelburne Road in Shelburne, VT. Bears come in all shapes and sizes, have themes for special occasions and holidays, and can be shipped anywhere – don’t worry, their comfy little cardboard bear dens have an air hole! Tour their factory for a fun vacation activity, or shop on-line for that perfect teddy bear at

As you can see, Vermont is for fun, games, and toys. Bring the kids, or let yourself be a kid again, and take home a toy from Vermont. You will add a lot of fun to your Green Mountain memory!

by Samantha Kolber, mother, blogger, and Vermont tourism promoter!

Posted by: VisitVt | March 23, 2010

Vermont Maple Open House Weekend 2010

The Ninth Annual Vermont Maple Open House Weekend will be held at sugarhouses throughout Vermont this weekend, March 26-28, 2010. The Open House Weekend is the public celebration of the maple syrup season in Vermont and an opportunity for the public to visit one or more sugarhouses in production throughout the state. Activities during Open House Weekend will be different at each sugarhouse, but will include the opportunity to watch maple syrup being made (weather permitting) and often sample maple products, maybe even sugar on snow!

Sally (Irish) Elminger, formerly of Williamstown, VT, wrote to us at to tell us about her favorite Vermont tradition, Sugar on Snow parties:

“When I was growing up in Vermont, we would go to different friends’ houses and go out in the woods and help carry the pails from the trees to the horsedrawn sled with a vat on top.  We would all then jump on the sled and ride to the sugarhouse.  After a hard day’s work, we would go back to the farmhouse where we would get our metal pie plates, fill them with fresh snow, pour the hot syrup over it, and then wind the hardened syrup on a fork and pop it into our mouths.  There would also be huge homemade doughnuts, hot apple cider, and probably more I have forgotten.  Of all my Vermont memories, that one is the best.”

The weather in Vermont should be partly sunny and in the 30s this weekend, pretty warm to a Vermonter, who will be out in T-shirts and shorts, but if you are visiting from down south, be prepared to dress in layers, waterproof clothing, and mud boots if you plan on touring a sugar shack and the maple woods.

Kids love exploring and being outdoors, and most also love sweet treats, so this is a great activity for kids of all ages!

Ski and Maple Map To find a sugarhouse open to the public, you can pick up the Vermont Ski & Maple Syrup Guide 2009-2010 at all Vermont welcome centers or request one by calling the Vermont Chamber of Commerce at 802-223-3443.

Please also visit for more information about the event, and for all things maple: to buy maple syrup and maple products, to find maple recipes, to find a sugarhouse near you, and to learn about this wonderful, natural commodity.

Boiling Sap
Boiling Sap at a Family Farm in Cabot, VT

Older Posts »