If you're an outsider, you probably associate Bernie Sanders, Phish, Ben & Jerry's, maple syrup, and great skiing with Vermont. That's cool. You might have even heard that we have one tiny town that has produced 11 winter Olympians -- a little bit of an anomaly, sure, but we are full of anomalies. For one, we just got a Target. Our first, and probably our last, because most major chain stores like Williams Sonoma and Pottery Barn fail here. Vermonters would rather shop local and support the little guys.
That's a major part of what makes a trip to the Green Mountain State so spectacularly unique: Surrounded by vast forests of the Northeastern wilderness, nearly everything here is something you can only experience in Vermont. It's perhaps the most singular state in the union.
Vermont is precisely as you'd picture it, a real-life Norman Rockwell painting with plenty of quintessential New England towns dotting the map. And amid the red barns, lush green mountains, farmer's markets, and ski resorts, a community of doers resides here. We are innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, restaurateurs, brew makers, farmers, and stewards of the land. But what really differentiates Vermont from other states is that we are a community that genuinely wants to help each other out. You see it among neighbors, amid business sectors, and even sometimes across party lines. "Locals for Locals" could be Vermont's tagline. And when you visit, you feel like one of us.
When planning a trip to the state, Burlington is generally your destination. The Queen City is Vermont's largest and most populous metro area. At 43,000 residents, it would be considered a small town in many states, but by Vermont metrics, it's a metropolis. It's also a buzzing cultural hub, a destination for beer and food lovers far and wide and a basecamp for outdoor enthusiasts: a place where you can set down stakes and choose your own Vermont adventure, even if said adventure involves eating and drinking while strolling the shores of Lake Champlain, the massive waterway that lends a dreamy quality to Burlington's already entrancing aesthetic.
This laid back college town, home to both the University of Vermont and Champlain College which are both located in Burlington, has plenty of brewpubs, cozy coffee houses, and local businesses which attract visitors from all over the world. It never ceases to amaze me how often small, somewhat isolated Burlington lands the "the best places to…" lists. But it's true. In fact, the State of Vermont thinks you will love it here so much they are willing to pay you $10,000 to relocate to the 14th state. A quick trip to the city makes that all the more enticing. Here's what to know before you go.