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Fall in Vermont – The Most Scenic Road Trip Itinerary

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Vermont is one of the most scenic states in the country, and fall is the perfect time to visit. The leaves start changing color in early October, and the peak season is usually around Columbus Day weekend. 

If you’re planning a trip to Vermont this fall, you’re in for a treat. There are so many beautiful places to see and things to do. To help you plan your trip, I’ve put together the perfect road trip itinerary. This itinerary includes the best places to visit, where to stay, and what to do in each location.

Fall in Vermont - The Most Scenic Road Trip Itinerary

The best time to visit Vermont

Mother Nature transforms Vermont beyond recognition in the fall.  This has to be one of the best autumn landscapes I’ve ever seen. Without a doubt, the best time to visit Vermont is during the fall season! The colors of fall in Vermont are breathtaking.

As the weather cools, Green Mountain State puts on a spectacular display of color. Vermont’s fall foliage is considered one of the most phenomenal in the world. Capture the best autumn views by driving along country roads driving down Route 100. Don’t miss the Vermont Country Store along the way.

The state’s abundance and diversity of maples, oaks, and birches ensure a rich palette of yellow, brown, and bronze tones. These are just a few words to describe fall in Vermont. The visual effects are unforgettable.

The route: where to go and what to see 

The picturesque route through downtown Vermont is nearly 400 miles long. You can see the fall in Vermont in one day by taking this route and stopping at some of the places I recommend. However, it is preferable to take a weekend road trip and see everything at your leisure.

Route 12 south from Montpelier to Woodstock is my suggested route. After that, take Route 100 north, then Route 100B back to Montpelier. While this road trip may be full of surprises, one thing is certain: you will see the beautiful fall foliage in Vermont along the way. Let’s get started!

Forests cover 78% of the land, and their density is comparable to that of the Cantal. Vermont is, as you can see, very rural! So, what are you going to do there? I recently read that there are at least two good months to visit Vermont: September and October. It is a dream location for leaf peeping, or observing the sumptuous fall foliage. Let’s travel 1,800 kilometers in a week to find this gem.

The rolling hills and mountains are the perfect backdrop for a road trip

The picturesque route through downtown Vermont is nearly 400 miles long. You can see the fall in Vermont in one day by taking this route and stopping at some of the places I recommend. However, it is preferable to take a weekend road trip and see everything at your leisure.

Route 12 south from Montpelier to Woodstock is my suggested route. After that, take Route 100 north, then Route 100B back to Montpelier. While this road trip may be full of surprises, one thing is certain: you will see the beautiful fall foliage in Vermont along the way. Let’s get started!

My scenic journey begins in Montpelier, on the northern edge of central Vermont. The smallest state capital in the United States, Montpelier is 293 miles from Boston and 158 miles from Hartford. To get to the starting point, you can drive on Interstate 89.

Leaving Montpelier behind, I take Highway 12 and head south to Northfield Falls.

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Northfield Falls

Vermont has a lot of covered bridges. However, at Northfield Falls, the two can be seen simultaneously, with visitors wandering across the first to see the second. This image is unique to New England, so you should photograph it!

Continue on Route 12 in the direction of Bethel.

Betel

Betel is an integral part of the landscape. This town is also home to the White River National Fish Hatchery, which focuses on the restoration of Atlantic salmon in the Connecticut River. After leaving Bethel, continue on the road south to Woodstock.

Woodstock

Woodstock is a classic Vermont town where you should spend some time walking around and trying the local restaurants. I recommend seeing the Quechee Gorge and the Billings Farm and Museum.

Quechee Gorge is like a small version of the Grand Canyon, only in Vermont. While not as awesome as Arizona’s, there are reportedly plenty of hiking trails. So don’t miss this opportunity to take in the scenery and stretch your legs a bit on this trip. And while you’re at it, take a stroll through the picnic area overlooking the waterfalls.

Founded in 1871, Billings is now a working farm. Its museum paints a picture of farm life in the late 1800s. Depending on when you visit the museum, you can participate in some seasonal activities in addition to admiring the fall leaves in Vermont. So check the calendar of events when planning your road trip and you may find something interesting. Don’t forget that they have interesting daily activities as well.

After seeing everything in this area, continue on Route 4 for about 32 miles to Killington.

Killington

Killington is a well-known ski area with six trails. Climb Killington Peak (1,010 meters) to see the spectacular views and the Vermont fall foliage that has spread throughout the area. If you don’t want to climb, you can take the K-1 gondola to the top.

In Killington, you’ve arrived at the halfway point for viewing Vermont’s fall foliage. If you want to spend the night in this area, I recommend staying in Rutland. However, because this area is popular with tourists looking to see the fall colors, make sure to book your accommodations in advance.

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Beyond the Green Mountain Forest

After waking up and having a hearty breakfast, hop back in the car and follow Route 100 along the border of the Green Mountain National Forest. It will take you through Pittsfield, Hancock, and Granville. And, honestly, it’s the best part of this trip to see fall in Vermont.

From near Hancock and close to Route 100, you can take Route 125 to Texas Falls. The easy hike to the falls is beautiful year round, but even more so this season. It’s an incredible place to photograph the fall leaves in Vermont.

After Hancock, when you get north of Granvill, you can stop to see Moss Glen Falls. You’ll be driving 11 miles through the wilderness, so go for a walk and enjoy the scenery.

At the End of the Fall Road in Vermont

On the final leg of this road trip, leave Route 100 and follow Route 100B past the village of Moretown. You’ll head north to Middlesex, and as soon as you get on Highway 89, you’ll be on your way to Montpelier. Don’t be sad. The last leg of this scenic drive offers more photo opportunities to capture the fall leaves in Vermont!

This scenic drive to view the Vermont fall leaves offers many opportunities for detours. My advice is to not rush and to walk on the back roads that shun the busy highways. You’ll have a greater appreciation for fall in Vermont, and you’ll also discover why the residents wouldn’t move anywhere else in the world!

What to pack for your trip 

Nothing beats a road trip by car for getting where you want, when you want, and especially at your own pace. Traveling by car allows you to stop whenever you want for a quick picnic by the sea, or to continue driving to arrive earlier than planned. However, a long journey necessitates spending time—a lot of time—on the road.

A long road trip can be exhausting, and if you realize you forgot your charger at home, it will be too late to turn around. So, if you really want to enjoy your trip and vacation, make sure you’ve thought of everything. So here’s our packing list for everything you’ll need.

There are numerous travel lists available on the internet. These lists of items, which are frequently thematic, specialize in a specific type of travel, such as southern sun, camping, hiking, or family travel. None of them were completely satisfactory to me.

So I made my own list, dividing it into four logical subcategories:

It sounds silly, but it’s something that’s all too often overlooked: make sure your car is ready for a big trip, with all the surprises and mishaps that can happen at any time. Make sure you take along a spare tire, a spare tire or a temporary air kit to help you out in case of a flat tire. 

Believe me, there’s nothing like a flat tire to ruin a vacation: it’s best to have something to change a tire with you. Having the equipment is good, but knowing how to change a wheel is better! If you need a little practice, you know what you have to do before you leave?

Even though breakdowns and flat tires happen very rarely (and I hope they don’t happen to you), these moments of panic can still happen. Therefore, it is important to be well prepared with an emergency kit, which I recommend you bring :

  • A flashlight is always useful if you need to change a tire or simply ask for assistance, and a flashlight is always useful if you need to change a tire or simply ask for assistance. 
  • Safety triangle: if you get stuck on the side of the road, remember to put the reflective triangle well behind your car to avoid collisions and over-accidents. 
  • A first aid kit: bandages, antiseptics, and painkillers: it is better to have them with you, just in case. 
  • A jump lead is very useful if you ever need to restart your battery. 
  • A mini fire extinguisher: for those who need to be reassured. 

Before leaving, remember to check that your tires are properly inflated, that your insurance is up to date, and remember to bring your license!

Read also: Best places to visit in the fall – USA

Toilet bag

  • If you are going to be on the road for a long time, it is better to have a kit of toiletries at hand, in which you can put :
  • Hand sanitizer (especially useful when gas station restrooms lack soap or are not always very clean…)
  • Wipes 
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Chewing gum
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste

Cables, chargers, and everything technical

Maps and guidebooks are great, but it’s time to live with the times. I know you’re planning to take them with you, but make sure you haven’t forgotten:

If you use your cell phone as a GPS, be careful when you cross areas where the network and connection are very weak. A backup GPS can always help. 

Off-line GPS: very useful if you are abroad without a network or local SIM card. Downloading an off-line GPS app will be very useful. You just have to download the maps of the cities, which will be displayed even without connection or network. You won’t be able to make a real-time route, but it can really help you to find your way if needed. 

A USB charger, with the cigarette lighter adapter if needed, is a must if you don’t want to run out of battery. 

A removable battery: a second battery can always be useful if you don’t have an outlet nearby.

Fall in Vermont: the perfect getaway

Here are some ideas for a getaway to Vermont. So take a trip to Stowe, a charming little bicentennial village founded in 1794 by the Luce family. The Recreation Path, an 8-kilometer path that allows you to enjoy the beauty of Vermont, is particularly noteworthy. 

Don’t hesitate to visit the Shelburne farms, which are very educational, especially if you have children. You can visit the museum but also do different activities such as kayaking, playing tennis or visiting the gardens.

The View from Mount Mansfield 

If you want to get some height, go climb Mount Mansfield. At 1,339 meters, it’s the highest point in the entire state of Vermont. It’s also the most visited mountain; more than 40,000 hikers come to hike the trails each year.

Sweet tooth 

For those with a sweet tooth or who may have a shortage of maple syrup, a trip to the Bragg family farm may be a good idea. The Braggs have been making maple syrup for eight generations, and you’ll find some great products there.

Lake Champlain

Of course, a must-see is Lake Champlain. It’s the perfect place for a sailing trip or simply to contemplate its beauty from the shore.

And once you’re done with your Vermont getaway, if you’re looking for one in Quebec, here’s one to do in Val David.

So, will you be going to Vermont this summer?

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Vermont’s hidden gems

Vermont, a land of green hills, quiet hamlets, and peace-loving Americans, offers visitors more than just placid Holstein cows to gaze upon and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to taste. It also hides treasures and precious gems.

There is a museum unlike any other in the United States in Shelburne, a small town about 10 miles south of Burlington: the essence of American folk art concentrated in a unique place thanks to the unique vision of a woman who died over 40 years ago.

Electra Havemeyer Webb was born into a prosperous family and married well. She was an avid collector who accumulated objects in her various homes (New York, Long Island, the Adirondacks, and Shelburne). She had developed an interest in folk art. an art form she considered pure and authentic, bringing out the beauty in everyday objects.

Following her husband’s retirement in 1947, she embarked on a major project to establish the “collection of collections.” She established what is now the Shelburne Museum on a large plot of land she acquired in Shelburne.

There are so many things to do in Vermont during the fall season

There are no fewer than 37 buildings and permanent exhibits with some 150,000 objects. The list of what the museum has to offer is impressive: a reconstructed general store; a large paddlewheel boat from Lake Champlain, weighing nearly 900 tons, moved to the site; an exhibition of quilts; a period school; superb weathervanes; a gigantic collection of circus miniatures; a covered bridge; dozens of horse-drawn carriages; in short, lovers of popular art as well as neophytes in the field will be satisfied.

The museum should be visited over the course of a full day. If that isn’t enough, tickets are good for two days.

The museum is two hours from Montreal, and with our loonie on the rise, the United States is finally becoming more affordable.

Read also: Best places to visit in the fall – USA

The Inn at Shelburne Farms

There was a time when Lake Champlain attracted the wealthy vacationers of the northeastern United States. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, New York society gathered there to escape the heat wave on the windy shores of this great body of water. Shelburne did not escape in this fashion.

After receiving an inheritance ($10 million in 1881, a fortune at the time), one of the daughters of the wealthy Vanderbilt family conceived the idea of building a home in Shelburne. Her husband, a physician, also wanted to establish a model farm. Several hundred acres of land were acquired for this purpose.

The landscaping of the grounds was entrusted to the architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who was responsible for Central Park in New York and Mount Royal Park in Montreal.

All of the magnificent buildings and landscaping of the time still exist today. They have been meticulously renovated and preserved. The memory of Lila Vanderbilt Webb and Dr. William Seward lives on. They were the parents of Electra Havemeyer Webb’s husband, for whom the Shelburne Museum is named.

Transformed into a hotel

Their home has been transformed into a beautiful hotel (The Inn at Shelburne Farms), and the farm has become an educational center for children, where they still produce excellent raw milk cheddar.

The big house was abandoned for a long time: from 1936, when Lila Vanderbilt, who outlived her husband by 10 years, died, until the late 1980s. The couple’s children almost dismembered the farm completely. In extremis, they decided to create a non-profit organization with an educational mission.

The house would be transformed into a hotel, the profits of which would be used to finance the farm. Millions were spent on a major renovation project, and the Inn opened in the early 1990s.

The result is striking. It is a large stone and red-brick Queen Anne style building with 13 chimneys. It is located on a large point that juts out into Lake Champlain. An elegant period garden, also reconstructed, embellishes the front part of the property.

Extraordinary efforts have been made to preserve the authenticity of the interior and exterior of the house. Each of the 24 rooms is furnished in a particular style.

The furniture, which has been preserved, is of the period, and the decor is entirely reconstituted. For example, the room that is called “pink” because it has ceramics of this color, has the original bed and bookcase, which gives a singular atmosphere.

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Lodging and food

An interesting possibility for lodging: the Heart of tche Village bed and breakfast , located, as its name indicates, in the heart of the village of Shelburne. It offers a period atmosphere with modern comforts, at prices a little lower than the Inn.

But a stay in Shelburne can also be very affordable. Near the museum and farm, on Route 7, there are several reasonably priced hotels, such as the Econo Lodge and Holiday Inn.

For fine dining, there are several options for visitors. Two restaurants in the Shelburne area stand out for their fresh ingredients and local production.

At Starry Night Café on Route 7, the goat cheese ravioli with fresh tomatoes was truly exquisite. The lamb was also worth a visit the night we were there. Further down the road in Burlington, Smokejack on Church Street is another good place to go, albeit in a much more urban setting, with good local ingredients.

Conclusion

Finally, in Vermont, there are a lot of places to discover, and it is easy to understand why this part of the United States welcomes no less than 13 million tourists every year!

If you’re looking for a breathtaking fall road trip, look no further than Vermont. From the capital city of Montpelier to the small town of Stowe, this route takes you through some of the most scenic countrysides in the Northeast. Soak in the colorful leaves, enjoy a pumpkin spice latte, and take in the fresh air – this is fall at its finest. Be sure to comment and share this itinerary with your friends.


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Fall in Vermont - The Most Scenic Road Trip Itinerary

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