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What is There to do in Montpelier, Vermont?

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  • Written By: Diana Bocco
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2016
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Vermont's capital city, Montpelier, is also known as half of the "twin cities," of Vermont, the other half being neighboring Barre. Montpelier is one of the smallest state capitals, with the population of only 8,035 in 2006, and the only state capital without a McDonald's and Burger King or an airport. Montpelier is cut through the middle by the Winooski River, which flows all the way to Lake Champlain. Used in the past to transport timber, the river is now popular with locals because of the parks surrounding it.

Despite its small size, Montpelier is noted for its historical buildings and attractions. The Vermont Historical Society Museum sponsors special events and houses a library with documents tracing Vermont's heritage all the way back to the 18th century. Artifacts and memorabilia are also housed in the museum. The T.W. Wood Art Gallery is the only other museum in Montpelier, and it showcases regional artists along with classical works.

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The Vermont State House is open for guided tours and it may be worth a visit just because of its impressive spiral marble staircases. Three historical walking tours are available for visitors to Montpelier in the summer. The State Street Tour, the most popular, covers 14 historical sites, including the Department of Agriculture, the Washington County Courthouse, and the State Capitol. Handcrafted souvenirs and jewelry shops abound in Montpelier, and many offer distinctive gifts native to the region. Lazy Pear Gallery, for example, offers "humorous art" that appeal to both children and adults.

For those wishing to head outdoors when visiting Montpelier, there are a lot of possibilities in the area. Canoeing is especially popular, and several outfits located on the Winooski River rent canoes and kayaks to visitors. The Dog River Recreation Field and the Gateway Park offer chances for trail hiking and organized sports, including soccer and softball. The best hiking trails in Montpelier, however, can be found at the North Branch Nature Center. Outings and guided walks are organized through the year, and visitors can join a group anytime, without a reservation.

In winter, Montpelier is popular with visitors because of its snowmobiling and snowshoeing trails, which cut through the city and extend to the neighboring hills. The Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) offers self-guiding maps that can be accessed online or picked up at the visitor center in Montpelier. The same hills become a rider's paradise in autumn, where trails are used for mountain biking and hikers.

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Mykol
Post 4

I have visited the city of Montpelier two different times. I was there once in the fall for a big craft show. This was my very first visit to the state of Vermont and I really enjoyed the breathtaking scenery.

The second time we visited we took our kids snowmobiling. It was a very cold day, but the trails were a lot of fun and even though it never got very warm, going through the hills in the snow was exhilarating.

We don't like to visit places that are extremely crowded, and this was the perfect place for us. All the local people we met were also very friendly and helpful.

golf07
Post 3

Visiting Vermont in the fall is truly a spectacular site with all the leaves changing colors and the clear, crisp air. They also have the best maple syrup and the few times I have visited Vermont, I always come home with a big jug of it.

Once when we were visiting Montpelier we went to their capitol building which is a very interesting, historical place. They give free tours and I learned a lot about the area just from that one stop.

starrynight
Post 2

@sunnyskys - I've never had maple sugar candy but it sounds yummy. I think I'm convinced to visit New England now!

But seriously, I do have a friend who actually lives in Montpelier. She moved there about a year ago and I haven't had a chance to visit her yet. I'm sure she knows all about her new city, but now that I've read this article I'm glad I'll have some suggestions for when I do visit. I'm very interested in the Lazy Pear Gallery!

sunnySkys
Post 1

Montpelier sounds like a place I would really enjoy visiting! I've been to Vermont before but I didn't get a chance to visit the capital city.

If you're going anywhere in New England I would suggest visiting in the fall. It was autumn last time I went and the drive up there was just beautiful. All the leaves were turning colors and the air smelled so crisp!

Also, New England seems to have a lot of orchards, wineries and farms you can stop at on the drive. I stopped at a winery on my way up last time and I purchased some delicious apple wine and maple sugar candy.

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