Central Vermont Lifestyle

8 Fun Winter Activities to do in VT That Aren't Skiing

Vermont is certainly known as a skier and rider’s paradise during the winter months, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t more to enjoy in Vermont from November to March! Below you will find 8 fun things to try in Vermont this winter — that don’t have anything to do with skiing or snowboarding. 

Sledding

Two Teen Girls SleddingSledding isn’t just for kids these days! There are several sled makers in Vermont that make adult size steerable sleds. Check out Granville Gulf, between Warren and Granville. Locals recommend exploring this winding stretch of Route 100 just south of Warren. Helmets are advised. Lincoln Gap in Warren is also a popular spot. Lincoln Gap is recommended for experienced sledders. After a 30 minute hike to the top, prepare for an exhilarating 2 mile ride back down! Again, helmets are advised. There are also plenty of public sledding hills that more suitable for younger children. 

Snowmobiling

The state of Vermont is home to over 4,700 miles of snowmobile trails. All of which have been maintained and groomed by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers for nearly 50 years. Most VAST trails run on private land, and are only open during the winter, giving you a truly unique perspective of Vermont. Don’t own your own snowmobile? Head to Stowe and take a tour. Snowmobile Vermont offers a two hour, 25-mile backcountry tour through Mount Mansfield State Forest. They also provide boots and helmets for the ride. 

Hit the Spa

Looking to warm up and forget that it’s five below outside? Why not sit inside and be pampered all day. Vermont has dozens of inn and resorts that feature full-service spas

Ice FishingIce Fishing Huts on the Lake

Find out for yourself why Vermonters love ice fishing. Check out the Free Ice Fishing Day Festival the last Saturday of January! Free Ice Fishing Day is an opportunity for anyone to go ice fishing without a permit (resident or non-resident). Registration opens at 11 am at Hoyts Landing in Springfield, VT. Fish and Wildlife staff and Let’s Go Fishing volunteers will have ice fishing equipment available for those who don’t have their own. Staff and volunteers will also be available to help the inexperienced learn ice fishing basics. 

Dog Sledding Tours

Dog sledding isn’t just for Alaskans! January and February are ideal months to enjoy dog sledding. Vermont is home to many dog sledding teams, several of which offer tours. Not only can you take a tour through the mountains, several tours include an educational piece that will teach you mushing basics. 

Track a Moose

Take a hike through one of the many state forests, or sign up to take a guided track with an expert! Join field naturalist Sophie Mazowita the last Sunday in January for a full-day of wildlife tracking in Huntington, VT. The adventure begins with an indoor presentation. 

See Where it’s MadeBrewery Equipment

From maple syrup to teddy bears, there are lots of great things made in Vermont. Take a behind the scenes look at some of Vermont’s largest companies. Take a brew tour at one of the many breweries all over Vermont, why not see how some of the most notable brands brew their beers?! You should note that not all breweries offer tours, so it’s a good idea to check ahead of arriving. There are also several companies in the state that offer organized tours. Or check out a sugarhouse in late winter to see how maple syrup gets made! Or how about checking out the Ben & Jerry’s Factory? From furniture to cheese, there's a tour for everyone in the family. 

See a Play, Musical, Stand-up Event and More

Vermont has always had a strong arts community. Check out the Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier to see community theater at it’s finest. Positive Pie in Montpelier serves up live music weekly. There is always something going on at Higher Ground in Burlington and the Rusty Nail in Stowe. Check out the Vermont Calendar of Events for more information about what’s currently happening throughout the state.

 

New Year's Eve in the Capital City

For New Years Eve 2014, Montpelier decided to take a break from the usual festivities of First Night, but by popular demand, downtown Montpelier will be in full force for New Year's Eve 2015! With everthing from footraces, magic shows, concerts, great food, and fireworks, there's no reason not to be in the Capital City on New Year's Eve this year. 
 
2:00 Central Vermont Runner's Club's Annual New Year's Eve 5-kilometer Road Race starting at the Pavilion State Office Building. (Must register at cvrunners.org)
 
4:30-5:15 Marko the Magician (Magic show)
5:45-7:00 Marko the Magician (Magic & Hypnosis)
Located at the Montpelier High School Auditorium.
Tickets will be available at the door, or you can order them ahead of time on Eventbrite.
 
7:30 FIREWORKS SHOW! Gather at the State House Lawn for a great fireworks display.
 
7:30 Dave Kellers New Year's Eve Extravaganza at Montpelier City Hall.
                7:30 doors open
                8:00-9:30 Performing: The Starline Rhythm Boys
                10:00-1:00 Performing: The Dave Keller Band
The Extravaganza will be held at City Hall, and tickets are available at the door for $15. Or you can buy your tickets ahead of time for $10 available at Capital Stationers or at lostnationtheater.org. Previously, the Extravaganza had over 500 people attend so get your tickets fast!
 
9:00-1:00 "Speak Easy" costume party and live jazz music at Charlie O's. 

Vermont's Sweetest Treat, Maple Syrup

Vermonters are a pretty easy-going bunch, but when it comes to maple syrup you will be hard pressed to find ones who use anything less than high quality Vermont maple syrup. Sweet, sticky and able to improve just about every breakfast food, it is no small wonder Vermonters practically consider it a necessity. In fact from maple cotton candy, to maple popcorn, to maple creamies (our term for soft-serve ice cream), Vermonters have found ways to incorporate the delicious taste of maple syrup in many different ways. Maple sugar houses are great places to find diverse selections of maple products, but also locally made jams and spreads. If you are looking for a great family-friendly way to spend a summer day, find a local maple sugar house and sample a taste of Vermont.

East Montpelier, VT- Bragg Farm: With eight generations of experience making Vermont maple syrup, Bragg farm offers an extensive variety of maple syrup, maple candy, maple sugar and maple cream. In addition, they also sell cheese, pancake mix and an excellent assortment of gift boxes. Open year round, with free guided tours where visitors can see the traditional techniques this family operated business still uses. With an ice cream parlor, gift shop and friendly farm animals, the Bragg Farm is accommodating to visitors of all ages.

Montpelier, VT- Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks: One of Vermont's award winning maple sugar houses, Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks offers free sugarhouse tours and tastings to visitors. When you visit you can see the multimedia displays in their authentic woodshed theater, walk along their peaceful nature trail, drop in on their country store, and tour their outdoor Vermont farm life museum. While you are there, make sure to taste their wide variety of delicious maple products and try free samples of maple syrup. Be sure to try their maple creamies, named by the Food Network magazine as the best ice cream in VT and add maple syrup on top for the best experience! Morse Farm Sugarworks is open all year round.

Northfield, VT- Sweet Retreat Guesthouse and Sugarworks: During the spring sugaring season, make sure to visit the Sweet Retreat Guesthouse and Sugarworks for their wonderful, pure Vermont Maple Syrup. With both custom Pure Vermont Maple Syrup jugs and elegant glass bottles that can have tailor-made etchings carved into them, visitors can pick up maple syrup for both themselves and as stylish personal or corporate gifts.

Cabot, VT- Goodrich's Maple Farm: For seven generations since 1840, the Goodrich's Maple Farm has been a family owned and operated business. Visit their gorgeous post & beam building where guests can enjoy free educational tours and make sure to visit the sugarhouse during the springtime boiling season in order to try a local favorite, maple sugar on snow! With year round tours full of Vermont humor and a well-stocked gift shop be sure to stop by and pay them a visit.