It’s hard to believe we survived another winter in Vermont. Before we know it, the first signs of new life are popping up and bringing color back into our landscape. Spring in Vermont is often overshadowed, if you think of it: the foliage of fall, the epic powder days of winter, and the bluebird skies of summer days on Lake Champlain. Sure, spring in Vermont is muddy, soggy, rainy, and not truly green until early May. But, there are many spring activities to make the most of the season in Vermont.
1. Tour Billings Farm Museum & Visit with Baby Animals
Located in Woodstock, Billings Farm and Museum is an outdoor museum and fully-operating Jersey cow dairy farm, dating back to 1871. Woodstock is worth a day trip in any season (don’t miss Worthy Kitchen, Farmhouse Pottery and FH Gillingham & Sons General Store), but Billings Farm Museum is especially fun in the spring with their baby animals. Visit the restored 1890 farmhouse, the animals on the property (including 70 Jersey cows, six draft horses, a flock of southdown sheep, chicks, rabbits, steers, etc.), and ensure you get a bite of their cheddar. Keep an eye on their events calendar; you might spot unique events like sheep shearing, cheese celebrations, quilt exhibitions, and more.
2. Watch 20+ Hot Air Balloons Soar Over Vermont as Part of the Quechee Hot Air Balloon Festival
Quechees’s 38th Annual Hot Air Balloon Festival is a sight to see in Vermont. For 2017, it’s happening the weekend of Father’s Day: June 16 – 18. It’s the longest running balloon, craft, and music festival in the Northeast. There are five different flights scheduled throughout the festival, so if you’re in the vicinity of Quechee or the Upper Valley that weekend, chances are you’ll catch a glimpse of the colorful sky. You can also take part in the soaring yourself! There are tethered rides, where a hot air balloon is tied down by rope and only floats 50 feet above the ground. There are also more traditional ascension rides, which are 30-40 minutes of soaring. If you’ve never been in a hot air balloon, do it! The spring landscape in Vermont is simply stunning from the air.
3. Peep the Peonies and Take in Some Vermont History at Hildene in Manchester
Hildene, also known as the Lincoln Family Home, is the former summer home of Robert Todd Lincoln and his wife Mary Harlan Lincoln. It’s a beautiful and historic stop just outside of Manchester Center in Southern Vermont. Take your time with your visit and get to know the grounds, extensive gardens, and the estate, as well as the 1,000 pipe Aeolian organ. Even the gift shop on site is beautiful. You can walk through the exquisite home on a self-guided tour or take a guided tour at 11am or 1pm every day from June through September. In mid to late June, the peony gardens are in full bloom, which makes for a stunning site against the grandness of the estate’s facade. Can’t make it in the spring? Visit in the winter when you can cross-country ski or snowshoe on the grounds for a memorable cold-weather excursion.
4. Take a Leisurely Stroll Through the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail in Ripton
Located off Route 125 in Ripton, Vermont, is the Robert Frost Interpretive Trail. Ripton is home to The Robert Frost Farm, now a National Historic Landmark, where Frost lived and wrote for 44 years. It’s less than a mile of nearly flat trail with poetry from Robert Frost along the way – serene and stunning in every season. The trail is especially beautiful in the spring as you begin to see the greenery come back to life as a snow-covered winter in the Green Mountains. It’s also a great spot for swimming and picnicking in the warmer months. Keep an eye out for wildlife, including unique birds. You may even see a moose!
5. Taste the Sweetness of Pure Maple Syrup at The Vermont Maple Festival
2017 marks the 51st Annual Vermont Maple Festival held in St. Albans, Vermont, April 28-30. The family-friendly events includes a maple store (including maple donuts and maple creemees), maple contests, a pancake breakfast, sugarhouse tours, puppet shows, an antique show, and even a Vermont maple beverage tasting, hosted by 14th Star Brewing Co. To burn off the sweets, there’s the Annual Sap run, which is an 8.5-mile course from Swanton to St. Albans. Love the maple syrup-making process? In early spring (typically late March in Vermont) is the Maple Open House Weekend, where you can visit sugar shacks across the state to see the boiling in action.