Skip to main content
  • Starting Point: Montgomery's Historic Covered Bridges
    View more

    Starting Point: Montgomery's Historic Covered Bridges

  • Outdoor Adventure in Green Mountain National Forest
    View more

    Outdoor Adventure in Green Mountain National Forest

  • U.S. Presidential History in Plymouth Notch
    View more

    U.S. Presidential History in Plymouth Notch

  • Eat like a Local in Woodstock
    View more

    Eat like a Local in Woodstock

  • End of the Road: Montpelier
    View more

    End of the Road: Montpelier

Bridges, History and Cheese: A Vermont Heritage Road Trip
View more

Bridges, History and Cheese: A Vermont Heritage Road Trip

By Cristin Nelson

  • Route distance:
    427.00 km
  • Suggested Time:
    3 days

Scenic beauty mixes with local culture.

The state of Vermont packs an incredible amount of adventure into its small footprint. There are rolling mountainsides for hiking in spring and summer, fall foliage for gazing in autumn and plenty of snow-topped mountains for skiing in winter. This road trip will take you through the state's natural beauty, but also deep into its history and spirited traditions. Bring your hiking boots, and make sure there's extra room in the car for made-in-Vermont souvenirs.

01
Starting Point: Montgomery's Historic Covered Bridges
View more

Starting Point: Montgomery's Historic Covered Bridges

Vermont is home to more than 100 covered bridges, more per square kilometer than any other U.S. state, and these have long been a cherished part of the New England landscape. Montgomery is sometimes called “Vermont's Covered Bridge Capital" because six bridges built here in the mid-to-late 1800s — Comstock, Fuller/Black Falls, Longley, Hopkins, Creamery/West Hill and Hutchins — still stand today. Romantic and old-fashioned, covered bridges are sometimes called “kissing bridges," because their enclosed spaces are perfect for lovers to steal an embrace.

The coverings also have their practical reasons: They protect the beams from weather and embolden horses to cross rivers and valleys without becoming agitated by the water below. The lattice truss design of these six bridges enabled them to take the weight of carriages, wagons and the heavy snowfalls of northern Vermont.

252 km
3 hours by car
02
Outdoor Adventure in Green Mountain National Forest
View more

Outdoor Adventure in Green Mountain National Forest

Follow Interstate 89 South to the paradise of gorgeous hills, lakes and scenic views in Green Mountain National Forest. The area offers nearly 1,450 kilometers of trails, eight open wilderness areas for hiking and activities for all seasons: cycling, camping, boating, swimming, horseback riding, scenic drives, licensed hunting and fishing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing.

The forest is divided into two zones: the North Zone in central Vermont and the South Zone in southwestern Vermont, between the state border and the town of Wallingford. One favored hiking area is the Grout Pond Recreation Area, where hikers can choose from more than 16 kilometers of hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulties. During autumn, when the leaves are ablaze with fiery reds, oranges and yellows, New Englanders indulge in a favorite pastime called “leaf peeping" and flock in droves to spots like Big Branch Overlook for scenic views of the gorgeous foliage.

64 km
1 hour by car
03
U.S. Presidential History in Plymouth Notch
View more

U.S. Presidential History in Plymouth Notch

Take Route 103 South to Route 100 North to get to Plymouth Notch, the birthplace, childhood home and final resting place of Calvin Coolidge, the 30th president of the United States. In this hamlet, you'll find a historic church, a one-room schoolhouse, a general store selling penny candy and old-fashioned toys, and the Coolidge homestead, furnished exactly as it was when Coolidge took the Oath of Office in 1923. This tiny village is also part of the 450-kilometer Vermont Cheese Trail;  Plymouth Artisan Cheese has stood here since 1890, when it was founded by President Coolidge's father. The company produces raw cow's milk cheeses, using traditional methods and milk sourced from a single local herd.

Along with good cheese, Vermonters appreciate good beer, and you'll find many local microbreweries across the state producing unique brews. Most offer tours and tastings. Within driving distance from Plymouth Notch are the popular Long Trail Brewing Company (about a 10-minute drive), Trout River Brewing Company (a 40-minute drive) and Harpoon Brewery (a 45-minute drive).

24 km
0.5 hours by car
04
Eat like a Local in Woodstock
View more

Eat like a Local in Woodstock

Head east on Route 100-A North and U.S. 4 West to Woodstock, where you can peek into Vermont's robust agricultural scene at Billings Farm & Museum, a Jersey dairy farm with interactive exhibits housed in historic barns. Taste Vermont-made Wilcox ice cream at the dairy bar located in the the 1890s restored farmhouse. (For more ice cream, tour the Ben & Jerry's Factory in Waterbury.) 

Swing by the Woodstock Farmers' Market, which showcases Vermont-made agricultural products like maple syrup and maple candies — both a result of the state's strong maple sugaring industry. You'll also find Lake Champlain Chocolates, Hurricane Flats Ruby Red Popcorn and Fox Hollow Farm Mustard, a sweet-spicy blend of mustard with garlic and balsamic vinegar. Cider is another memorable Vermont product, and you can taste brands like Woodchuck Hard Cider, Stowe Cider and Citizen Cider at the market. 

For something a little more adult, try one of the red, white and dessert wines made locally at Fresh Tracks Farm Vineyard and Winery outside of Montpelier.

87 km
1 hour by car
05
End of the Road: Montpelier
View more

End of the Road: Montpelier

Go north on Interstate 89 to the smallest capital city in the U.S., Montpelier, which is nestled at the junction of two rivers, surrounded by hills. At the heart of town are Main Street and State Street, along which you can browse shops for books, vintage music, antiques, clothing or knick-knacks. A few blocks away, watch the sun reflecting off the golden dome of the beautiful Vermont State House, built in 1850 and remarkably well-preserved. Nearby is Hubbard Park, a forested area full of trails and scenic views, including a stone tower lookout, just a short walk from the city center.

Montpelier's great food scene is due in part to the local New England Culinary Institute, graduates of which have gone on to open some of the incredible farm-to-table restaurants around town. A favorite is the Three Penny Taproom, where you can enjoy a juicy burger alongside a local craft beer. A thriving arts community hosts frequent events, including concerts on the state house lawn in warm months and the international Green Mountain Film Festival. Museums and galleries provide a window into local and U.S. history and culture, while the weekly Capital City Farmers' Market is perfect for souvenir shopping.

While this road trip takes you to many of Vermont's must-visit attractions, there's still plenty more to discover in the Green Mountain State. So before taking off for your trip, see what else you can add to your itinerary.