Vermont is yet another place in the United States that is filled with different attractions that people of all ages will enjoy. From Vermont Teddy Bear for the kids and kids at heart to even the sweetest graveyard in the world for those who have a sweet tooth, there sure is a lot of things to see for everyone. Because of that, it is also one of the places in the US that we highly recommend, in case you’re planning a tour in the US, particularly in the northeastern part.
However, with all of these attractions, it can be quite overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time in the northeastern part of the country. But don’t fret much as we narrowed down your options to the state’s most unique attractions. Here is a rundown of some of the unique attractions that Vermont has to offer.
- 1 Rock of Ages Granite Quarry
- 2 Freedlyville Quarry
- 3 Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard
- 4 Green Mount Cemetery
- 5 Will Knight’s Spider Web Farm
- 6 Wilson Castle
- 7 The Museum of Everyday Life
- 8 The Nature Museum
- 9 Haskell Free Library and Opera House
- 10 Bread and Puppet Museum and Theater
- 11 Birdhouse Forest
- 12 Lake Champlain
- 13 Miniature Castles of South Hero
- 14 Mount Mansfield
- 15 Vermont Teddy Bear
- 16 Shelburne Farms
1Rock of Ages Granite Quarry
Founded in 1885, this place is a granite quarrying and finishing company located in Graniteville. It’s basically a plant where gravestones are made. But what makes this unique and worth the visit is that it is the largest deep-hole dimension granite quarry in the world. There are tours on the site being offered so you can get a closer look at the area and learn more about its history.
You can tour the quarry where you can pass by piles and piles of granite blocks. After that, you can also take a self-guided tour of the granite plant where you can see how they are moved around, cut, polished, and engraved for gravestones. You can also roll a few bowling balls on the site’s outdoor granite lane.
Speaking of quarries, another quarry that you need to see is the Freedlyville Quarry. However, compared to the Rock of Ages Granite Quarry, this place is already abandoned after the invention of the cheaper and more versatile Portland cement. But unlike other quarries that were primarily large holes dug into the Earth, this one is unique as it’s a deep arch-shaped cavern dug directly into the east slope of Mount Aeolus. Aside from its different look, it also features a large pond of water that freezes solid during winter, making a perfect one-of-a-kind place for ice skating. Test your ice skating skills or just marvel at this unique quarry, this place is also a must visit when you’re in Vermont.
3Ben and Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard
By now, you’re probably familiar with the Ben and Jerry ice cream brand. And whether you’re a fan or just some curious traveler, you can also get to visit the ice cream tycoon’s graveyard when you’re in Vermont. It’s not actually the kind of cemetery we’re used to where dead bodies are buried. Instead, this site serves as a memorial to the brand’s bygone flavors. It’s a cemetery but for punny ice cream recipes as each grave marker was given clever epitaph summing up the life and death of the ice cream flavor. Some of the flavors that ended up here were due to bad sales. Discontinued flavors also ended up in the ground. Each of the headstones also has the birth and death dates of the flavors. Reminisce about your favorite Ben and Jerry ice cream flavor or see what other flavors you missed.
4Green Mount Cemetery
Speaking of final resting places, another attraction that you need to see in Vermont is the Green Mount Cemetery. This time, it’s a real cemetery with dead bodies buried underground. But what makes a real cemetery visit if you don’t know anyone buried here? For starters, this cemetery is set in the midst of the area’s stunning rolling hills. Hence, if you want to see some natural picturesque views, this place will let your eyes feast. But aside from that, the cemetery is also known for the funerary art that it features. Here, you can get to see different beautiful statues and sculptures with different stories to tell about the owners of the grave and even their family.
5Will Knight’s Spider Web Farm
If you love spiders, if you’re a fan of Spider-Man, or if you’re just looking for something bizarre, Will Knight’s Spider Web Farm is also something worth considering when you’re in Vermont. First off, it is the only web farm in the world. Here, they have two garage-sized barns that is packed with wooden frames that encourage spiders to just make webs. After the small creatures make the web, the web farm’s staff members will shoo the spider out of harm’s way and then spay the web with shite spray to make it more visible. It is then mounted and preserved as an intricate work of arthropod art. There isn’t much to see, though. But the spider webs are worth buying for its uniqueness.
There are only a few castles in the US that you can tour. And fortunately, Vermont has one of them, the Wilson Castle. Its unique mixture of 19th-century architectural styles, including Scottish baronial, Dutch Neo-Renaissance, and Romanesque Revival, always wow its visitors. It also boasts of more than 80 stained glass windows and 13 fireplaces. Each of its (32) rooms also has different woodwork that matches its pieces of furniture; some of which are even priceless. However, it’s not the only thing that makes the castle worth visiting. It also has stories to tell.
Built in 1867, this castle’s initial purpose is for a Vermont doctor to impress his wife, who was an English aristocrat. However, the couple only got to live here for merely three years as the husband sold the castle after his wife died. From then on, the property juggled from one owner to another for the next 50 years until it fell into the hands of Herbert Lee Wilson (hence the name), an AM radio pioneer who created a radio station in the castle stable. And also because of Wilson, who was a frequent traveler and was an army officer) the Castle was decorated even more with impressive and valuable Far Eastern and European antiques, including Chinese scrolls, as well as Oriental rugs. See more of them and hear more stories when you visit this castle. It’s definitely worthy of that spot on your Vermont itinerary.
7The Museum of Everyday Life
The Museum of Everyday Life is also a must-see when you’re in Vermont. There’s nothing much to see here than normal things that we can even get to see inside our house, though. From safety pins, bells, padlocks, to even pieces of reclaimed wood, this museum consciously presents nearly everything that is normal for our sight. But that’s actually what makes it extraordinary and worth seeing.
You can explore the museum for free but donations are encouraged. The best part of the museum is that the displays change regularly. Hence, you can get to see new collections every time you visit.
8The Nature Museum
Also another museum that you need to add to your itinerary is The Nature Museum. At first glance, it’s easy to pass on it because it looks like another natural history museum. Sure, it’s a mere natural history museum dedicated to Vermont’s flora, fauna, as well as geology. But what makes both the locals and tourists buzzing about it is that it features a couple of preserved extinct animal specimens… and a Feejee mermaid. Yes, you read it right. The museum actually houses a preserved mermaid.
However, the mermaid’s remains aren’t real. It’s just a taxidermied chimera with the tail of a fish and a torso of somewhat a monkey. The museum got it a decade ago from Odd Fellows Hall in Brattleboro along with some documentation that includes a photo of the creature hanging on a wall of the hall. While the eerie-looking specimen is just a hoax, it’s still worth seeing as the details to it seems believable.
The museum doesn’t display the specimen/artwork anymore, though. But they still keep it on-site, in the museum’s basement. And you can still see it in person. Just request a viewing schedule and they would gladly accommodate you.
9Haskell Free Library and Opera House
You should also visit Haskell Free Library and Opera House even just for an hour. What makes it unique is that it’s a library that doubles as an opera house, as its name suggests. But what makes it even more interesting is its location.
While its name seems as if it’s just an ordinary library, well, think again. Apparently, this place sits right in the middle of the Canadian and US border. In fact, it even has a border line painted down in the middle of the library. To give you a better idea of how it looks like, the entrance is on the US side of the border. Meanwhile, the books are on the Canadian side.
As for its opera house, its stage is located in Canada. Meanwhile, its seats are located in the US side.
Hence, you can walk from country to country even just by going to the library. And because of this, it is also known as the only opera house in the US with no stage and the only library with no books.
10Bread and Puppet Museum and Theater
Also for entertainment, you can visit the Bread and Puppet Museum and Theater. Here, you can watch plays based on the cheap art philosophy, which aims to re-establish the appreciation of artistic creation by making it available to a bigger audience. The theater also hopes to inspire anyone to revel in an art-making process in a different way by neither subjecting to academic approval nor curatorial acceptance.
And the best part of it is that after every performance, the cast serves its audience some bread and aioli. This is because the theater believes that art is as important to life as food.
In addition to that, you can get to see large puppets displayed on site, which the Bread and Puppet Museum and Theater is also known for. In fact, their puppets can be seen in parades all over the world. Plus, it has influenced puppetry at political protests. These puppets were used for the theater’s past productions. However, these puppets aren’t available on display year-round. If you want to see them, we suggest that you time your visit between the month of June and October as these are the only times they display their puppets.
Throughout the summer season, the museum-theater holds indoor show every Friday at 7:30 PM. There are also outdoor political circus and pageant every Sunday at 3 PM. Thus, if you also want to see these shows, we highly suggest that you plan your schedule well.
Another unique place to visit in Vermont is the Birdhouse Forest. Located in South Hero, this place offers a unique sight of colorful birdhouses scattered in the woods. But this place wasn’t meant to be an attraction at first. Initially, the owner of the land created it for a practical purpose – to shoo mosquitoes.
Apparently, this place serves as a prime breeding ground for mosquitoes. And to keep them at bay, the owner of the land put up a couple dozen of birdhouses where tree swallows can breed because it just so happens that the mosquitoes are part of the birds’ tasty meal plan. However, the population of the birds grew bigger and bigger overtime prompting the land owner to add more and more birdhouses.
And because of that, the site now has more than 400 small wooden homes filling the woods. Hence, people started calling it the Birdhouse Forest. Thanks to this, the place now has fewer pesky mosquitoes and the place became a unique place for sightseeing.
Vermont is also famous for its loch nest monster. In case you’re not familiar with it yet, this is a mythical creature that is often described as large long-necked with one or more bumps protruding from the water (imagine Lapras from Pokemon). This creature is reportedly often seen in the Lake Champlain. Since the 1930’s this creature has often been the talk of the town.
However, there hasn’t been any legitimate proof of its existence. The only “evidence” of its existence is anecdotal with a few disputed photographs and sonar readings. Still, even after decades, the buzz hasn’t stopped. And because of its popularity the town where the lake sits became even more popular. The town also started using the creature’s depiction as a marketing tool and landmarks for several attractions. Also, at the end of King Street, you’ll find a granite slab that serves like a tombstone dedicated to the creature.
13Miniature Castles of South Hero
Vermont only has a couple of castles that you can visit. In fact, the state only has five castles. But little do many people know, Vermont actually houses more castles. However, they aren’t life size. Apparently, what we’re talking about are the miniature castles scattered around South Hero.
These small castles were actually the works of Harry Barber, a Swiss, who settled in the island town of South Hero. He was actually a miner. But after a mining accident that caused him to lose a part of his finger, he then worked various jobs, carving out his legacy by adding the now-famous miniature castles to the properties he gardened.
But we’re not talking about plain miniature castles. These tiny castles, apparently, are intricately detailed. Some of them even have running water in the moat and electrical wiring! Some also have glass windows, flags, spiral cases, and drawbridges, which makes each of them worth seeing.
The best way to see these castles, though, is by biking around South Hero. This is because the castles are actually scattered along the main roads and you might overlook some of them if you’re riding a car.
Of course, there’s nothing better than seeing a place from the top. And in Vermont, you can do that by reaching the top of Mount Mansfield. Aside from being the highest peak in Vermont, it is also home to some of the only alpine tundra in the eastern part of the United States. However, because of that, you can’t always explore every corner of the mountain. During the New England mud season, from mid-April to around Memorial Day, Mount Mansfield’s trails are closed to protect the terrain. The winter season, which often sees punishing snowstorms on the mountaintop, on the other hand, offers an ample skiing on its slopes. But don’t worry, there’s still summer and autumn season. During these days, you can enjoy a lot of different trails to the summit where you can fill your eyes with picturesque views of the surrounding area below the mountain, including the Lake Champlain, as well as the Adirondack Mountains of New York. On top of that, these seasons are also perfect to visit the mountain as it is when you can fill your eyes with vibrant colors that the surrounding forests has.
The best part of it is that you don’t have to worry if hiking isn’t for you. This is because you can still reach the summit on Mount Mansfield without a sweat as you can drive up the Mount Mansfield Toll Road. Just look for “Stowe Auto Toll Road” signs off the Route 108.
15Vermont Teddy Bear
Another place not to miss when you’re in Vermont is the Vermont Teddy Bear. For starters, it’s a company, founded in 1983, that makes bear plushies. But what makes it worth visiting is that it has teddy bears for all seasons and people of all ages. Here, they can help you create that teddy bear for the perfect occasion – whether it’s for a birthday, anniversary, or whatnot. Vermont Teddy Bear also lets you customize your plushy. From its fur to the color of the plushy’s eyes, you can choose whatever suits you. You can even request to have them print the birthday or name of the bear’s receiver. And the best part of it is that they don’t only make teddy bears; they also create other cuddle animals. Vermont Teddy Bear is one of the best places in the state where you can buy awesome gift stuff or souvenirs for people of all ages. In case you want to visit it, the company has two retail locations – one in Shelburne and the other is on the main road between Waterbury and Stowe.
And since you’ve visited the Vermont Teddy bear, why not see the Shelburne Farms as well? For starters, this place boasts of its terrain shifting from rolling hills and picturesque pastures to sandy shores and dense forest. Here, you can get to relax in a country-style atmosphere. Plus, you can also pet cows, as well as sample the farm’s award-winning cheese. The site also has walking trails that will get you closer to nature. In addition to that, the site has an inn where you can stay the night in case you want to stay longer to explore more of Vermont.
However, there are also rumors that the inn is haunted by the ghost of the late Lila Vanderbilt Webb, one of the site’s original owners. If you want to see it for yourself, we highly suggest this place.
Note that you need to plan your visit well, though. This is because the Shelburne Farms’ Inn is closed from October to March because of lack of heating.
Still, it’s one of the Vermont attractions that is worth visiting.