Vermont is gorgeous year round, but the northeastern state surrounded by mountains sparkles most during the wintertime. The air is crisp and clean, and the region offers a wealth of outdoor activities, including skiing, downhill and cross-country, snowboarding, skating and dog sledding.
But if you're not one for winter weather, here are some suggestions for activities to enjoy indoors, while enjoying the view of Vermont's winter wonderland in warmth. The region is equally rich with museums, centres for the performing arts, libraries, and even baking schools.
Upper Valley Vermont
Baking Education Centre at King Arthur Flour Company, 135 US Rte. 5 South, Norwich
There are few things more comforting than the aromas and tastes of fresh baked goods on a cold winter's day. With you as the cook, freshly baked cookies, cakes, scones, pies, pizzas and breads taste even better! The King Arthur Flour Company invites you to escape the cold and better your baking in the cosy kitchens of its Baking Education Centre. Even if you aren't up for baking, the company, with a long history of producing flour in New England since 1790, offers delectable treats for you to enjoy in the Baker's Store or take home to savour.
P.S. Visiting the baking centre during the summer is another great option. Come July 2012, the baking centre, store and café will be housed in a beautiful new facility, located across from the existing one.
Billings Farm and Museum, Rte. 12, Woodstock
The Billings Farm, founded in 1871 by Vermonter Frederick Billings, pays homage to Vermont's rural agricultural history, including exhibits located throughout 19th century barns. Don't miss your chance to tour the restored 1890 farm manager's house, complete with original antiques and lithographs. The farm also offers a creamery and an ice house from the same period.
Bennington Museum, Bennington, 75 Main St. Bennington
The Bennington Museum boasts the largest public collection of artwork by American folk artist Grandma Moses. Anna Mary Robertson Moses' (1860-1961) paintings tell the stories of rural farm life in early America. The museum is also known for its presentations of 18th century Bennington pottery, American glassware and artifacts depicting the Revolutionary War's Battle of Bennington.
Flynn Centre for the Performing Arts, 153 Main St. Burlington
This art deco gem features a full calendar of entertainment. From live theatre shows to comedy, dance, jazz and classical music performances - there is something for everyone to enjoy while escaping the cold winter weather.
University of Vermont's Fleming Art Museum, 61 Colchester Ave., Burlington
Located on the campus of the University of Vermont, the Fleming Art Museum is a repository for 20,000 anthropological objects, with origins ranging from early Mesopotamia to 21st century America. The art collection is devoted to the Vermont landscape paintings of Charles Louis Heyde. There are also works by famed Andy Warhol, Winslow Homer, John James Audubon and Margaret Bourke-White, among others.
Vermont's Northeast Kingdom
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, 1171 Main St., St. Johnsbury
This historic landmark was a gift for the town of St. Johnsbury from Horace Fairbanks, an industrialist and art collector. The library houses a remarkable collection of 40,000 books, with equally compelling paintings by artists, such as Ashur B. Durand, James and William Hart and Sanford Gifford, lining the walls of the art gallery, also located on-site. The 10 by 15 foot painting, Domes of the Yosemite, by Albert Bierstadt, makes the gallery's collection especially impressive.
Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, 1302 Main St., St. Johnsbury
The Fairbanks' massive barrel vaulted gallery keeps a fascinating and eclectic collection of 75,000 objects from around the world - everything from mountain bears and exotic birds to reptiles, fish and insects. Steps away in the planetarium, astronomy experts offer guided tours of and insight into the cosmos.
For more information about what to enjoy while visiting Vermont, in any season, visit www.vermontvacation.com.
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