Vermont’s most populous county is also its most “destination-diverse.” The state’s highest peak is here; so, many would argue, is its greatest cultural treasure. Electra Havemeyer Webb’s vast collection of fine and folk art at the Shelburne Museum is one of the best in the world. But the “gallery” experience could not be less intimidating.
Charlotte-Essex, NY Ferry
The Charlotte-Essex, NY Ferry offers a good glimpse of Vermont’s gold coast. Twenty minutes later, you’re in Essex, New York, a historic little village with its own leafy charm. You can explore the downtown on foot, but the better way to go is by bicycle. The whole area, from Westport to Willsboro Point, is a two-wheeler’s paradise. Not as much traffic on that side of the lake, either.
Men with Burt Reynolds mustaches. Ladies with blue eye shadow and big hair. Grandparents who have long since left this mortal coil. These portraits from the past adorn the walls of Our House. Keep reading... Photo: Matthew Thorsen
Running alongside the road up to Bolton Valley Resort, Joiner Brook tumbles downstream to make five separate waterfalls. The stream’s curves, and distance between individual potholes, makes the swimming area seem bigger and more private than it is. You can hang upstream, far from the madding crowd, or watch adolescent boys diving through an impossibly narrow chute of rock into a deep pool. Yikes. Photo: Matthew Thorsen
The views of Lake Champlain, the Champlain Valley and the Adirondacks are breathtaking from this hillock that also happens to be a state park. It’s a short, winding climb to the top — on a road that you have to share with cars, and you have to pay either way — but somehow the exhaust fumes don’t spoil the experience. Must have something to do with all those happy people at the top.
Birds of Vermont Museum
A happy obsession is in evidence at the Birds of Vermont Museum — home to 479 life-sized wooden birds expertly carved by Bob Spear. The loon family alone took him 850 hours to carve and paint. Spear founded Vermont’s first chapter of the National Audubon Society in 1962, and the octogenarian is still carving birds. Photo: Matthew Thorsen
Arts & Entertainment
The towns surrounding Chittenden County are full of surprising finds — you just have to know where to go. A car comes in handy. At the area’s last-remaining drive-in, certainly, you’ve gotta have wheels. Colchester’s own al fresco movie theater shows double features on four screens every night at sunset. Check the website for movie listings or to order tickets. And don't forget the bug spray!
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