Vermont Fall Foliage Guide

 Photography:  Erin McGinn

Photography: Erin McGinn

The seasons may change and the leaves may fall in many parts of the world, but there is nowhere quite like the show Mother Nature puts on in Vermont. I can’t tell you exactly why this mighty little state does this season so well - but I do know I’ve never seen a place embrace it quite like the Green Mountain State.

I think it has something to do with her personality.

 Photography:  Erin McGinn

Photography: Erin McGinn

You see, Vermont has a big personality. You feel it the moment you cross over the state line. She has heart. She is independent yet compassionate. Beautiful yet un-manicured. She has charm oozing out of her plentiful covered bridges, but she also isn’t too precious. The amazing people that call this state home pay close attention to detail. The details of their community, their wood supply, the weather, the food, the ski conditions - which makes for a place that feels like a breath of fresh air after being in a go-go-go environment.

 Photography:  Erin McGinn

Photography: Erin McGinn

I suppose that’s why city folk flock to this special little state so frequently. It’s for those details. The ring of a bell at a general store. The hello from the clerk. The melt in your mouth cheese made down the street from a cow they call Betsy. The smell of freshly homemade apple cider donuts. I’ve decided more than anything people really come to Vermont for the people.

But they also flock for the foliage.

 Photography:  Abby Capalbo

Photography: Abby Capalbo

Every October Mother Nature pulls out all the stops in Vermont. It’s almost like she is giving a gift to the people of this special state for being so darn amazing themselves. And it’s such gift. That’s how I always feel when I’m hiking the dogs on a new trail beneath a canopy of color or even just waking up to the morning sunrise bouncing off the leaves. So it’s no surprise to me that people come from all over to witness one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular performances. I thought I would share some of my favorite ways to truly embrace foliage season in Vermont - for both rookies and veterans alike. It truly never gets old.

 Photography:  Abby Capalbo

Photography: Abby Capalbo


1. Visit an Orchard, Farm StaND Or NURSERY

There is nothing more “fall in New England” than a trip to an apple orchard decked out in flannel and bean boots. But in Vermont, these orchards and farms take that charm to new levels because it’s their lively hood. Get ready to be inspired by their harvest displays - I’m blown away each year. Here are a few of my favorites around the state:

SOUTHERN & CeNTRAL VERMONT

Equinox Valley Nursery
Mad Tom Orchard
Dutton Farm
Scott Farm Orchard

NORTHERN VERMONT

Cold Hollow Cider Mill
Shelburne Orchards
Burt’s Apple Orchard

 Photography:  Abby Capalbo

Photography: Abby Capalbo


2. Go on a scenic country drive

Our favorite “activity” in the fall is easily just getting in the car and going for a drive. No agenda (expect maybe a lunch destination) but to simply enjoy the views and stop wherever our hearts desire. We’ve found some of our favorite places this way, and we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. If you are in Vermont, these are some beautiful drives to get the most of your leaf peeping (and fair warning, dirt roads are normal around these parts):

SOUTHERN & CENTRAL VERMONT

Vermont Route 100
Mount Equinox Skyline Drive
Molly Stark Trail
Lincoln Gap Road

NORTHERN VERMONT

Vermont Route 100
Stowe Auto Toll Road
Smugglers Notch Road

 Photography:  Abby Capalbo

Photography: Abby Capalbo


3. Visit a Country Store

I don’t know what it is about country stores in Vermont, but they make me so incredibly happy. When you open the door it’s like taking a step back in time where penny candy is still a penny, and people still stop to say hi to each other. I love me a good country store - and thankfully Vermont is chock full of them!

SOUTHERN & CENTRAL VERMONT

Vermont Country Store
Dorset Union Store
HN Williams in Dorset
JJ Hapgood
Barnard General Store
Pittsfield General Store
Putney General Store

NORTHERN VERMONT

Warren Store
The Country Store on Main

 Photography:  Abby Capalbo

Photography: Abby Capalbo


4. TAKE A HIKE

Vermont does so many things well, and hiking is high on that list. There are literally endless options when it comes to exploring all the ins and outs of Vermont. I highly recommend picking up a good trail guide or book (something like this for day hikers) before setting out to make sure you get the most of your experience.

SOUTHERN & CeNTRAL VERMONT

The Long Trail (obviously best to do just parts of it - we love the hike from Route 11 to the top of Bromley!)
Lye Brook Falls
Grout Pond Trail
Equinox Perserve Trails
Mount Tom

NORTHERN VERMONT

Stowe Pinnacle Trail
Camel’s Hump Trail

*All Trails is a great resource wherever you might be to determine from real people how the hike actually is!

 Photography:  Abby Capalbo

Photography: Abby Capalbo


5. GO TO A BREWFEST or VISIT A BREWERY

This might be my husbands favorite thing about Vermont, the beer. Specifically the craft beer. Even as someone who rarely drinks beer, I really appreciate the craftsmanship these Vermonters have put into their suds. I suppose it’s to be expected, that’s just what Vermonters do - and we just get to benefit from it all. So if you are up for some peeping, make sure to stay hydrated in true Vermont style. And if you want to go on a tour of your own, check out this super helpful map of the Vermont beer trail and this list of the brewfests and harvestfests schedules!

 Photography:  Erin McGinn

Photography: Erin McGinn


6. GO ON YOUR OWN COVERED BRIDGES TOUR

What is it about covered bridges that is so darn perfect? I can’t put my finger on it, but it won’t stop me from scouting out all the sweet ones that pepper this pretty state. Vermont just might be the covered bridge capital of the world. This map will help you plan your next covered bridge tour!

SOUTHERN & CeNTRAL VERMONT

West Dummerston Covered Bridge
Chiselville Covered Bridge
Arlington Covered Bridge
Quechee Covered Bridge
Brown Covered Bridge
Creamery Covered Bridge
Taftsville Covered Bridge
Middle Covered Bridge

NORTHERN VERMONT

Gold Brook Covered Bridge
Pulp Mill Covered Bridge
Stony Brook Covered Bridge

 Photography:  Abby Capalbo

Photography: Abby Capalbo


7. Visit a picture perfect Vermont town

When I’m in Vermont, I often feel like I’m walking the streets of the perfectly styled hometown scene in Hollywood. But it’s real life. There are so many little towns throughout the state that just feel like you are in an episode of Gilmore Girls, and here are a few of my favorites.

SOUTHERN & CENTRAL VERMONT

Woodstock, VT
Manchester, VT
Ludlow, VT
Weston, VT
Grafton, VT

NORTHERN VERMONT

Stowe, VT
Warren, VT
Middlebury, VT

 Photography:  Abby Capalbo

Photography: Abby Capalbo


What did I miss? Let me know of any specific questions in the comments below - and if you get to visit this special state this fall, be sure to tag me in your photos on instagram so I can live vicariously though you! Happy peeping!