Vermont in a nutshell
Set on the western edge of New England, picture postcard-pretty Vermont is particularly well known for its charming towns and villages, such as Woodstock, Bennington and Middlebury, with their white-spired churches, welcoming old inns, prestigious colleges and impressive art and history museums. A close second are the ski resorts such as Stowe, Sugar Bush and Killington.
Other notable attractions include the beautiful Green Mountains in the centre of the state, the spectacular autumn foliage and more than 400 lakes and ponds, the largest being immense Lake Champlain. Sited on the New York State border, it is overlooked by Vermont's only city, attractive Burlington, and - just to the south - by Shelburne's museum, with its outstanding collection of Americana.
An historian once described Vermont as 'Every American's second state'.
Wedged into northwestern New England, between Canada and Massachusetts, this is rural America at its most romantic.
Say 'Vermont' to an American, and up comes a vision of red barns and covered bridges,
clapboard houses and white churches, apples and cheese, maple syrup and ice cream,
contented cows and the most famous fall (autumn) scenery in North America.
Best of all, the vision is much like the reality.
It doesn't matter which way you point your camera, Vermont is easy on the eye.
Considering that only seven other USA states are smaller than Vermont, its scenic variety is surprising.
Along its left flank is sausage-shaped Lake Champlain, New England's 150-mile long 'West Coast', with grand views across to
New York State. To the east, the Connecticut River forms a natural border with New Hampshire. Running north and south are the Green Mountains,
described by French explorer Samuel de Champlain as verts monts back in 1609. Anglicise that, et voilà!
There are a number of right ways to approach Vermont. Drive up from Boston and two hours later, you are in Brattleboro.
What was a gritty mill town has had an imaginative facelift, with the old Union Railroad Station now the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center.
The entire state is a retreat for artists and craftspeople, from painters and potters, to sculptors and glass blowers.
In Brattleboro, on the first Friday of the month, you can stroll around 20 galleries and studios, all open, all offering a
welcoming drink and artists happy to chat, even if you don't buy.
Just up the road, outside Dummerston, is Naulakha, home of Mr and Mrs Rudyard Kipling a century ago.
Here he wrote The Jungle Books and began the Just So stories. Now owned by Britain's Landmark Trust,
the lovely old house can be rented, so you can play tennis on the same grass courts as the creator of Mowgli.
A visit to poet Robert Frost's grave in Bennington's Old First Church cemetery as well as to the
Bennington Museum's Grandma Moses paintings and other collections.
(You might also want to drop by Rutland's Norman Rockwell Museum or Rudyard Kipling's home, Naulakha, near Dummerston.)
A stroll past the old houses and churches of exquisite Woodstock; a gondola ride up Vermont's highest peak,
4,393ft Mount Mansfield; or a soar down the slopes of the nearby Stowe ski resort.
And don't forget to stop by for
a tasting at Waterbury's world-renowned Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream factory.
Only in Vermont
In 2004, the National Geographic Society applauded the Moosalamoo Region of the Green Mountains in their World Legacy Awards.
Near Brandon, it has 30 acres of wild blueberry bushes, 60 miles of hiking and cross-country ski trails, and plenty of wildlife:
moose, bobcat, bear, falcons and hawks. Angling has a long tradition here, especially on the hallowed Batten Kill River.
That’s why Manchester Village
is home to the small but beautifully presented American Museum of Fly Fishing, with its collection of celebrity rods and flies.