100 Things to Do in Vermont

by Gray Cargill on March 25, 2011

Lake Champlain

Lake Champlain

Most of you reading this blog already know, and if not, could probably have guessed that I don’t make my living as a travel blogger (if only!).  My day job is working at the University of Vermont in the Development and Alumni Relations Office. Last fall, I saw a really cool poster hanging in the kitchen of our building that had been created by the Class Councils (our undergraduate student leaders) called 101 Things To Do Before You Graduate UVM. It looked like this:

100 things to do before you graduate UVM

Click on image to see larger version

I loved the idea–it’s like a riff on the “100 Places to See Before You Die” and “100 Things to Do Before You Die” lists, only without mentioning that horrible “D” word and going that extra mile to 101. (Overachievers.) And it’s mostly about UVM student life. While it contains a lot of good general life advice, such as “Get a reusable drinking bottle” and “Figure out where the Health Center is before you need it,” it also contains a lot of UVM-specific items, such as “Learn the UVM fight song,” “Sit under the Flying Diaper,” and “Get an A in a class”. I got permission from the Class Councils coordinator to share the image of the poster here because there are some items on the list that would be appropriate for visitors to Burlington and Vermont, too. My favorites are:

People-watch on Church Street. As I mentioned in my recent guest post at GotSaga, the Church Street Marketplace is the best place to people-watch in Burlington. Though in the summer, Waterfront Park can be a great place to do that, too.

Spend a day at North Beach. North Beach is one of the most popular places to go swimming in the area and arguably the best beach in Burlington. While it’s not the ocean, it does get some decent waves at times and is just a fun, laid-back place to chill on a warm summer day.

Go apple-picking. This is such a quintessential Vermont experience every fall. If you’re here during that time of year (and are driving home or sticking around long enough to eat them!), you should definitely add it to your list.

Apples

Study by the fountain. Okay, maybe not “study”. How about “read a book”? There are a few fountains to choose from, including one on UVM’s Green, one in City Hall Park, one in front of City Hall on Church Street, and one on the top block of Church Street.

Spend a day barefoot. With our 6-month long winters, we don’t get to do this very often in Vermont, so we’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities when they do come along.

Ride the city bus.  Chittenden County Transportation Authority (CCTA) has a number of routes covering various areas of Chittenden County, including Burlington, Winooski, South Burlington, Essex Junction, Shelburne–there’s even a Middlebury link bus. Riding the bus is a great way to meet locals while you’re getting around.

And okay, pretty much every mention of food and eating on the list gets a thumbs up from me–eating a cider donut, trying real Vermont maple syrup, getting dumplings and crepes from carts on Church Street, eating free cheese at Cabot and getting free ice cream cones at Ben & Jerry’s on free cone day. Yeah.

Anyway, the students inspired me tocome up with my own, non-student-centric version of 100 Things to Do in Vermont. (You will see some items on my list that are also on theirs because yes, those are things you must do in Vermont!)  I created my list for tourists to Vermont, as well as people who live here for a year or more.  You can read that list by clicking here.

The bonus for me was realizing that there are things on this list that I haven’t done yet, despite the fact that I’ve lived in Vermont my whole life. I was able to come up with some possible summer road trips for myself. It just goes to show, there’s still a lot to see and do, even in your own backyard. Have you tried this exercise for the region where you live? Give it a try, I bet you’ll come up with some things you haven’t done yet, too.

Gray February 18, 2012 at 9:42 pm

You’re very welcome, AnnaBeth, I’m glad it helps!

AnnaBeth February 18, 2012 at 8:53 pm

*Except me life in Vermont and they dont wanna help me at all on this so im on my own lol …*

AnnaBeth February 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Omg i have to do this project on Vermont and my entire family except me … and im looking on this site b/c i have to find things to do and this is one of the best sites ever !! Thank you so much Gray<3 :D

GRRRL TRAVELER April 7, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I have to admit, I didn’t really know what one should do in Vermont. Apple picking might be kind of nice, though.

I’m bad at touristing the city I live in, actually. You covered more of NYC than me & I lived there for 8 years! LOL. SKorea was the same deal. I think when you live in a city or place, you either take it for granted or get too jaded, living in it!

Gray April 7, 2011 at 3:34 pm

That is the danger, isn’t it? We get lost in mundane routine where we live and can’t seem to open our eyes to a place the way a tourist would. It takes effort. I confess there have been many times I’ve thought that Burlington and indeed all of Vermont is just too small for me, that I’ve “been there, done that”. This exercise really showed me I haven’t done everything, not even close.

zablon mukuba March 28, 2011 at 2:58 pm

there is so much to do, i prefer the bus tour

Gray March 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm

There are bus tours that come through Vermont (especially during foliage season), but honestly, I think you’d miss a lot of cool things that way. Just my opinion.

Alouise March 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm

I’ve never been to Vermont, but I know I’ve got quite of few things to do when I do there. I know traveling around home doesn’t always seem exciting, but it can be fun. I’ve been trying to do new things around Edmonton, there’s a lot of local things I haven’t seen or done yet.

Gray March 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I think that’s the perception, Alouise–for me, anyway–that home isn’t as exciting as places “away”. It requires a shift in thinking, for sure.

Bluegreen Kirk March 28, 2011 at 3:29 pm

There is really a lot to do in Vermont I would love to go pick apples or even try to go a whole day bare foot….

Gray March 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Just make sure it’s summer if you’re going barefoot, or you’ll wind up with frostbitten feet. ;-)

Leigh McAdam March 27, 2011 at 3:03 pm

My son went to UVM for a few years so on visits we had a chance to sample some of Vermont’s finest offerings. One thing we loved doing was eating at the culinary school in Burlington – I still remember that meal.

Gray March 27, 2011 at 3:24 pm

I remember that restaurant. Sometimes it was hit or miss. Still, I liked the concept and was sad when it closed a couple of years ago.

Andrea and John March 25, 2011 at 3:49 pm

Lists like these are great – you always learn about something you didn’t know existed!

Gray March 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm

Or they remind you about things, as in my case. There are items on my list I haven’t thought about in a long time, because they’re not part of my daily life. It pays to start thinking about your home like a tourist.

Sabina March 25, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Gray, I know you know Vermont like no other travel blogger. But can I add one thing, even though I’ve only been there like five times? Go to the von Trapp Family Lodge! I didn’t stay overnight but went with a group for dinner. I am a Sound of Music freak, so it just thrilled me.

Gray March 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Please do, Sabina! I want people to add things, so it becomes, as I said on the page, a “living list”. In fact, now I’m going to go add this to the 100 Things to Do in Vermont Page.The von Trapp Family Lodge is definitely a must-see in Vermont. I can’t believe I forgot it! Doh.

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