Montpelier is located in a picturesque valley along the Winooski River in Central Vermont, less than an hour from our Green Mountain cabin rental. As the nation's smallest state capital, Montpelier's intimate size, historic neighborhoods,and diverse community make it a wonderful city in which to visit, live, and do business.
While best known as Vermont's capital city, Montpelier is also known for its many institutions of higher learning, its national insurance company headquarters, its historic and architectural riches, its location in the heart of Vermont ski country, and its being a great place to just be. Go to Montpelier's Tourism Website.
Here are a few Montpelier attractions:
Vermont State House
The Capitol is a magnificent building located in downtown Montpelier. The gold leaf dome includes real gold and offers a spectacular contrast with the wooded hillside of Hubbard Park in the background. The interior is adorned with marble floors, spiral staircases and finely carved wood trim.Guided Tours are available on the half-hour, free of charge, July through mid-October: Monday-Friday, 10:00 A.M. to 3:30 P.M., Saturdays, 11:00 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. .
Vermont Historical Society Museum
The Vermont Historical Society is a not-for-profit, membership-supported organization founded in 1838 by an act of the Vermont legislature and dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Vermont history. It operates a library (located in Barre) and museum, has active publishing and educational programs, and sponsors special events. The VHS museum, located near the State Capitol in Montpelier, is a tremendous asset and a "must-see" for anyone interested in Vermont's heritage and way of life.
Bear Pond Books
Montpelier is famous for its many quaint bookstores. Perhaps the most famous is Bear Pond near the Statehouse. It is a vibrant community bookstore that offers a wide selection of books for readers of all ages, and regular author events that are free and open to the public. Walk their creaky wooden floors, sit among the high book stacks, and talk with their caring, relaxed and well-read staff.
Cold Hollow Cider Mill
A working apple cider mill which hosts 200,000 guests a year. Watch the apples being pressed into cider. In addition the mill has its own specialty bakery. Although apple delicacies dominate, a variety of taste-tempters are available. On Route 100, six miles north of Waterbury.
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory Tour
Time Magazine termed it "the best ice cream in the world." Tours of the ice cream factory are available. The factory is located three miles north of Waterbury on Route 100. Multi-media slide show tells the story of the company. Watch the process and sample the product. Children (of all ages) love to visit.
Camp Meade Victory Museum
Located of I-89, Exit 9 in Middlesex, the musuem is a military history park featuring many antique military vehicles ranging from a Horwitzer, Half-Track and Sabre Jet. It is the site of the 1930's Civilian Conservation Corp Camp.
Rock of Ages Quarry
The world's largest granite quarry is located southeast of Barre. Sheer cliffs descend 475 feet to quarry floor below. The Visitors Center describes the process which transforms this gray stone into beautiful monuments and sculpture which endures for centuries. The Visitors Center is open May 1-October 31 (closed July 4), Monday-Saturday 8:30 am to 5:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Special Fall hours, Sunday 8:30 am to 5:30 pm.
A veritable outdoor museum of fine granite carvings in Barre. Local cemeteries are the final resting place for family and friends of the world's most skilled granite artisans.
On the way to Montpelier, stop in Randolph:
The Town of Randolph is home to three covered bridges, two in East Randolph and one in South Randolph, all built in 1904. The Kingsbury Bridge is in South Randolph, between Rte. 14 and the octagonal library building, close to the main road and highly visible. Gifford Bridge in East Randolph is easily found from the Kingsbury Bridge by going north on Rte. 14 to Hyde Road, turn right, and the bridge is visible from the road. Braley Bridge is another matter: tricky and dangerous, Braley Covered Bridge Road dives downward steeply from Rte. 14; it's just 0.9 mile from the main road, so many people elect to park along Rte. 14 and walk down to the bridge.
Chandler Center for the Arts
The Chandler was restored in the early 1970s and now enjoys a rich program of visiting artists and locally produced entertainment. Throughout the year, the Chandler is host to plays, musicals, concerts, and children's programs including some local favorites like the Mud Season Talent Show. The Chandler Art Gallery sponsors art shows throughout the year.
Randolph Historical Museum
In the early 1790s, Justin Morgan of Randolph Center advertised his colt for stud. The progeny of Morgan's horse made Vermont famous as the home state of the Morgan breed. Horse lovers can find the grave site of Justin Morgan (1747-1798), for whom Morgan horses are named, in the cemetery at the south end of the main street. "Figure", the colt which started it all, lived his final days and is buried in Tunbridge, where there is a marker for him. You can also visit the Randolph Historical Museum which features three furnished period rooms, the gravestone of Justin Morgan, and a turn-of-the-century drugstore.
Vermont History Expo
Held each year at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds - home of the Tunbridge World's Fair. 100 local historical societies from throughout Vermont piece together the State's history with stories of their communities in mini-museum exhibits at Vermont History Expo held in June. This two-day tapestry of Vermont, presented by the Vermont Historical Society, commemorates and celebrates the depth of the State's rich heritage. The Tunbridge World's Fair is a 4 day ole time agricultural fair with a rich tapestry of agricultural events as well as some more modern activities including rides.
Porter Music Box Museum
Open during the warmer months, it houses an exquisite collection of music boxes, including several from the collections of Louis Hoone and Ruth Bornand. The Museum has several unique items on display, including the extraordinary 1926 Steinway Duo-Art Aeolian reproducing piano. Special events are scheduled throughout the year.
Neighborly Farms of Vermont
A working organic dairy farm, Neighborly Farms makes fine homestead cheeses and runs a maple sugaring operation during the sugaring season (early spring).