VERMONT'S NORTH COUNTRY
Lakes to the west, Appalachians to the East,
the good life in between.
Vermont is green, cold, tough—and these days a haven for Bostonians and New Yorkers looking for an earthier life. Earlier, it was home to French fur trappers and Abenaki fishermen carving out canoes to pull perch from off Lake Champlain. The living is good here, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Still, when autumn leaves paint the landscape, no one notices the wind chill.
Start your day taking in the brilliant maple foliage atop Mt. Philo, a dog-friendly state park whose summit you can hike to in less than an hour. Drive leisurely up Route 7 and stop in at Shelburne Orchards for sweeping views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks to buy a bag of apples and some warm cider donuts. Then, dip into Burlington for a stroll down Church Street and an overnight stay at the Made INN Vermont, an 1881 Victorian reincarnated as a modern hotel. (Insider tip: Grab a paperback or two at Phoenix Books before you tuck in.)
Take Route 15 north through Jeffersonville for a postcard view of the Green Mountain foothills (pick up sandwiches at Hanley’s General Store); then double back on Route 108, a narrow twister that ascends to a pass once used by fugitive slaves and Prohibition–era smugglers trying to reach Canada. Stop there to hike through Smugglers Notch State Park, a network of trails with vistas made even more stunning by autumn colors. On the eastern side of Mt. Mansfield, check in to the Lodge at Spruce Peak, a full-service resort with a spa, outdoor firepits, even a zipline.
THE NORTHEAST KINGDOM
For the meandering state roads that offer the quintessential fall views, head north, way north. Start on Route 100, then turn east on Route 15 in Morrisville. Once you enter Hardwick, you’re officially in the Kingdom. Grab a late breakfast at the Buffalo Mountain Coop. Then, keeping your eyes out for moose, continue on: north on Route 16, south along Route 122 toward Lyndon, and north again on Route 114 until you get to East Burke. Rent mountain bikes at East Burke Sports just in time to catch the late-afternoon light as it turns the leaves to gold.
Shelburne Orchards • 216 Orchard Rd, Shelburne • shelburneorchards.com
Phoenix Books • 191 Bank St, Burlington • phoenixbooks.biz
Made Inn Vermont • 204 S Willard St, Burlington • madeinnvermont.com
Hanley’s General Store • 30 S Vermont 108, Jeffersonville
The Lodge at Spruce Peak • 7412 Mountain Rd, Stowe • sprucepeak.com
Buffalo Mountain Coop • 30 S Main St, Hardwick • buffalomountaincoop.org
East Burke Sports • 439 VT-114, East Burke • eastburkesports.com