Autumn in Vermont conjures up a magnificent landscape that has few rivals. Every season in Vermont is beautiful, but the fiery colors of fall, the crisp air, and golden hue of the sunlight might just be the best of all.
With the changing of the foliage, however, the annual arrival of 'leaf peepers' can sometimes be challenging for local communities that are not set up to accommodate large numbers of visitors. Some of the magical nooks and crannies of our state have experienced an overwhelming influx that can put a considerable strain on both public infrastructure and private properties.
The small town of Pomfret recently closed the road to Sleepy Hollow farm due to a surge of social media influencers jockeying for selfies and ignoring the pleas of the private property owners and emergency service personnel. Situations like these not only disrupt the lives of local residents, but also threaten the long-term sustainability of the very natural wonders visitors come to admire.
Rest assured that visitors are welcome to Vermont in all seasons, but as conscientious travelers, it's essential to recognize the significance of sustainable tourism practices and opt for destinations specifically designed to accommodate visitors, so we can respect privacy and preserve these irreplaceable landscapes for future generations. Here are some tips on where to go and how to go about it!
Sustainable Tourism: Parks & Businesses Over Private Residence
It's important to differentiate between a private residence and a tourist business when planning your trip. Locations like Sleepy Hollow Farm may seem inviting, but they are not equipped to handle any numbers of visitors. Here are some guidelines for sustainable tourism:
- Do Your Research: Make sure the places you intend to visit are open to the public and equipped with modern facilities (Parking, Bathrooms, etc.)
- Leave No Trace: Always carry your trash with you, and respect local flora and fauna.
- Follow the Rules: Abide by all posted guidelines and restrictions to ensure you're not inadvertently causing harm.
There are plenty of other options near Burlington where you can witness the magnificence of Vermont's fall foliage. In fact, there are plenty of local farms, orchards, and local businesses. Each of these alternatives offers a unique experience, from farm-fresh foods to breathtaking Vermont views.
This working farm is an example of agriculture and community blending seamlessly. Visitors can experience a variety of farming activities, and the farm's market offers locally-produced foods that are as fresh as it gets.
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A 1,400-acre working farm, Shelburne Farms provides an educational experience about sustainable agriculture. The farm offers cheese-making tours, scenic walks, and a variety of children's programs.
While not a farm, Rock Point Center offers another kind of natural beauty with its lakeside vistas and hiking trails. The center has a focus on spiritual and educational experiences, making it a unique visit.
For apple enthusiasts, Chapin Orchards is a must-visit. Fall is the prime time to pick your apples, and the orchard offers several varieties. The breathtaking view of the surrounding foliage is an added bonus.
Famous for its apple trees and the spectacular view of Lake Champlain, this is a fantastic place for a family day out. Kids can enjoy apple picking, while adults can savor some of the best apple cider in the region.
A haven for nature lovers and those seeking panoramic views. As the state's oldest designated park, it offers visitors a rejuvenating escape with its accessible hiking trails that lead to the summit. From this vantage point, one is rewarded with breathtaking vistas of the Lake Champlain Valley and the distant Adirondack Mountains. Ideal for picnics, bird watching, or simply soaking in the beauty of nature
The Lamoille Valley Rail Trail (LVRT) offers a captivating 93-mile journey through the heart of Vermont, especially enchanting during the fall foliage season. As leaf peepers traverse its smooth gravel and pavement pathways, they're treated to a canvas of fall colors. Whether you're cycling, walking, or simply immersing in the moment, the LVRT provides a serene passage through Vermont's diverse landscapes