June 28, 2012

Vermont – “the Green Mountain State”

 

Vermont map

 

Just the Facts…

 

bird – hermit thrush
flower – red clover
tree – sugar maple
capital – Montpelier
union – 14th state on March 4, 1791
population – about 600,000 (not even a million!)

 

 

The Basics 

Vermont was the first state to join America that was not part of the original 13 colonies.    The name “Vermont” probably comes from the French name for Green Mountains – “les Verts Monts.”   Montpelier, Vermont’s capital, is the smallest capital city of any state in the country with less than 10,000 people!

Vermont is the only New England state that does not border the Atlantic Ocean.   The Green Mountains run right down the middle of the state.  Most of the state is covered in forests.  Lake Champlain forms much of its western border – it is the 6th largest lake in America, just behind the Great Lakes.  The Connecticut River forms the eastern border between Vermont and New Hampshire.

 

Its Claim to Fame

Vermont was originally owned by the French, which lost the land to England in the French and Indian War (which ended in 1763).  For over 10 years, the surrounding colonies argued over who controlled Vermont.  The colony of New Hampshire even formed a militia called the Green Mountain Boys to protect its settlers in Vermont from those people coming in from New York and trying to claim the land.

Finally, in 1777, Vermont declared itself independent.  Its leaders drafted a Constitution for the Vermont Republic, which was one of the first Constitutions written in America.  It was a progressive Constitution that abolished slavery within its borders, established a public school system, and gave every man the right to vote.  The Vermont Republic was an independent nation for about 15 years until it applied for statehood and became the 14th state.

 

What Makes it Tick

Historically, Vermont has produced most of the milk consumed in New England.  Dairy farms dotted the countryside, with cows grazing peacefully in the pasture and beautiful barns.  While the dairy industry has declined somewhat within Vermont, it still supplies New England with a significant amount of its milk. And, it produces many other dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and ice cream.  Have you ever had Vermont cheddar cheese? It is delicious!

Vermont is the leading producer of maple syrup in the nation.  It produces over 1/2 million gallons per year.  Spring in Vermont means the maple harvest – people knows its arrival by a sweet smell throughout the air!  Vermont has a rich history of sugarhouses, providing New England with its primary source of sugar during the Colonial times.  Vermont maple syrup is still made the old fashioned way -  maple trees are tapped once the weather grows warm enough to catch the “sap run” (usually the end of February or beginning of March).  To tap a tree, a sugarmaker will drill a 2 1/2 inch hole in the trunk and place a “spile” in the hole, which allows the sap to drip into a bucket below.  Most taps will provide about 10 gallons of sap, which is boiled down for hours and hours to about one quart of maple syrup.

If You Lived There

Vermont’s rugged mountains are built for winter sports – you may go to one of its many resorts for a ski vacation.  Calling all snowboarders!  Did you know that the snowboard was invented in Vermont?  “Nordic” or cross country skiing is also popular in Vermont, with miles and miles of trails to explore.  Some people in Vermont even go “snow golfing”!

Or, you might tour the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream factory – yum!  The founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were childhood friends.   At the factory, you will be treated to a movie about the history of Ben & Jerry’s, watch the actual production of ice cream and sample the flavor of the day.  The very first Ben and Jerry’s ice cream parlor is still open in Burlington and free cones area are available every May 28 – the anniversary of its opening.

 

Want to Know More? 

Do you live in Vermont? Or, maybe you have visited Vermont?  We want to hear from you!!  Post a comment at the end of this page.

  • What is your very favorite thing about Vermont?
  • What is your favorite thing to eat?
  • What is your favorite thing to do?
  • What other special or unique facts do you want to share about your home state?

Do you have any photos of Vermont to share? Email them to: info@grandtourkids.com. Or, post them to our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/GrandTourKids

Our tour includes just a few things that are interesting and special about Vermont.  Visit these websites to learn more:

http://www.sec.state.vt.us/kids/

http://www.vermontvacation.com/

http://www.kidsvt.com/

http://www.vermontmaple.org/