It takes a car and a bit of drive time to explore Vermont, which is about 300 miles long, touching Canada to the north and Massachusetts to the south. The Mount Snow area is two and a half hours from Boston and four hours from New York; Manchester is 45 minutes further north. Burlington is located on the eastern shore of Lake Champlain (which earned, and then lost, Great Lake status in 1998); with 40,000 residents, it's Vermont's largest city. Forty miles east of Burlington are Smugglers' Notch and Stowe ski resorts. The Mad River Valley is about an hour's drive southeast of Burlington (with Sugarbush and Mad River Glen ski resorts). Finally, the Northeast Kingdom, including East Burke's eateries and the Wildflower Inn, is a straight shot up Interstate 91 and about three hours from Boston.
WHEN TO GO
If it's snow you're after, plan your trip in February or March to miss the almost annual "January thaw" that pelts the slopes with slushy rain. March is historically the snowiest month in Vermont, and you'll have the added benefit of lengthening days. Plan warm-weather trips after black-fly season, which ends in mid-June. But if you want to catch Vermont's famed autumnal foliage in late September, you'll sacrifice any guarantee of sunshine. Fall in Vermont can be oppressively damp; November is plain depressing.
HOW TO GET THERE
Burlington International Airport (BIA) is the state's airline hub and no more than three hours' drive from anywhere in the state (www.burlingtonintlairport.com). If you prefer to see the countryside by train, Amtrak's Vermonter travels from Washington, D.C., via New York, with stops in Waterbury and Burlington/Essex Junction (www.amtrak.com).
Renting a car is the only realistic option; most of the favorite major rental agencies have outposts at BIA.
Vermont Tourism's Capitol Region Visitors Center
134 State Street
Tel: 802 828 5981