Celebrating Fall Foliage in Vermont

Vermont foliageFall is definitely here in Vermont! A couple of fresh nights this week and the first maple trees turned red and tonight frost will have more leaves turn red, no doubt. A nice premise for a nice week-end.
And to celebrate Vermont foliage season so dear to all of us, there are many things to do here. Of course you can go canoeing and kayaking on lakes and rivers (I will write about it next week) or hike or do a lot of other outdoor activities. But there are also some special events and festivals this week-end:
- Apple picking : You are invited to participate to the annual contest « Apples to iPods » which takes place in many orchards again this year. If you find a wooden iPod in a tree at one of the participating orchards, you’ll win a real iPod. More info at: Vermont Apples.
- Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival – Mount Snow Valley –September 25-27, 2009: It’s the second year of this event, where you can participate to cooking demonstrations by local restaurants, wine and cheese pairing presentations, wine pairing diners at some local restaurants, etc. Specialty food makers, cheesemakers and craft artists will show their products. And of course, there will be music, jazz trio and acoustic roots band… Don’t miss a Vermont style breakfast on Saturday or Sunday morning, with maple syrup (I am sure) and products (bacon and sausages) from local company Vermont Smoke and Cure, or the BBQ and Blue Grass diner on Friday night. The event is listed as one of the top ten Fall events by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce this year. More info at Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival.
- Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom Annual Fall Foliage Festival – September 27 – October 3, 2009 – Towns and villages of the region offer a variety of activities during this week : food events, visits, music, etc. More info on the site of the Chamber of Commerce.
- 5th Annual Burlington Book Festival – September 25-27, 2009 – A book fair in Burlington is always a good excuse to come and wander the nice streets of this nice little Vermont town we all like (see our last year’s article on Burlington). Many authors will be there, there will be new and used books, free appraisal of rare books and more. More info at Burlington Book Festival.
- 6th Annual Vermont Fine Furniture & Woodworking Festival – September 26-27, 2009 – In the Southern part of the state, woodwork and nice furniture lovers won’t miss this event. More than 50 furniture makers and woodworking artists are expected. You can even watch Barre Pinske carve a bear on site. More info at Vermont Fine Furniture & Woodworking Festival.
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum – Archaeology Week-end – September 26-27, 2009 – South of Burlington, near Vergennes, it is the annual archaeology event at the museum. You can do a tour on the lake to see a shipwreck (Saturday 1pm), or enjoy presentations, movies and more. More info on the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum website.
- Biking tour – South Hero and Grand Isle – September 26, 2009 – And for cycling amateurs, the Montpelier Section of the Green Mountain Club organizes a 25-mile loop in this beautiful region of Lake Champlain Islands, north of Vermont. For more info, contact: Mary Garcia at (802) 229-0153 or Mary Smith at (802) 505-0603.
- And don’t forget to read the last issue of Vermont Life magazine (we are not paid to promote it), for more info on a lot of outdoor activities you can do this Fall here, or just for the pleasure of looking at the beautiful photos they have throughout the magazine! Vermont Life Magazine Current Issue.

Celebrating Champlain

Samuel de Champlain - battle against Iroquois - Ticonderoga 1609
At 7pm tonight, October 24th, at the Vergennes Opera House, is the film premiere of “Champlain – the Lake Between” by filmmaker Caro Thompson. Samuel de Champlain seems to be quite a celebrity these days here in Vermont but also in Quebec and in New York State. 400 years ago, when he traveled these regions, he probably did not imagine he would be so popular centuries later… As Quebec celebrates the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec city by Samuel de Champlain and as New York and Vermont prepare to celebrate the anniversary of the discovery of Lake Champlain by the French explorer next year, a lot is being written and discussed on this subject: conferences, movies and documentaries, books…
Tonight, Caro Thompson explores Samuel de Champlain’s legacy, the relationships between Natives and Europeans (the fur trade was essential to both the French and the Natives) and the history of the military forts (Lake Champlain was indeed a very strategic region at the time of New France). “The lake between” is the name native Americans had given to the lake… There will be a discussion with the filmmaker and reception. The documentary will also be broadcasted on Vermont Public Television, with a broadcast premiere on December 3, 2008, at 8pm.
More information at: Vergennes Opera House – Film premiere of “Champlain – The Lake Between”

In the past few weeks, there have been other events of interests, a recent conference in Vergennes on first contacts between Europeans and Natives, a presentation at Champlain College by the historian Willard Sterne Randall, TV programs on Quebec television, articles in Quebec newspapers and the New York Times… but if you missed them, you still have a chance to be part of this discovery experience.

Here are a few events to watch for:
- October 30 in Albany, Pulitzer prize winner David Hackett Fischer is presenting his new book: “Champlain’s Dream”. A superb book!
Details at: “Champlain’s Dream” – Book presentation
- July 2-5, 2009: Champlain College is organizing an international symposium called: “When the French were here”.
Details at: Champlain College – “When the French were here” – Conference
- And right here at Travel-Vermont.net, we are organizing a summer 2009 historic tour “When this land was called New France…” … 6 days of historic exploration of this beautiful region (Quebec, Vermont and New York State)… Samuel de Champlain’s explorations, the way French settlers lived here, the forts and military actions… in English or in French… In partnership with Ipswich Tours and History Traveler, the official travel organization of the History Channel, and one of the events of the Quadricentennial of Lake Champlain.
More details at:When this land was called New France“.

Related articles:
- Middlebury College’s professor Christopher Shaw has canoed the path taken by Samuel de Champlain this summer.
Read his September 26 article in the New York Times: Champlain’s Shores
- In the Boston Globe, March 9, 2008: “Champlain was here” … on the exploration of the coast of New England, all the way down to Cape Cod
- In the Times Argus, March 16, 2008: “A bold arrival, an obscure end for French in Vermont”
- “Champlain names his lake”, a presentation by historian Willard Sterne Randall, from the Champlain College will air soon on Channel17 TownMeeting in streaming video. Check: Town Meeting Digital Television Conversion
- You can already see a presentation he did on Jacques Cartier and French explorers at: “Jacques Cartier and fool’s gold”
- The documentary “Facing Champlain, A Work in 3 Dimensions” by award-winning Quebec filmmaker Jean-François Pouliot can be seen at the Centre d’interprétation de Place-Royale in Quebec city
Details at: Centre d’interprétation de Place-Royale
- Map of Samuel de Champlain’s voyages
- Lake Champlain… New France

Fun Things to Do in Vermont

Swimming - LakeThere are lots of fun things to do in Vermont in the summer. Here is for starters:
- Go to one of the 89 swimming holes – ponds and rivers – listed on this website. Make sure to watch their slideshow, it gives you a great idea of the look of the different places (names are on the photos). Great for a hot day!
- Go to one of many outdoor concerts of the Vermont Mozart Festival or the Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival;
- Watch antique cars at the 51st Annual Antique & Classic Car Meet, in Stowe on August 8-10;
- Eat a maple cremee: you got to have one if you are in Vermont in the summer… Make sure you get the ones made with real maple syrup and not just the flavor! We’ll give you some addresses soon, but for now, let’s mention Morse Farm, up County Road, near Montpelier, that’s the place everyone knows;
- Go to the Harpoon Brewery BBQ competition in Windsor on July 26-27; 40 teams from all the country will compete!
- Get a Vermont Brewery Challenge – Official Passport and visit all 18 great micro-breweries in the state of Vermont; Get a stamp at each and you can win prizes!
- Go and watch the Challenge Race at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, near Vergennes on July 20; it’s a 3-mile race of around 50 small boats. Should be fun. Around 200 spectators usually attend. And may be even more fun, on Saturday 19 (today!) there is a duct tape boat construction and race there!
- Attend your first Thunder Road night in Barre (not NASCAR racing but close!) – every Thursday and occasionally on week-ends;
- And if you are into American Revolution history, go to one of the reenactments/encampments which take place at different historic sites along the summer: the Battle of Hubbardton early July, Mount Independence encampment this week-end, Bennington in August…
What do you think? Fun enough?… Anything fun we should add to this list, leave us a comment and tell us about it!!

Things to do in Vermont – July 18-20

Tiger LiliesSummer is definitely here and Vermont is still booming with activities and festivals. Anywhere you stay, you can enjoy music or historic narrations or military reenactments or food festivals!
So, as you plan the upcoming week-end, here are a few events we noticed:
- Vermont Mozart Festival is in full swing with both adults and kids concerts this week-end;
- 25th anniversary week-end of Billings Farms, Woodstock - July 20 – with lots of activities planned. The Vermont Fiddle Orchestra will perform at 1 pm, and Robert Resnik & Friends at 3 pm. There will be free ice cream and cookies throughout the day. And Governor Jim Douglas will be there (2 pm)!
- Mount Independence reenactment and encampment “Soldiers Atop the Mount” – it’s the major activity of the summer for the site;
- 7th Annual Killington Wine Festival – July 17-20
- Vermont Brewers Festival – July 18-19 – Rumor is that the Brewers Festival in Quebec is better but…
- 30th Annual Middlebury Summer Festival on-the-green – July 13-19 – Vermont Public Radio (VPR) gave a nice preview last Saturday of some interesting musicians participating to the event, such as some celtic and some Quebec traditional music groups;
- Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, near Vergennes, has a fun small boat race on Sunday (3 miles rowing or paddling) attracting around 50 participants and a small crowd of roughly 200;
- Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow – 2nd week-end of competition. Interestingly, the Northshire Digital Arts Center holds a digital photography contest for all attendees and participants of the horseshows. Check rules and prizes here.
- David Maxwell – Bennington Center for the Arts – The concert will be recorded for a future album. The organizers say that critics and fans think David Maxwell is one of the finest blues pianists alive.
- Marlboro Music – Marlboro College, Malboro – We don’t know the event, but the organizers are quoting the Time to have said that it is “the most exciting chamber music in the U.S.”
We’ll be posting more details in the next couple of days. Make sure to come back and visit us.
Also, don’t hesitate to leave us a comment on one of these events if you got a chance to attend!

French Heritage Days – July 11-12

Quebec flag
The French Heritage Days starts on Friday night, July 11, from 6 to 9PM, in Vergennes, with the Veillée, a traditional French Canadian supper and traditional music and dance with the Club Carrefour, from Quebec. That should be so much fun! Everything we dream of for a traditional French Canadian supper is on the menu for sure… “French onion soup, pea soup, tourtiere (traditional meat pie), chicken pie, sheppard pie, apple pie, blueberry pie, tarte au sucre (sugar pie)”… that was the list Marguerite, the organizer of the event gave me… Carbs count? You got to forget about those for one night for sure!… afterall, the hard-working farmers in the harsh winters of Quebec really needed these calories… but it should be delicious…
Then, on Saturday July 12th, a number of events and activities are taking place in various Vergennes locations to be enjoyed by the whole family: reenactors of French soldiers, French Voyager, Comte de Vergennes, and Samuel de Champlain, fencing demonstrations, story tellers, waiter’s race, etc. … and lots of music (fiddle and accordion)!
As you can see, Samuel de Champlain is already a star this year at the French Heritage Days, even though the 400th anniversary celebration of his discovery of Lake Champlain is only next year: there will be a lecture by Julie Dowd, “They Walked with Champlain” at the library and a Samuel de Champlain historical interpretation at the bandstand.
And last but not least, the Vermont French Canadian Genealogical Society will be there to help you trace back your French-Canadian ancestors, if your name happens to be Sénécal, Gagné or Gagnon! And on that subject, I need to open a little parenthesis for those of you interested in tracing back your ancestors to France. I came accross this France Guide website yesterday, which has a free ancestry search tool to just do that: simply type your name and it will give you the names of French ancestors who came to North-America! You can click here to access the free ancestry search tool. Nice, no?
Well, to conclude… we have not attended this event before, so we don’t know how well attended it is and what its ”quality” is, but we’ll be there on Saturday for sure (too bad we cannot make it Friday night!).
What we know though is that it seems to attract more people every year and it has also been chosen as the “signature event” of the summer celebrations for the 400th anniversary of Lake Champlain next year.
So, if you drop by, make sure to tell us what you thought!

Schedule for the French Heritage Days in Vermont – July 11-12, 2008

Things to do in Vermont – July 12-13

Hubbardton reenactment
Sunday morning – July 6, 2008 – Battle of Hubbardton reenactment

Fourth of July’s week-end is hardly over that we are already thinking about next week-end! Summer is here and Vermont has so many events and activities to choose from! It seems particulary true for the upcoming week-end of July 12-13.
So, we thought we would share our initial thoughts with you, the few events which garbed our attention, and which we will write more about as the week progresses.
- Vermont Mozart Festival – a renowned festival for musicians, will have its Grand Opening next Sunday night at Shelburne Farms. We’ll be there!
- French Heritage Days, Vergennes - an event more popular every year, for the people like me who enjoy Quebec food and music, and a lot more! We’ll be there as well, on Saturday.
- the Mountain Bike Festival in Waterbury July 12 and 13 – for the more sportive among us!
- the Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow – the start of six weeks of top equestrian competition in the beautiful Green Mountains scenery;
- the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival - 25 hot air balloons will launch Friday at 6:30pm, Saturday at 6:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Sunday at 6:30 a.m.!
So… come back and visit us for more detailed information and all the relevant links. And don’t miss our upcoming story on the Best Maple Cremee in Vermont as well!