When you think of Vermont, are your first thoughts of skiing or maybe Ben & Jerry’s? Naturally, these are important symbols of Vermont, but here are some facts about our state that you just might not know.
1. Vermont was once an independent country.
Due to land claims from Quebec, New Hampshire and New York, Vermont took the bold step and declared its independence in 1777. The Republic established a constitution, minted its own currency, and operated a postal system. However, in 1791, Vermont officially joined the United States as the 14th state.
2. Vermont is the birthplace of two U.S. presidents.
Both Chester A. Arthur (21st) and Calvin Coolidge (30th) were born in the state of Vermont. You can even visit the Calvin Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth, Vermont.
3. Vermont is a major producer of milk and maple syrup.
People jokingly declare there are more cows in Vermont than people. Even though this is untrue, Vermont still has the highest cow to person ratio in the country and dairy production is a major industry. Where else would Ben and Jerry choose to make ice cream? (And you can visit the Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Waterbury to see ice cream being made, receive a sample and visit the Flavor Graveyard.) Vermont is also the largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S. Visit in early spring to see maple sugaring being done throughout the state. (See a list of producers here.)
4. Vermont is the #1 producer of marble in the country.
Marble in Vermont is big business with the Vermont Marble Company founded in 1880 in what is now the town of Proctor. You can visit the Vermont Marble Museum today on-site. How famous is Vermont marble? Vermont marble from Danby was used to build the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C.
5. You will not find any billboards or skyscrapers in Vermont.
Vermont is proud of its natural beauty and has taken pains to make sure nothing can obscure your view. In 1968, Vermont banned commercial billboards (something only 3 other states have done.) In addition, the state also does not have any skyscrapers to mar the horizon. In fact, the tallest structure in the state is the Bennington Battle Monument at 306 feet 4.5 inches tall.
6. Vermont has many “firsts” in snow sports.
So, you knew snow sports was big. But did you know the first ski lift (a tow line) was erected in Woodstock, Vermont in 1934, powered by a Ford Model T engine? Or that Vermont resident, Jake Burton, started making snowboards in South Londonderry, Vermont, and grew to be one of the premier snowboard brands. Burton Snowboards are still a Vermont company headquartered in Burlington. The 2014-15 winter season, described by experts as an average year saw 4.7 million skier visits at the state’s 20 downhill ski areas. When you add the impact on lodging, dining, and shopping by all these visitors, you can see that skiing is big business in Vermont.
7. Craft beer is taking off in Vermont.
Vermont may not have more cows than people, but it does have the most breweries per capita than any state in the nation. The Vermont Brewers Association describes the phenomenon this way, “In Vermont, our search for the perfect pint is fueled by a passionate and inquisitive spirit. We explore further and dig deeper. All so that we can create a beer unlike anyone else.” Take a brewery tour or attend one of the many craft brew events throughout the state.
8. Vermont is at the forefront of progressive politics… and has been throughout history.
Did you know that the constitution of the Vermont Republic abolished slavery back in 1777? Vermont was the first state to grant women partial voting rights in 1880 and first to legislatively legalize gay marriage. Additionally, it is one of the “greenest” states in the country. Perhaps the strength of Vermont’s independent thinking can be attributed to citizen involvement in decision making. The Town Meeting is still a strong concept in Vermont with Town Meeting day the first Tuesday in March throughout the state.
9. Vermont’s residents are happy, healthy, and safe.
A 2017 poll from Gallup-Healthways ranks states based upon participants’ answers to questions about sense of purpose, social relationships, financial lives, community involvement and physical health. In other words, general happiness. Vermont ranked 2nd highest, just after South Dakota and just before Hawaii! The Annual Health Rankings from UnitedHealthcare for 2017 show Vermont 3rd, just after Massachusetts and Hawaii. When ranking for public safety (which measures both violent crime and property crime), U.S. News ranks Vermont number 2 after Maine.
10. Vermont wants you to move here.
Vermont hopes to entice young people to move to Vermont to bolster an aging population. Under a recent bill signed into law, workers who already have a job in another state and work remotely are eligible for up to $10,000 in moving and other expenses (such as broadband access) from the state of Vermont when they move here. How perfect is this for the avid skier in Boston who is working from his condo or the salesperson from New York who is on the road most days? For more information on this program, see our blog: 5 Reasons to Move to Vermont (and Take Advantage of the State’s $10,000 Incentive)