Visit the cultural side of Vermont

Most people visit Vermont to enjoy the state’s outdoor delights, but there are plenty of enticing indoor activities as well. Along with biking, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, hiking, or long walks along beautiful trails and peaceful meadows you should also check out some of these fascinating places to get a taste of what Vermont has to offer in the way of cultural institutions.
Upper Valley
Montshire Museum of Science

Photo Credit: Montshire Museum of Science

Montshire Museum of Science
One Montshire Rd., Norwich
802-649-2200, http://www.montshire.org/
Housed in a state-of-the-art building this science museum boasts 125 exhibits on nature, technology, astronomy, and earth sciences. With 60 hands on exhibits the museum is a treasure trove of learning for kids.
Billings Farm and Museum
Rte. 12, Woodstock
802-457-2355, http://www.billingsfarm.org/
Founded in 1871 by Vermonter Frederick Billings, today the farm pays homage to Vermont’s rural agricultural history. Exhibits are housed in several connected 19th century barns.  Don’t miss a tour of the restored 1890 farm manager’s house filled with original antiques and lithographs.  There’s also a creamery and an ice house from the same period.
Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historical Park
Rte. 12, Woodstock
802-457-3368 ext. 22, www.nps.gov/mabi
Across the road from the Billings Farm is the Marsh Billings Rockefeller, a stunning 1805 Queen Anne style mansion filled with the art collections of Frederick and Julia Billings.   On Park Ranger led tours of the house you can learn how the Billings, their granddaughter Mary and her husband Laurence Rockefeller amassed their stellar assemblage of art which includes the largest private collection in the country of Hudson River School paintings.
Southern Vermont
Bennington Museum
75 Main St. Bennington
802-447-1571, http://www.benningtonmuseum.org/
On view here is the largest public collection of artwork by Grandma Moses. Anna Mary Robertson Moses’ (1860-1961) paintings told the story of rural farm life in early America. The museum is also known for its examples of 18th century Bennington pottery and American glassware and dioramas and artifacts depicting the Revolutionary War battle of Bennington.
Billings Farm and Museum

Billings Farm and Museum

Mid-Vermont
Flynn Center for the Performing Arts
153 Main St. Burlington
802-863-5966, http://www.flynncenter.org/
This art deco gem features a full calendar of entertainment everything from live theater to jazz, comedy, dance and classical music performances.
University of Vermont’s Fleming Art Museum
61 Colchester Ave., Burlington
802-656-2090, www.uvm.edu/~fleming
Located on the campus of the University of Vermont, the Fleming is a repository for 20,000 anthropological objects spanning from early Mesopotamia to 21st century America. Their art collection is devoted to the Vermont landscape paintings of Charles Louis Heyde.  There are also works by Winslow Homer, Andy Warhol, John James Audubon and Margaret Bourke-White, to name a few.
Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Site

Photo Credit: Marsh Billings Rockefeller National Historic Site

Northern Vermont
St. Johnsbury Athenaeum
1171 Main St., St. Johnsbury
802-748-8291, http://www.stjathenaeum.org/
This National Historic Landmark was a gift to the town from Horace Fairbanks, industrialist and art collector. The library’s book collection numbers 40,000 while works by artists such as Ashur B. Durand, James and William Hart, and Sanford Gifford line the walls of the art gallery.  At ten feet by fifteen feet Albert Bierstadt’s Domes of Yosemite dominates the gallery.
Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium
302 Main St., St. Johnsbury
802-748-2372, http://www.fairbanksmuseum.org/
The Fairbanks’ massive barrel vaulted gallery holds a fascinating and eclectic collection of 75,000 objects from around the world everything from mounted bears to birds to reptiles, fish and insects. In the planetarium astronomy experts give guided tours of the cosmos.


Frances FolsomGuest writer Frances J. Folsom lives and writes in beautiful New England. She has written for many print magazines and has contributed to a range of travel guides. Frances can be reached by e-mail or through her personal blog. She lives in Cambridge Massachusetts.
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