The Capital of Vermont
The capital of the green mountain state serves as both a professional hub and a home to an eclectic mix of Vermonters and travelers slowly passing through. It is important to note that what-to-do and where-to-eat could fall under the same category. Montpelier is a hidden gem for local food, good work, and quiet spaces. A visiting friend once commented on its easy-going nature: “This place appears like the kind of idyllic New England town where everyone is a writer and sits in front of a fireplace all day.” Don’t let the peaceful pocket fool those peering from around the mountains; it is true there are artists in bloom on top of the hill. And by night, winter or summer, this town is not sleepy. Montpelierites of Montpeculiar really know how to dance.
Location: The north central-area of Vermont, surrounded by hills and granite ledges, just east of the Green Mountains.
Coordinates: 44°15’N, 72°34’W
“This place appears like the kind of idyllic New England town where everyone is a writer and sits in front of a fireplace all day.”
Where to Eat + Drink
Start with a coffee at Capitol Grounds.
For breakfast or a weekend afternoon retreat, enjoy the casual and sweet atmosphere of The Skinny Pancake, with live cafe music on some nights.
Tea, pillows on the floor, and vegetarian love at Tulsa Tea Room.
Sweet Melissa’s has live music every night. Open Mic on Tuesday’s. You really get to see Montpelier’s finest. Charlie-O’s, a cash dive bar, if you’re up for it. Neither bar has a website, that’s how good they are.
Beer craft joy at Three Penny.
Mad Taco, always.
And if it happens to be a Thursday, stay for chocolate bacon night with live music at Nutty Steph’s, a granola shop and bar.
What to Do
Wander the Farmer’s Market outside every weekend in the summer months and toss back a shot of gin at 10am at the indoor winter market.
Get outside. There are stunning quarries beyond a walk through the fields of Sabin’s Pasture. Otherwise the neighborhoods are visionary and quaint at the same time.
Find retreat in a meditation class at Yoga Mountain.
Visit Bear Pond Books.
Pay a worthy visit to the co-op.
Shop local downtown. Did you know Montpelier is the only capital in the USA that does not have a McDonalds?
Catch an independent movie available at The Savoy. Wine is served and there are couches.
Dance at Sweet Melissa’s, or Positive Pie.
Sit in on a reading by a visiting writer at Vermont College of Fine Arts, or reflect on student work in their elegant gallery. Heck, sign up for one of their low-residency graduate programs and keep returning.
Karen Cygnarowicz is a poet and artist currently working as a freelance editor and writer while studying her MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts. After a couple years living in Montpelier, Vermont, Karen and her boyfriend most recently traveled South East Asia and are moving towards their next adventure. She enjoys stories that capture character, poetry that embarks on the mountain of emotion, and films that really know how to use the sun. Visit her online portfolio here.