May 042013
Hmm. Vermont in April is... interesting.

Behold: Vermont in April is… um…

“So… now is not a good time to come here,” the Vermont native told me, trying to break the news gently.

“What are you talking about?” I retorted. “I love Vermont! I’m sure any time of year is lovely.”

“See, the thing is…” the gal tried again, “April here is not like our beautiful Winter, Fall, or Summer. It’s just kind of… brown.”

“Pshaw!” I scoffed. With that, Colin and I piled our suitcases into the car for one of our famous weekend escapades. “Brattleboro, Vermont, here we come!” I hollered as we sped down the highway out of Boston.

The "foliage" was a gnarled gray-brown mess.

The Vermont “foliage” of April was a gnarled gray-brown mess.

We checked into a cute Brattleboro Bed and Breakfast (click to see where we stayed) and bounded right out to hike around the lake created by West River. The B&B owner had told us of a lovely path right along the water, and we eagerly trudged down to it.

“Yipes,” whispered Colin as we became engulfed in a tortured frizzle of bony brown trees, “This is kind of like Mordor. It’s like one of those wastelands after Sauron zaps it. Can’t you just see some old man hobbling out, grunting, ‘This used to be a lush green village, I tell you, until the Dark One’s power began to take over!’?”

I giggled and snapped a dead gray twig.

Gray twigs clumped around the edge of the lake forlornly.

Gray twigs clumped around the edge of the lake forlornly.

“Yeah…” I sighed, “I guess I see what that Vermont woman was trying to tell us.”

Suddenly, Colin cried out: “Is that a cheese factory?!”

“YES!” I hollered. “Let’s sample the heck out of it! Er, I mean, tour it!”

Craving color and sustenance, we stopped at a cheese factory!

Craving color and sustenance, we stopped at a cheese factory.

We ate our way through the cheese factory for a good hour, finally purchasing some 5-year aged cheddar and a spicy mustard that I now slather on everything possible. A friendly cheese fellow popped out of his station to talk us through the various stages of fancy cheese preparation, including my personal favorite: shoveling the cheese nuggets into silver squares, then squiiiishing it all down with the fists!

Packing the cheddar. Squish, squish!

Packing the cheddar for years of aging. Squish, squish!

Back on the trail, we walked into town and scarfed a Brookie: a cookie baked inside a brownie!!!

“Vermont may be brown this time of year,” I said through mouthfuls, “but it sure is fun. And delicious!”

Next, we headed to scale Mt. Wantastiquet, an activity which had been recommended by a friend. It was there that we realized the other problem with visiting Vermont in April. I’ll give you a hint: SPLASH!

Hiking trails around Brattleboro were a tad damp...

Hiking trails around Brattleboro were a tad damp…

You see, in Vermont in April, the snow (and much snow there was) has all melted, but the ground has not had the chance to absorb the liquid. Meanwhile, no grass or leaves have grown. The result of these ingredients is soup: a stew of mud, dead old leaves, and dirty water. Don’t wear your best shoes hiking in Vermont in April! Our tootsies got quite the bath.

The view from the top of the mountain! Er, brown and gray.

The view from the top of the mountain! Er, brown and gray.

The top of the mountain was nice! It was sunny and breezy and a comforting gray-brown, like a fuzzy rabbit.

Walking back down the mountain, we were so sick of hopping stones to avoid the puddles that we began cutting through the trees instead, praying all the while to avoid poison oak (not that either of us knew what it looked like). Due to this improvised shortcut, we made it down in half the time it took to hike up.

Did our shoes get wet? Yes.

Did our shoes get wet? Yes.

So here’s the bottom line:

Is Vermont in April brown, muddy, and a little strange? Yes.

Did we still have a really awesome mini-vacation there, despite getting a little wet in the toes? YES!

People have their reasons to tell you not to visit places during certain times of year, but in general, you can find your fun whenever and wherever you desire.

Vermont is emotionally tasty, even if the time of year is a little brown!

Vermont is emotionally tasty, even if the time of year is a little brown!

So what about YOU? Which destinations do you think are worth visiting, even during “bad times of year” for them? Which ones are not?

Tips for a Great Vermont Trip:

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  25 Responses to “Why People Tell You Not to Visit Vermont in April…”

  1. You still managed to get some awesome shots. I love the one with the yellow leaves on the floor and the reflection. Great snap! But yea in the end places are what you make them. They may be more beautiful at certain times of the year but beauty is all perspective anyways right.

  2. We have a 5th season here in Vermont, it is called mud season and you got to experience it! No matter when you come though, Vermont is awesome- whether you are drinking local beers and eating cheese (like you did!) or attempting to hike through the mud- you will have fun! Mud season is especially good for us Vermonters because winter is over and the summer is in our reach! Next time come further north to Burlington!

  3. I love New England, but having lived in Maine for 32 years, I can say that spring is not the most convenient time of the year to visit. Like Vermont, we have mud season from the deep frosts. We also have black flys, and let me tell you, unless you have experienced these critters firsthand, you have no idea! LOLOLOL

  4. I think there’s something to be said about touring any place at an off-peak time – I’ve been to many places at Christmas when it’s snowy or rainy or stormy, but as a teacher, you get what you can get! And, really, any place with a cheese factory is a good place.

  5. Just found your site. I can relate as my husband and I have just moved back to Vermont for an Inn Keeping job. We are loving the season, although the black flies did just start coming out, that may change things. 🙂

  6. We loved Ireland in November, even though everyone told us it was too cold and wet! Tourist season was over, we had the trails and B&B’s to ourselves, and the rain made for the most beautiful rainbows every day. We loved it!

  7. I just got back from Costa Rica at the tail end of dry season — everything was brown and dead. But still gorgeous!!

  8. Ha – Mordor. Classic! I’d take the brown & grey of Vermont in April over the brown & grey of the concrete jungle any day. Especially when a cheese factory is involved. Yum!

  9. I love Vermont in any season; winter, spring, mud, gray, brown, fall, summer, mayfly,…..we own a cabin (and a tree house!) in Grafton, and it is my heaven on earth. Love your VT post (and all your posts)!

  10. Off-season travel can have a charm of its own. . . we just spent April in the Pocono Mountains. Ski season was over and spring was only starting. But it was quiet and still beautiful!

  11. Soup it may be, but a pretty brown leaf-full soup it is.

    As much as a downer these types of trips can be when they come from time-to-time, it’s always a funny story to pass on, much like you have done now 🙂

  12. I too love Vermont, in any season! Glad you had a nice visit! You’ve got us craving a brookie…

  13. I went to college in northwestern Massachusetts, three miles from the Vermont border (Williams College in Williamstown, MA). April was a mess—gray, brown and muddy. My mother didn’t understand why I wanted seriously waterproof (un, mud) boots. Just when it would finally start to warm up and green up, we would be taking final exams and then have to leave for the summer. Spring in Philadelphia……ahhhh.

  14. Seems like a fun weekend nonetheless and it looks beautiful nonetheless! 🙂

  15. cheese factory?! yes please!

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