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Why People Tell You Not to Visit Vermont in April…

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 New England Getaways. “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 that affiliate link 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:

Vermont Getaways

Looking for great places to visit and stay in VT? Check out these destinations!

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Nathanael

Friday 27th of August 2021

This is interesting, since I’m considering moving to Vermont from a very different climate in the southwest desert. (Though I grew up in a four season climate.)

Every place has its “throwaway” months, and for us it’s mid-June to mid-September. Gets over 100° almost every day, and over 110° quite often. April is our busiest time in terms of tourists, so the complete opposite of Vermont.

But the summer mornings here are beautiful, usually in the low 70s, and the evenings after the sun sets are like being surrounded by a warm blanket (it’s nice for a few minutes). And next to no bugs… since there isn’t much water anyway, and I’m pretty sure the heat kills most of them (except the scorpions).

So every place has its perks, even in their “throwaway” months. Great writeup. Even if I’m 8 years late to the party.

Lillie Marshall

Friday 27th of August 2021

So glad you found this article -- you're not late to the party at all! The party of discussing weather in Vermont is eternal. I like what you point out, that every region has its ups and downs, seasonally. From what you describe, sounds like VT might be an upgrade in terms of pleasant number of days -- at least ones that aren't broiling hot!

Gabe - We Travel and Blog

Friday 31st of May 2013

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.

Lillie Marshall

Wednesday 23rd of January 2019

Thank you for your kind and wise words!

Katie

Wednesday 29th of May 2013

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!

Lillie

Wednesday 29th of May 2013

Hah! Yes!

Teresa Roberts

Friday 17th of May 2013

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

Lillie

Friday 17th of May 2013

Ah yes, I've heard of Black Flies! Yikes!!!

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas

Monday 13th of May 2013

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.

Lillie

Monday 13th of May 2013

True on both counts!

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