You're Going to Love Montpelier
Vermont's state capital is undeniably cosmopolitan, though it still manages to maintain its small town charm. A great destination for those looking to explore the sights and sounds on foot, the city features a refined selection of shops, galleries, and restaurants. For those looking for a quiet escape, without limiting artistic and culinary amenities, Montpelier makes for a perfect New England getaway.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Montpelier
1. Great Vintage Finds
From upscale thrift shops to used bookstores, as well as carefully curated boutiques, Montpelier offers a treasure trove of vintage bargains.
2. Premier Farm-to-Table Treats
Montpelier was one of the first American cities to champion farm-to-table cuisine. Kismet Kitchen features local seasonal vegetables, as well as seafood and meat dishes, and La Puerta Negra specializes in Latin cuisine created with local ingredients.
3. Sit Back and Relax
After a long day of taking in the sights, Montpelier offers an outstanding selection of craft breweries, many with live music, including the Three Penny Taproom, a must-stop for craft-beer lovers.
4. Travel Back in Time
From pre-Civil War architecture to classic American art, Montpelier provides an exceptional opportunity to acquaint yourself with New England's past.
5. Head for the Woods
Montpelier also offers breathtaking natural surroundings. From bird-watching and raspberry picking to nearby skiing and swimming, Montpelier has boundless natural beauty.
What to do in Montpelier
1. An Open Air Look At Yesteryear
Located in the Champlain Valley, the Shelburne Museum offers a variety of folk art, circus collections, and Impressionist paintings. The museum's plethora of diversified scaled, colored and whimsical patterned art centers on its contemporary yearly exhibitions. Walk over to the Barn Annex and peruse the horse-drawn vehicles in the museum's carriage collection. Marvel at a collection of original 1890 Webb vehicles that includes an 1890 Million et Guiet Berlin Coach adorned with gold satin lining, detailed paintings, and a brass and leather interior. The barn also houses farm and trade vehicles, stagecoaches and wagons. If you love desserts, walk over to the Murphy Gallery and admire the sugarcoated surfaces of sugar-themed installations such as the Teal and White Cake Heels.
2. Dive And Explore Shipwrecks
A boat will take you to the site of the shipwrecks. You'll be amazed at the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) as it explores the wrecks and sends feedback via its camera. If you love to dive, register with the Historic Preserve System for an annual pass and dive the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve for free. You'll descend to the mooring system and view the wrecks. This site provides an amazing opportunity for underwater photography.
3. Climb The Park's Tower
Go on a picnic at the Old Shelter Pavilion and cook steaks at one of the grills. After hiking the Fitness Trails, relax at one of the picnic areas and enjoy the sound of the water fountain as you chill. Hike up to the highest peak of the park, climb the stairs of the tall tower, and enjoy a panoramic view of Vermont's capital. The park has seven locations where visitors can have campfires. Cuddle up to the fire at night or gather with family and friends to tell ghost stories. For folks with mobility issues, Hubbard Park's New Shelter Pavilion offers specially modified accommodation.
4. The Only Public Planetarium In Vermont
Dedicated to the astrophysicist responsible for the Hubble Space Telescope, The Lyman Spitzer Jr. Planetarium offers visitors a tour of the galaxy inside the Vinton Space Gallery. If you love astronomy, you'll be mesmerized by the latest space data simulations projected by a fisheye lens onto a 20-foot dome. You'll marvel at the 360-degree view of the cosmos provided by the circular seating arrangement.
5. Icon Of The State
Take a self-guided tour. As you enter the hall, you'll be greeted by a bust of Abraham Lincoln. The Corinthian styled columns juxtaposed with the checkered floor add a contemporary look to the building's historic architecture. Stroll inside the Senate room decorated with red curtains, table skirts, and chairs. After the tour, grab lunch at the Capital Food Court and relax. After, stop at the Under the Dome Gifts shop and purchase a Staffordshire china souvenir to remember your visit.
When to Visit Montpelier
Given that Montpelier offers as many cold as well as warm weather activities, the city is an ideal travel destination year-round. Just be sure to dress appropriately since temperatures can drop to freezing in winter.
How to Get to Montpelier
Air travelers can reach Montpelier through Edward F. Knapp State Airport in Berlin, a private airdrome, or Burlington International Airport, located 35 miles away. Greyhound service from the airport averages $20. There is also town car, car rental, and taxi service available.
Amtrak has daily service to Montpelier Junction in Berlin, on the Vermonter route, which runs from St. Albans, Vermont to Washington, D.C.
Montpelier is on I-89, which connects with Burlington. U.S. Route 2 and Vermont Route 12 also traverse the city.
Greyhound and Megabus both stop in Montpelier. The Green Mountain Transit Authority provides commuter service to Montpelier, Burlington, Richmond, and Waterbury, as well as the airport.
Airlines serving Montpelier
Where to Stay in Montpelier
The Inn at Montpelier dates back to the early 1800s and features spacious rooms. The more modern Capitol Plaza Hotel and Conference Center includes a steakhouse on site and a gym.
Popular Neighborhoods in Montpelier
College Hill - the College Hill neighborhood is home to the Vermont College of Fine Arts, which features live performances and art exhibits.
Downtown/Cliffside - the Downtown/Cliffside neighborhood, Montpelier's historic district, houses the Capitol Building and the Vermont Historical Society Museum, as well as shops and restaurants.
Elm Street - the Elm Street neighborhood, along the North Branch River, features North Branch Vineyards, a small family winery that produces renowned wines.
Where to stay in popular areas of Montpelier
Most booked hotels in Montpelier
How to Get Around Montpelier
The Green Mountain Transit Authority (GMTA) offers local bus service throughout the city, with stops in Montpelier and Barre, as well as Waterbury, the Vermont State House, the Ben & Jerry's factory, and the Berlin Mall. 10-ride bus passes are available for $12.
Montpelier's taxi service includes the Green Cab VT company with a fleet of alternative fuel and hybrid cars. There is a minimum charge of $8.25 for trips up to two miles.
Given its small size, Montpelier is fairly easy to drive around. Public parking is readily available with rates starting as low as $0.35 per hour. Rental cars are priced at under $80 a day.
The Cost of Living in Montpelier
Montpelier's downtown shopping area features many inexpensive options, such as vintage store the Getup Vintage on Langdon Street. In the same space, you'll find Buch Spieler Records, which trades classic vinyl and more. Bear Pond Books on Main Street specializes in new, used, and rare signed books.
Groceries and Other
Aside from standard supermarkets, such as Shaw's and Price Chopper, Montpelier also features the Uncommon Market, which carries groceries, fresh seafood, steaks, wine, and beer. The cost of groceries in the city is slightly above the national average. For example, a gallon of milk is typically priced at $3.56 and a dozen eggs at $2.75.
Where to Eat in Montpelier
The Skinny Pancake serves breakfast dishes, crepes, and paninis for under $9. Sarducci's, a casual Italian trattoria on the Winooski River, features wood oven pizzas and pasta dishes priced under $15, and the Royal Orchid is renowned for its Thai specialties for under $18.