Burlington, a quaint Vermont town on the shore of Lake Champlain, thrives on all things offbeat. The public square on Church Street is an outdoor walking promenade lined with various shops, dining options and street performers. Meanwhile, the Shelburne Museum houses a fully transplanted train station and the steamboat Ticonderoga, and the city's breweries feature live events and interactive tours. Even the most famous Burlington settlers – like Ethan Allen (of the Green Mountain Boys, not the furniture retailer), Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (yes that Ben and Jerry, which is founded and headquartered in nearby Waterbury) – march to the beat of their own drum. So, pack your Birkenstocks, book the bed-and-breakfast and get ready to live and let live in Burlington.
Are you daydreaming of the European Alps but don't have the dough to go? Consider the quaint – and more affordable – Vermont village of Stowe. Tucked between the Green Mountains and CC Putnam State Forest, this classic New England town is filled with malt shops and general stores, as well as charming churches and working farms. And just beyond main street, Mount Mansfield – the state's highest peak – looms over town, with world-class skiing and other winter sports opportunities sloping down its side. Somewhere between ascending Mansfield in one of Stowe Mountain Resort's gondolas and sipping hot cocoa fireside at the Swiss-style chalets, you'll think you're nestled in a sleepy village in the Alps. At least the von Trapps thought so; Stowe's Trapp Family Lodge is where the melodious family (made famous by "The Sound of Music") settled because it reminded them of their Austrian home.