Summer Fun: Try Something New

May 10, 2012  
Filed under Things to do

By Phyl Newbeck

So many activities, so little time. Vermont is full of excitement in the summer and there’s no way to touch on all the things you can do to spice up your life. But, why not give it a try? Below are some ideas you may have been thinking about, but weren’t quite sure how to get started on your summer fun!

Hit the Road

Vroom, vroom, vroom. If that sound makes your heart beat faster, maybe it’s time to follow your inner wild child, hop on a motorcycle and travel the state. If it’s been awhile since you’ve strapped on your leathers and helmet (or if you never have), the state has a series of courses for riders ranging from basic and intermediate to experienced and “skills plus.” First time riders may want to start with the Vermont Motorcycle Awareness Program — a four-hour safety course. Once you’ve got your training, it’s time to hit the road. Among the recommended routes for two-wheelers is a loop in the Northeast Kingdom which starts in St. Johnsbury and heads through Lyndon, Glover, Lake Willoughby, Derby and Island Pond. A flatter, but equally scenic, route travels north from Milton, along the shore of Lake Champlain, across to Alburgh, down the Champlain Islands and over the causeway back to Milton.

Motorcycle Training

Motorcycle Routes

Water sports

If all that black leather in the summertime strikes you as too hot, perhaps you’re better off heading out on the water. The Vermont State Police has an on-line course for those who prefer their watercrafts with engines. If your preference is sailboats, you can take classes at various locations including the International Sailing School in Colchester, Smooth Sail Vermont in Essex or the Community Sailing Center in Burlington. Even if you don’t have your own sailboat, you can indulge your competitive instinct with weekly races sponsored by a number of Lake Champlain yacht clubs. For those looking for sights instead of speed, your watercraft can get you to places you can’t reach by car including campsites at Knight Island and Burton Island State parks. There are marinas up and down the lake from Ticonderoga to Grand Isle for folks without lake access at home.

Boating Lessons

Sailing Lessons

Sailboat Racing

Camping Sites


Gone Fishin’

Thinking about water may also get you thinking about fishing. Vermont has 170 fishing access areas varying from Lake Champlain to smaller ponds and rivers. 134 of these areas have concrete or gravel ramps for launching motorized boats and 18 were created for shore-line fishing. If you’ve never picked up a rod and reel before, there’s no need to fret. The state offers a Let’s Go Fishing course at various times and locations, and outfitters including Stream and Brook Fly Fishing in Vergennes and Fly Fish Vermont in Stowe will teach you fly casting skills. If you want to know where the trout are hiding, the Vermont Outdoor Guide Association website links to a number of guides across the state.  Just don’t forget to get your fishing license before heading out.

Fishing Lessons

Fishing Guides

Fishing Licenses

Pack your bags

Maybe  your idea of summer fun is just spending a little time away from home; relaxing while someone else does the cooking and makes the beds. There’s no need to leave the state to do that. There are bed and breakfasts across Vermont where you can spend some time being pampered without the hassle of airplane travel. The Mad River Valley is great for a summer getaway with multiple inns in scenic Warren and Waitsfield. There are also a number of options on the Champlain Islands for those who want to relax and enjoy the sunshine. If you are looking for a little trail time (either cycling or hiking), you may want to consider accommodations at Catamount Family Center in Williston, Sleepy Hollow in Huntington, the Inn at Shelburne Farms or Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe.


Other Accommodations

Muckin’ About

Travel is nice, but some people may want to spend the summer at home in their gardens. Perhaps you’ve been tending the same perennials for years and want to spruce up your property a bit. One of the best ways to do that is through the UVM Master Gardener Program; a three-month course taught through interactive television sites across the state, which also includes a practical component. If three months sounds a bit daunting, another option is to attend workshops which can be found at garden centers throughout the state including Gardener’s Supply in Williston, the UVM Horticulture Farm, the Northeast Organic Farming Organization and Red Wagon Plants in Hinesburg. You can learn quite a bit by going to workshops and tours put on by groups like Branch out Burlington and Friends of the UVM Hort Farm. If you’re looking for company, there are 17 federated garden clubs in the state reaching from Brattleboro to St. Albans, not to mention a plethora of community gardens.

Gardening Skills

Gardening Events

Gardening Clubs

All Decked OUT

Once you’ve got that beautiful garden, you might want to share it with others. Perhaps this summer is your opportunity to turn your deck or patio into an entertainment space with a new grill, some outdoor furniture, an awning to shield against the sun and maybe some speakers to pipe out music from your stereo. You might think about setting up volleyball or badminton nets or creating a makeshift wiffleball field. If you’re looking to make major alterations, the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern Vermont is a good place to start. Businesses ranging from Otter Creek Awnings in Williston to The Lighting House in Shelburne can help you with the basics.

Home Renovation

The Summer of 2012

So get out and enjoy the summer. Whether it’s digging in the dirt, putting the pedal to the metal, or reeling in the catch of the day, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy summer the way you want to!


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