Vermont is a pretty place — except during mud season — and Vermonters are a creative bunch. The state's robust Instagram community captures it all. If you're looking for foodie inspiration, cute animals, colorful art or nature shots, look no further than these seven local accounts. (And hey, don't forget to follow Seven Days at @sevendaysvt, too!)
Name: The University of Vermont Dairy Club
Fave filter: #nofilter, but they fix shadows because barn lighting isn't great
Fave Burlington-area spot: The UVM Dairy Barn (It's a public farm, so visitors are welcome!)
UVM Dairy Club students snap these photos — of sunsets from the school's dairy barn, club field trips and, of course, cows. "We want to share pictures of agriculture with people who might not necessarily have connections to it," says Lauren Spendley, a 2019 grad who helped start the account. In summer, the Cooperative for Real Education in Agricultural Management team takes over, posting photos of CREAM students showing cows at fairs around the state.
Vivid photos of foliage, snow-topped mountains, tumbledown barns and church spires fill Erica Houskeeper's Insta feed. Through her blog, Happy Vermont, and her previous work with the tourism department, she's covered most of the state. Houskeeper reveals that finding the perfect Vermonty shot is often just serendipity: "I'll just drive, see a dirt road and say, 'Oh, I'll just see what's up here.' And sometimes I'll get really lucky."
Name: Wafflenugget the Bernese mountain dog (and owner Kate Speer)
Fave filter: Juno (It's named after an IG founder's Bernese mountain dog.)
Fave Burlington-area spots: Camel's Hump; Mount Mansfield
Wafflenugget is a "majestic derp," says Speer — albeit one with more than 141,000 followers. While silly and playful, she's a trained psychiatric service dog who's been attuned to her owner's emotions since she was a puppy. Waffle can recognize and respond to Speer's anxiety and PTSD symptoms even before Speer herself does. "Waffle is the best teacher anyone could have," says Speer. "She just reminds me to look around."
Name: Will "Kasso" Condry
Fave filter: Lo-Fi or black-and-white, but only sometimes
Fave Burlington-area spots: Earth Prime Comics; his mural near Vermont Art Supply
You'll find this street artist's colorful murals around Addison County and beyond: at Middlebury College, on the walls of the tiny Ripton Elementary School, on the garage door at his house. And, of course, on Instagram. For Condry, the platform is a way to share what he's working on and meet others in the arts community. "Instagram is like a university of artists," he says. "You find this whole network of people you wouldn't have found otherwise."
Name: Daria Bishop
Fave filter: Lux, but dialed way down
Fave Burlington-area spot: the Hill Section
Bishop is a professional photographer who uses Instagram as her "iPhone journal." Neighborhood friends, Yeti the poodle and Lucky the cat make frequent appearances on her feed, which captures the pops of color and unexpected details — like a heart-shaped rock or a colorful bed of flowers — that she spots in the course of everyday life. "There are little bits of beauty everywhere you look in this city," she says.
Name: Kyle Tansley
Fave filter: #nofilter, but post-processing in Lightroom
Fave Burlington-area spot: Ethan Allen Homestead
Tansley's nature shots will bring you right up close with birds — and occasionally other wildlife, too. Scroll through his feed, and you'll find bald eagles in mid-swoop, bright yellow warblers and his personal favorite, the cedar waxwing (pictured). "They're super cute," he says of the last. "The sound that they make is adorable." A veteran photographer, he only turned his lens to the sky in 2017: "I started focusing on birds because they're everywhere."
Cassell-Arms is a professional recipe developer and photographer, and she shares shots that are truly drool-worthy. Most are of her own locavore creations, including meals cooked with homegrown herbs and, in winter, slow-braised Vermont meats. "There are so many interesting people doing interesting things in Vermont," she says. "I see my feed as a kind of love letter to my home state."