This year's guide includes our picks for fun in—and out—of the sun. Some of these events are perennials; others are brand new. Our suggestions are by no means comprehensive, but we've supplemented our personal picks with a listing of Vermont's "Greatest Hits"—the cream-of-the-crop summertime events.
So much to do, so little time. Enjoy.
Festival of Inundation
Back in 1810, not many people lived in the Barton River Valley. That was a lucky thing, because on June 6, those who did heard a great roar and watched helplessly as 2 billion gallons of water from the Long Pond—released by an ill-fated engineering experiment—reshaped their landscape. The deluge disappeared into Lake Memphremagog with no reported casualties, but the memory of the "Runaway Pond" lasted in Glover, the town that sprang up after the flood. This June, the Glover Historical Society holds a three-day bicentennial celebration of the region's trial by water, featuring a parade, a race along the flood's route, tours, nighttime reminiscences from "graveyard ghosts," folk music from the MacArthur Family, a Bread and Puppet play, a visit from Gov. Douglas, the dedication of a new historical marker and an engineer's explanation of what went wrong. Come pay your respects to mighty Mother Nature.
Runaway Pond Bicentennial Friday, June 4, through Sunday, June 6, at various locations in Glover. Free. Info, 525-6212 or 525-4051. Click here for the schedule of events.
If you like this, try:
- Vermont History Expo 2010 Saturday, June 26, and Sunday, June 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Tunbridge Fair Grounds. $6-10. Info, 479-8500.
Summer: 'Tis the season to covet other people's lush bowers and maybe, if you're a green thumb, to draw inspiration from them. Garden tours abound this season, but only one has a literary bent. Fairfield's Garden of Verses takes its name from Robert Louis Stevenson's A Child's Garden of Verses, in which the poet described gardens (and other things) from a Victorian child's point of view, marveling at the quaint names of flowers: "Gardener's garters, Shepherd's purse, / Bachelor's buttons, Lady's smock, / And the Lady Hollyhock." Visitors can explore the backyard worlds that Stevenson called "fairy places, fairy things" on a tour of eight Fairfield gardens this June, guided by a booklet that matches the plots with the poet's lines, and they'll enjoy a proper English high tea at their final stop. In keeping with the bookish theme, it's a benefit devised by the Friends of the Bent Northrop Memorial Library.
Fairfield's 'Garden of Verses' Tour Saturday, June 19, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., at various locations in Fairfield. $12 for tour; $8 for boxed lunch. Info, 827-3942.
If you like this, try:
- Stowe Garden Festival Friday, June 25, 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, June 26, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., and Sunday, June 27, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m., at various locations in Stowe. $10 per day; $15 for two days; $25 for weekend pass. email@example.com
- Green Mountain Bonsai Society Show Saturday, June 26, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., at Firehouse Center for Visual Arts in Burlington. Free. Info, 356-1838.
- Flynn Garden Tour Sunday, July 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., in Burlington. Info, 652-4533.
Where there are movie lovers, there will be film fests. The annual White River Indie Film Festival brings together Upper Valley filmmakers such as Liz Canner (Orgasm, Inc.) for 15 screenings over three days, plus panel discussions and seminars. While many of these flicks are on DVD, big-screen presentation should encourage lively discussion of the issues raised by films such as XXY (an Argentinean drama about an intersex teen) and Sleep Dealer (a futuristic thriller set on the U.S.-Mexico border). Two you can't Netflix are George Woodard's The Summer of Walter Hacks and Grace, a documentary portrait of Grace Paley. The following weekend, across the lake, actress Parker Posey—who's contributed her acerbic presence to films ranging from Dazed and Confused to Superman Returns—visits the annual Lake Placid Film Forum. It's also a chance to see one of the biggest winners at Sundance, the hardscrabble drama Winter's Bone.
White River Indie Film Festival Friday, June 4 through Sunday, June 6, various times, and locations, White River Junction. $5-8 per film; $60 for all-film pass. Info, 296-7000. firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you like this, try:
- Montréal World Film Festival August 26 to September 6. Info, www.ffm-montreal.org.
Spreading the Word
Norwich author David Macaulay unveiled the secrets of cathedrals, pyramids and castles for generations of curious kids (and grown-ups) in his award-winning illustrated books. When Macaulay signed on as keynote speaker at this year's Bookstock, Woodstock's annual one-day literary festival, he chose an appropriate theme for a writing contest for the under-18 set: Young Vermont and Upper Valley authors were asked to submit a "story, poem or essay on the theme of a building, real or not, that is a character or moving force from the writer's imagination." The winners of the contest—administered by the Young Writers Project—will get their prizes at the fest. They should also find plenty of inspiration: Ripton author Bill McKibben will show up to discuss and sign his new book Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.
'Bookstock: The Green Mountain Festival of Words' Saturday, July 31, times to be announced, on the Green in Woodstock. Free. Info, 457-9149.
If you like this, try:
- Jane Austen Weekend Friday, August 13, through Sunday, August 15, at the Governor's House in Hyde Park. Various times and prices per activity. Info, 888-6888.
- Summer Book Sale Saturday, June 26, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday, June 27, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., at the Old Firehouse in Colchester. Free. Info, 879-7576.
Islands in the Sun
Dreaming of an island getaway this summer? You don't need to stray too far ... in fact, you don't need to leave Vermont. The beating sun pushes most of us onto the lake at some point, but waterfront hotspots such as North Beach, sometimes overshadow Vermont's largest chunks of shoreline, extending along the Champlain Islands. This year, that'll change. The first-ever Festival of the Islands puts island towns on the map.
Hiking, biking and paddling diversions are ever present around the islands, but three days of events ranging from ice cream tastings to concerts to garden tea parties give daytrippers even more to explore. One possible itinerary: Spend Saturday morning basking near the water at Alburgh Dunes State Park before scoping out a craft fair at Isle La Motte Station. Come 2 p.m., sample the berry notes of the medium-bodied Crescent Bay Red at a Snow Farm Vineyard tour and tasting. Mosey on over to True Light Farm in North Hero for the rest of the afternoon to explore the gardens and befriend the alpacas and goats while owner Yelena Light answers fiber and spinning questions. By dinnertime, you'll have had yourself a nice little staycation to rival any ol' day at the beach.
Festival of the Islands Friday, July 30, through Sunday, August 1, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., at various locations in Alburgh, Isle La Motte, North Hero, Grand Isle and South Hero. Activity maps available at visitor information sites. Various prices; most events are free. Info, 999-5862.
If you like this, try:
- Stowe Street Arts Festival Friday, July 16, 5-8:30 p.m., and Saturday, July 17, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at Stowe Street in Waterbury. Info, 272-6515.
- Island Arts Craft Show Thursday, August 5 through Saturday, August 7, 10-4 p.m., at Shore Acres Inn and Restaurant in North Hero. Free. Info, 372-6517.
Run for the Hills
It's more than just a funny name. The Moosalamoo Goshen Gallop is said to be one of the toughest 10K races in New England, challenging runners to climb the hilly dirt and gravel backroads of one of Vermont's only national recreation areas. Now in its 32nd year, the race has long been a favorite for local and out-of-state athletes alike, drawing hundreds of runners of varying abilities. Don't feel up to the full 10K? Run the 5K loop instead. Or, just hang out by the start and finish line on the scenic grounds of the Blueberry Hill Inn, where grills will be heating up—and a local band will be tuning up—for an after-race picnic. All proceeds from the race go to the Moosalamoo Association, the nonprofit that supports tourism, conservation and education in the recreation area.
So, what's with that silly name? Erin Sheridan at the association says it's an Abenaki word meaning "the moose depart," or "trails of the moose." "A lot of people have an issue pronouncing it," she says. Her personal favorite? Moose á la Moo.
Moosalamoo Goshen Gallop XXXII Saturday, July 17, 4 p.m., at Moosalamoo National Recreation Area, Blueberry Hill Inn in Goshen. $35-40. The first 100 runners to register get a free Goshen Gallop T-shirt. Info, 247-6735.
If you like this, try:
- FJG Race to the Top of Vermont Sunday, August 29, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Mount Mansfield Toll Road in Stowe. $30-60. Info, 864-5794.
Short and Sweet
A lot of drama can happen inside of 10 minutes. At least that's what the actors, directors and playwrights of the Vermont Playwrights Circle would have you believe. And they aim to prove it once again this August with their third annual festival of 10-minute plays, aptly called "Ten Fest," in the Mad River Valley.
From "Showdown at the Grateful Bread Bakery," in which two characters learn about the transformative power of bread, to "The Knock," in which the mystery of a late-night visitor pushes a husband and wife to reveal the secrets between them, to "Topologic," the story of two women lost in the woods, the mini-plays are about as varied as their writers. And what better way to get a sampling of Vermont talent? The evening will showcase local actors performing plays by area writers.
The plays may be short, but expect 'em to pack a punch.
'Ten Fest' Thursday, August 19, through Sunday, August 22, at Valley Players Theater in Waitsfield. Info, 583-1674. [Keep your eyes on the Seven Days calendar for more summer theater; some community thespians haven't established their schedules yet.]
If you like this, try:
- 'Around the World In 80 Days' Tuesdays through Saturdays, June 29 through July 10, 8 p.m. (with 2 p.m. matinees on July 3 and 10), at St. Michael's Playhouse in Colchester. $29-35. Info, 654-2281.
- Shakespeare in the Park: 'Much Ado About Nothing' Thursday, August 12, through Sunday, August 15, 6 p.m. (with a 2 p.m. matinee on August 14), at Island Center for Arts and Recreation at Knight Point State Park in North Hero. $20 includes park fee for the day. Info, 877-874-1911.
'Anyone who still sings along to their hits—"Bad to the Bone," "One Bourbon, One Scotch and One Beer"—on classic-rock radio will likely welcome George Thorogood and the Destroyers back to Vermont. The gravel-voiced front man and his band, who sold out the Flynn in 2008, will be blasting the neighbors this August at the Concerts on the Green at Shelburne Museum.
Launched from Delaware in the '70s, the band made its mark with gritty, slide-guitar-flavored blues-rock in the vein of Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. And they didn't stop there. Just last year the Destroyers released The Dirty Dozen, which included some brand-new tracks as well as a few out-of-print classics.
Concertgoers are welcome to set up blankets and low beach-style folding chairs, but should leave at home the big coolers, glass receptacles and pets. Alcohol is forbidden, too, but there'll be a beer tent and food vendors—including sponsor Ben & Jerry's—to satisfy any mid-show cravings.
Concerts on the Green Series George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Sunday, August 1, 7 p.m., at Shelburne Museum. $40-45. Visit website for info on earlier summer concerts, taking place June 4 and July 5. Info, 652-0777.
If you like this, try:
- Castleton Concerts on the Green Tuesdays, June 1 through August 17, 7 p.m., at Castleton Village Green, and Sunday, July 4, 7 p.m., at Crystal Beach on Lake Bomoseen. Free. Info, 273-2911.
- Lake Champlain Maritime Festival Thursday, August 12, 5-10 p.m.; Friday, August 13, and Saturday, August 15, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; and Sunday, August 16, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., at Waterfront Park in Burlington. Free daytime admission; various prices for nightly concerts. Info, 482-3313.
All in Good Taste
Stretching from August 1 to September 5, it's hard to miss the Mad River Valley's annual Vermont Festival of the Arts. The days are jam packed, doling out tastes of everything from art exhibitions to theater performances and, of course, food. Individual restaurants hold food-and-wine pairings, artisanal cheese explorations and corn roasts ... but foodies looking for all that and more know to head to A Taste of the Valley.
Here, taste buds relish mussels with wild chanterelle mushrooms, maple-infused cotton candy, hot-pink borscht and everything in between. Local restos, food providers, microbreweries and wine connoisseurs set up tasting stations sprawling throughout Sugarbush Resort's Timbers Restaurant and into the courtyard. "Many of the chefs like to keep their offerings a secret until the day of," notes event coordinator Beverly Kehoe, so be sure to bring your sense of adventure. Pick up a slice of Pepperoni & Peppers from American Flatbread's copper traveling oven, and wander over to Chez Henri Restaurant & Bistro's grill setup, where beef is what's for dinner. Or, indulge at Spice of Life Catering's sizzling clambake. No better way to savor what Vermont has to offer.
A Taste of the Valley Monday, August 2, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at Lincoln Peak Village at Sugarbush Resort. $40; preregistration recommended. Info, 496-6682.
If you like this, try:
- Stowe Wine & Food Classic Wine Tasting: Friday, June 18, 5-7 p.m., at West Branch Gallery & Sculpture Park. $75. Gala Dinner & Live Auction: Saturday, June 19, 6 p.m., at Trapp Family Lodge. $150. Grand Tasting & Silent Auction: Sunday, June 20, noon-4 p.m., at Trapp Family Lodge. $60. Info, 253-0399.
- Burlington Wine & Food Festival Saturday, June 26, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. or 4-8 p.m., at Waterfront Park in Burlington. $40; ID required. Info, 863-5966.
Summer Preview Greatest Hits
- Green Mountain Opera Festival
Sunday, May 30, through Sunday, June 20, at various locations statewide. Various prices and times. Info, 496-7722. email@example.com
- Strolling of the Heifers
Friday, June 4, 1-8:30 p.m., Saturday, June 5, 7 a.m.-10 p.m., and Sunday, June 6, 7 a.m.-4 p.m., at various locations in downtown Brattleboro. Various prices. Info, 258-9177.
- 2010 Special Olympics Vermont Summer Games
Friday, June 4, 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Saturday, June 5,
10 a.m.-9 p.m., and Sunday, June 6, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m., at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Free. Info, 863-5222.
- The Opera Company of Middlebury's "The Pearl Fishers"
June 4, 8 and 10, 8 p.m., and June 6, 2 p.m., at Town Hall Theater in Middlebury. $35-40. Info, 382-9222.
Friday, June 4, through Sunday, June 13, at various locations in Burlington. Various prices and times. Info, 863-7992.
- Tour de Kingdom
Saturday, June 5, and Sunday, June 6, at Indoor Recreation of Orleans County in Derby. $50-75 registration and donation fee. Info, 334-8511. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Roots on the River Festival
Thursday, June 10, through Sunday, June 13, at various locations in Bellows Falls. Various times and prices.
- Vermont Days
Saturday, June 12, and Sunday, June 13, at Vermont state park day areas, state-owned historic sites and Vermont History Museum. Free and open to the public; free fishing on June 12.
- Gatorade Free Flow Tour
Saturday, June 19, at Talent Skatepark in Burlington. $15 entry fee; for competitors 21 and under only.
Tuesday, June 22, through Sunday, June 27, at various locations along the Winooski River. $10-70 per single day; $190-200 for three consecutive days; $350-365 for all six days. Info, 655-4878.
- Winooski Riverwalk Festival
Friday, June 25, 4 p.m., in downtown Winooski. email@example.com
- VermontQuilt Festival
Friday, June 25, and Saturday, June 26, 9 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday, June 27, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., at Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. $10-12; free for children under 14. Info, 872-0034.
- Circus Smirkus' Big Top Tour
Friday, June 25, through Sunday, August 15, at various locations statewide. Various times. $14-18. Info, 533-7443. firstname.lastname@example.org
- Death Race 2010
Saturday, June 26, 4 a.m., at Amee Farm in Pittsfield. $400 entry free. Info, 309-642-2230.
- Strawberry Festival
Sunday, June 27, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at Cedar Circle Farm in East Thetford. Free; $5 parking. Info, 785-4737.
- Green Mountain Chamber Music Festival
Sunday, June 27 through Saturday, July 24, at the University of Vermont in Burlington. Various dates and times. $6-18. Info, 336-784-5128. email@example.com
- Vermont Summer Festival Horse Shows
Wednesday, July 7, through Sunday, August 15, at Harold Beebe Farm in East Dorset. Various times. $5-7. Info, 496-4878.
Friday, July 9, 4-9 p.m.; and Saturday, July 10, and Sunday, July 11, 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m., at Stoweflake Mountain Resort & Spa in Stowe. $10; free for children 12 and under. Info, 253-7355, ext. 5538.
- French Heritage Day
Friday, July 9, 6-9 p.m., and Saturday, July 10, 7 a.m.-11:45 p.m., at various locations in Vergennes. Most events are free. Info, 388-7951 or 800-733-8376.
- Antiques & Uniques
Saturday, July 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., on the Town Common in Craftsbury Common. Free; $5 parking donation. Info, 586-7596.
- Craftsbury Chamber Players Summer Music Series
Wednesday, July 14, through Thursday, August 19, at various locations statewide. $10-20; free for children 12 and under. firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, July 16, 6-10 p.m., and Saturday, July 17, noon-4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m., at Waterfront Park in Burlington. $25 includes souvenir glass and 15 beer tickets for one four-hour session; $5 for nondrinkers; ID required. Info, 760-8535.
- SolarFest 2010
Friday, July 16, noon-10 p.m., Saturday, July 17, 9 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday, July 18, 9 a.m.-7 p.m., at Forget-Me-Not Farm in Tinmouth. $10-30 per day; $40-45 weekend pass. Info, 235-1513.
Sunday, July 18, through Sunday, August 8, at various locations statewide. Various times and prices. Info, 862-7352.
- Kingdom Aquafest
Friday, July 23, noon-7 p.m., Saturday, July 24, 6 a.m.-10:30 p.m., and Sunday, July 25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., at Lake Memphremagog in Newport.
- Kingdom Swim
Saturday, July 24, at Lake Memphremagog in Newport. $75-100 registration and donation fee. Info, 334-8511. email@example.com
- Deerfield Valley Blueberry Festival
Friday, July 30, through Sunday, August 8, at various locations in Deerfield Valley. Various times and prices; most events are free. Info, 464-8092.
- Onion River Century Ride
Saturday, July 31, 8:30 a.m., at Montpelier Recreation Fields. $50-65 registration. Info, 229-9409.
- Green Mountain Draft Horse Field Day
Saturday, July 31, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Shelburne Farms. Free with regular admission. Info, 985-8686.
- The Valley Stage Music Festival
Saturday, August 7, 12:30-9 p.m., in Huntington. $20-30. Info, 434-4563.
Sunday, August 8, 7:30 a.m.-5 p.m., at Waterfront Park in Burlington. $1575 per team to register; free to watch. Info, 999-5478.
- Vermont Fresh Network Annual Forum
Sunday, August 8, at the Coach Barn at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne. $50-70. Info, 434-2000.
- Vintage Boat Show
Saturday, August 14, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Burlington Boathouse, with a boat parade at 4 p.m. Info, 355-1781.
- Vermont State Zucchini Festival & Craft Fair
Saturday, August 14, at Veterans Memorial Park and Main Street in Ludlow. Info, 228-5830.
- Star Chef Food & Wine Show
Saturday, August 21, noon-5 p.m., at Topnotch Resort and Spa in Stowe. $45. Info, 800-451-8686.
- Quechee Scottish Festival and Celtic Fair 2010
Saturday, August 28, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m., at Quechee Polo Field. $8-12; free for kids under 5. info@quecheescottishfestival
- [image-x]Champlain Valley Fair
Saturday, August 28, through Monday, September 6, at Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. $5-10; free for children 4 and under. Info, 878-5545.
- Southern Vermont Garlic & Herb Festival
Saturday, September 4, and Sunday, September 5, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., in downtown Bennington. $5 per day; $8 for two-day pass; $1 for children 12 and under. Info, 447-3311.