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Montpelier, the Smallest State Capitol in the USA, Offers Quaint Small Town New England Charm

Downtown Montpelier, Vermont

Downtown Montpelier. Photo By GearedBull - Own work, CC BY 3.0,
by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated on 11/30/16

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  Montpelier, Vt., might be the nation's smallest state capitol, but it offers big-time enjoyment. Not the typical city experience, however, as you won't find skyscrapers, ample nightlife, shaggy people playing guitars in the streets, subways, and other urban elements.  Montpelier feels more like a small town. Scenically located on the Winooski River in central Vermont, Montpelier's most striking attraction is the Vermont State House, dating back to 1859 and featuring striking Renaissance Revival architecture with a gold leaf dome including real gold! Hubbard Park resides in the background of the State House and features 185 acres of land including a 54-acre observation tower with nice views of the city, recreational fields, adjoining hiking and skiing trails and picnic areas. Adding to the quaint downtown is the 1895 Kellogg-Hubbard Library with its Classical Revival look and the Vermont Historical Society Museum (dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of Vermont history).

You'll find clothing, jewelry, book and arts and craft stores downtown, as well as many dining choices and the elegant Inn at Montpelier -- two historic buildings built in the 1850s with a Federal architectural style.

The greatest aspect about Montpelier, however, is that it can stand on its own as a travel destination with close proximity to the many ski, swimming and hiking opportunities of central Vermont. Or, you can do what we have, staying in an equally great region like Stowe/Jeffersonville and making Montpelier a pleasant stop or a complete day trip. It's particularly nice in the fall with all the foliage colors. We highly recommend going on Route 12 north to Morrisville or south to Woodstock, enjoying the splendor of the scenery and the classic, small Vermont towns and villages along the way (although there's not much civilization going north until reaching Morrisville). Either way, don't miss out on this special small city destination that embodies the classic feel of Vermont, while also serving as the state capitol. We haven't been in quite some time, but when considering a fall destination, this region, coupled with Stowe and Jeffersonville and the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, came up at the top of our fall foliage travel wish list!

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