Montpelier, America's tiniest capital, exudes a sense of rustic dignity. It sits smugly in the heart of Vermont beside the Winooski River, hugged by the gently rolling Green Mountains. Crowned as capital in 1805, it grew over the years as a major manufacturer of granite. Today, it is marked by government and insurance offices, and encircled by rock quarries on the outskirts.
The State House's golden dome was gilded with 23.7 carat gold leaf. Inside, marble floors and spiral staircases embellish this relic of a lost era. In the heart of town, the 185-acre Hubbard Park is a haven for hikers and skiers with seven miles of trails and a 54-foot observation tower that peers out from the city's highest point.
On Main Street, there's a spectacular span of greenery called The Urban Farm, a four- acre expanse reserved for organic farming. Owned by the Food Works' Two Rivers Center for Sustainability, it is a project devoted to feeding the needy. In addition to Farmers' Markets, The Urban Farm sponsors educational workshops and youth camps that educate and entertain.
What looks like a sleepy little town, is actually an action-packed dynamo. Biking is a passion here, and the town has a system for bikers that is no less than a small wonder. Newly constructed paths interconnect Montpelier with other central Vermont townships, making cycling a synch as well as a serious mode of transportation.
Another passion is canoeing. And the favorite river course is the seven-miles from Lower State Street to Middlesex. This route is not meant for beginners, however, since it presents some rather challenging rapids.
Both alpine and cross-country skiing are beloved here, as well. Snowmobiling is another hot sport in this cool capital city, and there are numerous trails available. Ice skating is a family affair at The Civic Center's ice arena; and for folks who enjoy warming the bleachers, cheering for The Vermont Mountaineers' home runs is a whole lot of fun.
Montpelier, a charming and energetic capital city, is at the heart of Vermont on I-89.