Oh I agree that visiting Shelburne Farms is a must! and you need a couple days (or even a week!) to see everything there.
I am also biased in thinking it is a beautiful state (well, once winter and slow spring are over
) Summer is gorgeous, with the Green Mountains. Lots of little lakes. Great, locally grown, organic food, lots of artisan cheeses, and Vermont has the highest percentage of microbreweries per capita in the U.S., I believe.
some history -
The Republic of Vermont
Vermont was an independent republic before joining the Union. Between 1777, when Vermont established its independence, and 1791, when Vermont joined the Union as the 14th state, Vermont was truly independent - with its own coins and its own postal service. French explorer Samuel de Champlain came to Vermont in 1609 guided by Algonquin Indians from Canada. He claimed northern Vermont for France. The French built the first fort in Vermont at Isle LaMotte and established other smaller settlements. When the British won the French and Indian War in 1763, the territory became part of what is now New England.
The first British settlement was at Fort Dummer (near Brattleboro), built as a defense against the French and their Indian allies. After the French and Indian War, the English began to settle the territory, which became known as the New Hampshire Grants, but was also claimed by New York.
Since both New York and New Hampshire claimed Vermont, many settlers who received land from the New Hampshire government found that other settlers were given the same land from the New York government. In 1775, the Green Mountain Boys formed to defend the New Hampshire land grants against the New Yorkers. Ethan Allen, one of Vermont's founders, led this army until the British captured him.
The Green Mountain Boys became famous for their role in the American Revolution at the battles of Hubbardton and Bennington in 1777. After these battles, the Green Mountain Boys returned home and declared Vermont an independent republic. In 1790, New York consented to the admission of Vermont into the Union (for a payment of $30,000) and stated the New York-Vermont boundary should be the mid-channel of Lake Champlain.
In 1791, fourteen years after declaring independence, Vermont became the 14th state, and the first state to join the Union after the original 13 colonies.