As one of the most popular getaway destinations among people from Boston, the Atlantic Seacoast and New York City, Vermont—aka the Green Mountain State—offers nothing but peace, quiet and tranquility.
When crisscrossing the state by car, as I’ve been doing in my quest to photograph every covered bridge in Vermont, I’ve laid eyes on the most beautiful agricultural landscapes—landscapes that consist of rolling green meadows; farmsteads surrounded by white fences; small artificial ponds with arched bridges and weeping willows; mooing cows; and signs indicating the harvest of specifics products, from maple syrup in spring to all kinds of vegetables in summer and berries and pumpkins in fall.
This photo post features my twenty favorite photos of the agricultural landscapes of Vermont.
Agricultural Landscapes of Vermont in 20 Photos
In terms of area, Vermont is slightly smaller than my native country of Belgium (24,923 km² versus 30,528 km², or 9,620 sq. miles versus 11,787 sq. miles), but population-wise Vermont is virtually empty. It is the 49th most populous of all American states or, in other words, the 2nd least populous, second only after Wyoming.
Vermont is home to no more than 625,000 people; its capital Montpelier has less than 8,000 residents, making it the least populous capital city in the United States. Burlington, the largest city in Vermont, is the residence of about 42,000 people. It is the least populous city in the country that is the largest city in a state.
Additionally, Vermont is the only U.S. state without buildings that rise higher than 38 meters (124 feet).
All these numbers are simply to illustrate that Vermont is quite the rural state—it is, in fact, one of the most rural states in the United States.
Further reading: Winter in Vermont – Photo Essay
Cows and farm buildings, Northeast Kingdom, Vermont
More than three-quarters of Vermont’s surface area are covered with forests. Lakes, highlands, meadows and farmlands make up the rest. It used to be the other way around, however. Historically, Vermont’s landscape was made up of rolling farmlands as far as the eye could see. Green fields dotted with sheep and cows stretched until the horizon and beyond, with only a few patches of woodland scattered about. The importance of farming has declined, though, probably due to the increase in international and domestic trade.
That’s not to say that all farms have disappeared from Vermont’s landscape, for there are still more than 7,000 farms in the state. Although cattle numbers have fallen drastically, milk production has doubled, thanks to an increased production per individual cow. Dairy farming is still a major economic activity in Vermont and the dairy barn—a few stories high, fiery red with white doorways and windows, and neighbored by a tall silo—is probably the state’s most well-known image.
When it comes to income from production, dairy is Vermont’s leading product, followed closely by maple syrup. There are more farm stands and farmers markets per capita in Vermont than in any other American state. Additionally, Vermont is home to more cheese makers per capita than anywhere else in the nation.
Local and organic farming is encouraged by the state government, which creates a pleasant community feel. In summer and fall, people flock to local farm stands for the absolute freshest and healthiest of produce. And a visit to a Saturday morning farmers market is an experience in itself.