I have been working on this one for a while - definitely longer than I have been blogging. Before I continue (and yes, this is long, but it's really good - especially if you are new to the state or traveling and want to be like a Vermonter.) And please add suggestions or correct me if you want!
My Background: I grew up in the Berkshires of Massachusetts, yes, a Masshole, but at least the Berkshires, well, that's for a Berkshire blog. After high school I went to college in Poughkeepsie, New York and got to experience the "New York thing." Then I moved to Nashville, Tennessee and got to really experience the "Southern thang." (shudder) Now, throughout all this time, I spent many summers in Greensboro, Vermont on Caspian Lake.
And while my parents were not born in Vermont, the Carter families who built the cottages on Caspian Lake were - for instance, my grandmother on my father's side was born and raised in Montpelier and my grandfather's father or grandfather was the minister of the Burlington Congregational Church. And my grandfather on my mother's side spent his 20's working for the Civil Conservation Corps, who made most of the Vermont State Parks - maybe where I get so much love for the parks! Anyway, after two years in Tennessee, I made my way to Burlington to try to make a living in the state where my heart was always lightest and smile biggest when visiting all those years throughout my growing up.
I moved to Burlington, Vermont June of 2000 and have been creating this blog post since then...
Tips on How To Be a Vermonter
1.) Keep an overnight bag in your car (extra clothes, toothbrush/toothpaste, flashlight - which should be in your car anyway, water bottle, blanket, sweater). You never now who you're going to meet, what fun place you're going to run into, or where you might get lost!
2.) Always let someone know where you're going when you're heading off to adventure. Do not rely on your cell phone - that is soooooooo anti-Vermont, you'll wipe out all your other efforts right there and then! Cell phones don't work out in the woods anyway, and if you're lost hiking or skiing and use one - they'll charge you for being a dumbass! No, I'm not kidding.
3.) Always have socks with close-toed shoes and a tread of some sort. Sell your heels and buy a good pair of hiking boots. I've even seen others at public relations client meetings having to exchange their styly shoes for something practical to explore a worksite, attraction, etc.
4.) Vermont Road Atlas - get one and keep it in your car at all times.
5.) Utilize the Vermont Tourism and Vermont State Parks websites on a regular basis - www.vermontvacation.com and www.vtstateparks.com. Secret Tip - the best town dinners can be found by searching through the VermontVacation site. Yum.
6.) Don't bawk at rednecks - they know more about Vermont than you ever will.
7.) Get Vermont plates stat. If visiting, rent a car with Vermont plates. Or plaster your car with ILOVERMONT and VT stickers (although that WON'T make you a Vermonter).
8.) Buy and use the following books:
Day Hiker's Guide to Vermont, Green Mountain Club
Make a Splash - Swimming Holes and Waterfalls of the Green Mountains, Jason Minor
Vermont Nature Guide, Sheri Amsel
9.) Don't wait until your gas tank is close to empty to fill, fill when there is a gas station. To be even more Vermonty - convert your car to run on veggie oil.
10.) DON'T LITTER ANYWHERE!!!!!!!! Reduce, reuse, recycle - at all times. Leave no trace, etc. This relates to the "Don't Jersey Vermont" stickers you see everywhere. Sorry Jerz - I didn't make it up!
11.) Embrace the winter and LOVE IT or it will eat you alive and then spit you out.
12.) Learn some terms - here are a few to help you!
Bushwhacking: Walking or driving through the woods so trees make contact with car or skin; to travel through the woods
Redneck: Working class country person, unsophisticated but extremely knowledgeable about all things Vermont; sometimes referred to as a woodchuck or roddy
Hippie: Someone who rejects many conventional standards of society (whether by action or belief) and who advocates liberal lifestyles and/or politics
Maple Sap: A liquid tapped from maple trees in the early spring; the sap runs when it is freezing at night but is sunny and warm by day
Maple Syrup: The syrup made from boiling maple sap, Vermont has four grades of maple syrup
Maple Sugar: The sugar made from boiling maple sap past the stages of maple syrup - further evaporation - check out the Vermont Maple Foundation for all your maple info!
Localvore: A person dedicated to eating locally grown and produced food and drink - www.vermontlocalvore.org
Organic: Organic foods are produced according to certain production standards. For crops, it means they were grown without the use of conventional pesticides, artificial fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge, and that they were processed without ionizing radiation or food additives. For animals, it means they were reared without the routine use of antibiotics and without the use of growth hormones.
Grass Fed: The new term for animals eating only mother's milk, fresh grass, and grass-type hay. There is not an approved standard or definition yet, more info at www.americangrassfed.org.
Cage Free: Chickens not living in a cage.
Free Range: Chickens having access to the outdoors (chicken lifestyle definitions and standards are also not approved yet).
Take Back Vermont: Started as an anti-gay message but tourists unknowingly turned it into a slogan meaning "take Vermont products home," which has helped with Vermont's Buy Local campaign (see localvore).
Bring Vermont Forward: In retribution to previous, this was a slogan adopted to keep moving Vermont forward in it's progress towards same sex marriage and civil unions.
Got Fred, Get Fred, etc.: A whole Fred Society has been developed to honor Fred Tuttle, Vermont farmer, actor, and politician. It's best to see for yourself - www.fredsociety.com.
Fair Trade: Fair trade is an alternative approach to conventional international trade. It is a trading partnership which aims at sustainable development for excluded and disadvantaged producers. It seeks to do this by providing better trading conditions, by awareness raising and by campaigning. More info at www.fairtradefederation.org.
Uber: Above everything else; most commonly used in Vermont when referring to hardcore and extreme outdoor athletes.
Chi Chi (sometimes Shi Shi): Obnoxiously posh, deliberately chic; in Hawaii it means to go pee, and it has over 50 meanings in Japanese. You cannot be chi chi and a Vermonter at the same time.
Flatlander: A person not born in Vermont
Biodiesel: Clean burning, alternative fuel produced from domestic remewable resources such as soybeans, sunflowers, canola, waste cooking oil, or animal fats. See www.vtbiodieselproject.org, www.vermontbiofuels.org.
Champ: The Lake Champlain sea monster (Lake Champlain was the Champlain Sea back in the day when they think Champ was spawned); the Mascot for the Vermont Lake Monsters minor league baseball team.
Frost Heaves: A section of ruptured pavement caused by the expansion of freezing water immediately under the road. Frost heaves cause many accidents in the winter and are the reason for so much road construction in the summer. Also the name of the Vermont Frost Heaves, Vermont's minor league basketball team.
Ice Storm: A severe weather condition characterized by falling freezing participation; the Vermont Ice Storm is also the name of Vermont's minor league football team.
Love Vermont and she will love you!!!! Positive vibrations my friends - can you feel it???