Vermont holds down the northwest corner of New England, is second in size among the New England states, with ninety-six hundred square miles. It is forty-third in area among the states of the United States, but in population Vermont, with only three hundred and seventy thousand people, is the smallest of the New England states and forty-seventh in population in the states of the Union. Vermont, the only New England state which does not touch the sea, possesses a little ocean of its own, the long, beautiful Lake Champlain that fills half of its western border opposite New York.
The northern border of Vermont is the Canadian province of Quebec. The eastern border of the state is the Connecticut River, shared with New Hampshire. The southern border is a straight-line border with Massachusetts. Vermont is roughly rectangular in shape, wider in the north than in the south. The longest border is across the north, about a hundred miles. The greatest north-south distance of the state is a hundred and sixty miles. The narrowest east-west dimension of the state is the Massachusetts border, only thirty-six miles.
Vermont’s state tree is appropriately the sugar maple, which accounts for one of the state’s most important products, maple syrup. The state bird is the hermit thrush, state flower red clover. The name Vermont is a corruption of two French words meaning “green mountain,” given it by the French explorers who first saw the area. Its nickname is “Green Mountain State,” appropriate since the Green Mountains are its chief physical feature. Although not one of the thirteen colonies, Vermont was the next state admitted to the Union, in 1791. TILE LAND. Vermont has three important natural features, two of which it shares with adjoining areas. East is the course of the Connecticut River, which becomes big. important and useful as it flows south toward Massachusetts
Dams in it provide power and recreational opportunity. Exclusively Vermont’s is the superb range of forested mountains which extend the length of the state from Canada to Massachusetts, the Green Mountains, containing peaks and ridges rising to more than four thousand feet. The highest, Mount Mansfield, 4,241 feet, is the highest point in the state. Much of the mountain area is within huge Green Mountain National Forest. The mountains give the state a big, unique recreational feature both winter and summer. Running the length of the mountain range along the crest of the ridges is a famous hiking path, the Long Trail.
The third important feature is Lake Champlain, one of the most beautiful lakes in the country, a hundred and twenty-five miles long, varying in width from a half mile to twenty miles. Actually, it is a flooded valley between mountain ranges, with the Adirondacks rising from its western shore, the Green Mountains from its eastern shore. The Vermont shore of the lake is lined with summer colonies, linked by stretches of scenic highway.
Except for the Connecticut River, Vermont has no other large rivers. Several small ones, none navigable, flow into the Connecticut. In addition to Lake Champlain, there are a few fairly large and attractive lakes in the northern mountains.
CLIMATE. Vermont’s climate is humid. with annual rainfall from thirty-five to forty-five inches, much of it accounted for by winter snows, as much as a hundred and twenty inches in the Green Mountain area. They provide some of the finest skiing in the East. Winters are long and cold, with sub-zero temperature not uncommon.