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Known as one of the smaller state forests in Vermont, the 7,300 acres Okemo State Forest was purchased in the 1920s. The state forest sat dormant for a few years, and then in 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), which was a part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal, took on a few projects. They created a road, established a trail, constructed a watchtower, and a ranger’s cabin. Upon completion, the park was officially established and opened to the public sometime in the late 1930s.
The closest town is Ludlow, which was established in the early 1800s. Originally a mill town, Ludlow is now best known for being the closest town to the ski resort, which is on a portion of Okemo State Forest. A big portion of the town is on the National Register of Historic Places. Search for an RV in Windsor County, VT, and kickstart the perfect RV camping vacation.
Okemo State Forest is a mix of hardwoods and sugar maple trees that creates a classic New England scene that draws leaf-peepers from around the world. The upper boreal forest region is especially robust, and several endangered and threatened birds have chosen to frequent these woods. Ornithologists and bird photographers often roam the grounds in hopes of spotting one of these elusive species.
The summit of Okemo Mountain has one of the best views in southwestern Vermont. On a clear day, it’s said that people can see New Hampshire to the east and New York to the west. To improve the views, the watchtower at the top of the peak is open to the public. Adventurers have the choice between making the ascent via a four-mile-long hiking trail or a paved road, shared with bicycles and automobiles. The paved road is one of the few roads in the New England region that goes all the way up to the top of a mountain peak. This road is occasionally used for thrilling downhill auto and bicycle races, too.
In wintertime, the fun doesn’t stop. Okemo State Park and several other neighboring parks are opened to snowmobiles. Vermont operates a Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) trail system. The trails are all interconnected to create an ultimate 4,700-mile trail system. The Okemo Mountain Resort, which leases a portion of the land from Okemo State Forest, opens as soon as the first snow touches the ground. The resort boasts over 120 trails, slopes, and glades.
Have you ever dreamed of swimming under a waterfall? At Buttermilk Falls, this fantasy is possible. The waterfall drops three times. The pool beneath the first tier, which vaguely resembles a horsetail, is deep enough to completely submerge oneself. The second (middle) waterfall descends in a nearly perfect freefall into a large, deep pool. Accessing this pool can be difficult because the rock outcroppings are rugged and slick. The bottom fall meets a shallow bowl that’s only a couple feet deep, perfect for wading in on a hot day.
Skip enduring thin walls at noisy hotels and wake up to the sound of nature by renting a travel trailer. Listen to the sound of the wind in the trees and birds merrily announcing the arrival of the sun. While RV camping at Okemo State Forest is prohibited, there are several options nearby. For a taste of the wilderness without sacrificing the comfort of a rental Airstream, Greendale Campground near Weston, VT, is a small, secluded campground. Though there are no hookups, vault toilets are available.
Alternatively, consider Horseshoe Acres Campground. Near Andover, VT, this RV campground is extremely family-friendly, boasting fun activities for children and adults alike, live music, swimming pool, and several other amenities. Unlike many campgrounds in the area, Horseshoe Acres Campground is open year-round, though, in the winter months, there are no sewer and water hookups. The bathrooms remain open, however.
There’s more to Vermont than pretty leaves, scenic hikes, and fantastic fishing. The small towns scattered across the mountainside are full of friendly locals, charm, and unique craft goods. Hop into a rental motorhome and search out a favorite feature. Several covered bridges still stand today, which is an evidence of long-gone craftsmanship. One such example, Downers Covered Bridge, is found in Perkinsville, VT. Though automobiles are prohibited, partly due to their size, partly to help preserve the bridge for future generations, people are welcome to cross on foot.
Vermont is, in particular, well known for its apple and maple orchards. The Wellwood Orchards in Springfield is famous for its unique strain of apples called Wellwood. Their orchards also have Macintosh, Honey Crisp, and a few other varietals. Visitors flock to the farm store from miles around, drawn there by the delicious aroma of homemade cider, freshly baked pastries and loaves of bread, and cider donuts. The store also stocks locally-made maple syrup and cheese.
Antiquing is a time-honored tradition in Vermont. When traveling from town to town in a rental RV doesn’t sound fun, the antique mall near Hartford makes for a fun one-stop shopping venue. Housed inside a 17,000 vintage barn, over 140 small businesses and vendors have established stands displaying goods, some of which date back to the early 1700s.