Our home state of Vermont is not only beautiful, it’s known for its history, agricultural roots, and its uniqueness. Vermont’s quiet country roads and charming New England villages connect the generations of Vermonters whose stories and anecdotes help keep the state’s rich heritage alive.

Vermont ranks first in the nation in the percentage of organic farms to total farms and first on the Localvore Index (ease of eating local foods).

In 1609 Vermont was claimed by French explorer Samuel de Champlain as part of France. There is speculation but no firm evidence that he referred to the region as “verts monts” or green mountains. It is fairly undisputed that he named Lake Champlain (Lac Champlain) after himself.

Lake Champlain is reported to be home to Champ, Vermont’s own version of the Loch Ness Monster. The local minor league baseball team is known as the “Lake Monsters” in homage to the creature.

 Hippies Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield started their ice cream dynasty (Ben & Jerry’s) with $12,000 in an old gas station in Burlington in 1978.

Current presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was long-time mayor of Burlington prior to holding a seat in the House of Representatives and then Senate for nearly a quarter of a century. “Sandernistas” are alive and well throughout Vermont.

Vermont was its own independent country for 14 years prior to joining the Union in March of 1791 when it became the 14th state in the Union – the first to join after the initial 13 colonies were established.

Billboards are illegal in Vermont which makes the country roads that much more scenic for bike tours.

Vermont is semi-landlocked being bounded by Lake Champlain to the west, the Connecticut River to the east, and Canada to the north. This might have helped lead to Vermont’s state motto becoming “Freedom and Unity.”

Vermont has more covered bridges per square mile than any other state – over 100 in working order during the 19th century.

Montpelier, Vermont’s state capital, is the smallest state capital and the only one without a McDonald’s.

For nearly 30 years during the late 18th century, the state capital of Vermont shifted between towns on the east and west sides of the Green Mountains until Montpelier became the official state capital in 1808.

The fossilized bones of a beluga whale, were found by railroad workers in 1849 not far from what is now the Sojourn office. “Charlotte” is Vermont’s state fossil (do other states have one?).

Vermont’s state insect is the honeybee which was brought by European colonists to help pollinate crops.

During the middle of the 19th century Burlington, Vermont – now the state’s largest city, and often ranked one of the top places to live in the US – was the third largest lumber port in the country.

Vermont is the second smallest state in terms of population. With slightly over a half-million residents, it ranks second only to Wyoming.

Vermont was one of the first states to prohibit slavery in its constitution and Middlebury College was the first college in the country to award a degree to an African-American.

Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the country at over a million gallons per year. It takes four to five taps to generate the 40 gallons of sap required to make one gallon of syrup.

In 1998 President Bill Clinton signed a bill put forth by Vermont’s senior senator, Pat Leahy, making Lake Champlain the 6th Great Lake. It was later rescinded following backlash from Midwestern congressmen.

The only US president born on Independence Day is Vermont-born, Calvin Coolidge.

28% of all travel to Vermont is for fall foliage. Our bike tours certainly reflect this and annually sell out for the fall season.

Vermont consistency ranks among the top US states for health, happiness, and intelligence (guess they didn’t take the winter of 2015 into consideration in this…).

The best way to experience all that Vermont has to offer is from the seat of a bicycle with Sojourn’s local guides. They’ve undoubtedly got a few more anecdotes to share.