Sure, Clint Eastwood, Meryl Streep and Robert James Waller can make anyone’s bridges famous. However, without a New York Times bestseller and a big budget movie to back it up, Vermont has managed to carve out a reputation for itself as the place to come for covered bridges. Vermont is home to more than 100 covered bridges and each one has a story to tell.Treasure Hunting in Vermont: Shopping for AntiquesVermont’s countryside is dotted with a treasure trove of collectibles and antiques. Given the richness of history, Vermont has an abundance of interesting artifacts and unique bric-a-brac. Pieces are often displayed on the roadside to lure shoppers inside where hunting among the rooms and rafters is part of the experience. In autumn, there are a number of expos, including the Annual Vermont Antique Dealer’s Association gathering and the Annual Weston Antiques Show. These shows and others make antiquing easy by assembling vendors to display, highlight and sell their wares.Source: VDTM. Vermont tourism officials are expecting another brilliant foliage season this year and encourage visitors to take advantage of midweek deals being offered through the fall.Dozens of inns, hotels, attractions, historic sites and museums are offering a variety of midweek specials during the fall foliage season as part of the statewide ‘Midweek Peek’ promotion organized by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing. Deals range from discounted lodging to reduced admission prices. For details, visit www.VermontVacation.com/midweek(link is external).‘Visitors can find a diverse range of options for lodging, dining and activities during Vermont’s legendary foliage season, and midweek is theperfect time to take a trip here,’ says Vermont Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Bruce Hyde. ‘Fall foliage in Vermont is glorious any day of the week, and we hope visitors will explore special ‘Midweek Peek’ deals around the state.’Vermont’s landscape shimmers in red, orange and gold during the fall, drawing visitors from all corners of the globe. Vermont has the highest percentage of sugar maple trees of any state in the nation, and an abundance of red maple trees, which all produce vibrant, bright colors during foliage. Vermont forestry experts agree with the prediction that a beautiful foliage season is on the way.‘We’re on track for another spectacular fall season. Most parts of the state had good summer moisture, and early color can already be seen in some places,’ says Ginger Anderson, Chief of Forest Management for the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation. ‘As Vermont transitions into typical fall weather with warm days and cool nights, we expect Vermont’s foliage to display magnificent autumn color.’The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing offers a number of resources on its website at VermontVacation.com for foliage season visitors. The site includes tips on planning ahead, a Lodging Availability Forecaster, and the Foliage Forecaster, which shows the progression of the colors across Vermont during a typical foliage season. Visitors can also access the Vermont Travel Planner, an extensive database of lodging, dining, events, attractions and recreational opportunities. Weekly foliage reports will begin on Sept.14 and will be available on VermontVacation.com and also the state’s toll-free visitor information hotline 1-800-VERMONT. Reports will be updated on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the end of October.Visitors make 14.3 million trips to Vermont each year and visitor spending adds an estimated $1.57 billion to the state’s economy, according to VDTM research. The research shows that 23 percent of those visits, or 3.7 million, are during the fall season.Vermont has some of the best foliage in the world. Autumn is the perfect time to hop in the car and take a drive through the country lanes, winding streets, and scenic byways. With the backdrop of blue skies and a myriad of fall colors on the horizon, Vermont is ready for exploration.Have Car, Will Travel; State Recognized Scenic BywaysVermont has a number of roads that have stood out for their historic, recreational, and natural wonders. To jump-start your foliage viewing, try these routes during your travels. All have easy access parking and/or pullouts for photo opportunities or impromptu rest stops.Scenic Route 108, the Smuggler’s Notch Road, attracts hikers and rock climbers as it passes through Mansfield State Forest and near the Smuggler’s Notch Ski Resort.Scenic Route 131, Cavendish Road, runs through the town of Cavendish and follows the well-stocked Black River where anglers can be found casting for fish.Scenic Route 125, Middlebury Gap Road, is an ideal location to view autumn colors as it passes through the Green Mountain National Forest, a popular camping spot.The Lake Champlain Byway offers outstanding views of the state’s largest lake, surrounding Green Mountains and Adirondacks, as well as the area’s working landscapes.Route 9, the Molly Stark Trail, is named after the wife of New Hampshire’s General John Stark who was the victor of the August 16, 1777 Battle of Bennington.The Connecticut River Scenic Byway is the natural bridge that unites New Hampshire and Vermont for over half of the waterway’s 410-mile journey from the Canadian border to the Atlantic Ocean.Vermont: The Best Way to Enjoy the Best FoliageVermont has the highest percentage of maple trees of any of the New England states, a tree with foliage that turns vibrant orange and yellow in the fall. Foliage progresses from the north to south and from higher elevations to lower elevations. Therefore, the earlier in the season you visit, the more northerly you want to focus and the later you come, more southerly. If you want to do more planning before your arrival, research your trip on www.vermontvacation.com/seasons/fall.asp(link is external). Here you can find suggested drives, read foliage reports, learn the insider’s tips, and watch the Foliage Forecaster which helps you strategically plan where and when to visit Vermont based on the natural progression of foliage in a typical year. It is a handy tool if you’ve never been to Vermont before or come from an area where foliage doesn’t change so dramatically.Winding down with Wine Tour: Vermont Vineyards and WineriesStarting in northern Vermont, begin your wine tour at Boyden Valley in Cambridge for a September Harvest Festival. Continue west to the Snow Farm Vineyard in South Hero, a leader in the Vermont wine field establishing the first commercial grape vineyard. At the Grand View Winery in East Calais, sample something decidedly different like elderberry or dandelion wine. Try a few award-winning organic grape wines at Shelburne Vineyard in Shelburne. At the Ottauquechee Valley Winery housed in the Historic Dewey Mill near the Quechee Gorge, enjoy any of their seven wines. End the tour at the southern tip of the state with the North River Winery in Jacksonville, which offers Vermont Harvest dessert wine containing cinnamon and Vermont maple syrup. For contact details, visit www.VermontBrewers.com(link is external).An Apple a Day: Farms, Festivals and MoreVermont’s cool climate is perfect for producing apples. Almost 70 percent of the apples grown in Vermont are MacIntosh, a variety good for eating fresh picked, fresh pressed or fresh baked. When apples are harvested in September and October, there are a number of festivals with apples as the centerpiece. These celebrations feature diverse entertainment including music, crafts, cider pressing, pie baking and more. Apple picking at an orchard is a unique Vermont experience and taking home fresh cider makes for a tasty souvenir. For a complete listing of orchards and apple events, visit www.VermontApples.org(link is external).The Vistas of Vermont: Accessing the State’s Many MountaintopsMany of Vermont’s mountain peaks offer panoramic views, especially breathtaking in fall. Killington Resort has a gondola ride to the state’s second highest peak, where a clear day can provide views into Canada. At Killington and Bolton Valley, you can bring your mountain bikes along for the ride and bike a trail back to the base. In the Northeast Kingdom, rise to the top of Jay Peak in a sixty person capacity tram. In southern Vermont, Bromley Mountain, Stratton Mountain and Mount Snow both have lift services to their summits. The 3816-foot Mount Equinox peak can be reached via a winding drive with views of the Green Mountain range.Take it From the Top: Viewing Foliage from Another AngleFor an entirely different perspective of Vermont foliage, take a hot air balloon ride, go skydiving, or ride the air currents on a sailplane. From the faint of heart to the hearty adventurer, there is a bird’s eye view opportunity for everyone. Soar over the treetops in a romantic sunset balloon ride over the Quechee Gorge. Tandem, static line, and accelerated free fall jumps all are available with professional instructors within a setting of mountains, valleys, and lakes. Enjoy the views on a quiet sailplane tour or take a day lesson and learn to pilot the air currents on your own. Contact the Vermont Outdoor Guide Association at www.VOGA.org(link is external) for information on any of these activities.The Bridges of Addison County: Covered Bridges in Vermont
With a perfect 6-0 record to start the season, the No. 3-ranked USC women’s water polo team looks to continue its hot start this weekend when it heads out to Riverside for the Lancer Invitational.To kick off the tournament hosted by Cal Baptist University, USC will play against the host Lancers at 4 p.m. on Friday. The game against the Lancers (2-6) will be a rematch of their meeting at the UCLA Invite on Jan. 17, which USC won by a score of 24-3. The Women of Troy jumped out to a 20-1 lead in the third period and never looked back. Eleven different players scored, led by senior Monica Vavic’s six goals.Immediately following their match against Cal Baptist, the Women of Troy will take on the University of Redlands at 5:15 p.m. The Bulldogs (0-3) last played against USC in this same tournament last year. The Women of Troy were victorious with a 24-1 win against the Division III school. Seniors Eike Daube and Jennifer Stiefel both scored three goals to lead the Trojans to victory, while sophomores Ioanna Haralabidis and Stephania Haralabidis each scored twice.On Saturday, Feb. 14, USC will play against Pomona-Pitzer (2-2) in an 11:30 a.m. match. The last time these two teams met was at Harvard University for the 2013 NCAA Championship quarterfinals, where USC thrashed Pomona-Pitzer by a score of 27-1. USC eventually went on to win the national championship that year in a thrilling sudden-death win over Stanford.Finally, the Women of Troy will face Occidental College (0-2) at 2 p.m. to end the tournament. In what will be just their third match of the season, the Division III Tigers will look to put up a fight against USC, one of the nation’s best teams.Though the competition may not be at the level USC will face in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, head coach Jovan Vavic and the Women of Troy will look to ride the momentum of last weekend’s successful showing at the Triton Invitational. In fact, two young Trojan players were rewarded for their contributions, with Stephania Haralabidis being named MPSF Player of the Week for the first time in her career, while freshman goalie Victória Chamorro racked up the first award in her young career as MPSF Newcomer of the Week. Stephania Haralabidis led the Women of Troy offensively in La Jolla last weekend, scoring 14 goals to lead USC to four big wins. Chamorro provided a steady force in the cage for USC at the Triton Invitational, racking up a career-high 15 saves in the championship game against No. 6-ranked UC Irvine. Overall, Chamorro finished with a total of 27 saves in just 13 periods of work, while allowing only 11 goals during the tournament.After the first six games of 2015, USC leads the MPSF in offense and defense, as the Women of Troy are outscoring their opponents by a lofty 123-21 margin. Vavic is USC’s leading scorer with 28 goals this season, while Stephania Haralabidis is second on the team with 22 goals, followed by twin sister Ioanna Haralabidis with 15. Defensively, Chamorro averages 7.2 saves per game and just 3.4 goals-against per game.Furthermore, it could be a big weekend for Vavic, who will look to climb the ladder in USC’s record books. After a big scoring output to start the season, Vavic leaped up to No. 3 all-time in career scoring at USC with 219 career goals. With only five goals needed to reach No. 2 all-time, Vavic will almost certainly pass former Olympian Sofia Konoukh (224 career goals) this weekend.