5 Best Photo Opportunities in Montpelier

Photo Opportunities Montpelier

Lee Van Grack

Vermont is just one of those places where nearly everything is photo-worthy. After a few days, it's not as astonishing when you round a bend and discover yet another great view. Towns are quaint and charming, the houses and shops are rustic and appealing (or refined and appealing), and between towns you have miles of rolling countryside, farmland, forests, cows. Montpelier is the smallest state capital in the country, but it's big on scenery. Even a simple walk down the street will present you with several of the nicest photo opportunities Montpelier has to offer.

Here are a few ideas to get you started, but keep your camera with you at all times to capture the best of scenic Montpelier.

Stateliest Building: Vermont State House

Government buildings can be rather dull as photo subjects, but not the Vermont State House. Set well back from the street, the State House is fronted by an expanse of lawn and backed by a tree-covered hill. Five imposing columns and a grand pediment adorn the entryway. And crowning it all is a gold-leafed dome. Though not a large building, the State House is dignified and noble, as all good government buildings should be. It looks like it belongs here, and is without question one of Montpelier's best photo ops.

Vermont State House
115 State St
Montpelier, VT 05633
Free guided tours Jul-mid Oct Mon-Fri 10AM-3:30PM, Sat 11AM-2:30PM on the half hour

Best Panoramas: Hubbard Park And Tower

Pick a clear day and head up to Hubbard Park, a short way out of town up a twisty road. The hill behind the State House is part of the park. The park itself is comprised of about 185 acres, with seven miles of trails, some picnic tables and lots of trees. The high point of the park, figuratively and literally, is the stone tower. Originally constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), the tower is perched at the top of a hill and rises 52 feet from the ground. Climb up the spiral staircase inside, and you'll be rewarded with fine views of scenic Montpelier and the Vermont countryside stretching for miles in every direction. If you're looking for wild and wonderful photo opportunities, Montpelier's Hubbard Park is the place to come.

Hubbard Park
Corse St
Montpelier, Vermont 05602
Daily 7AM-9PM

Most Unexpected: Green Mount Cemetery

Cemeteries may not be high on your list of tourist destinations, but Green Mount is unique. Set on a gentle green slope, dotted with trees and shrubs, the cemetery is a quiet retreat to relax and reflect. What makes it special for visitors into amateur photography? The landscapes, for sure, but also the monuments and memorials. These are sculptural works that could just as easily be in a museum. You can download a map from the website, which indicates some of the notable memorials, but wandering around at your own pace, stopping for a few of the best photo ops as the mood strikes, can be more rewarding.

Green Mount Cemetery
251 State St
Montpelier, VT 05602
Guided tours are available on request

Scenic View of the Winooski River: North Branch Nature Center

The North Branch Nature Center has a full, year-round schedule of programs, classes and lectures for adults and kids, making it very popular with local residents. If you're on a quest for travel photography that captures Montpelier's essence, this is perfect. The Winooski River wends its way through the city, so there are there are plenty of convenient places to catch glimpses and full-on views for great Montpelier landscape photography. The benefit to making your way to the North Branch Nature Center, and then walking the trail to get to the river, is the footbridge. Position yourself over the water and you'll get a better shot of the river. This area is on the migration path for monarch butterflies and numerous bird species, too.

North Branch Nature Center
713 Elm St
Montpelier, VT 05602
Center open Mon-Fri 9AM to 4PM; Trails open every day

Most Impressive College Architecture: College Hall

The Vermont College of Fine Arts offers three degrees: MFA in Writing, MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and MFA in Visual Art. The campus is tiny, but attractive. Except for College Hall, which is perhaps the most commanding building in town. This building transcends mere attractiveness. Constructed in 1872 as a seminary, the Second Empire-style building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today it houses an impressive chapel with a two-story pipe organ, and the T.W. Wood Gallery & Arts Center. The building is reason enough to grab your camera and scoot over here, but once you've captured the perfect photo, turn around. More scenic Montpelier! Specifically, a full, wide-angle view of the Winooski River valley and the Worcester Mountains.

The Vermont College of Fine Arts
College Hall
36 College St
Montpelier, VT 05602

T.W Wood Gallery & Arts Center
802-828 8743
Tue-Sun Noon-4PM
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