Summer is short but precious in Vermont. It’s almost halfway done, if you’re scientific about it, and for those living through the school year, less than a month remains.

However, even a few weeks are enough to take full advantage of the long days. From late summer berry picking to the Champlain Valley Fair, there’s nothing boring about the second half of a Vermont summer. Take a look at your own bucket list and see what you haven’t checked off. So check out these activities and articles Free Press reporters have been writing all summer to tell you about hikes, berry seasons, cream spots and more.

1. Pick berries

Maybe you have already used our Strawberry Picking Guide 2022 earlier this summer and are ready for late season varieties including blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Find blueberries now on Adams berry farm and Farm with gentle roots in Charlotte, Owl’s Head Blueberry Farm in Richmond and Blueberry Farm Covered Bridge at Underhill. You can pick blueberries and raspberries at Adams Berry Farm, although the raspberries won’t be ready until later this month.

If you’re curious about when and where each berry peaks, watch our guide when to choose what in Vermont.

2. Swim (with caution)

Cyanobacteria have shut down beaches throughout this summer, usually on the hottest days with no wind – of course, the days when we want to swim. Park staff and signs will alert you if levels get too high, so don’t be afraid to enjoy Lake Champlain when the beaches are open. Pools are always a good plan b, although pools and beaches have struggled recently with a shortage of lifeguards.

If you’re bringing a four-legged friend, there’s Texaco Beach if you’re in Burlington and a few others around.

3. Go to the fair

The Champlain Valley Fair runs from August 26 to September 4 at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction. The roster of artists for this year’s fair includes early 2000s rapper Nelly, comedian Jeff Dunham, country singer Scott McCreery, American Celtic punk band Dropkick Murphys and heavy metal musicians Don Dokken and George Lynch. Buy your tickets at https://champlainvalleyfair.org/.

You can also just go for the food and the rides. Or, if you have an award-worthy animal, vegetable, craft, or product, consider enter her into a contest.

Sterling Pond, pictured July 30, 2022, is a popular destination from a hiking trail that begins at Smugglers Notch.

4. Find a new hike

There are endless hiking options in Vermont, so we’ve curated hikes to suit all kinds of needs.

  • Need a hike accessible to people with reduced mobility? There are five around the state that the Free Press found, including Otter View Park in Middlebury and Thundering Falls in Killington.
  • If it’s hot, try a hike that offers swimming opportunities like the lake at the foot of Mount Elmore or the falls from the Lana Falls Trail in Salisbury.
  • If you’re more of a trail runner, try a new race course like those at the Catamount Outdoor Family Center in Williston or the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail in Jeffersonville.
  • Sometimes you need the fear factor to motivate you to keep going on a tough track. For trails with great views in Vermontcheck out Mount Pisgah if you feel like driving a bit north or Sunset Ridge Trail on Mount Mansfield.
A maple custard in a waffle cone from the custard stand at Chef's Corner in Williston on June 4, 2022.

5. Eat more creams

Whether you can have dairy or not, there are custards and other frozen treats for you. Try one of these new ice cream places, like Chef’s Corner, if you are bored of your evenings. Grab a vegan cream at Offbeat Creemee in Winooski or a vegan ice cream at Shy Guy Gelato, just two options among seven more places to get vegan frozen treats in the Burlington area.

If you are looking a view to accompany your cream, we can also arrange this. Stop by Goodie’s Snack Bar or Bridge Restaurant in West Addison if you’ve had enough of the panoramic views of Lake Champlain from the Burlington Bay Market & Cafe.

Contact urban change reporter Lilly St. Angelo at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @lilly_st_ang