From the thrill of liftoff to the traditional champagne toast upon landing, hot air ballooning has lost none of its magic for both first timers and seasoned pilots. Vermont is host to the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival in July. Here over 20 pilots from around the country come together for a weekend of sunrise and sunset launches, filling the skies over Stowe with a dazzling array of colors. Host Marianne Eaton steps into the gondola of aeronaut Chuck Baraw at the festival to rise above it all.
By the 1960s peregrine falcon populations were all but eliminated in the northeastern United States due to exposure to DDT. But thanks to reintroduction programs, the bird has made a dramatic recovery in Vermont where it still remains an endangered species. Host Marianne Eaton accompanies members of the National Wildlife Federation and the Vermont Institute of Natural Science on a banding operation at the Rattlesnake Cliffs in Salisbury that is part of the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project.
Late spring and early summer are when the hexagenia limbata are hatching and the fish are jumping. When these mayflies hatch in late spring and early summer several Vermont ponds offer anglers excellent opportunities to not only catch a lot of fish, but sizable ones as well. Host Lawrence Pyne and angler Leighton Wass journey to Seyon Pond and Caspian Lake during the hex hatch to experience the rewards of what Leighton calls "hexitis."
Mix a Hitchcock masterpiece with a juicy spy novel, add a dash of Monty Python and you have The 39 Steps, a fast-paced whodunit for anyone who loves the magic of theater. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.
Although Lake Champlain is renowned for it's fine bass fishing, Vermont has many smaller, less famous lakes that also offer excellent opportunities for anglers to reel in a hefty largemouth or small-mouth. One of the best times to enjoy the great bass fishing that these inland lakes have to offer is in the early fall — boat traffic is almost non-existent and cooling water temperatures have summer-fat bass back on the prowl. Host Lawrence Pyne joins longtime bass guide Rod Start of Tinmouth, Vermont for a mid-September outing on Lake St. Catherine, one of several outstanding bass lakes in southwestern Vermont.
With the loon population of Vermont down to eight nesting pairs in 1983, the Loon Recovery Project combined the talents of the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department to study ways to increase the loon population. Outdoor Journal visits with Eric Hanson, project biologist and the kids of Vermont Audubon's "Take Part Program" as they demonstrate what they have done to increase the loon population to almost forty nesting pairs.
Sculling is a rowing sport that's not only a great workout, it's one of the fastest trips you can make on the water under your own power. Vermont is home to the Craftsbury Sculling Center in Craftsbury Common. It is a world-class sculling school attracting Olympians and people who just like to row. Host Marianne Eaton joins a class at Craftsbury to learn the ins and outs of sculling and what the attraction is to this sport of "leverage."
Falconry has been called the "sport of kings" for centuries and still attracts a worldwide audience. While not as traditionally popular here as in Europe, falconry does have a devoted following in the United States. At the British School of Falconry at the Equinox, a resort in Manchester Village, Vt., visitors can take an introductory falconry lesson that puts them face-to-face with a Harris Hawk. Host Marianne Eaton visits the school for a lesson and accompanies falconers on a hunt for game birds in Tinmouth.
Over the years miles of trail systems have been developed In Vermont, giving us access to some of our state's most beautiful forests and spectacular views. Keeping these trails clear and useable is a huge task. The Northeast Kingdom Conservation Service Corps, or "Kingdom Corps" for short, gives young people ages 12 to 15 a chance to work on environmental projects that help improve communities. The program is run by the NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston. We spend a day with a group of teens from the Kingdom Corps who dedicate their summers to creating and maintaining trails ... and a whole lot more.
It's probably the last thing most anglers think of as they drift their bait in a tumbling stream or troll their lures through a deep, clear lake. But a big reason why trout fishermen in Vermont are so successful is because of the state's fish hatcheries. Vermont operates five fish culture stations, and collectively they play a critical roll in both restoring and maintaining the wonderful trout fishing found throughout the state. We visit the Ed Weed Fish Culture Station in Grand Isle for a look at some beautiful trout and salmon destined for Vermont's rivers and streams. Then we accompany members of the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife as they stock the Winooski River with the help of some schoolchildren.
- Ed Weed Fish Culture Station,
Bald Hill Fish Culture Station,
Bennington Fish Culture Station,
- Roxbury Fish Culture Station,
Salisbury Fish Culture Station,
- Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife