Blog Post: How to Enjoy and Preserve Vermont’s Environment

Strong Waterfall  surrounded by rocks, orange and yellow flowers and green shrubs.

Vermont is known for being one of the greenest states – both in color and its commitment to the eco-friendly movement. Vermont is a prime location for those travelers looking for an abundance of outdoor activities (hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, and so much more!) in a natural environment. Middlebury and the Swift House Inn are in the perfect central Vermont location to enjoy all of those activities within 15 minutes of the Inn.

As Vermonters, we do our best to preserve the environment so future generations can enjoy the same activities in nature that we have, and we ask that our tourists do the same. Below are some great tips for traveling (and playing!) in Vermont and how to enjoy the natural environment without harming it.

  • Plan ahead: These activities are so much more enjoyable when you have all the essentials and aren’t walking away with dozens of mosquito bites or wet sneakers. We recommend bringing: bug spray, food/snacks, water/sports drinks, camera/smart-phone with a waterproof case (preserve those memories!), guidebook/trail map, daypack/backpack, and most importantly: appropriate shoes. Water shoes might not be the most fashionable of footwear, but they’ll give your feet protection and traction when it’s needed most. Choosing hiking shoes or boots over flip-flops might just save you from a gruesome fall and injury.
  • Leave no trace: Make sure you leave with everything you came in with – even trash. Many times when you are outside enjoying nature, especially waterfalls and swimming holes, you’ll find trash and/or clothes left behind. Let’s try to preserve the beautiful environment not just for the humans visiting it, but also for the animals that call it home.
  • Respect private property: That swimming hole might look just perfect to enjoy on a hot summer day, but don’t ignore that private property sign and trample through someone’s yard. There are plenty of great public places nearby to cool off on a summer day.
  • Be cautious: Scout your environment before enjoying it. Someone may already be swimming in that stretch of river, but the current may be too strong for you or your kids to handle. Assess the depth of the water, power of the current, evidence of slippery or loose rocks, and other important safety factors when hiking and/or swimming.
  • Cliff Jumping: It may be tempting to jump off that cliff into the bottom of the waterfall, but cliff jumping is very dangerous for casual swimmers. There are many unknowns at the bottom of a waterfall, and cliff jumping has led to a number of serious injuries and deaths in New England. On the same note, don’t try to scramble up waterfalls, as there is a high probability that you will slip and fall.
  • Don’t rely on your GPS: Waterfalls and swimming holes don’t have physical addresses and, in some places, you won’t get cell service to check to see if you’re headed in the right direction. See what the Inn has available for free maps and pamphlets, and stop by the local Chamber of Commerce or ranger station for more suggestions and tips for getting in and out of each location safely.

Resources for more tips and locations for some great adventures:

The Swift House Inn is offering an 18% discount for those guests staying three or more consecutive nights in June, July, and August. Jessica’s Restaurant is now open Wednesday through Sunday evenings, seating from 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Stop by the front desk for a list of local swimming holes and suggestions for any other outdoor activities you are looking for.

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