15 Things You Might Not Know About Vermont
1. Vermont's name comes from the French phrase “vert mont,” meaning “green mountain.”
2. Vermont became the 14th state in 1791; it was the first admitted after the thirteen colonies.
3. Before that, it was its very own country. Founded in 1777, the Vermont Republic operated a post office, issued its own currency called Vermont coppers, and abolished slavery.
4. Vermont's the largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S., producing over 500,000 gallons a year.
5. Consider this the next time you eat pancakes: It takes about 40 years for a sugar maple to grow large enough—at least 10 inches in diameter—to tap. Then it takes some 40 gallons of sap to produce a single gallon of syrup. Don't waste a drop!
6. Vermont's also America's No. 1 producer of marble and No. 2 producer of talc. They're the state's official rock and mineral, respectively.
7. With a population of just 7,787 in 2012, Montpelier is the smallest state capital in the U.S. In comparison, Juneau, the capital of Alaska and the sixth smallest state capital by population, has 32,167 people.
8. Some people joke that Vermont has more dairy cows than people. Not true! It has one cow for every 3.8 people, which is still the nation's highest ratio of cows to people.
9. U.S. Presidents Chester A. Arthur and Calvin Coolidge were both born in Vermont. The latter is the only president born on the Fourth of July.
10. The Von Trapp family that inspired The Sound of Music moved to Stowe, Vermont in 1942. Descendants are still running the family ski lodge—and, we hope, spontaneously bursting into song.
11. Lake Champlain, located primarily in Vermont with parts in New York and Quebec, isn't as big as the Great Lakes, but it does have its own monster—or so the legend goes. Champ is said to be friendly, 20 to 80 feet long, and have a head like either a snake or a dog. The most famous photo of him was taken back in 1977.
12. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, Vermont's the least religious state in the U.S. Only 22 percent of the respondents said they consider religion important and regularly attend religious services. On the flip side, Mississippi is the most religious state, with 61 percent of participants saying they attend services weekly or nearly every week.
13. It's also one of the most progressive states. It was the first to grant women partial voting rights (in 1880), abolish slavery (as a republic and a state), and legislate same-sex marriage.
14. One thing that's not legal in Vermont: billboard advertising. Vermont is one of four states to ban commercial billboards, the others being Maine, Hawaii, and Alaska.
15. Vermont has one telephone area code—and they're proud of it. You'll see 802 on t-shirts, bumper stickers, and even tattoos.