Best time to visit Vermont?

Vermont Dopers:
I’m considering going to Fairlee, VT, for an adult mountain bike skills camp this year. The three available weekends are 5/21, 6/18, and 9/24. I’m assuming the May and June weather is pretty similar. How does late spring/early summer compare to autumn up there?

In what way? If you want to see leaves, take the September weekend, no question.

I think the May session might be right at the peak of black fly season. The September date is just a bit early for real foliage, but it’s your best choice for really nice weather. (September weather in New England can be just spectacular, but also can be dismal – it’s just a matter of luck.)

I am from the South but I used to live in Vermont as well if you want my credentials.

The one and only correct answer is 9/24 unless you love unpredictable and possible downright cold weather. It still gets truly shivery in that area of Vermont in May so just ‘x’ that one off. It is barely even spring yet and there is still mud around in places. 6/18 may not be so bad but it still won’t be summer like you may be used to seeing. Fall in Vermont is glorious and that is when you should go hands down. The whole state looks like a post-card even in the ugliest area during the worst day of the year but you might as well enjoy it to its fullest. Have a good time and enjoy the scenery and the quirks that lurk there.

If it were me, I’d go in September too. The weather is much more likely to be nice then than it would be in May or June…May snow is not unheard of, and June, well, that’s when the 80%+ humidity kicks in. September is likely to still be fairly warm and the humidity is usually gone by then.

I have only ever been in September. It is quite nice during that time and that is when I would go given the chance.

May is definitely blackfly season. June would be nicer. September is nice, but it’s just a bit early for leaf season.

Not really. Like New Hampshire, leaves change in Vermont by the third week of September, which 9/24 falls during. cite 1 cite 2 (click on sept 26).

I’m not so concerned about the foliage. I was wondering more about comfort levels. Good to know about the blackflies as well. Is lyme disease a concern in Vermont?

Lyme disease is present in all of New England and it is much more common than most other areas of the country. However, it isn’t something most people think about on a day to day basis and there are good treatments for it now if you ever did get infected. A family member got it once in neighboring New Hampshire and that wasn’t good for a while but she is fine now. I only know a handful of people that have ever gotten it and I know lots of people that spend a bunch of time in the woods or high weeds including myself.

The deer ticks that have the potential to spread Lyme disease are incredibly annoying though. They are tiny and you have to focus hard to do a full body scan to see them and get them off if you do run across some. My daughters and I have gotten covered in deer ticks before and it takes tweezers to get them off even after you find them.

To keep things in perspective though, we were clearing trees, brush, and high weeds for many weekends in a deer infested area before that ever happened and nothing ever came of it and hasn’t happened since. It is something to think about but not really worry about. Just stay out of the high weeds and you will be fine and probably will even if you roll around in them.

I went to school just a few miles from Fairlee, it’s not really peak at foliage around 9/24 but it will have started by then.

I’ve hiked and biked there for decades, and I wouldn’t worry much about Lyme disease up there. Ticks are possible, especially if you are in fields of grasses. It’s a good idea to do a tick check at the end of the day. But as stated, deer ticks are really hard to spot.

Yep. If you’re going to be walking in long grass, you need to check for ticks - even if you’re wearing pants. As “common” as lyme disease is here relative to other places, I’ve only known two people who got it, and both made full recoveries.

I live in Swanton, VT, and have lived in Vermont my whole life. I grew up in Central Vermont (Montpelier area), which isn’t too far from Fairlee. Pick the September date if you can. You should get some decent foliage, especially if your mountain bike camp takes you into the mountains or northeast kingdom. It may not be peak colors, but shouldn’t be far off. “Peak” foliage can vary by weeks depending on the weather and the elevation.

May can still be the end of mud season (Vermont’s 5th season!), and May and June are hit-and-miss: they can either be hot and humid, or cold and rainy. Late September should give you highs in the 60s or low 70s and low humidity for the most part.

Wow, I am a former Franklin County resident. I used to live in Sheldon and Enosburg Falls. I probably would have gone to High School in Swanton if I had not moved away. (living in Sheldon, I had the choice btwn Enosburg, Swanton and St. Albans)

I echo the September Date. The last time I was in Vermont (3 yrs ago) was just after Fathers Day. It was cold, (50’s) and then unusually hot (90’s) within the space of a week.