10 Reasons To Love Vermont

10 Reasons To Love Vermont

"They say home is where the heart is, these green mountains are my home."
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There are many reasons why I am proud to call myself a Vermonter, but I've narrowed it down to ten that I find to be most important.

1. Green mountains

Vermont is known as the “green mountain state,” so of course the green mountains are one of the best things about living there. Every road you turn onto has breathtaking scenery!

2. Real maple syrup

Golden with a delicate flavor, amber with a rich flavor, dark with a robust flavor, or very dark with a strong flavor. Vermont has a syrup grading system like no other, with higher standards than other syrup producers. Whether it is on pancakes, french toast, or vanilla ice cream, VT maple syrup is the very best kind! About 500,000 gallons are produced in the state each year.

3. Covered bridges

Vermont has the highest number of authentic covered bridges per square mile in the United States. There are just over 100 of them, each with their very own personality. 80% of the bridges were built in the 1800’s, when traffic consisted mostly of horses and buggies!

4. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Ben & Jerrys was founded in 1978 in Burlington, VT. One of Vermont’s favorite tourist attractions to date is the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury, where you can go on a factory tour and visit the ice cream shop. The most popular Ben & Jerry’s flavors are currently Half Baked, Cherry Garcia, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough.

5. The seasons

The most beautiful season in Vermont is the fall, when leaf peepers come from all over the country to see shades of red and gold in the trees. But truthfully, all of the seasons are beautiful (except mud season). Vermont is a great place to hit the slopes in the winter, or enjoy the great outdoors in the spring and summer.

6. No billboards

Vermont is one of just four states in America where billboards are prohibited. The other three states are Hawaii, Maine, and Alaska. It’s very nice to be able to drive down the highway and not have billboards blocking my view of the beautiful mountains.

7. Cheese

The Vermont Cheese Trail consists of about 30 different cheesemakers who are “dedicated to the production and image of premiere cheese.” One of my personal favorites is the Cabot Creamery, in Cabot, Vermont, which offers factory tours and delicious samples.

8. Education system

In 2015, Vermont was ranked 6th overall for the best education system in the United States. Vermont also has the lowest pupil to teacher ratio in the country, and is one of the top five states for high math test scores.

9. The history

Vermont was the first state admitted to the Union after the original 13 colonies. It was also the first state to outlaw slavery, leads the country in marble production, and was home to the Vonn Trapp family (from the Sound of Music) who escaped Austria during World War II. There is amazing history to be found in every square mile of Vermont, and it is so much fun to explore.

10. Happy people

Vermont is known as one of the happiest states in America. It is the safest state in the country, with a crime rate of just 115 incidents per 100,000 residents. In 2015 Vermont was ranked 13th for overall happiness and 7th for emotional and physical well-being. Living in Vermont sure does make me happy!

Cover Image Credit: TIME

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If You Give A Girl A Little Brother

You've given her the world.
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I remember back to my childhood, standing at the top of the steps yelling down to my parents "Why did you decide to have another child?" I remember riding in the backseat yelling "Mom, was I not good enough for you?" as my brother threw snow at me .

I remember crying when my mom made us share our first cell phone. I remember playing in a pool at a waterpark, and my dad couldn't play with me because my brother couldn't swim and needed my dad to be with him. I played by myself, thinking "They must have not wanted a girl when they only pay attention to him."

But now, at almost 22, I realized that the best gift God has ever given me was my little brother.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a pain in her ass.

Oh, he'll be annoying. He'll get in the shower just because you said you were going to. He'll start talking every time you do. He'll pull stupid pranks, he'll make you listen to bogus music, he'll make you watch stupid tv shows, he'll smell up the bathroom (and probably smell himself.) and boy, I promise there will be day's you will resent him. But he's just training for living with your husband one day.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a role.

As a big sister, I had somebody copying all my moves. If I did something, so did he. If I didn't eat something, neither did he. If I didn't like somebody neither did he. He was like a little shadow that did everything I did, so I was always motivated to make good choices and make him proud of me.

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her a rough side.

I wouldn't have done half the things I did if it wasn't for him. Play basketball in the drive way, spend hours on our bikes, spend the summer days in the pool, or down at the park. I wouldn't have learned that it's okay to get in the dirt and have some fun. I wouldn't have played half the made up, imaginary games we played every day. I wouldn't have played with Hot Wheels, or Lincoln Logs, or Leggo's. I would have played with Barbies by myself all day long, and what's the fun in that?

Give a girl a little brother, and you give her the best friend she'll ever have.

In the end, when our parent's both pass away, I won't be alone, because I will have my little brother. When the world gets tough, and everyone turns away from me, he will always be there. No matter where he end's up in life, I know he will drop everything and come running when I'm in need.

For Christmas this year, I bought my brother his first tattoo. We got matching tattoo's on our sides. Our lives our different now, because we're grown up and live on opposite sides of the state. But no matter where we go in life, if we look up, we will be looking at the same sun and moon. We are made up of the same matter, 'made' by the same people, and love each other more than I think we'd like to admit.

Alex is my true other-half.

Give a girl a little brother, and you made her whole.

Cover Image Credit: Abby Engel

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8 Places You Should Know About When Visiting San Francisco

Some of the slightly less known places in the city by the bay.

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If you are planning to make the trip out to the beautiful, and sometimes sunny, San Francisco, then I am your gal! After growing up in the Bay Area for the last 18 years, I know a place or two that captures this cities uniqueness and beauty from all angles.

1. Marin Headlands

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from Marin Headlands.

Julia smoot

Technically outside of the city and across the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge, the views from this place are unforgettable. There is so much to see from this perspective and it is an amazing way to see the whole city.

2. Haight-Ashbury

Jammin on Haight. The one of a kind tie-dye store.

Julia Smoot

One of the more "hippie vibe" locations of San Francisco. This one is my personal favorite, with all of the cool shops, cool people, and golden gate park right next door. Home to rock bands such as The Grateful Dead and a big part of the Summer of Love, this street has a lot of history.

3. Chinatown's Chinese New Year Parade

One of the dragons in the Chinese New Year Parade.

Julia Smoot

This is something that my friends and I have made a tradition to go to every year. The parade is absolutely amazing and so much fun to watch!

4. Lands End and Sutro Baths

Lands End Trail

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These two happen to right next to each other, and both are very worth seeing. Lands end gives you great views of the bay and the Golden Gate Bride, with good hikes and trails. Sutro Baths are whats left of the old public pools in San Francisco, and they are super cool to see!

5. SF MoMA

View from MoMA top

This art museum is funky, interesting and very (you guessed it) modern. If you are into art and looking to spend an hour or two somewhere, this would be the place.

6. Earth Day Festival

Community Painted Wall at the Earth Day Festival

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Out of the many festivals that take place in the city, this has to be one of my favorite. With live music, booths selling cool one of a kind things and information on how we can work to save the planet, I would give this festival a 10/10.

7. Golden Gate Park

Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park

Julia Smoot

I couldn't even begin to go into detail about how many things there are to do in Golden Gate Park. The De Young Museum, California Academy of Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers, Outside Lands, Live Music, Festivals, Art Shows and so much more. This is definitely one of my favorite places in San Fran of all time.

8.Twin Peaks

View from Twin Peaks

Julia Smoot

The trip to the top of this place is a quite the drive, but definitely worth it. I was amazed by the view the first time I ever went up there. It is a whole other perspective to see the city from, and it is absolutely amazing. Would not recommend going on a foggy day though.

These are just a few of the many stunning places in the city by the bay. I probably would not be able to put into words how amazing each place is.

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