How to Live Like a Vermonter in Fall (Wherever You Are)

For about 10 months out of every year, most Americans are content to be who they are. Come fall, there’s a switch. From the first crisp of the air to the jeweled-toned fall colors that fuel the brochures of every inn and Ivy League school, people suddenly want to be Vermonters – if not in location, at least in spirit.

Ibex was born and raised in wilds of Vermont, and we’re still headquartered in the lovely hamlet of White River Junction. Whether longtime locals or transplants, we’re all vested in our community. Since we can’t catch the essence of Vermont, bottle it, and hire some obscure celebutant to sell it in drugstores around the country, we’re doing the next best thing. We’re bringing fall-style Vermont to you in five easy steps.

Step One: Dress with texture. If your fall wardrobe doesn’t make you purr with pleasure when you rub your cheek on an upraised shoulder or you give yourself a little hug from the cold, you’re not in a Vermont state of mind…yet. Dressing in textured, natural fabrics is a “fashion do” any time of the year. In the fall, it becomes a “fashion must.” Much of it is practical, of course, in that many warmer fabrics tend to have a textured hand. The rest of it is pure indulgence. Throwing on a sweatshirt doesn’t have the same meditative contentment of pulling on an all-natural, dense, warm, loden wool jacket. (Check out the Europa and the Nicki.)

Step Two: Throw a harvest dinner. Vermont is known for our farm-to-table dining, locally grown produce, artisan cheeses, craft beers and simple food crafted to haute cuisine levels. These come to a magical denouement at our community-wide harvest dinners in the fall. If your town doesn’t do the same, hit your local farmer’s market and invite your pals over for a long Sunday of slow-cooking, games and good music.

Step Three: Take a hike. Just because we tease our beloved leaf peeping tourists this time of year doesn’t mean we’re immune to the beauty they’ve come to experience. We don’t know a single Vermonter who doesn’t Zen out with at least one long hike (or drive or mountain bike ride) to find the best Technicolor display of fall colors.

Step Four: Tailor your own red flannel hash. Haven’t heard of red flannel hash? That’s okay. You’re in the fine company of residents of the 49 states not named Vermont. Red flannel hash is a Vermont traditional meal. It’s a simple potato hash with the brilliant addition of beets. It’s cooked in one skillet and the beets give it a red hue that could be disarming to the unfamiliar. The basic recipe is delicious, hearty and Vermont to-the-core, though any true Vermonter will develop their own variation.

Step Five: Stake out your health and happiness. Year after year, Vermont hovers among the top five rankings of the healthiest and happiest states in the nation. The rankings are usually based on official statistics like obesity, smoking, daily intake of fruits and veggies, etc. Unofficially, Vermont is still a place where people take the time and make the effort to appreciate each day.

Here’s to a happy, wool-covered fall wherever you are!