The culture and history of all of Vermont  is on display at the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History (1 Park St., 802/388-2117, www.henrysheldonmuseum.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat. and 1–5 p.m. Sun. June–Aug.; 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat. Sept.–May, $5 adult, $4.50 senior, $3 youth 6–18, children under 6 free, $12 family), which has a rich collection of furniture and portraits stretching back more than 100 years. Rather than concern itself with battles and politicians, the museum sets out to demonstrate how the common people lived; one of its most affecting exhibits, “A Glimpse of Christmas Past,” displays antique decorations and toys for each year during the holidays.
The common man also gets his fanfare at the Vermont Folklife Center (88 Main St., 802/388-4964, www.vermontfolklifecenter.org , 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tues.–Sat., free), whose mission is to preserve the voices and cultural traditions of Vermont’s people. The centerpiece is a collection of 4,000 living-history recordings, preserved by field anthropologists who have scoured the state for local characters. The small museum also stages changing exhibits on the traditions of Native Americans, farmers, woodsmen, and quarrymen from all corners of the state.
When George Custer was defeated at the Battle of Little Bighorn, the only survivor was a Morgan horse named Comanche. Praised for their strength, versatility, and athleticism, the Morgan breed has long been associated with Vermont , where it has been bred since the late 1700s. That tradition continues at the UVM Morgan Horse Farm (74 Battell Dr., Weybridge, 802/388-2011, www.uvm.edu/morgan , 9 a.m.–4 p.m. daily May–Oct., $5 adults, $4 youth 12–18, $2 children 5–12, free under 12), which is recognized as having one of the best bloodlines for breeding and competition. A video about the breed and tours of the barn are given every hour.
If all the history is making you thirsty, recoup at Otter Creek Brewing Company (793 Exchange St., 800/473-0727, www.ottercreekbrewing.com , 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon.–Sat.), which makes one of the better craft beers in New England. Tours of the brewing process, given daily at 1, 3, and 5 p.m., include samples of its signature Copper Ale and other varieties. (And if you want to skip the tour, free samples are given out all day to visitors.)
Not quite as fun, but just as impressive craft-wise, Vermont Soapworks (616 Exchange St., 866/762-7482, www.vermontsoap.com ) also gives tours of its product-making process, which uses all-natural ingredients to make the world’s first truly organic soaps. A small “soap museum” has antique bars from over the ages.
Otter Creek is crossed by just one covered bridge, but it’s a unique one. On the northwest side of town on Seymour Street, the Pulp Mill Covered Bridge is not only the oldest in Vermont , dating from 1820, but it is also one of six in the country that has two lanes, each with its own separate covered arcade.