In Vermont , you are never far from a sugar house. On the edge of Montpelier , seventh-generation mapler Burr Morse has turned his farm into one of the premier maple syrup producers in the state. Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks (1168 County Rd., 802/223-2740 or 800/242-2740, www.morsefarm.com , 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily May–Oct., 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily Nov.–Apr., donations accepted) is a virtual museum of the industry, with old photographs and a “split-log” movie theater that shows a film of the sugaring process.
A cavernous gift shop sells maple kettle corn and that most Vermont of treats, maple creemees (aka soft-serve maple ice cream cones).
For such a small capital, Montpelier  has an impressive State House (115 State St., 802/828-2228, www.leg.state.vt.us , tours every half hour 10 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri. and 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. Sat. July–mid-Oct.; 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Mon.–Fri. mid-Oct.–July), with a 57-foot golden dome capping a columned Renaissance Revival building. (Try for a moment to imagine the dome painted dark red, as it was between 1857 and 1907.)
Fittingly for the state, the dome is topped by a wooden statue of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture. Facing the building, look for a statue of Ethan Allen in the Greek Revival front portico, a remnant of an earlier state house on the site.
Tours of the building’s interior take in statues and paintings of Vermont  politicians who figured in state and national history, including presidents Calvin Coolidge and Chester A. Arthur.
Most dairy farmers are too busy milking and feeding the cows to have much time for entertaining guests. The family farmers at the all-organic Neighborly Farms of Vermont (1362 Curtis Rd., Randolph, 802/728-4700, 9:00a.m.–5:00p.m. Mon.–Sat. Mar.–Nov., www.neighborlyfarms.com ) are an exception, happy to show off their 50 Holsteins and demonstrate milking and cheese-making (10 different varieties) to visitors. In the spring, the farm runs a maple sugar operation as well.
In the age of iPods and mp3s, it may be difficult to conceive of a time when the only home entertainment system a family had was a music box as big as a mini-fridge. A few miles south of Montpelier  on I-89 in the village of Randolph, the Porter Music Box Museum (Rte. 66, Randolph, 802/728-9694, www.portermusicbox.com , 9:30 a.m.– 5 p.m. daily May–Oct., $6.50 adults, $4.50 children 3–12, free children under 3) takes visitors back to those days, with dozens of inlaid cherrywood automata and spool-fed music boxes.
Tours include songs played on some of the models on display. The museum is on the site of the Porter Music Box Company, which is still making them today.
Next door to the Vermont State House, the Vermont Historical Society Museum (109 State St., 802/828-2291, www.vermonthistory.org , 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tues.–Sat. and noon–4 p.m. Sun. May–Oct, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. p.m. Tues.–Fri., Oct.–May., $5 adults, $3 students and seniors, free for children under 6, $12 families) takes in the grand scope of state history, from reconstructions of an Abenaki dwelling and the Revolutionary-era Catamount Tavern to exhibits on Vermont’s  contribution to the Civil War and World War II.
A whole room is dedicated to Vermont-born president Calvin Coolidge, and there’s even a collection on the early history of skiing. The gift shop has an extensive selection of books on Vermont history and culture.