Vermont’s inland and border location, its hilly terrain, and its hard winters have handicapped the development of transportation. In the early days of settlement, the water routes along its borders provided the principal transportation arteries. These routes originally oriented travel from the Champlain Valley toward Canada and from the Connecticut Valley toward southern New England. Steamboats operated on Lake Champlain from 1809 to 1953. But after the completion of a rail line along the lake’s New York shore in 1876, steamboats primarily provided tourist and ferry service. Lake Champlain remains a link in a waterway system extending from the St. Lawrence River in Canada to New York City. By 1900 railroad track linking New York City with Montreal, Canada, ran through Vermont.
Roads were built gradually. There are few good east-to-west roads across the Green Mountains. However, expanded interstate highway programs have improved truck and automobile transportation. White River Junction, Montpelier, Saint Johnsbury, Rutland, and Burlington are transportation hubs. As a border state, Vermont has many trade ties with Canada. Saint Albans, near the Canadian border, is a port of entry for international rail-freight traffic, and a considerable amount of Canadian lumber and animal feed for New England farms passes through. Burlington, on Lake Champlain, is a port of entry for waterborne freight, especially fuel oil. Burlington is the principal business center.
Lake Champlain, which offered steamboat service from the time of the launching of the Vermont in 1809, was a highlight of the grand tour of the United States for European and southern travelers in the early 19th century. Toward the middle of the 19th century the fashion for water cures spread from Europe and Saratoga, New York, to many Vermont resorts. The most famous of these resorts was at Brattleboro. Lakeshore camps for children were started in the 1890s, and the Green Mountain Club, organized in 1910, marked the Long Trail for hikers. After the main roads were paved, tourism grew into a major industry. Tourism has become a leading source of income for Vermont. Initially most tourists visited in summer. However, with the expansion of winter sports activities, tourism has become a year-round industry.
Because of tourism, roads have been improved and more permanent residents have settled in the state. Many of the visitors are Canadians. In terms of dollars spent, skiing contributes the most to Vermont’s tourist industry. The ski resort area has spread the length of the Green Mountains. "Vermont" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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