Summer in Vermont kicks off in a big way this month with three festivals that draw thousands of visitors to our state. You live here, so there’s no excuse not to grab your bike or your yoga mat and plan your next weekend.
WANDERLUST: June 16-19
Stratton, Vt.; www.wanderlust.com
Wanderlust holds yoga and meditation retreats all over the country and the world including Los Angeles, Melbourne, Australia; Whistler, British Columbia; and Oahu, Hawaii. At the only stop in the Northeast, Stratton Mountain Resort puts a uniquely Vermont spin on the popular yoga lifestyle festival.
The Vibe: Vermont Commissioner of Tourism Megan Smith has attended the festival as long as it’s come to Vermont. She notes that while many other festivals can have wild and energetic atmosphere, the Wanderlust vibe is “completely relaxed and positive” and the event has helped take her practice to the next
Who Goes: As the only stop in New England, Wanderlust at Stratton attracts thousands of PraNa and Lululemon-clad yogis from all over New England and Quebec. Wanderlust welcomes everyone from novices to certified professional instructors.
The Setting: Stratton Mountain’s 3,936-foot peak – the tallest mountain in Southern Vermont – makes an awe-inspiring backdrop for the four-day affair. While visitors stay in condominiums or lodging in nearby Dover or Manchester, it’s also possible to save money by camping in approved areas on the resort property. You’ll find windchimes, sidewalk chalk, flags and big, colorful tents as you walk to and from your classes and workshops in Stratton’s village – no cars needed.
Don’t Miss: Smith offers items not to miss. The first: hula-hooping. “It’ll take you back to your childhood,” she says. Next, Smith recommends checking out the live music, which can include all genres and artists. The best acts are later in the night, she says, so be willing to stay up late.
What You Could Learn: With over 20 different yoga and meditation instructors bringing diverse philosophies and practices, visitors can expect to learn something new, such as how to do yoga on a paddleboard. Consider a selection of courses in one day: “How To Manifest the Career You Want & Attract It To You” with life coach Shannon Algeo, “Dancing With Your Dosha: Vata Soothing Edition,” with yoga instructor Ali Cramer or “Slackline Fundamentals” with trainers Jason Magness and Sam Salwei. This year yoga teacher and activist Seanne Corn gives a talk on environmentalism and our dietary choices; Haleh Gafori Kilmer, a singer and poet from Brooklyn, N.Y.will offer interpretations on the poet Rumi; and ethnomusicologist Jacob Edgar presents his perspectives on traveling with a musical lens.
Strangest Thing: At Wanderlust, be prepared for the unexpected. On an early morning group hike to the summit of Stratton Mountain, a didgeridoo player accompanied Smith and her party with long, droning blasts on his instrument.
The Party: Most people go for the yoga, but everyone stays for the music. This year’s lineup of musicians includes Magic Giant, DJ Drez, Eva Salina and many more.
Photo by John Suhar