Vermont marked a significant milestone Tuesday in its recovery from COVID-19, reopening its most famous building to the public for the first time since March of 2020.
The historic Vermont State House in Montpelier is a popular place with travelers interested in history and government, but the pandemic had it closed to visitors for nearly 17 months.
“Life is getting back to normal,” said Jennifer Fitch, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services.
State lawmakers did most all of their business remotely this session, but Fitch said plans are in the works to bring them back in January.
Fitch said she is glad to see life returning to the 1800s building and to downtown Montpelier, including with Tuesday’s return of self-guided tours of the State House.
“It means that our economy is starting to recover,” Fitch observed. “People are coming to Vermont to spend their time here and enjoy all we have to offer.”
Isabel Rodriguez and Carlos Segui of West Palm Beach, Florida were glad to discover the building had reopened. The couple has been touring New England this week, they said, with stops in Boston and Maine before coming to Vermont.
“I want to see everything,” Rodriguez said.
“It’s something new for me,” added Segui, who said he enjoyed taking pictures of the artwork and historic features inside the building.
Cheryl Wright and her family came to the nation’s smallest state capital all the way from Texas, as part of their project to visit each statehouse in the country.
Vermont’s was number 41 on their list, they said.
“You have a very nice capitol, and I’ve seen a lot of them, so nice job, guys,” high schooler Victoria Kundrouf told the people of Vermont.
“I’m enjoying it unbelievably,” Wright, Kundrouf’s mom, added. “I specifically drove here to make sure I could see the capitol and I was very grateful that it’s open, since it’s part of our quest to visit all 50 capitols.”
Self-guided and audio tours of the Vermont State House are all that are available right now, but guided tours will return in September, Fitch said—in time for the fall foliage season.