Fall colors, Vermont traditions

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BENNINGTON — Every year, visitors from all across the world travel to Vermont to check out the fall foliage. For many, the trip isn't complete without a stop for apples and cider donuts, among other treats.

Saturday, that held true at the Apple Barn and Country Bakeshop, one of Bennington's traditional tourist destinations, as hundreds of visitors had a chance to scoop up a little taste of Vermont.

The store is home to all things Vermont and a number of baked goods - such as their world famous mini-ciders. Also available is cheese, craft beer, maple syrup, and a number of other favorites.

The Apple Barn is known for their fresh apples. The Apple Barn and Southern Vermont Orchards has been in Lia Diamond's family since 1972 and she's been the owner of both businesses for the past 24 years. Southern Vermont Orchards currently owns over 300 acres of land. Bus tours are given of the orchard and attendees have a chance to take pictures of the area, weather permitting.

According to The Apple Barn's website, Southern Vermont Orchards was established by Edward Hamlin Everett in 1910. He created the lightning fruit jar, the predecessor to the Ball and Mason jar.

The Orchard House, now known as Southern Vermont College, was surrounded by 75,000 apple trees, 3,000 plum trees and 2,000 quince trees. All were planted by Everett, including 65 varieties of apples. Following Everett's death, his orchard's property was divided and sold.

"What keeps me engaged is putting smiles on people's faces," Diamond said, "and it brings people from all walks of life."

Each season, Diamond stocks the store with new merchandise and rearranges displays to keep the store looking fresh for those who return. Besides returning customers, Diamond also said that many of her employees return each season.

Outside of the store is decorated with plump pumpkins and flowers and sometimes, there are tables with locally themed items for sale.

Visitors often take pictures with the animal figures outside of the store and some even take pictures with The Apple Barn sign. Just beyond the backside of the barn, the foliage flourishes when it is at its peak.

"We create memories here," Diamond said.

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