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Here are 5 facts about Vermont that no one probably knows

1. Scotland’s Loch Ness isn’t the only place with an epic lake monster. Lake Champlain in Vermont is rumored to be home to one as well. Most evidence comes from eyewitness accounts, almost all of which occurred in the 1980s.

2. Driving through Vermont you’ll notice one huge difference from the rest of the nation—there are no billboards. Since 1968, the state has banned billboards in order to preserve Vermont’s natural beauty. Road signs are strictly controlled and you won’t see exit signs with logos for McDonalds or Texaco.

Even signs on a company’s own premises are carefully regulated. The ban has been a boon for tourism, since visitors can come to the state without worrying about their views being obscured by ugly signage.

3. Vermont’s unique infrastructure and culture make it fairly self-reliant and there is a vibrant movement pushing for Vermont’s secession, particularly active during George W. Bush’s Presidency. Spurred by a fiercely independent and pioneering spirit, supporters are proponents of local and small-scale industry and farming. The movement is called the Second Vermont Republic—because, long ago, there was a first republic.

4. Lake Champlain, which runs almost the entire length of the border between New York and Vermont, is the sixth largest interior body of water in the United States—only the Great Lakes are bigger. As the Missisquoi Bay, it also extends into Canada. Back in March 1998, then-President Bill Clinton signed a bill that officially declared Lake Champlain the sixth Great Lake.

5. What would a list about Vermont be without a mention of maple syrup? A bad one, presumably. Vermont is the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States, churning out 35 percent of the nation’s supply. Vermont’s long tradition of tapping the local maples means that almost every community is full of families that make their own syrup—some might be big producers and sell their products worldwide, but most are smaller unofficial producers, who make syrup only for family and friends.

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