The man and I just returned from a 5-day trip in Vermonster. Somewhat on a whim, we decided a couple weeks before the departure date that this would be the perfect location for Labor Day weekend.
Lush, green landscapes and an endless supply of maple syrup? Hard to beat.
Here is our itinerary, which I hope you may find of use when you decide to one day travel to the Green Mountain Land! (still a bit photo deficient, I know)
We arrived at our darling hotel inn, Northern Lights Lodge, at around 2 PM. At around $90 a night, it was quite a good deal. And who can say no to free cookies every night?
After settling in, we rented bikes in a nearby shop so we could hop onto the Recreational Trail. It was a gorgeous 11 mile bike ride and if we had chosen to bike earlier, we definitely would have taken advantage of the “don’t-need-to-lock-your-bike” situation. No need to lock your bike at a restaurant or bar!
Along the path, we met some unexpected goats and calves hanging out by the path. As my boyfriend says: “Unexpected goats are way better than expected goats.”
We turned in after a cosy meal at Crop, which was also conveniently a brewery, so we tasted our first beer flight of the trip. Nothing memorable, however.
We headed out to Rock of Ages in Barre (pronounced BEAR-y), Vermont. Rock of Ages is a granite quarry and we largely went to make my Dad proud. It actually ended up being extremely interesting and the views were absolutely stunning. Definitely left with a newfound appreciation of the effort it takes to get a good piece of granite and the artistry required to shape the rock.
After we filled our brains with knowledge on Barre Grey granite, we drove over to Bragg Farm Sugar House to dip our toes into sugary sweetness. We got to sample a few types of maple syrup (did you know that later in the season = darker syrup due to longer boiling times required?) and the boyfriend treated me to a lovely cone of maple syrup soft serve. Amazing.
The thing that surprised me the most was how the sweetness of all the maple products hit me first, which was then followed with a slow crescendo of maple flavor and a final aftertaste of maple goodness. Definitely using maple syrup more in recipes.
Our final stop of the day was a walk around downtown Montpelier, the capital of Vermont. I loved the town was very quaint, but unfortunately everything was closed since it was past 4 PM on a Sunday. People in Montpelier definitely know what’s most important.
Forgot to mention – we did make a pit stop at a Cabot Creamery outlet, a company focusing on Cheddar cheese. We ecstatically sampled over 20 types of cheddar at the store.
This was the day the man and I decided to venture out into the actual wilderness. We took a somewhat tough hike (for us! hah) to Sterling Pond.
The hike took over an hour to complete and was fairly steep, but we were greeted with this beauty at the top:
We also got to look down a few ski slopes and sit in an inactive ski lift. Absolutely worth the sweat, blood, and tears (not really any of the latter two).
Due to our lack of fitness, we decided to call it a day after our descent and ate an early dinner at Piecasso.
We decided to do a much milder hike down to a waterfall within Smuggler’s Cove. Afterwards, we drove over to the Von Trapp Lodge and played a solid game of frisbee golf (where S totally kicked my butt). And if you were wondering: yes, Von Trapp as in The Sound of Music. Same family.
We had a short beer tasting at the Von Trapp brewery and drove over to every child’s dream: The Ben & Jerry factory.
Quite honestly, if there is one thing you can leave off this list, it’s the Ben & Jerry’s factory. I expected to be a pretty generic experience, so I wasn’t too upset. But other than the flavor graveyard, there really wasn’t much to it.
We ended our fourth day by attempting to squeeze in a cider tasting at Stowe Cider. Unfortunately, the shop was closed for the day, but the owner was kind enough to let us purchase a ginger cider. Cider in hand, we basked in the afternoon sun in the town center of Stowe and concluded our last evening there.
For our last day, we decided to explore Burlington, as that was the closest city to the airport. Burlington is definitely a small college town, so there were a lot of cute stores and a bit of downtown hustle.
We strolled by the lakefront (which has a good number of chair swings on the boardwalk!) for an hour, then headed over to Citizen Cider for a cider tasting. This was by far my favorite alcoholic sampling we did in Vermont. Divine ciders and so much variety. Unfortunately, all my top favorite flavors were the ones they do not distribute nation-wide.
As if one tasting wasn’t enough – we decided to spend some time at Magic Hat Brewery, which was fun as an experience but the beer itself was not too exciting.
To end our delightful five day experience in Vermont, we visited the world’s tallest filing cabinet:
And here ends our time in the Green Mountain state.
The Quick and Dirty: for those who can’t stand reading paragraphs of travel descriptions…
What we did? Biked on the Recreational Path in Stowe, became friends with goats, hiked in Smuggler’s Cove/up to Sterling Pond, played frisbee golf at Von Trapp Lodge, Rock of Ages
What we ate/drank? None of the restaurants were memorable enough to recommend, so instead I will make a list of places where we tasted things:
Beer: Crop, Von Trapp Lodge, Magic Hat
Cider: Stowe Cider (sorta), Citizen Cider
All Things Sweet: Bragg Farm Sugar House, Ben & Jerry’s
Cheddar Cheese: Cabot
Where we stayed? Northern Lights Lodge (in Stowe), but we did day trips to Burlington, Barre, and Montpelier.
How we got around? You. must. rent. a. car. There is no public transportation to speak of.