What comes to mind when you think of Vermont? Fall colors? Maple syrup? Covered bridges? My Mom and I recently spent a wonderful week (Oct 5-11) in Vermont. We found all those things and so much more, and we were just overwhelmed by the friendly people and the beauty of this state.
We stayed in an absolutely amazing Airbnb in East Montpelier, the cutest apartment in a farm house, the perfect blend of old and modern. Thank you so much Irene and Soren for your hospitality. We loved the farm fresh eggs and cream and helpful suggestions. Leaving the house every morning we were greeted by a flock of chickens, and the whole place was surrounded by beautiful fields and colorful trees.
The first place we decided to explore was the state capital Montpelier, a tiny town of, I think, around 9000 people. The State House was built in 1859, and its golden dome is visible from quite a distance. Many government departments seem to be housed in beautifully restored old mansions. So take a stroll up State Street and enjoy them.
On Main Street and the surrounding side streets there are a number of funky restaurants and shops and at least 2 places that sell amazing handcrafted chocolates.
Burlington is Vermont’s largest town. It has about 43,000 inhabitants. Take a stroll along pedestrianized Church Street Marketplace and check out the shops and restaurants. We had lunch at Sweetwaters American Bistro on the corner of Church and College Streets. And even though it was October 8 it was warm enough to snag a table on the patio. On their dessert menu you will find maple creme brulee, it is to die for!
After lunch we walked down to the little harbor to meet Captain Gideon who took us sailing for 2 hours on Lake Champlain. It was an amazing afternoon, sunshine, the perfect breeze for sailing. Gideon has lots of stories and tips about the area. Check out his site here to book your own sailing cruise.
Vermont has approximately 100 covered bridges, so no Vermont excursion is complete without finding at least a few of them. Technology is helpful here. Whatever town we were in we typed “covered bridge” into the GPS and it would show the routes to the ones close by.
Some of the bridges have stories attached to them like haunted Emily Bridge near Stowe. Creamery Bridge near Montgomery is especially scenic. It was built in 19th century and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Another must see community is Waterbury, located between Montpelier and Burlington and home to Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. They do a great tour, and of course you can buy ice cream and souvenirs. It’s a popular place, even tour buses stop here, so be prepared for lineups. Totally worth it though! Here is a link to their website.
While you are in the historic village of Waterbury we recommend a visit to Cold Hollow Cider Mill. We had one rainy day during our week in Vermont and this was an awesome way to stay out of the weather. Cold Hollow has a bakery where they produce the famous cider doughnuts and other wonderful baked goods, a gift shop full of Vermont specialties, you can watch a cider press in action, taste fresh cider both hot and cold, eat in the bistro and enjoy their hard ciders in the tasting room or take some home. Our favorite flavor of hard cider is their dry Soul Shifter!
Are ready for a short hike in these beautiful woods? Sterling Gorge Falls is located a little south of Waterbury near beautiful Stowe. There are several trails here, none of them difficult.
Another possibility is Smugglers Notch, a mountain pass (take VT Route 108) northwest of Stowe near Mount Mansfield, at 4395 feet or 1339 m Vermont’s highest elevation. Here the road narrows to one lane and becomes very curvy. People pull of the road wherever they can to get out and explore the fascinating rock formations of this area. Use extreme caution when driving and parking, the place is popular and visibility is practically nonexistent!
I want to get this post on the blog tonight, so I’ve decided to split up our trip into 2 posts, stay tuned!