This week, we’re talking about more of our favorite places for weekend getaways in New England. Vermont is probably best known for its abundance of ski resorts and winter sport activities, but there’s plenty to do there in the summer as well. These are our favorite cities to visit, things to do, places to go and things to eat when we’re planning a quick Vermont getaway.
Like most cities in New England, Burlington is home to a quaint, compact downtown area that’s both easy to navigate and has ample shopping and restaurant options. If you’re a brewery fan, two places we recommend checking out are:
- The Vermont Pub and Brewery
- Magic Hat Brewing Company (offers free guided tours)
Burlington is located right on Lake Champlain, and there’s a Waterfront Park that’s great to check out in the summer. Also in the summer, you can take the ferry to the New York side of Lake Champlain. It takes about an hour to cross.
Stowe is mostly known for its winter sports, but we visited in the summer and found plenty to do during that season as well. Stowe Mountain Resort is great for skiing, but is also worth checking out for its summer activities such as hiking and zip-lining.
Vermont’s highest mountain, Mount Mansfield, with a summit that peaks at 4,395 feet above sea level, towers above the Stowe area. If you want to check out the views from the summit, you can take the Gondola SkyRide from the Stowe Mountain Resort or drive with your car via the historic Toll Road to the summit.
Are you familiar with the Sound of Music and the von Trapp family? That’s a rhetorical question, we know you are. Well, Stowe is home to the Trapp Family Lodge, where the von Trapp family settled in the US in the 1940s. The current Lodge, which houses a resort complete with rooms, dining and a 2,500 acre property, was built in the 1980s after the original was destroyed by a fire. Make sure to check out the Brewery, Bierhall, and Kaffeehaus to enjoy some authentic Austrian-style beers and treats (aka delicious cakes).
There’s one main reason people visit Waterbury: to tour Ben & Jerry’s factory and ice cream shop. They offer a 30 minute guided tour (which we actually couldn’t partake in because it wasn’t offered on the weekend — now it’s 7 days a week, almost every day of the year). But if you can’t or don’t want to take the tour, you can still walk around the property and check out the Flavor Graveyard — a commemorative spot to pay your respects to the dearly ‘de-pinted’ flavors of Ben and Jerry’s past. And, of course, you can check out/eat your weight at the ice cream shop.
For those of you who are very very hungry (and/or insane), you can try the Vermonster: 20 scoops of ice cream, hot fudge, bananas, cookies, brownies, and your favorite toppings, or it’s little brother, the Mini-Vermonster. Pretty sure the Vermonster is free and/or you get your picture on a wall if you finish it all on your own. Good luck.
If you’re looking for some physical activity — maybe to burn off all the ice cream you just ate — here are couple of hikes that we recommend:
- Camel’s Hump is Vermont’s third-highest mountain and the highest undeveloped peak. Monroe Trailhead ascends the east face of the mountain, which is an easy to moderate hike.
- Mount Ellen, a 4,083-foot high mountain, is also worth exploring in the summer for nice views of the Green Mountains.
In mid to southern Vermont, we recommend checking out Killington, a mountain and resort with alpine skiing as well as a Tubing Park. Summer activities include hiking, zip-lining, and a mountain coaster. On your way to Killington you are likely to go through the town of Woodstock. There you can stroll around the downtown, which is home to small cafes, shops, and galleries, and view a covered bridge. While you are driving through Vermont, be sure to look out for covered bridges as they are common throughout the state and make for some great photo opportunities.
Finally, if you’ve never been to Harpoon Brewery, please go immediately. We don’t even care if you don’t drink beer (their cider is great too), because their soft-baked pretzels and dipping sauces alone are worth the trip. Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden is in Windsor, Vermont on the border to New Hampshire. Guided tours of the brewery with a tasting are offered on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. If you can’t make it to Vermont, Harpoon has also a brewery in the Seaport area of Boston, MA with the same great beer and delicious pretzels.
Well, that’s all for our guide to planning a weekend Vermont getaway. Make sure to check back as we plan to update this post as we visit additional cities.
Have you ever planned a Vermont getaway? What was your favorite part about the trip?
This is the second in a series of blogs about New England weekend getaways. To view other posts in the series, click the links below: