Monday, July 25, 2022

Things to Do in Vermont


The video is a summary of our trip. You can see a Google Map highlighting all the locations by clicking here. 

Some of the links may be affiliate links. 

To begin our Vermont trip, we flew into Boston, Massachusetts. We decided to fly into Boston because it offered a nonstop flight from Tampa and we had more rental car options.

I decided to Turo for our rental car. Turo is like Airbnb for cars. Private owners list their cars for rent via the website and App. You rent that car. You have the option to add insurance to protect the car during the trip. I selected the insurance which was more than half the price of the car. Even with the insurance and the price for the car, we saved over $500 and got a much larger car. I chose to pick the car up at the person's home base. You can pay extra to have the car delivered to places like train stations or the airport. I thought picking up the car at the home base would give us more flexibility. I wasn't totally sure what time our flight would land and how long getting there would take.


We got there early and had no problems accessing the car. The owner's representative met us. We both took pictures of the car and uploaded them into the App. Then, we drove away. It felt a little too easy.


We made our way out of Boston. I started looking for a place for lunch. I found The Kitchen on River Road. It wasn't too far from the highway and had great reviews. We had a couple very good sandwiches and then back on the road.


On our way to Stowe, we stopped in Waterbury at the Cabot Cheese Shop and Smuggler's Notch Distillery. The rye was my favorite whiskey. The herbed cheese was my favorite cheese.


For our stay in Stowe, I picked the Green Mountain Inn for two reasons: king bed and walking distance to restaurants. Plus it has a pool, a fire pit, a restaurant and bar onsite, and lovely lemonade happy hour with cookies. We were very happy with room.


After getting settled in he room, we headed down the street. We found Stowe Public House. The front yard has tables, chairs, and Adirondack chairs. Inside, they have a good selection of beers and ciders. We enjoyed some local favorites and watched the town go by.


We got hungry so started to look for dinner. We totally lucked out and got an outdoor table at Harrison's. Do not count on this. Get reservations. The mushroom toast was delicious. Highly Recommend.


Day Two in Stowe - Hardick, Hill Farmstead Brewery, Moss Glenn Falls, Sunset Rock Parking


One the way, we stopped in Hardwick for lunch. We found Village restaurant - the perfect Hallmark film village restaurant. It did appear a lot of people knew each other and the food was good.


I'd heard a lot of hype about Hill Farmstead from my beer friends. The beers were very good. The experience was..... weird. You need reservations to try all the beers on the tap room menu. You have to pay for this reservations. The money goes to charity. When we got there, it was not clear what beers the reservations bought and the person pouring beers couldn't tell us. They don't have smaller sizes so we could really only try two beers since we were driving.  It does appear to be a good place to make a day of it. It's family friendly. A large lawn has several tables and a food truck was available. We bought a couple bottles from the bottle shop to enjoy later.


On the way back to Stowe, we stopped at Moss Glenn Falls. The hike to see the waterfall is relatively hill. It does have a bit of steep uphill, but I took my time and made it. We saw several people having a picnic down by the river bed.


I also wanted to see the trail that hikes down to Sunset Rock. Sunset Rock is a well known hike / walk that starts in downtown Stowe. You can hike up to the Rock for great views of the sunset. You can also hike down from the Sunset Rock Parking Area. We went to the Sunset Rock Parking and walked along a flat, slightly inclined path to a nice scenic overlook with a fire pit. It'd be a great spot for a picnic.


We stopped in at Cork Wine Bar and Restaurant for a pre-dinner glass of wine.  They have a "unicorn wine" on their menu. It's a unique wine. We tried it and it was almost sour. Super interesting.


For dinner, we headed back to Green Mountain Inn to eat at The Whip Bar and Grill. Reservations are recommended. We had great, friendly service. I had the cod and it was delicious. My husband had the turkey dinner. It was also very good. Whip has indoor, outdoor, and bar seating.


Day Three in Stowe: Gondola, Nebraska Sugar Farm, Trapp Family Lodge and Brewing, Alchemist, Aflie's Wild Ride, Ranch Camp


Stowe is a big ski destination. I really wanted to see one of the ski resorts so we headed to the Gondola Skyride at Stowe Mountain Resort. At the top, you can choose from several hiking trails. A restaurant is also available. You need reservations is you'd like to eat inside at the quick service restaurant. You can order drinks at the bar and take them out to the chairs overlooking the ski trails.


Nebraska Knoll Sugar Farm was our next stop. Visiting a maple syrup house was on my list. We pulled up as the owner was watering his plants. We looked around the shop and the sugar house. He joined us. We asked a lot of questions about the process and tried the maple syrup. It was a wonderful experience and we definitely bought some of his great maple syrup.


For lunch, we headed to Trapp Family Lodge. I had read reservations were recommended, but we didn't need them. We ate outside on the patio and enjoyed the Austrian specialties. I didn't realize how much the Trapp Family Lodge had to offer. The activity center has a full schedule of activities and guides to the hiking trails that run through the property. You do need a permit to hike.


von Trapp Brewery was our next stop down the road. The menu at the brew pub was very similar to the Lodge. Reservations are also recommended here. It was very busy so I'm guessing you did actually need them. We sat at the bar and tried the lagers. The brewery accomplished its goal of producing crisp European style lagers.

Alchemist Brewing was also a must stop from my beer loving friends. We loved this brewery.  It felt like going to someone's backyard party. The beers were terrific.

Alfie's Wild Ride was recommended for great bands and a great beer list. We stopped by in the afternoon to check it out. It's a very cool space with a small kitchen and great beer list. It felt like the coolest basement hang out spot.

The bartender at von Trapp Brewing recommended Ranch Camp for dinner. Ranch Camp is quick service with a diverse menu.  It's a bike shop and hub for mountain bikers.

Stowe Sweets was the last stop of the day for a soft serve ice cream cone. We sat on a bench near the town square and enjoyed people watching.

That concluded our time in Stowe. We would definitely come back. I think next time we'd stay on 108 to experience more the restaurants up that way.

We booked a cabin on Lake Eden for a week. Lake Eden is a great swimming lake with gorgeous scenery. A family member has a cabin they rent on AirBnB so we booked it. We loved it. The location is terrific. The cabin was well appointed.  On the way to Lake Eden, we made a couple stops since we couldn't check in to the AirBnb until 3 pm.

Stowe Laundry was clean. We like to plan laundry stops about once a week so we don't have to pack so much.

A bartender told us about North Country Donuts. He recommended getting up at 7 am to order online because the popular donuts tend to sell out. We listened, ordered early, and got a great variety of donuts. My favorite donuts were the lemon poppyseed and the apple fritter.

Lost Nation Brewing is a barbeque restaurant. We stopped for lunch.  The service was terrific. We didn't love the beer or the food.

Ten Bends Beer was a great find. We loved the beer. During our visit, it was only a tasting room. You couldn't order pints of beer.

Most of the time in Lake Eden, we spent our time by the lake or playing cards up on the cabin. Eden General Store had everything we needed.

We did have three "excursion" days":

Excursion Day One:  Museum of Everyday Life and Bread and Puppets Theatre

Museum of Everyday Life is well curated, interesting museum focused on the items of everyday life. I loved the toothbrush exhibit.

Bread and Puppets is a theater company. We attended their Sunday show. It started with a circus and then onto the main performance. It was a mix of circus, renaissance faire type performances, political skits, and a modern art performance. I loved it.

Excursion Day Two: Lake Willoughby

We got the tip to check out Lake Willoughby from Smugglers' Notch distillery. She recommended heading to the south beach. The northern beach on Lake Willoughby has a larger beach area. The southern beach on Lake Willoughby is more scenic. You definitely need water shoes because of large rocks in the water. It reminded of Norwegian fjords.

Willoughby Lake Store is worth a stop for the terrific sandwiches. 

Excursion Day Three: Burlington

I like to search for beer fests when we are traveling to a new area. It just so happened the Vermont Brewers' Fest Burlington was happening in Burlington during our stay in Eden. We decided to get a hotel so we didn't have to drive back after the beer fest. It was a great beer fest.

I used the google search along the way feature to find a place to stop for breakfast on the way from Lake Eden to Burlington. 158 Main looked like a great option and it delivered. The French toast is a must try.

After the beer fest, we were happy to come across the Waterfront Creamee stand. Vermonters had been telling us about maple creamees. A creamee is like a soft serve cone, but creamier.

Across from our hotel was the Mad River Distillery. This is definitely worth a stop. The bartenders were friendly and made great cocktails.

Dinner was pizza at Burling Hearth from American Flatbread. The pizza and the daily special salad were very good.

On the way out of town, we had to swing by the World's Tallest Filing Cabinet.

It was time to leave Lake Eden.

I am a big fan of Hallmark movies. I researched filming locations and found one in Chester, Vermont so we headed there. I also used google to find a fun restaurant choice - Southern Pie Cafe. The sandwiches and pie were terrific. A song writer was even playing guitar and debuting some songs during our lunch.

 We had plans to meet up with family in Brattlesboro so we headed there next. We had to make a stop at the Vermont Country Store. It reminded me of a supersized Cracker Barrel gift store. I loved it.

 Heading down to Brattleboro, we were excited to see Hermit Thrush Brewery. This brewery was our favorite from the Vermont Brewers' Fest. We sampled some more delicious sours and then also checked out another beer bar: River Garden Marketplace. Along one wall is a small stalls with unique products. On the other side is a large bar with many beer options on draft or in the bottle. We enjoyed the air conditioning and the beer.

 Then, it was off to see family. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express South Burlington right by the Saxton distillery. The location is right off the highway with several restaurants nearby.

 We headed back to Boston to return the car. It was a seamless process. We took pictures of the vehicle and finished the process in the App. Then, it was time to meet up with my family for our Boston adventure

 Overall, we really liked the mix of staying in a busier town and then having time on the lake. We definitely would do that again. I think it's necessary for us. I don't think we would enjoy seven days at the lake house without excursions or a pre-town stay. 

What about you? Is this itinerary too busy for you? Not enough to do? 








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