I know that all of you can name at least 3 things that Vermont is known for…..maple syrup, autumn colors, dairy, covered bridges, snow skiing and church steeples, right?? We were all happy that we had scheduled a full week in Vermont as it is an absolutely beautiful state! We were about a month too early for the iconic fall colors but we enjoyed all the other things that Vermont has to offer!
Our first day found us driving to view several of the covered bridges. These historic structures are just plain fun to see. Covered bridges were originally built to protect the bridge and wood from the weather. Now, they are simply eye candy and give you a warm feeling inside.
Howie and I spent one day driving 1 1/2 hours to Burlington. His dad is buried there and we wanted to visit his grave site.
We made some fun stops along the way, some of which involved food! Our first stop was at Lake Champlain. It was a beautiful, sunny day so it was very pleasant walking along the lake. We had been seeing signs for “Creemies” which turned out to be soft serve ice cream.
From there we drove to Stowe, the home of…..Ben and Jerry’s! This was an accidental find so even though we already had a creemie, we also enjoyed an ice cream cone! If you’ve never been to Ben and Jerry’s factory, it’s a pretty cool place. Normally there are tours, there is a huge playground for kids and they also have a graveyard for the flavors that are “no more”. Notice on the photo of the silos….two small ones for cream, two small ones for milk and one HUGE one for SUGAR! So happy for Vermont’s connection to the dairy industry! Delicious!
Now that we were full of the state’s dairy products, we continued on to……LUNCH! We stopped at a cider mill and shared an apple and cheddar panini and an apple cider donut. The picture with the lump of “gunk” is the mash remnants from the press. Their cider was awesome!
Then onward to the Trapp Family Lodge. This is where the Von Trapp family (Sound of Music) settled once they settled in the US following their escape from Nazi Austria. The lodge is beautiful and very large, now serving as a hotel. Only guests are allowed inside the building so we walked around the grounds a bit. The view from the lodge is awesome and is said to have reminded the Von Trapp’s of their Austrian home.
Next, we drove to Smuggler’s Notch and Vermont’s tallest mountain in the Green Mountain range, Mount Mansfield. We rode the gondola to the summit where it was a bit nippy as the temp was in the 50’s. Breathtaking!
We also drove through Montpelier, Vermont’s capital. This is the smallest capital town (population < 8,000) in the nation and it was filled with interesting buildings.
Another day, we along with Marj and Larry toured a maple sugar farm, Goodrich’s in West Danville, VT, the 6th largest producer in the nation. They have nearly 160,000 trees between ages of 40-60 years which produce 70 thousand gallons (end product) each year. it takes 55-80 gallons of raw liquid to make 1 gallon of syrup!! During the boiling down process, sucrose is changed into glucose. The This farm has been in business since 1793. The original makers of maple sugar was the Native Americans. The product was granulated and later became a liquid. Tree tapping and harvesting is done in March and April – earlier in the season the liquid is light golden and toward the end of season is when they get the deep dark brown color. There is a distinct taste difference in the four grades, the light being very smooth and the darkest tasting a bit like molasses. Unless syrup states it is “pure”, the syrup typically bought in stores is the third darkest and contains only 2% maple syrup!
That evening, a rare event took place. After dinner, I brought out one of my antique purchases…..a COOTIE GAME!! We all played one round of the game we all enjoyed as children, Marj being the victor! (I think she cheated!) (Yes, I’m a sore loser!) Surprisingly, it was not the exciting game we remembered from our childhood! Could it be we have grown up?
We also made a trip to Cabot, VT, where the Cabot dairy products are made. (More, dairy, right?) Next door to the store, was a hardware store that seemed to be right out of the 30’s.
Another evening, we found ourselves playing miniature golf at the campground. They had a nice 18 hole course and the weather was perfect and NO bugs…….can you guess who won??
Following is a sampling of some of the beautiful scenery we experienced, along with pictures of cemetery’s (filled with very old tombstones – 1700’s) and architecture found throughout the state. I hope you enjoy this mini tour.
And finally, the many beautiful steeples of Vermont…….
If you are ever looking for a place to spend your next family vacation, I would strongly encourage you to consider Vermont. This area of our country is beautiful anytime of the year, but keep in mind the fall colors are abundant usually the last week of September and beginning of October.
Until then, our HAPPY TRAILS, will be taking us to New York and Lake Placid in the Adirondack Mountains. Thanks, as always, for joining us in this journey!