There are 49 U.S. states that are not Vermont, and we’re pretty sure all of them wish they could be half as cool as the Green Mountain State. Vermont is simply incredible. Don’t believe me? Let’s discuss….
Picturesque Does Not Begin to Describe it….
Everything is beautiful in Vermont. Every drive from Point A to Point B is a feast for the eyes (and, bonus: Vermont is the second least populated state in the U.S., so when you’re enjoying all those gorgeous views, you don’t have to contend with any traffic. Ever!! It’s dreamy).
The state is chock full of mountains, lakes, rivers, and rolling farmland. This was some random lake we happened to see while driving along, so we stopped to take a look.
There are over a hundred covered bridges sprinkled throughout the state, each unique and beautiful in its own way.
And the farms, whether brightly painted or old and weathered, are all idyllic.
But it’s not just rolling farmland, towering pine trees, or impressive mountain ranges that make Vermont beautiful… Even the gas stations are stunning. That’s right. In Vermont, gas stations come with rainbows!!
(Seriously, right now, Ohio is sitting in a corner crying….)
The Food Options are Fantastic
While most every state we’ve been to has some sort of food specialty, Vermont has so many options, one could get fat just thinking about them. Ya like cheese? Got it. Ya like ice cream? Got it. Ya like chocolate? Got it. Ya like maple syrup? Got it. Ya like apples? Got it…. Wait, do you want apple cider, apple cider donuts, or apple cider booze? Because Vermont specializes in all of them!!
We started our Vermont food trek with a stop at Cabot Creamery. For $3.00 per person, you can take a tour which involves a 20 minute video, a guided tour of the factory’s operations, and then a pretty awesome sampling session.
Next, we headed a couple miles down the road to Goodrich’s Maple Farm, a small, family run operation where we took a free tour, chatted with the incredibly friendly owner, and then bought an obscene amount of maple syrup.
We followed that up by heading to Ben & Jerry’s where, for $4.00 per person, we took their fun tour – also involving a video, a factory tour, and a tasting.
Ben & Jerry’s was also cool because they have a flavor graveyard – the place where they memorialize the various ice cream flavors that crashed and burned. Some of the flavors just sounded like terrible ideas, while others failed because of ingredient supply or cost concerns (e.g. – a peach flavored ice cream failed because getting Georgia peaches to Vermont before they went bad was more difficult than expected).
The following day (we’re not complete gluttons, jeez) we headed to Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where we sampled their fresh apple cider and their cider donuts. I would show you a photo of these items, but I consumed them before I remembered to take a picture.
Vermont’s Breweries and Distilleries are Top Shelf
There are numerous states with legitimate craft beer scene these days, but Vermont’s got beer that’s so hard to get, people wait in line for hours just for the chance to buy a 4 pack…. We’ve heard about The Alchemist Brewery from several people. It has quite a history of being the “it” place to buy beer and people have been known to go to extraordinary lengths to get their hands on it.
We visited in the middle of a weekday and it was pretty quiet. The tastings are free and involved three of their standard bearer brews. We thought they were solid, albeit not life changing. (I know, I know… “Blasphemy!!” We just call em like we see em).
Other breweries we visited that we enjoyed included Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, and Zero Gravity in Burlington, which we checked out with our friends Celena & Shoam.
We first met them when we were in Texas and are now traveling a similar circuit in the northeast, so we’ll be meeting up with them again in a few weeks.
While hanging out, we also tried a local cidery. To me, hard cider has always been synonymous with headache-in-a-glass, but it turns out, if done right, without all the excess sugar that big producers use, the final product can be a much milder drink. We tried several varieties at Citizen Cider and really enjoyed them.
The Entire State is a Celebration of the Great Outdoors
Vermont is not messing around when it comes to enjoying Mother Nature, and the options are truly endless. We opted to check out the Stowe Recreation Path one day (and returned a couple days later because it was so great). It is a paved, landscaped, five mile long path that meanders from the little town of Stowe northward, crossing a creek 11 times, and going past numerous businesses where you’re welcome to come in and stay a while. Kevin opted to bike it while I opted to walk it. The path is just fantastic…
Another day, we took a quick trip to Moss Glen Falls, a pretty impressive waterfall that can be accessed on foot – just about 200 yards from the road.
I asked Kevin to go stand in front of the falls so I could show the scale of the waterfall in a photo. I cautioned him to not get too close to a tree that lays across the edge. He promptly sat down on it. Because he’s an ass.
It’s Tourist Friendly Without Being a Tourist Trap
We noticed, as we drove Barney toward our campground the first day, that there were plenty of helpful signs showing where attractions were and beckoning people to come in, but everything looked nice. It made me realize that this state, which makes so much money from tourism, is genuinely, honestly, lovely, and they don’t resort to cheesy touristy crap that junks up the view. There are no eyesores.
One of the signs we happened to see as we were driving was for a local glass blowing artist.
We decided to stop by one day and were rewarded with a really impressive demonstration. He made it look so easy to create these delicate, flawless, one of a kind works of art…
Another attraction we really enjoyed was the big weekly farmer’s market that happens every Saturday in Burlington. We’ve been to some markets where you can kind of tell some of the stuff isn’t really being grown in the local area. Here, the only vegetables they had were those that were in season in Vermont, and the stuff we bought was fantastic.
The Weather During Summer is Perfect
Ok, so in the winter it gets down to -45 degrees with wind chills of -85 degrees. We’ll call that “less than ideal.” BUT, summer? Oh man… when we were there, it was in the mid 70’s. And every day we would get a mix of weather… sunny in the morning, crazy midday rain storm, sunny in the afternoon, perfect sleep-with-the-windows-open weather at night. And given that EVERYWHERE else we’ve been for the last three months has been a rain filled soggy pile of depression, we were very happy. Seriously, can we talk? If it doesn’t stop freakin raining 4 out of every 7 days everywhere we go, I am gonna lose my mind….Apparently this has been a historically rainy spring on the east coast and we have been caught in the middle of it for months.
Here’s a visual depiction of every place we’ve been recently: “Oh look, pretty blue skies!!” 5 minutes later: “Dammit!!”
Anyway, the whole point is the weather in Vermont was the best we’ve had anywhere recently. Even though we would get a passing shower just about every day, it was also sunny and beautiful every day. Something that has been notably absent the last several months.
Our Campground was Fantastic
We’ve been to some pretty forgettable campgrounds. Packed in, little privacy, no views, blech. Vermont? Holy crap…look at this place!
This is the view from the front office:
The campground was built on the top of a hill and had gorgeous views of the mountains. I took this picture with the panoramic setting on my phone…. Pretty neat, eh?!
This is the other side of the office, and you can see the pool area on the left.
We even got some pretty impressive sunsets…
I don’t know if other Vermont campgrounds are like this, but we were pretty happy with our choice. (More information and photos are available here.)
A Perfect Visit
Vermont was just a great stop for us. We had a full week, we had great weather, and we actually managed to do most of the things we had on our original to-do list. We’ve found it incredibly difficult to accomplish that in a lot of places, oftentimes because of crappy weather, but sometimes because other things crop up and we just don’t get to do everything we’d hoped to do. Vermont was one of the places where everything just came together and we had a fantastic time. We’re hoping to stop through there again on our way back from Canada. We’ll see…..
In real time, we’ve made our way to Maine and are currently enjoying blue skies and warm, but not hot, temperatures. Aaaaaahhhh…..