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…..
Well, they just made me want to pack up right now and take a trip to Vermont! Man do I want your life!!!
Thanks for sharing and safe travels!
You should definitely go to Vermont! It is such a beautiful and fun state! And yeah, every so often, I step back and think: “This thing we’re doing is pretty awesome!” I don’t ever want to take for granted that we have this opportunity and we’re very fortunate to be doing this. Thanks for reading and commenting!
We are heading up there for Thanksgiving…something tells me, though, that we aren’t going to see the lush green environment you experienced! But we will definitely keep the cider, syrup & cheese places in mind to keep warm!! Gorgeous photos, as usual!
Oooooh yeah, late November will be a bit different. I imagine the days will be extremely short. On the other hand, you can light a fire in the evenings, put on some fluffy slippers, and drink hot buttered rum or cider…. or beer…or wine. Whatever works!! I’m sure you guys will have a great time!
Oh, my. I cannot wait until we get up that way. It looks absolutely beautiful. It has all of my favorite things–nature, cheese, and beer! 🙂 Safe travels. Dawn
It really does tick all the right boxes!! I mean, who doesn’t love nature, cheese, and beer??? You guys will love it!
Interesting fact… That sushi restaurant used to be a McDonalds.
Huh…. That IS interesting! I can kind of see why a McDonalds wouldn’t make it in that location…. not exactly the kind of food people want when they’re out hiking and biking… Though, I guess the McDonalds could have pre-dated the rec path by many years…. Interesting, indeed!!
I’ve always wanted to visit Vermont, but it’s sooooo far away. During our travels, we’ve met two couples from Vermont who went full-time and my question to both was ‘why’? In both cases they responded, ‘winter’.
Weather always adds another dimension to our travel experiences. While you’ve been playing in the rain, I’ve been baking in heat and perpetual sunshine. Wish we could do a little exchanging ???? Can’t wait to hear all about Maine …. another state that has eluded my travels.
Trust me, every time I start thinking about driving across the entire U.S. next winter, it gives me pause. You don’t appreciate how big this country is until you start driving around it in 150 mile increments…. I can absolutely understand why people flee Vermont winters. I grew up in the northeast and have no desire to ever deal with that again. On the other hand, during the summer, it’s pretty great up here. Since we’ve been in Maine, it’s been between 70 and 75 degrees just about every day. I can definitely appreciate why so many folks come here this time of year. It’s pretty spectacular!
We plan on traveling that direction this fall, its only 4,400 miles from our house but by your great photos and wonderful descriptions its looks to be well worth the drive. Cant wait for the Ben & Jerry’s tour!
Wow, there really are no ‘quick RV trips” for you guys, huh? That is crazy, but the scenery along the way must be incredible!! Well, whenever you DO get to Vermont, I think you’ll love it. We heard it’s pretty popular in fall, so I expect you’ll see more traffic than we did, but I also imagine the autumn colors will be stunning!
Thanks for sharing! We’re planning a trip to the Northeast this time next year (yes, I like to plan far, far ahead). Vermont is now officially on the list thanks to you! They should hire you as an ambassador or something.
Oh, I’m a planner too. I’ve got us booked most of the way through April of next year already! I like the idea of just wandering around without a plan, but I know me and that would be way too stressful. And if Vermont wants to hire me as an ambassador, that would be A-OK with me. They could pay me in maple syrup!!
As always, a very descriptive and well written narrative of your adventures. Thank you for sharing. Safe travels!!
Thank you for reading and commenting! I appreciate it!
Great pics! Glad you loved VT. Knew you’d like the covered bridges. There is a covered bridge half marathon that I think would be awesome. Glad you liked Burlington, too!! That’s a fun marathon and we enjoyed walking around the center.
I saw a map of the covered bridges in Vermont and there are definitely a bunch that are located in such a way that it would make a really neat running route. That’s a really great idea, but man, that would also be tough… There were SO many hills! I guess that’s what makes the state so beautiful though, all those hills and mountains! We really loved Burlington. If we can, we’ll try to spend some more time there when we come back through. We only had one afternoon and we were hanging out with our friends, so we didn’t get to explore as much as we might have otherwise.
Fabulous post on one of my favorite states! I lived in Boston for 10 years and spent a lot of time in Vermont. But Eric has never been and it’s high on our list for our East Coast adventures (to be scheduled). It has so many things we love and that you highlighted so beautifully in your photos — beautiful natural surroundings, great food, farmers’ markets, spaciousness, less people, and cool summer temps. Glad you’re getting some better weather. A rainy day here and there is one thing, but day after day…..the RV gets pretty small real fast.
We’ve spent a lot of time on the east coast now, so we’re definitely itching to get out west and see something new and different. But, that being said, Vermont seemed to get all the “east coast attributes” exactly right. Some east coast places sorda feel like a cliche. I don’t know how to explain it, but Vermont just felt real and authentic in a way that other places don’t. We really, truly, loved our time there. I hope you guys make it out this way at some point (though, I like I said to Ingrid above, I completely understand why it’s hard to make it happen).
This is like a trip to memory lane! We were only there for three days but we mostly covered the places you visited. I think you do need to stop by there again coming back from your Canada trip because you missed one great museum, the Shelburne Museum. At least for us, it was not not like any other museum, you will be pleasantly surprised by their collections.
I totally used your blog posts as guides when I was planning our trip there. That’s why it all looks so familiar! You guys went to the exact types of places we find interesting, so you made my job a lot easier (so thanks again!!). As for Shelburn, I know that was a huge miss for us. You had written about it as well as several other bloggers I follow. The problem was, I wanted two full days to see it (and make use of the two day ticket), and we had a LOT on our list for our weeklong stay, so something had to go and that was it. In any case, I realize we absolutely need to see it, and if we can make it happen, we will. It looks incredible!
Ha, love all of this! Let’s just all buy farm houses in Vermont and live happily ever after here. We did finally manage to find a town here we don’t care for while passing back through on our way to Maryland, but we’re so close to the border of New York, I’m just going to shove it over to their side so as not to taint our maple-loving memories 🙂
Ya know, we stayed a couple nights in New York, just over the border from Vermont, last year, and it was a crappy experience. So I think it is perfectly reasonable to just blame New York, even if it’s not their fault. Vermont shall always remain pristine and faultless in our minds!
A few of my blogger friends, Ingrid & MonaLiza, have told me to check out your blog. This post really hit home as Maplewoods was our home campground for 3 summers. I used to work in the office there while Dave went into Essex Jct to work at IBM. We owned a home about an hour from there for 20 years, sold in the summer of 2013. We went back for the summer of ’14 & ’15 then Dave retired completely, we head back there for visit in 2019. So glad you enjoyed our home state and home campground. Dave misses all the quality craft beer. Your post brought back some great memories. Looking forward to reading about your Maritime adventures as we are headed that way in 2019.
Hi! Thanks so much for stopping by! It is certainly a small world. Ingrid and Mona Liza are some of the best people we’ve met while on the road so I’m happy to hear they sent you here! We absolutely LOVE Vermont and that particular campground is one of our favorites. What an incredible location! We often talk about where we will settle when we’re done with this little project and honestly, Vermont is still number 1 on the list. If it wasn’t for their pesky winters, it wouldn’t even be a question. It’s just a fantastic state! At this point, we expect we might end up setting up home bases in 2 locations – Vermont and ‘somewhere warm.’ We’re still figuring out the details. 🙂
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