Vermont is certainly a unique state. It is rumored to have more cows than people, and I’m not sure that’s quite true. I can tell you that Vermont has some of the kindest and friendliest people I have ever seen! Even their drivers don’t have road rage and allow pedestrians to cross no matter what. I guess there is a reason it was voted one of the happiest states in America!
Whether it’s known for being a super happy state, being the origin of Ben and Jerry’s or for it’s skii resorts–I am going to share with you all the fun things I discovered on our roadtrip to Vermont!
1. Downtown Burlington
Downtown Burlington was absolutely stunning. Talk about CHARM. It felt like I just stepped into a fairy tale as I walked down the cobblestone road of the infamous Church Street.
Church Street Marketplace is a historical-type “mall”. I haven’t quite seen anything like it. It is filled with shops of all kinds from handmade art to furniture to coffee shops. It also has a wide variety of restaraunts. Eat farm to table at most, and enjoy Italian to French. Also, be sure to stop at the local Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Shop! It’s super cute!
In Burlington, you can find a quaint, polite town filled with hipsters and elders, walking dogs and live street performers. Twinkling lights strung overhead, and the delicious aromas of the nearby small business restaraunts. Be sure to check out the FREE Art Gallery located right on Church Street. You really can’t miss it:
If you walk a bit farther down the road to the water, you will find that this is the location of Lake Champlane. Enjoy a meal at The Skinny Pancake (our favorite!) or take a stroll along the boardwalk and watch the boats on the water.
Burlington also house multiple colleges so it is a very active town. There wasn’t one day of the week you couldn’t find this city as lively as ever. There is always something to do!
2. The Best of Vermont’s Food & Drink
Vermont is known for quite a few things food wise:
- Cabot Cheese
- Homemade Cider (and Apple Cider Donuts!)
- Maple Syrup
- Lake Champlain Chocolates
- Green Mountain brand Coffee
- Lastly, their Craft Beers and Hard Ciders!
A couple days in to our 10 day stay in cozy Vermont, we ended up stopping at all the little buildings where all of the food can be sampled as well as shown how it’s made! It was fascinating to learn about and delicous to taste! I never knew a state could have so much signature food!
And yes, we ended up taking TWO bottles of maple syrup home!
When you visit Vermont be sure to take a day to just hit all the major food factories/businesses to make a fun little tour for yourself. We spent about 20-30 minutes at each place sampling food, observing and learning!
3. Hiking The Tallest Point in Vermont
My husband and I sort of have this thing for going to the tallest point in each state we visit. I believe we have hiked to about 5 tallest points now–this one being the most challenging.
The tallest point in Vermont is atop Mount Mansfield, with a summit peaking at 4,395 feet above sea level. It was so tall that when you reached the top, the trees began to die to do lack of oxygen! If you make this journey be sure to bring a jacket because even on a 75 degree day the temperature was considerably windy and chilly at the top due to the elevation difference!
If you look at the ridgeline of the mountains itself, it is said to look like a face. Each part even has a name like “nose” or “forehead”. The tallest point is located on the “chin” of the mountains.
The hike itself took about 3 hours up and 3 hours down. We packed 4 water bottles, and plenty of snacks to eat when we got to the top. It is certainly a difficult hike because a good chunk of it is pure bouldering. Make sure you have a good pair of hiking boots to do this one! The views were absolutely stunning and truly worth the sweaty, tiring hike. We were out of commission for about 2 days after the hike because our legs were so tired!
Note: There is a “shortcut”–you can actually drive up most of the mountain on the other side and park, and do about a mile walk up to the highest point. Many families with elders and very small children did this!
4. Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory
The Ben & Jerry’s factory was pretty cool, and honestly what I was looking forward to most of the trip considering I grab a pint of their infamous ice cream every now and then. As soon as you pull in, you see a couple of black and white spotted cows grazing lazily out front.
I must say though, the tour is a bit underwhelming. Don’t plan on spending your whole day here. The tour itself only takes about 30 minutes, and you get a small free serving of whatever flavor of ice cream they are making that day. When we went it was “Milk and Cookies”–yum!
Although it was cute, it definitely is geared a bit more towards children. They do offer other activities such as tie dying shirts, they have their own little ice cream cafe to purchase all the different flavors, and even an Ice Cream Graveyard of all the retired flavors.
Nonetheless, stop in for some history, and some free ice-cream!
5. Other Quirks & Finds
Aside from the main highlights of Vermont which are must-sees, their are a few other little attractions which I believe should be mentioned.
The first being the Tallest Filing Cabinet in the World. Sounds pretty wacky right? It’s located basically in someone’s neighborhood near a school. It has some graffitti and stickers, but I think that’s what makes it cool. A short drive from Burlington, be sure to check it out!
Another certain honorable mention has to be Lake Champlain. Such a beautiful lake that is extremely large. It was temporarily named a 6th Great Lake but then was withdrawn. You can fish, boat, or even bike along this beautiful lake. There are tons of state parks and natural beaches around the lake itself–there is something for everyone!
Last but certainly not least is the Shelburne Museum. Located in Shelburne, Vermont, the museum has over 150,000 art works and has an Americana theme to it. All the artifacts are housed in things like boats, lighthouses, or old time houses that are artifacts themselves. There isn’t quite any museum like this out there, and you can certainly spend a whole day here since it’s so large. We actually went here on our last day–be sure to visit this at least once before you leave Vermont!