Northern Vermont Trip Ideas

Discussion in 'New England' started by captainkrad, Apr 9, 2017.

  1. captainkrad

    captainkrad Disciple (311) Dec 14, 2014 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    Hello, just looking for some Northern Vermont vacation ideas. I'm planning a short summer vacation in the Stowe/ Waterbury area in late July/ early August.

    Definitely going to hit the usual beer spots: Hill Farmstead, Alchemist, Idletyme, Prohibition Pig, Hen in the Wood, Blackback Pub.

    Looking for other recommendations for a young family of 3 (my wife and I along with our 2 year old). Where to stay? Other beer/ brewery recommendations? Family friendly activities and places? Outdoor activities like short hikes or cool parks? Also, are there any small beer festivals or places where I might happen upon some nice bottles of Lawson's Finest?

    Thanks in advance for any response.
  2. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,644) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Woodstock VT area would be a good place to check out with the family. A few nice shops to check out downtown, Billings Farm great for kids, you can hike Mt. Tom or Queechee Gorge (both short and family friendly). Antique Mall and country store.

    Plus lunch at Worthy Kitchen.
  3. JayKoz

    JayKoz Initiate (187) Jun 20, 2014 Connecticut

    You need to visit Foam in Burlington.

    For me at this point, order of importance of brewery visits goes: 1) Hill Farmstead 2) Foam 3) The Alchemist.
  4. kool-aid

    kool-aid Initiate (187) Apr 3, 2017 Vermont

    Shelburne is a great area to check out. Fiddlehead is right there, and in the same building is some great pizza at Folino's. Right around the corner is the Vermont Teddy Bear factory and Shelburne Farms and Museum, which are fun and family friendly. It's on the south side of Burlington so not exactly in the Waterbury radius but it's genuinely got something for everyone.
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  5. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (460) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    2nd Woodstock and Billings Farm. Other family suggestions -- the King Arthur flour company has a cool campus in Norwich just over the line up 89 into Vt. Excellent family friendly cafe w/ killer baked good (you must hit River Roost which is very close by in WRJ). Also -- in Montpelier (home of 3 Penny) there is a lovely/very easy but rewarding hike right behind the state capital building -- it ends up at an old stone tower that you climb - for excellent views of the surrounding area. A real gem. Good luck!
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  6. captainkrad

    captainkrad Disciple (311) Dec 14, 2014 New Jersey
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    Any hotel / motel recommendations in Stowe or Waterbury?
  7. ScottDawg7

    ScottDawg7 Initiate (157) Jul 27, 2015 Georgia
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    Visited Waterbury twice....stayed in Best Western once and an AirBNB other time. Others will mention Old Stagecoach due to proximity to the bars, but I haven't stayed there.
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  8. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,644) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I am a big fan of the Old Stagecoach. It is about 100 yards from the popular Waterbury bars. Good breakfast included.
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  9. BuckarooBanzai

    BuckarooBanzai Initiate (107) Dec 16, 2016

    Both Pro Pig and Doc Ponds are family friendly and HIGHLY recommended. Took my 7yo and 14mo old there recently. I'd recommend Pro Pig for lunch because it will be FAR less crowded. That place is insane at night. I feel that as long as you hit Ponds before 6, you'll be good for dinner. Piecasso is obviously kid-friendly, but no point going unless you really want pizza (or your little one loves it).

    As for breweries I would definitely stop at Alchemist and HIll (be warned though that Hill is out there... if the kid is super cranky you are pretty much in the middle of nowhere). Also, even though Alchemist is in new, large digs... the allotments of Heady are still usually pretty low. 2 4-packs per person seems to be the norm... with either 4/6 of Focal. When we were there a month ago, I made a few trips (stop quick after dinner, etc).

    Foam is great. They have cheese plates and stuff... and a pretty "hang out and chill" vibe. Both Alchemist and Hill are more "get your beer and go". Fiddlehead is also an awesome stop simply to bag Second Fiddle. There is a pizza place attached as others have mentioned. Other than that though, it's pretty much taste and go.

    Lost Nation has a sweet little smokehouse/brewpub thing going on too... they make great food. It's a bit small and dark, but it's also near Rock Art... so an easy 1-2 punch for lunch or dinner.

    As for non-beer activities, there's strolling Burlington, taking the Gondola to the top of Stowe ($$), I think there is a children's science museum or something at the same Dartmouth exit that King Arthur Flour is at on 89. Of course there are hiking trails and such. The Waterbury Reservoir might be worth checking out too.
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  10. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,644) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    The Montshire Museum is the children's science museum by King Arthur Flour and Dartmouth. River Roost is about 10 minutes away.

    VINS is another spot in Queechee. Vermont Institute of Nat. Science. They do bird of pray shows, etc. Have a ton of stuff for kids. ABout 10 minutes from the Montshire. About 10 minutes from Worthy Kitchen.
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  11. HuskyHawk

    HuskyHawk Devotee (465) Jun 5, 2014 Massachusetts

    I second all of this. Shelburne Museum is a good one for the family. Also agree on VT Teddy Bear (take the tour since you have a kid with you). I've gone to Fiddlehead while dropping my wife and daughter at the Teddy Bear factory (to make a bear for friend's kids) a couple of times. There is a also a nice museum by the lake in Burlington.

    It's not that far from Waterbury really, not by Vermont standards. Honestly, if taking a family trip, I'd suggest Burlington or Stowe. Waterbury is beer Mecca, but that's about it.
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  12. HuskyHawk

    HuskyHawk Devotee (465) Jun 5, 2014 Massachusetts

    My daughter loved the Montshire when she was little. We live in MA but bought a membership. You can also buy a pass that takes you there by train along the Connecticut River, up from White River Junction (and brings you back). Great family fun.
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  13. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,644) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Yeah, that train is great! They do fall leaf peeping trips, pumpkin picking trips (stop right at a farm in Thetford), train trips with santa (polar express) and they did the Harry Potter train thing when that was big a few years back.

    The White River Flyer is the name of the train I think.
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  14. chipawayboy

    chipawayboy Devotee (460) Oct 26, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    If you can afford to splurge -- stay at the Hotel Vermont in Burlington. They have a beer concierge, a killer beer bar, and are home to the Burlington version of outstanding Hen of the Wood restaurant. I've posted the photo below before -- this was awaiting me and the family last time we checked in. Another option is Stowe Montain Lodge -- fantastic accommodations at the mountain. Lastly - The Pitcher Inn in Warren -- across the street from the Warren General store (home field for Lawson's FLs) - is also a great spot. Again -- these places aren't cheap but you might be able to get a deal this time of year.

  15. Wolfpac78

    Wolfpac78 Initiate (191) Feb 18, 2015 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    I was just coming on here to research this very topic. My wife and I have gone to Vermont the past two falls in mid/late October, and we are thinking about another trip this coming fall, only this time with our 1.5 year old daughter. Each of the past two trips we stayed two nights in Burlington and two nights in Stowe - however I think we've pretty much done everything there is to do in Stowe so we may be leaning towards staying in Burlington the entire time or perhaps some place more south. I second Hotel Vermont - we've stayed there both trips and the place is awesome and great location (walking/biking distance to Foam and Farmhouse).

    Anyone have any suggestions for places outside of Stowe that're has a lot of family friendly nature activities? We hiked both trips and really enjoyed it both times - so would love to do some more of that to enjoy the natural beauty the area has to offer.
  16. HuskyHawk

    HuskyHawk Devotee (465) Jun 5, 2014 Massachusetts

    Are you guys into horses at all? Another nice family event, and a 1.5 year old may be too young, is the UVM Morgan Horse farm in Middlebury. Same applies to OP I suppose with a 2 year old. My daughter loved that place when she was in the 5 to 10 year old range. Otter Creek is down there too. But this place would work.
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  17. captainkrad

    captainkrad Disciple (311) Dec 14, 2014 New Jersey
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    All good info, thanks everyone.
  18. ingchr1

    ingchr1 Initiate (184) Jun 4, 2008 New York
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    How about staying at von Trapp?
  19. captainkrad

    captainkrad Disciple (311) Dec 14, 2014 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    What is the best way to locate and track down some of Lawsons bottled offerings? I'm interested in finding something other than SOS...
  20. oldbean

    oldbean Aspirant (262) Jun 30, 2005 Massachusetts

    Bottled Lawson's is only ever at Beverage Warehouse, CBC Waterbury, the Warren Store, and Hunger Mountain Co-op. Go to one or more of those places and make a humble request to the deity of your choice.
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  21. vtcraft

    vtcraft Aspirant (224) Apr 1, 2013 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    Check The news section on Lawson's website. Sean post early each month with all you need to know
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  22. yuppiescum

    yuppiescum Initiate (37) Jun 4, 2009 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    Did nobody mention Ben and Jerry's?

    You could also day trip to Montreal from there if your passports are in order.
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  23. kwardle

    kwardle Initiate (122) Feb 14, 2017 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Any hiking recommendations in the area? My wife and I are doing a similar trip in early June. We're staying in Essex and plan to hit the main beer destinations (alchemist, foam, HF, etc.) but I was hoping to do a little hiking to burn off some of the great beer and food suggestions mentioned :slight_smile: Looking for some great views.
    captainkrad likes this.
  24. bostonvert

    bostonvert Initiate (135) Feb 24, 2017 Belgium
    Beer Trader

    Check out Schilling brewery in littleton, NH. They brew a couple Belgian style beers, are located right next to the river with a terrace and a nice view. Cool river to wade in and enjoy the sun while sitting on the rocky beach and they have great pizzas!

    Littleton is a great town for an afternoon visit, they have a cool antique shop, a wonderfull book store with a toy section downstairs and some other nice stores. Some good hiking trails in the area as well
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  25. bostonvert

    bostonvert Initiate (135) Feb 24, 2017 Belgium
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    Don't visit them, a waste of time! I went for the first time last summer and regretted it. absolutely swamped and not much to see, go climb Camels hump instead!
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  26. Phishagonia

    Phishagonia Disciple (346) Jan 28, 2011 Connecticut

    Does Cabot Cheese still have a sampling area? Was a great stop after skiing at Stowe, on the way back to UVM in my day.
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  27. jhavs

    jhavs Poo-Bah (1,644) Apr 16, 2015 New Hampshire
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Matters how big you want to go. Camel's Hump is a classic Green Mountain hike. About 20 miles or so from Essex to a trail head. Lots of info online about the trails.

    From the Website:
    From the Duxbury side: The Monroe Trail is somewhat challenging, but there's also an accessible loop with its own parking area. This loop is 8/10 of a mile long, is wide and flat, and has three viewing spots to the summit of Camel's Hump - it's perfect for small kids and elders.

    From the Huntington side: The Burrows Trail is a bit shorter and attracts lots of hikers. Always a good idea to get there early (8AM) on a good weather weekend day to get parked and on the trail.

    Hiking with groups: If you are hiking with 10 or more people or charging fees, or publicizing the event, you will need to apply for a Special Use Permit. Learn more about permits here >>

    Hiking during spring season: Trails close when snow begins melting and open the weekend before Memorial Day. Even then, if the trails are very wet and muddy it's best to stay off them - use your best judgment. Alternatives until then: Honey Hollow Road in Bolton, forest roads in the Camel's Hump area, or the CCC road at Underhill State Park.
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  28. kwardle

    kwardle Initiate (122) Feb 14, 2017 Ohio
    Beer Trader

    Great information, thank you very much!
    jhavs likes this.
  29. EDNOSE

    EDNOSE Aspirant (237) Oct 27, 2007 Connecticut

    I missed this thread first time through. I've done this trip with a 3 and 1 year-old in the past and I've done it without kids so I think I have decent perspective on pros/cons for kids.

    Ben and Jerry's while not really worth it for adults was a bigger hit with the kids around.

    Cold Hollow Cider Mill a little further up the road towards Stowe was very fun for the kids (plus apple cider donuts!)

    There is a Cabot store a little further up the road towards Stowe that is worth the visit (not tremendously kid friendly).

    Highly recommend Shelburne Farms. Kids loved it. It's really close to Fiddlehead for a visit afterwards. Fiddlehead is very in and out ... limited taps ... samples ... if you can swing it ... I would have one adult sit in the car with the kids while the other ran in. You could probably easily put together a Shelburne Farms, Fiddlehead and Foam day and not tire the kids out too much (with lunch/dinner squeezed in).

    Brewery-wise ... Alchemist is in and out unless there's a line. Not the most kid friendly, but you should go. I think Hill Farmstead would be fun for the kids but I've only been there without. It is a long drive but the outdoor area is sizable. Foam (again I've been without kids) should be very kid friendly particularly if the weather is nice and you can hand on the patio. Idletyme has a really nice outdoor area in the back (tables, bar, cornhole) right on the Stowe bike path ... kid friendly.

    I've stayed at Old Stagecoach with the 1 and 3 year old. We stayed in room 9 which was great for a family. They have 2 other rooms that would probably work for you, as well. If you can find the right room, I'd stay here.

    If you stay in Waterbury, I find Reservoir and Blue Stone to be more kid friendly than Pro Pig (as mentioned above, crowded) and Blackback (not kid unfriendly, but it is a bar that serves food more than a restaurant). I took my 3 year old for a "walk" while my 1 year old napped and I quickly found myself drinking an Edward at Blackback. It's fine to pop in for an afternoon drink with the kids, but I wouldn't try to eat there with them.
  30. Chuckdiesel24

    Chuckdiesel24 Crusader (795) Jul 6, 2016 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    This thread is great. I'm going to Stowe (Von Trapp Lodge) with my wife, 2yo and 4yo and it's pretty much got more to do listed than we have time!
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  31. OffTrail

    OffTrail Initiate (127) Aug 12, 2012 Washington

    Isn't the Ben & Jerries plant still in Waterbury?
  32. OffTrail

    OffTrail Initiate (127) Aug 12, 2012 Washington

    Mt Mansfield in Stowe, the high point of Vermont, has some great hikes. The summit has maybe the best views in the state, with Mt Washington to the east and Burlington, Lake Champlain and the High Peaks of the Adirondacks to the west. You can see Camel's Hump better from there than you can from Camel's Hump.

    On the eastern slope of the mountain is von Trapp Brewing, which I have never visited.
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  33. kwardle

    kwardle Initiate (122) Feb 14, 2017 Ohio
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    Thank you so much!
  34. HopsDubosc

    HopsDubosc Aspirant (207) Apr 24, 2015 Vermont
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    Our favorite family friendly hikes are in/around Addison County.

    Mt Philo is in Charlotte. It's a quick 30 minute jaunt with amazing views of Lake Champlain from the top.

    Depending on when you go, Kingsland Bay is an off-the-beaten-path State Park right on the lake in Ferrisburgh, and it's BEAUTIFUL.

    Snake Mountain is in Addison proper. It's a few hours total with breathtaking views from the summit.

    Local breweries include: Fiddlehead (Shelburne), Hired Hand (Vergennes), Otter Creek & Drop In (Middlebury).
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  35. HuskyHawk

    HuskyHawk Devotee (465) Jun 5, 2014 Massachusetts

    Yes, but it's close to Stowe and easily reachable by car from Burlington too. It's right off the highway. The only reason to actually stay in Waterbury is to pub crawl in the evening.
  36. HopsDubosc

    HopsDubosc Aspirant (207) Apr 24, 2015 Vermont
    Beer Trader

    As far as staying in Waterbury... pitch a tent @ Little River.... right on the Reservoir.... 5 miles from Black Back and the rest.

    Visit the pubs, stock up on good to go beer at Craft Beer Cellar and Pro Pig and have a few pints by the campfire at night.
  37. Skwalk47

    Skwalk47 Aspirant (243) Aug 31, 2010 Massachusetts
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  38. duchessedubourg

    duchessedubourg Aspirant (240) Nov 2, 2007 Vermont
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    Still there! And Stowe Pinnacle is a nice, short hike.
  39. captainkrad

    captainkrad Disciple (311) Dec 14, 2014 New Jersey
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    Trip is getting closer, looking for any last minute ideas...
  40. gardenstatepkwy

    gardenstatepkwy Initiate (177) Jun 1, 2014 New Jersey
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    My wife and I first visited Stowe in 2014 and fell in love with the place. The food, beer, outdoor activities, people. Just everything. This will be our 4th annual trip up in just a few weeks.

    As far as lodging - we stay at the Green Mountain Inn in Stowe right on Main St. The place is very kid friendly with an outdoor pool, jacuzzi, daily fresh baked cookies and tea/coffee, a great on-site restaurant with a good beer selection, covered porch with rocking chairs, and a fire pit thats lit nightly among other things. We love this place. The folks who work there are also extraordinarily helpful and nice.

    Next door to the GMI theres the Stowe Mercantile store. You and your kids would both enjoy this place. They have local beer and cider for sale, as well as lots of local food and candy, local crafts, a photobooth, a kids section with toys and clothing. Oh, theres a little clothing boutique upstairs for the misses as well.

    The owners of the Mercantile store also own Stowe Public House located just down the street. This is a great stop for picking up local cans and bottles as well as some cheese and wine if you're so inclined. Last time I was in town they were just getting set up more or less but already had a great selection. I believe their goal was to offer local wine flights and cheese tasting on site as well. Follow them on Instagram to see what they have going on - they are very active.

    We always spend at least 1 day in Waterbury which is an easy drive from Stowe. As others have mentioned - Pro Pig, Reservoir (outdoor jenga), Blackback are all great places for beer and food. Don't forget to check the Craft Beer Cellar across the street from the Pig for bottles and cans.

    As for activities - we've taken the drive up the toll road on Mt Mansfield and hiked up to the top, taken the gondola, rode the Stowe bike path (and stopped at Idyletime for an outdoor bev), Boydon Winery, hiked Moss Glen and swam under the falls, driven to Hill Farmstead, did a Lake Champlain cruise. There's a lot we've done there actually. This year we're looking at kayaking, hot air balloon ride, and of course a shit ton of beer drinking. As others have mentioned places like Ben and Jerry and the cider mill for donuts are some places your kids may enjoy.

    You're going to have a blast. If you want anymore info on our trips or anything feel free to PM me. Love Vermont.
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