Photo: Ben & Jerry’s Factory, Waterbury, Vermont
Four friends take a road trip through New England to admire the region’s stunning fall foliage. Click here to read our blog from the beginning.
A Brrrlington Morning
Being mostly Californians, we had a tough time with Burlington’s bitterly cold weather, but we had an enjoyable final morning to see the city’s sights. We first stopped for breakfast at Handy’s Lunch, a retro diner opened in the 1940s with wrap-around counter seating. (Burlington has a surprising number of old-school diners dating back 50+ years.) We were pleasantly surprised at the quite diverse clientele in this whitest of all 50 states. The food was good American diner fare – success!
From breakfast, we drove over to the Burlington Earth Clock which I declared to be America’s Stonehenge since it was a series of tall thin stones. This cool landmark is a sundial that is aligned like a compass and it sits on the shore of huge Lake Champlain – home of Champy the sea monster, watch out!
Stowe’s Store and Ben & Jerry’s Factory
We stopped by Downtown Burlington and took a final walk down Church Street Marketplace, a bustling pedestrian mall facing a beautiful old church. Then we took Interstate 89 and Highway 100 45 minutes east to the town of Stowe. Home to a popular ski resort and year-round outdoors activities, Stowe is one of the most-visited towns in Vermont. We spent some time exploring Stowe Mercantile, a huge gift shop with every type of food and souvenir you can imagine. We walked down Main Street, admiring some historic-looking buildings and a multitude of pumpkins along the way.
From Stowe, we drove 10 minutes south to the one and only Ben & Jerry’s Factory. Probably the most famous Vermonters aside from the country’s favorite politician (Bernie! Bernie!), Ben and Jerry produce much of their ice cream in this fun facility that is the only location in the country that serves a mouthwatering Vermont Maple Syrup & Almond flavor. After gorging ourselves, we took a walk over to the Flavor Graveyard, a series of tombstones commemorating discontinued flavors – some of which were quite wacky like Dastardly Mash (chocolate ice cream with raisins 😳).
The Montpelier Massacre
Next, we drove 15 minutes east on Interstate 89 to Vermont’s capital, Montpelier. This tiny town is least populated state capital in the country, but it has tons of charm. We drove up to Hubbard Park to get a view of the city but were unable to leave our car to savor the overlook of the city’s architecture due to a rude dog that barked at us and chased our car until we left the neighborhood. 😂 Okay, it wasn’t a massacre, but it could’ve been (#alternativefacts)!
We drove through Montpelier’s Main Street, admiring the historic buildings, and stopped at the Vermont State House, the state capitol building. It was closed for the weekend, but it was a beautiful dome building to admire from outside and there were some gorgeous leaf-shedding trees in front of it.
A Magical Covered Bridge
From Montpelier, we took Interstate 89 to Highway 100B to Highway 100 to enjoy some of Central Vermont’s natural beauty. The drive took us along the Mad River (lol). When we reached the town of Warren, I screamed for joy when I saw a street sign that said Covered Bridge Road. (I had been dying to see a covered bridge and we hadn’t found one yet.) I made a left and we immediately saw a serene brown covered bridge. We got out of the car and a friendly cat led us up a short path to a beautiful hammock and bench overlooking the bridge – it was one of the most magical moments of the trip. After chit-chatting with the cat for a bit, I insisted on driving through the bridge; when we reached the other side, a friendly lesbian couple offered to take a photo of our car under the bridge. VERMONT IS AWESOME!
We drove a couple miles south and stopped to take a short walk to see Warren Falls, a unique double waterfall situated amidst beautiful rocks. We drove south for a while, enjoying the tranquil forest. We eventually took Bethel Mountain Road to Camp Brook Road to Highway 12 to Highway 107 to Interstate 89 (quite a mouthful!).
We took a series of quiet country roads to reach remote Sugarbush Farm, a wonderful family farm between the towns of Hartford and Woodstock. Along the way, we drove through the cute town of Quechee, which had a large covered bridge to admire. We made it the farm and were delighted to find that we had it to ourselves. We tasted a ton of cheese, jelly, maple syrup, and more – it was all amazing! With some purchases in hand, we got back on the road.
We then said goodbye to Vermont and drove across the border into New Hampshire to Hanover, home of Ivy League Dartmouth College. My friend’s cousin was a Dartmouth student so we went to her home and she showed us around the exquisite campus which dates back to 1769! We walked through the main square, the stunning Baker-Berry Library, and past Greek Row to pleasant Occom Pond where we watched a dog frolic in grassland.
We had dinner at Molly’s, a charming restaurant that was filled with students and had plenty of maple-flavored food items 😛. To end our day, we drove an hour northeast to our home for the night – the town of Lincoln on the edge of New Hampshire’s epic White Mountains. Our home for the night was the Econo Lodge, where we were delighted to receive homemade brownies and cookies upon arrival.
Click here to go on to the Fall Foliage Day 3 blog as we explore New Hampshire’s White Mountains and find some of the best and worst fall foliage of the trip.