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Can Fall really be starting next week??? Well, before I give in to fall, I need to tell you about my one week road trip through Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire last month before it’s all a big blur! Not sure what possessed me to do a road trip with the family. Oh wait, it’s all coming back to me….Ben & Jerry’s! I wanted to take a tour of Ben & Jerry’s in Vermont and thought we’d plan a whole trip around it. But shhhhhhh…don’t tell my family that’s how it started! We did soooo much on this trip! So much in fact that I tried to keep this post brief but it’s still long even though I left out some things!!! I only had my Iphone for pics so I apologize for the bad pictures you’re about to see!!
Day 1…We headed up towards Vermont and stopped in Springfield, Massachusetts for a few hours to go to the Springfield Museums; a group of 5 small art, history, and science museums. The kids wanted to see the Dr. Seuss area.
On our way to our first scheduled stop in Vermont we saw Grafton Village Cheese Co. in Grafton, Vermont and made a quick visit. They had lots of cheese, specialty food items, wine, and samples. We picked up some apple wine. We haven’t tried it yet, but it sounded interesting!
Our first scheduled stop in Vermont was the Vermont Country Store in Weston, Vermont. It’s an old-time general store that had all sorts of toys, kitchen utensils, food, clothes, and all sorts of stuff! We all enjoyed looking around and the kids had a great time checking out all the candy!
Right outside the store was a mob of people in front of a cute little burger joint called Mildred’s Dairy Bar . We figured it must be good by looking at the long lines so thought we’d give it a try. The burgers were great as was the maple “creemee” (aka soft-serve ice cream). After you order your food instead of getting a number, you get a celebrity name. Always lots of giggles when you heard a celebrity name called.
Day 2…Since we were in Vermont we had to visit some maple syrup places including the New England Maple Museum in Rutland, Vermont. We (re-)learned that maple syrup is actually made in the spring NOT in the fall. Thankfully, they had lots of maple syrup and maple products so we stocked up on maple cookies, maple candy, maple soda, and more! Sorry, no pic.
Next up was Sugar Bush Farm in Woodstock, Vermont. Kids saw and fed some farm animals, went on a short walk through the woods to see the maple trees and sap is collected, saw how maple syrup was made again, and tried their wide range of cheeses.
Of course they had all the typical Vermont tourist items such as maple flavored everything as well. The cheeses were wonderful and we had some great pepperoni. We had a little picnic out on one of their picnic tables with some maple soda. One bad thing about a road-trip is not being able to buy more since we didn’t have a refrigerator and no room in the cooler!!!
Then off to Simon Pearce in Quechee, Vermont where there was a beautiful waterfall outside. Inside the store was a restaurant and beautiful glassware, dinnerware, pottery, etc. In the basement we watched several people blowing glass and someone was on a pottery wheel. Thankfully, the kids did NOT break anything while we were there! College funds would have gone right out the window…
A quick stop at Long Trail Brewing Company in Bridgewater Corners, Vermont for on our way to King Arthur Flour in Norwich, Vermont. King Arthur was in the middle of expanding and construction. I wish I was prepared and had gone through their website in advance so I wasn’t so overwhelmed when walking in. We’ll have to go back after the construction is done. The bakery and café was a lot smaller than I had expected and a lot of the items such as the sandwiches were pre-made in a refrigerated area.
Next was Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury, Vermont for some cider and cider donuts. It was a really cute cider mill, but unfortunately, they were OUT of cider! So instead they had lemonade. Note to self…lemonade and cider donuts is just NOT the same.
There were lots of other baked goods, specialty food items, and of course maple flavored anything and everything! Gourmet Magazine named their donuts one of the four best donuts in the country and I have to say I would disagree. Although the donuts were good, they were just plain cake like donuts and I think I would have preferred them if they were coated in cinnamon sugar. Or maybe they would have tasted better with CIDER rather than lemonade. Oh well, maybe we were there on a bad day.
We made a quick stop at Green Mountain Coffee in Waterbury, Vermont for what they advertise as a self-guided tour (although it was really just one room with some displays next to one of their coffee shops).
Day 3…First up, Vermont Teddy Bear in Shelburne, Vermont.
We had a fun tour then smelled all the scented bears! How fun! Had no idea they had bears that smelled like root beer, cupcakes, etc.!! Although I don’t see the scented bears on their website, darn! And I forgot to take a picture so I don’t remember all the fun scents they had.
Then a quick stop at Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington, Vermont. We weren’t there during their regular tour times so did a quick self-tour, bought some beer, and took a quick look around. The beer was good but we couldn’t stay long.
>Headed to Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington for another tour. It wasn’t exactly a “tour” and was more of a video and presentation in front of a window next to their production floor.
It was fun for the kids to see all the chocolate being made and we all enjoyed the samples! They were making chocolate turkeys while we were there for the holidays. We bought lots of yummy chocolate and went on our way to the Echo Museum with the kids.
>Day 4…Finally time to head to Ben & Jerry’s in Waterbury, Vermont !!!!
It was a cold rainy day but who cares, we were headed for ice cream!!!
We went for a tour which included a video, tour of the production area (from above through windows), and a generous sample of one of their ice cream flavors which happened to be Americone Dream that day.
Took a walk to the flavor graveyard and stopped at the ice cream shop for a little more ice cream before we left. Definitely a fun time!
For lunch we headed to the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vermont. The food was great and the kids were well behaved (with the exception of a few yelling episodes, the major milk spill, fighting over some crayons, etc.). It’s quite a miracle we didn’t get kicked out. On the menu I noticed they mentioned an organic maple liqueur and since there was a liquor store right next store, I figured it was a sign. It WAS a sign right? So I’m now the proud owner of some organic maple liqueur which I’m sure will come in handy.
After lunch we headed to Morse Farm in Montpelier, Vermont to stock up on more maple flavored candy. We ran out earlier in the day so needed to stop somewhere. It would be a sin to be in Vermont and NOT have maple candy on hand at all times, right?? Also saw where they make maple syrup during the spring. Not much to see in the summer but I’m sure there’s probably more to see and do in the spring.
Last stop for the day was Cabot Cheese in Cabot, Vermont. I was really looking forward to the tour and trying some cheese but unfortunately they were very crowded! I mean very very VERY crowded and the retail area was way too small to accommodate the crowd.
We took the tour which was nice but couldn’t spend any time sampling cheeses or looking around because we could barely move so just headed out. Hopefully, they’re not usually that crowded, or hopefully, they’ll build a bigger retail and sampling area!
Day 5…We spent the day at Santa’s Village Amusement Park in Jefferson, New Hampshire. I was a little skeptical about an amusement park with a Christmas theme especially since we were there in August. I was pleasantly surprised and we had a great time including a visit with Santa, fake snow, and reindeers and elves galore.
There was even a bakery where you could decorate your own gingerbread cookies. My kids weren’t interested in the gingerbread cookies but they were interested in the yummy warm fresh cinnamon sugar doughnuts!!! Yum!!
Day 6…We started off doing a little shopping and did a short hike to see a beautiful waterfall. Actually, it was a rather long hike to see a waterfall because we started off going the wrong way. Note to self…phone service is not so great up in the mountains so bring a compass. Afterwards, we stopped in North Conway, Vermont to do a little more shopping and wait a second…did we just pass a cupcake shop???
Why yes we did, so we stopped the car, turned around, and went to the White Mountain Cupcakery .
Cute place and fun flavors! Too bad I had to compromise and share with the family!!! Next time I’m going ALONE.
Day 7…Are you tired yet, because I am. Was this trip really MY idea??? On Day 7 we went back in time and spent the day at Old Sturbridge Village in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.
We learned a lot and watched how they made cheese years ago. The kids loved helping and thankfully there were NO samples because there were flies and bugs everywhere!!
On the way back to the hotel we stopped at The Hebert Candy Mansion in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts which is a place I used to visit as a kid.
They have a large retail area full of all kinds of candy (mostly chocolate) and a small ice cream parlor.
The best part of the ice cream parlor is they have an ice cream bar where you can make your own sundae with all sorts of sauces and toppings. My kind of ice cream parlor!! Yum!!! I wonder if I could install an ice cream bar in my house. Hmmmmm…
Day 8…Started to head home but first stopped to do some back-to-school shopping. That was NOT fun for anyone. NOT FUN! But we followed it up with a stop at Mohegan Sun (casino) where we didn’t gamble one cent, but instead went for lunch at Bobby Flay’s Burger Palace for some great burgers, fries, and milkshake! Then home sweet home to get the kids ready to school only to have it postponed for a week thanks to Hurricane Irene. Darn, knew we should have spent a second week road tripping!!
If you have questions about any of these places send me an email or comment below soon before it’s all a big blur! Would love to hear about all your favorite food places so leave me a comment or send me an email! I need to start planning a trip for next summer to visit the rest of New England!! :)