Our local adventures this summer are nowhere near as exciting as the Cardwells’ trip west, as we are mostly revisiting favorite places and activities. However, on the theory that some of you will be coming this way for your summer holiday, here’s the rundown on some fun things to do in Central Vermont.
A family favorite is Billings Farm in Woodstock. They do a special Independence Day Celebration, including sack races, which Douglas did, and an egg toss (with raw eggs), which he did not.
Be sure to check out Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park while in town.
Where to eat: Bentleys Restaurant downtown. Family friendly, the restaurant just got a new chef who is doing some remarkable things, at reasonable prices.
Word to the wise: Woodstock takes its speed limits and parking regulations VERY SERIOUSLY. Do not exceed the 25 MPH zones on the way in/out of town and remember to feed the meter. If you are in one of the two-hour free spots along Elm Street, don’t exceed the time limit. Park in the free lot instead. A little walk is a lot better than the inevitable parking ticket.
A fun (and free) activity is Quechee Gorge on Route 4. Wear comfortable shoes, and hike down to the bottom or up to the viewing spot of the dam. Both are very short walks. The state park visitor’s center has public restrooms and there are plenty of options for snacks, sandwiches and ice cream.
Waterbury is the home of Ben & Jerry’s. They give a free ice cream cone on your birthday, so we decided it was as good a destination as any for mine (the 5th). Turned out, my tour ticket was free as well, so keep that in mind if you are in the area on your birthday. Just tell the cashier when you are buying your tour tickets.
The production line does not run on the weekend, so if you can manage to go on a weekday, it’s worth it. But they do a decent job on the weekend as well, and no matter when you go, the tour wraps up with a free sample of ice cream.
Mount Mansfield, Stowe
Mount Mansfield is the highest peak in Vermont, and there are a number of ways to enjoy its wonders in the summer months. Last weekend, we drove the Auto Toll Road to the (nearly) top. Cost is $24 per car, hours 9am-4pm (last entry). Other options include an alpine slide and the gondola. Years ago, Dave and I took the gondola one way with two of our dogs and then walked down.
Where to eat: Stowe has some of the best restaurants north of Boston, but if you are looking for something quick and family friendly, try Charlie B’s at the Stoweflake. There’s a nice outdoor deck in the summer months, and board games by the fireplace for the kids if they get restless while you are enjoying your meal.
More pictures from the holiday weekend on Flickr.
Thinking of Vermont as a destination? We rent our vacation home at very reasonable rates. Check it out on cyberrentals.