Instead of an expensive European vacation this summer, consider a visit to beautiful northern Vermont. Visit local dairies, breweries, famous ice cream makers and even wineries. Then work off the calories with fun outdoor excursions.
Cheese and ice cream and beer, oh my!
Vermont is just gorgeous -- whether you decide to stay in Burlington or in the mountains, whether you rough it in the woods or indulge in a five-star hotel, there’s something for everyone. It’s perfect for girlfriend getaways, romantic retreats and family holidays. And for food lovers, it’s a dream come true!
Most states aren’t associated with ice cream, but for many, Ben and Jerry’s is the first thing that comes to mind when you say Vermont. Treat the kids to a stop at the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, where you can take a tour, buy merchandise, and, of course, sample the amazing ice cream.
Vermont produces some of the country’s best cheese, so be sure to get your dairy fill when you visit. Cabot Cheese is based in – you guessed it – the town of Cabot, and you can tour the factory as well as taste their wide variety of cheeses.
Tip: For something more off-the-beaten path, head to a smaller, family-run dairy like Fat Toad Farm. Visit with the goats and sample some of the fresh chevre (goat cheese) they have available. Whatever you do, don’t miss out on their unique goat’s milk caramel sauce called cajeta. Similar to dulce de leche, this sweet condiment is utterly addictive and makes a great gift.
Check out these tips for a cheese lover's vacation to Vermont >>
Farms and farm stands
If you’re in town on a Saturday, then don’t miss the Burlington Farmers’ Market, which hosts local farmers, dairies, maple syrup producers and more. There are stands selling all kinds of international foods as well as live entertainment, making it a great place to spend an afternoon with the family.
Nearby Shelburne Farms, a working 1,400-acre historic farm, is another fun trip. Take a tour of the enormous property in a truck-pulled open-air wagon and learn about the history of the gorgeous estate while observing their farming practices. Get off at the Farm Barn to see cheesemaking in action and sample some of their fine Vermont “farmhouse” cheddars.
Vermont is heaven for beer aficionados, with more than 20 craft breweries throughout the small state. Magic Hat is probably one of the best known of the Vermont breweries, where loyal locals and curious visitors continue to pile in to take a tour and sample the seasonal and year-round suds.
For those wanting some great pub fare to go with their brews, check out the Long Trail Brewery with outdoor seating alongside a babbling stream. Take a self-guided tour of the brewing and bottling plant before settling in for a flight of their finest beers.
Although Vermont wines aren’t internationally recognized, the state has its fair share of vineyards and produces some excellent wine. Visit the Shelburne Vineyard, just down the road from Shelburne Farms, for a tour of their eco-friendly winery and a taste of their reds, whites, rosés and ice wines. Another lovely Vermont winemaker is Honora Winery in West Halifax. You can also sample their wines at their lovely Manchester Tasting Room, so you can cap off a day of shopping at the outlets with a sampling of vino.
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Food lovers can extend their culinary passion to their choice of hotel, with the Essex Culinary Resort and Spa near Burlington. The gorgeous hotel boasts all the usual amenities – indoor and outdoor swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, relaxing spa and award-winning restaurants – in addition to a chef’s garden and on-site cooking classes.
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