When thinking of planning a trip to Vermont it is usually planned for when the snow has fallen. But there is so much to do in Waterbury, Vermont when there isn't snow on the ground! The hubby and I took a trip in the spring for a "Baby-Moon" weekend getaway and we had a great time. Here is a list of places that we visited in Waterbury, Vermont.
The Ben & Jerry's Factory
I'm going to be completely honest, this trip was based around visiting the Ben & Jerry's Factory. This is a place I've wanted to go to FOR YEARS. Why? I wanted to see the famed, "Flavor Graveyard" and this funny site did not disappoint.
The Factory offers 30-minute, guided tours throughout the day (that include a free sample at the end) and also has a scoop shop with basically every flavor you know and love (that is still in production) plus new ones! I had a Frosted Flakes flavored ice cream and it tasted like I was eating a bowl of cereal and it was just as delicious as it sounds.
The tour starts out with a video on the history of Ben & Jerry and how their ice cream dream grew from a location inside a renovated gas station to a company that has a Scoop Shop in countries from Israel to Japan. The video is extremely informative and makes you appreciate the sample at the end just a bit more.
The "Flavor Graveyard" is where you can pay your respects to the "dearly de-pinted" each discontinued flavor has a rhyming headstone poking fun at why the flavor is no longer in production. Set up top on a hill it is a bit of a hike after you exit the tour but the headstones are very witty.
The Cabot Cheese Annex Store
If you love cheese as much as I do, then do yourself a favor and go to the Cabot Visitor's Center. There you can walk around the table of cheese samples (as many times as you'd like) and also sample cheese spreads on crackers and pretzels. At the Visitor's Center you can purchase any of the cheese you tasted; when I was there they had an Everything Bagel flavored cheese. It was amazing. They also so wine, beer and other beverages.
The Smugglers' Notch Distillery & Tasting Room
Attached to the Cabot Cheese Farmer's Store is the Smugglers' Notch Distillery Tasting Room. Here you can do a flight and sample your choice preferred combination of Vodka, Rum, Gin, Bourbon and Whiskey. Stumble upon this gem with children? Or pregnant woman visiting with your spouse? They offer a maple syrup tasting too! Selling all of the spirits you tasted in your flight as well as gift sets, glassware and t-shirts this location is one of three tasting rooms and the employees we spoke to here were extremely knowledgeable about the product and process and very friendly!
Cold Hollow Cider Mill
There is seriously so much to explore in this one town in Vermont it was insane. Like I mentioned, all I really wanted to do was visit Ben & Jerry's but after a quick Google search and browsing some tourist pamphlets at a rest area I quickly learned there was so much to do around the Factory.
One of the cool places I found via a pamphlet was the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. Here you can watch how they press the apples for cider with nothing but a giant window between you and the workers. I wonder if they like being watched all day? It was extremely satisfying to see them bring down this giant press on to the crate of apples and watching all of the juice seep out. It also looks like handwork!
The Mill sells cider (of course) as well as lunch and snack items. What are they known for? Apple Cider Donuts! I ate a lot and I mean A LOT on this trip but hey, I was pregnant and I deserved it!
Green Mountain Coffee Cafe & Visitor's Center
Green Mountain Coffee originated in, you guessed it, Green Mountain, Vermont. This Cafe and Visitor's Center inside a still working, yet totally renovated train station. The Visitor's Center offers interactive displays and videos showing the consumer how Green Mountain sources their coffee. Over at the Cafe, you can sample that day's flavors as well as purchase full-sized drinks and snacks.
Taste Test (& Purchase To Take Home) Maple Products At A Sugar Farm
While we were in Vermont we learned that those who live in Vermont are very trusting people. All I wanted (after visiting the Ben & Jerry's Factory) was to go to a Sugar Farm and taste authentic maple syrup. After searching for one near-by we drove up a mountainous road and arrived at a house. Confused, we walked to a shed in the back and saw a sign that said Sugar Farm. Confused still, but intrigued we opened the door to the shed and saw all of the maple products they were selling (that they had made right there). There was also a table set up with jars of syrup and plastic tasting cups with a sign that said to sample the syrups, explaining what the differences. Hung on the wall were photos of the process it takes to make syrup. On the shelves there were containers of maple syrup that you could purchase as well as maple candy, by leaving the correct amount of cash in the cash box. I say they are of trusting people because when we were there no one was to be found and I looked for cameras to see what type of security they had on not only their products, but their money as well and unless they were really hidden (which I don't think they were) there weren't any. This particular Sugar Farm ran on the honor system and it was admirable. Because you couldn't make change they offered singles of their maple candies so you could purchase those in order to round up, which made my pregnant tummy very happy (but not my teeth).
We did all of this in just one small part of Vermont, there is so much to do across the state and so much of it can be done when there isn't snow on the ground. Aside of the above mentioned attractions we also ate at great restaurants and took in a movie (Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2) at a local movie theater that was like stepping back in time on an old-fashioned "main street".
Plan a trip to Vermont you won't be disappointed, just look out for "Moose Crossing" signs!