We had the most amazing trip to Vermont a few weekends ago! I knew I wanted to go somewhere we could drive to do fun fall things and be outdoors and my cousin lives in Burlington so I looked on the Fall foliage calendar for which weekend had peak fall foliage this year. We booked the hotel one month ahead of time and just went with the flow for the whole trip. I researched things to do and had a general outline of activities and places to see but with COVID we knew the trip was going to look a little different than usual! We went into it just needing to get away and with not a lot of expectations. I would recommend making reservations for dinner a week or so in advance (because of COVID) but since we had such a loose itinerary and we were not positive what exactly we were doing each day we just went with the flow and it all worked out great.
We got tested for COVID before we left and throughout the whole trip, if we were inside (or closer than 6ft from people), we were wearing a mask. We sat outside for almost all of the meals we had at restaurants and we opted for no turndown service at our hotel. We took all the precautions and were as safe as possible during our trip!
We left our house around 4:45 am and made our first stop around 10 am in Schenectady NY. We got breakfast at Roosters NY. It was the perfect time to leave because passing through (around) New York we did not hit any traffic and it was completely smooth sailing the whole drive which was so nice!
After breakfast and a bathroom break, we continued to Woodstock, VT which was about 1 hour and 45 minutes, and explored Sugarbush Maple Sugar & Cheese Farm. It was so beautiful and the perfect first stop! First, we went inside and tested some delicious cheeses and maple syrup then went into the gift shop area and purchased some gifts and stuff! Then we went outside and walked the grounds. They have a little trail showing how to source maple syrup, they have animals and a sugarhouse to see how maple syrup is made. We stayed for about an hour and a half!
We woke up to rain so we bundled up, grabbed the umbrella, and went for a walk to find breakfast.
We ended up at August First, they had a garage door opened with lots of inside seating and tents up for outside seating. The breakfast was amazing and the coffee was delicious, I got the avocado toast and an iced chai tea latte (literally the best I’ve ever had, not too sweet!).
My plan was to go to an apple orchid but since it was raining we decided to walk to Lake Champlain Chocolate factory to see more of Burlington. Because of COVID we couldn’t do a tour inside the factory but you can watch them work, it was cool to see. They also had their retail store attached so we did some shopping!
Since it was still raining we decided to go to a brewery that was two blocks down the road from the chocolate factory called Zero Gravity Craft Brewery. It had a covered outside area so we could relax and hang out, they also had wine and ciders which I was happy about because I am not the biggest fan of beer. It is such a cool place and I can imagine a very popular place to be when the weather is nice!
Across the street was another brewery called Queen City Brewery, and Pizza 44 in the same building so it was the perfect area to do a little brewery hopping and lunch (and visit the chocolate factory too because it was only two buildings away).
We went back to our hotel room to take a glorious nap to catch up on sleep after that drive and let the rain pass and when we woke up the sun was out for us to enjoy the rest of the evening. We went to the Causeway which is a 10.9-mile trail that goes out onto Lake Champlain to watch the sunset. It was SO beautiful and such a great place to see amazing views. We did not walk the whole thing because the sun was going down but we walked for a while, took pictures, and soaked up the beautiful views. It would be an amazing place to bring bikes!
We walked around Burlington to find a place for dinner. Luckily there was outside seating at an Italian restaurant called Trattoria Delia and it was so delicious! They had outside seating so we bundled up, drank red wine and I ate homemade pasta. Such a great day!!
We decided to drive to Stowe, it is where my aunt, uncle, and cousin used to live and my grandparents also had a house there. I went many times when I was younger but I don’t really remember so when my dad suggested taking a day to go there, I knew we had to! It is about 45 minutes from Burlington.
We went to Cold Hollow Cider Mill to get donuts, hot cider, and hang out on the porch. They make an insane amount of fresh donuts a day and they were so delicious. It is decorated beautifully for fall and they have a shop with lots of maple syrup, honey, merchandise, apparel, etc.
We then went to lunch at Whip Bar and Grill. I was told later that night by my cousin that was my grandparent’s favorite restaurant so it was really special! We got there just in time to get the last table outside and I couldn’t help but think they had something to do with it! My grandmother’s favorite drink on the menu was The Whip and I totally would have gotten it if I knew that before we went. There is a hotel attached to the restaurant if you are interested in staying in Stowe.
After lunch, we went to the Stowe Recreation Path that was across the street. It was really beautiful, the views were unreal and the fall colors were magical.
We then went to Stowe Mountain Resort to take a Gondola ride. Those mountains had the most beautiful colors of our whole trip! It was truly peak fall and everything looked like HD, it was absolutely amazing! The Gondola line was a little over an hour (outside) but it was totally worth it. You can get off at the top to see the views and then get back on to go back down. I would recommend doing it earlier in the day. We got there at 2:30 and only about 5 more groups were able to line up after us before they turned people away for the day. The drive down the mountain was completely unforgettable, I have never seen anything like it!
When I was little we would go to Stowe to visit family and ski! My dad used to put a harness and leash on me to guide me down the mountain! I dont really remember it but it was fun to go back and see it again. I added a photo of my sibilings and I in the gallery below.
For dinner, we met up with my cousin and her boyfriend. Luckily they are locals and knew of a food truck on the water. Next to it was a tent turned restaurant with a bar, heaters, and a band playing. Since it was tucked away and hard to find it was not too crowded which was amazing.
We drove to Grand Isle to go for a hike and check out a winery. It is an island that is about 40 minutes from Burlington and it is so beautiful!
We were hoping for a hike with a view but we could not find one. You had to be camping at a state park property to hike and see the water. We did an inland hike at the Iron Wood Nature Trail that was very beautiful but I would recommend downloading the All Trails app and finding a better one somewhere else. We planned on hiking the first day but it was pouring rain all day so we tried to improvise with this trail but I wouldn’t recommend it.
After that, we drove to an island and went to Snow Farm Vineyard, not too far from where we hiked. The drive was stunning and the vineyard was just as beautiful! We decided to do a tasting and you could also buy cheese, crackers, meat, and hummus to make your own charcuterie board. We sat outside and soaked in the views and savored the last day of our amazing trip. We bought two of our favorite wines, one red and one white.
Our last dinner was with my cousin and her boyfriend at Farmhouse Tap & Grill. It is on Church Street which is the main area of Burlington and the food was really good, definitely recommend!
We decided to do the same drive as the way in so left our hotel at 4:45 am. We hit no traffic and got home at 12:45, the drives were super easy (as I slept in the front seat while Steve drove haha) and very beautiful!
I highly recommend purchasing a phone mount that can hold onto anything to take pictures! It is what we used the whole trip and it worked so well! Ours was $10 but I would suggest getting one with a clicker to take the picutres instead of a self timer! I linked a few similar below.
Other places to go & things to do:
-Shelburne Vineyard: 8 miles from Burlington
-Chapin Orchard: apple picking
-Jenna Farm in Woodstock: the most photographed farm in the world
-Burlington Farmers Market @ City Hall Park (Saturdays 8:30 am-2 pm)
-Sunset Drive-In Theatre in Colchester: Open on the weekends @ dusk
-Ben and Jerry’s Corporate (tours currently closed due to COVID)