Mount Mansfield: Sunset Ridge Trail
Hike the highest mountain in Vermont, Mount Mansfield, with an elevation of 4393 ft. Named because the ridge resembles the profile of a man's head complete with such features as an Adam's Apple, Chin, Forehead, and Nose. It is one of only two places in Vermont where arctic tundra can be found, so remain on the trail to protect this fragile vegetation.
Be prepared for this moderately-strenuous scenic hike with a round trip of 6.6 miles and elevation gain of 2600 ft. Remember proper footwear, clothing, and water
- Time hiking: 3-5 hours. No water at summit.
- Trail closed: mid-April to Memorial Day
- Auto Toll Road: 4.5 miles; cars only (no RV, motorcycles, bicycles)
- Gondola Skyride: enjoy breathtaking scenery without the exertion.
After hiking Mount Mansfield, why not reward the group with homemade pies from Poorhouse Pies. Open all year, this self-service pie shed features cream pies, fruit pies, nut pies, and eclectic pies.
We chose our post-hike favorite –apple pie!
- Open daily 8am to 8pm except on Wednesdays.
Looking for a short walk to a lovely, cascading waterfall? Located off Route 108 in Smuggler Notch State Park, Bingham Falls is a quick half-mile trek with a chance to cool off at a favorite swimming hole in the Stowe area.
Stop in for a warm welcome at the Bennington Museum and browse the largest collection of paintings by folk artist Grandma Moses. In addition to viewing her idyllic scenes of rural America, tour the the military history galleries and learn about one of the early key battles of the American Revolution, the Battle of Bennington.
Did you know that Grandma Moses began her painting career in earnest at the age of 78?
- No backpacks or food/drink (including water bottles) in the museum.
- Stretch your legs on the adjacent George Aiken Wildflower Walking Trail, one-third of a mile with benches.
- We took advantage of the museum's covered picnic shelter for our lunch.
Bennington Battle Monument
Ride the elevator up the 306-foot Bennington Battle Monument for an amazing view of Vermont, Massachusetts, and New York. Afterwards, tour the exhibits and read about the pivotal Revolutionary War battle where the local American militia protected a critical store of weapons and food from British attack.
Our first moose sighting was here - Benny the Moose - a colorful, life-sized, resin moose statue.
- TIP: Save your ticket from the Bennington Museum and receive a discount on the adult tickets.
- Open daily May 1 through October 31, 10am to 5pm.
Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge
Cross from Cornish, New Hampshire into Windsor, Vermont over the Connecticut River on the gorgeous lattice truss, two-span covered bridge. The Cornish-Windsor Covered Bridge operated as a toll bridge from 1866 through 1943 and still features a vintage sign "Walk Your Horses Or Pay Two Dollars Sign."
Driving on scenic route VT-100, plan a stop at a popular swimming hole, Warren Falls, on the Mad River. A short walk and you can be cooling off in the green-tinted waters.
- But plan ahead - there is limited parking space and no garbage cans or restrooms.
Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site
Tour the boyhood home of President Calvin Coolidge along with eleven other historic village buildings open to the public at the Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site. Also included with the entrance fee: a short film covering President Coolidge's life, educational exhibits, walking trails, and more.
TIP: Check schedule for sheep shearing and other historic craft demonstrations.
- Open late May through mid-October from 10am to 5pm
- Covered shelter for picnics
The Plymouth Cheese Factory
Just up from the Coolidge homestead is the Plymouth Cheese Factory, started by Calvin’s Coolidge's father and a few other local farmers in 1890. Watch the granular curd cheese production process through large viewing windows and then go upstairs to see vintage cheesemaking equipment.
Of course, we couldn't stop without sampling the delicious cheese.
- Open daily 10am to 4pm; summer hours 10am to 5pm
Just east of Woodstock is the deepest gorge in Vermont, Quechee Gorge, at 165 feet deep. Plenty of parking at the Quechee Gorge Visitor Center plus clean public restrooms. Pick up a trail map at the information booth before heading up to see the powerful waterfall or meander down the wide, smooth path and wade in the Ottanquechee River at the bottom of the trail.
Either way, a great way to spend a couple of hours.
Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park
Don't miss your chance to explore Vermont's only national park, Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historic Park. Opened in 1998, this park highlights three families united in their dedication to conservation of both land and community. Pick one of the many ranger tours available (fee): trek through the woods on a foliage hike, view Hudson River School paintings at the mansion, or descend into the Cold War-era nuclear fall out shelters.
Our daughter earned another Junior Ranger badge here.
- Free admission to grounds
- Guided tours: $8/adult 16-61; $4/seniors 62 and up; free for children 15 and under.
- Buy a combo ticket and tour the adjacent fully-operational dairy farm, Billings Farm & Museum
As you pull into the parking lot, a sign welcomes you to Shelburne Museum, "An Unconventional Museum of Art, Americana, and Design." Stroll through gorgeous blooming gardens to buildings that feature eclectic collections such as waterfowl decoys, album quilts, Impressionist paintings, whirligigs, and a miniature circus parade. Tour the 220-ft steamboat Ticonderoga and stop for lunch at The Weathervane Cafe.
For an extra small fee, we rode the charming carousel.
- Entrance fee is good for two days - with 39 buildings on 45 acres - you might need the time.
- Free museum shuttle operates from May 1 through October 31 along the 1-mile route.
Sugarbush Cheese & Maple Farm
Experience a working farm, Sugarbush Cheese & Maple Farm, conveniently located on the outskirts of charming Woodstock, Vermont. Sample cheeses and maple syrup and then watch the video on the production of maple syrup. During warm weather, stop and visit the adorable farm animals.
- Free admission, but we couldn't leave without making a purchase from this family-owned farm.
- Open daily 9am to 5pm; closed Thanksgiving and Christmas
Cold Hollow Cider Mill
If you are driving near Waterbury, Vermont, make a stop for the legendary cider donuts at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. During foliage season, they produce 800 dozen per day! Not limited to donuts, choose from items such as apple cider, maple syrup, jams and jellies, and other Vermont speciality items.
- Open daily 8am to 6pm
Burtt's Apple Orchard
Stretch your legs while picking your own apples from the 4o varieties available at the family-owned orchard, Burtt's Apple Orchard. Then, let the kids have a pile of fun as they run through the free corn maze, try out the apple slingshot, or explore the playground. Along with apples, you can also purchase cider doughnuts, cider vinegar, maple syrup, corn, and other farm produce.
We couldn't resist and bought cider doughnuts and maple syrup!
- Open daily 9am - 6pm, mid-August to end of October (cherry season end of July)