Vermont is an entire state of unspoiled scenery, pristine countryside and hidden treasures and Amber, one of our Travel Consultants, was recently lucky enough to explore the state’s every corner.
Vermont – one of New England’s six states situated to the far north-east of the USA, arguably best known for being the birth place of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and for incredible foliage colors in the Fall, both of which are justified, but I soon discovered there is so much more to this picturesque state.
I traveled in June, which is a wonderful time of year to visit as everything looked extremely lush, which isn’t surprising given Vermont is the USA’s ‘greenest’ state at approximately 75% forest cover, and when the sun shone it felt positively hot – fantastic! There’s so much on offer to people visiting during the summer months, from cycling, trekking, paddle boarding, tubing and swimming (particularly in ‘swimming holes’ such as Warren Falls), through to farmers markets overflowing with fresh produce (including global award winning cheddar cheeses and craft beers) and seaplane tours over Lake Champlain. Activities are also in abundance during the cooler months, with ample ‘leaf peeping’ opportunities during the mid-September to mid-October Fall period to witness the breath-taking Maple Tree foliage colors, through to skiing at one of the many Vermont resorts (the most notable being Killington, Jay Peak, Stowe and Sugarbush), cross-country Nordic skiing, and enjoying horse drawn carriage and dog sled rides through the snow – a true winter wonderland!
Vermont is frequently incorporated in New England road trip itineraries, where guests either fly in and out of New York City, where Vermont is included alongside Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island as part of a circular loop, or alternatively as part of a New York to Boston (or vice versa) route. Boston is just a seven hour direct flight from London, followed by a two and a half hour drive to the eastern Vermont state border if driving straight there, or New York City is a seven and a half hour direct flight from London followed by a four and a half hour drive north. For those flying into NYC who’d rather not experience driving out of Manhattan, there’s the Ethan Allen Express train which departs Penn Station, where guests can enjoy a scenic five hour train journey hugging the Hudson River in the comfort of a first class carriage – an appealing alternative to the road. I however did an increasingly popular alternative route, whereby I flew into and out of Montreal, Canada – just a seven hour direct flight from London followed by a one and a half hour drive to the US border, where after a painless 15 minute border administration process I was just 30 minutes from the picturesque Lake Champlain Islands to the north of the state.
The Lake Champlain Islands are extremely serene and make you instantly feel as though you’re on vacation. An ideal spot for those who love cycling as there are bikeways everywhere, and even a bike ferry which transports cyclists across ‘The Cut’ between South Hero and Colchester. We then traveled south-east to quaint Waterbury, home of Green Mountain Coffee, before starting the ‘Grazing Trail’ towards Stowe – Ben & Jerry’s, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Cabot Cheese and The Alchemist Brewery to name but a few key stops for food and beverage lovers.
If staying in Stowe there’s the wonderful Top Notch Resort – ideal for couples and families alike, with stunning views over the surrounding hills, a well renowned tennis academy, horse-drawn carriage rides in both summer and winter, and adult-only and child-friendly pools in addition to a large heated indoor pool – perfect.
We then traveled south to picturesque Woodstock – home to covered bridges, traditional New England style architecture, patriotic star spangled banner flags, tree lined avenues, famous crafters such as Simon Pearce glass, Farmhouse Pottery and husband and wife pair Shackleton Thomas.
The Woodstock Inn makes for the perfect stay for those looking to experience a traditional New England inn in the heart of Woodstock, with a great Games Room for children and adults alike, fireplaces in most rooms, and an amazing golf course.
Just a five minute drive out of Woodstock center, 506 On The River is a property family-run by the same owners of The Zanzibar Collection, with their Palacina Interiors design influence evident throughout this very welcoming and well-designed hotel. Having the only onsite heated indoor pool in Woodstock, it makes for an ideal choice during the cooler winter months, whilst the balconies on each of the rooms are perfect for relaxing on a warm summer’s day.
I had the absolute pleasure of staying at Twin Farms– a truly unique property and experience that I can’t recommend highly enough. Nestled amongst forested hills, this luxury all-inclusive retreat instantly makes you feel relaxed and extremely welcome (and well fed – the soufflé pancakes for breakfast are particularly amazing!)
Heading south-west we visited Manchester, home of Orvis fly fishing, a Land Rover Experience driving center for those looking to test out their next motor vehicle purchase or just to have fun off-roading, as well as an abundance of designer outlet stores nestled amongst local shops, such as the extremely popular Northshire Bookstore.
Nearby is the town of Dorset, with its white wood clad buildings and dark green shutters. The Three Pears Gallery and Barrow’s House are ideal for families and it’s possible to book your own wood clad building on their eight acre site.
Finally we headed back north towards Montreal, but this time along scenic Route 100 hugging the eastern border of the Green Mountain National Forest, to quaint Warren and The Pitcher Inn. Amazing hospitality, fantastically quirky themed rooms in an otherwise very traditional New England property (I had the pleasure of staying in the ‘Lodge’ room – amazing!), great food and unique cocktails. The most ideal end to a fabulous Vermont experience.
For more information on our customized itineraries to North America, give one of our Travel Consultants a call on 0203 603 3555 or visit scottdunn.com.