Vermont. It’s gorgeous, full of vibrancy and life. It’s also home to maple syrup and really good food. My Mom and I took a weekend away for great views, picnics and doing the tourist thing. Here’s what we found.
I don’t think I need to say a whole lot. It’s Ben and Jerry’s!!! I grew up with everything from Chunky Monkey to Phish Food. My recent favorite being Willie Nelson’s Peach Cobbler and Boston Cream Pie, but no matter what flavor I’m craving, Ben and Jerry’s is pushing the envelope and pushing onwards.
Mom and I took the tour inside the plant, but for ‘security threats of rival ice cream makers’ we weren’t allowed to take pictures. I think the introductory video was the best part, and sadly I wasn’t able to find it online. In the humor and passion that Ben and Jerry’s is, it did a visual overview of the company over the years to where it is today. The plant tour itself was just okay. You stood in a room where you were able to look out on the plant floor and see each process light up. There was also a video showcasing each part which added to the experience, but overall it wasn’t a true plant walk through. I’m sure because of the sheer volume of visitors they receive and health risks, nothing more could be done. Yet at the end of the tour, we of course got a sample. The sample we tried was Chocolate Nougat Crunch. I liked it as it was crunchy, subtle flavors of malty nougat and chocolate. We walked munching/slurping away on our samples and found a pretty massive collection of vintage ice cream scoops. I had no idea so many existed! But through this looking back in time, you realized that ice cream like products were started in China and have really become a phenomenon in all parts of the world.
The last part of our B&J journey was the the Flavor Graveyard. This is where they retire old favorites, or just crazy ideas that never caught on. B&J used to have a great interactive version of this, but seeing it up close and personal was quite fun too. Each tombstone has a short blurb on what brought them to rest. It was overall a fun experience, but I wouldn’t recommend going out of the way to just see them. We were in and out of there within an hour. Make sure you plan to see LOTS more in the surrounding area, such as….
Our next adventure lead us to the Cabot Creamery Annex and Lake Champlain Chocolates. Cabot Creamery was awesome, and I’m so sad to realize that I never nabbed any pictures! The annex itself had snacks galore, beverages and local specialties. Our favorite part was tasting our way through Cabot’s entire line, which by the way, consisted of WAY more than I ever realized! Mom and I walked out of there with a few goodies for our picnic and I settled on some Garlic and Herb Cheddar, which was super yummy! Right across the way was an outlet for Lake Champlain Chocolates. Although I’m not over the moon about their chocolates (I’m a bit of a chocolate snob), they did have a wonderful and fun store to browse through. Mom was excited because she LOVES their Fruit and Nut Five Star Bars.
We did a lot of touristy type things in an around Stowe and Burlington. We stopped off at Cold Hollow Cider Mill whose cider was just forgettable (sorry). I’m a big fan of my hometown’s Mayer Brothers and to date have never found a comparable cider. But what was so memorable about them was their amazing selection of Vermont specialties. I purchased maple syrup products including some of their own BBQ sauces which I gifted off. The samples were pretty awesome and just about everyone could find something to enjoy. I even found a contraption I never knew existed, which was a Corn Zipper. I eat so much corn in the summer, that this thing would be marvelous if it in fact works (I’ll keep you posted).
We also visited the Trapp Family Lodge, Sound of Music anyone? And that’s where I was able to snag the awesome photo at the beginning of this post of the landscape. Up there we found gorgeous unspoiled views and a true European feel, which is why there family settled there in the first place. One of our last stops led us to the farmers market in Burlington. I adore all sorts of farmers markets because you’re getting some of the freshest and most nutrient foods around. Plus is a great way to see what local communities have to offer. I didn’t get carried away like I usually do but said I would try one thing while we were there. I settled on some homemade Maple Beer which they explained to me was like cream soda but with maple tendencies. I was SO underwhelmed. It was almost a watered down version of cream soda, with the slightest hint of maple. Lame. Luckily after that I found the Cricket Delights stand and was awed by just what you could find at a farmers market. They had crickets along side a bar mix of sorts. I couldn’t bring myself to try any, and sadly they don’t have a website for you to purchase you own.
I definitely recommend visiting this area! While I didn’t show you tons of the places to eat out, Vermont is filled with the food to fork mentality and it’s lovely all around. Hope you enjoyed and happy travels!