At the weekend, Lewis and I took his visiting dad and nephew down to Vermont from Montreal for a couple of days of exploration. Having only ever previously travelled through the New England state on the way to Boston, it was lovely to explore the cities, villages and nature that lush green Vermont has to offer. We set off bright and early on Saturday morning and spent an amazing 48 hours in Vermont, staying in a remote Airbnb apartment near Waistfield. Whether you’re just passing through on the way to other areas or planning a trip to the region specifically, grab a cup of tea and check out these tips for an awesome 48 hours in Vermont.
LAKE CHAMPLAIN & ITS ISLANDS
After crossing the US border into New York State at Champlain, we took the bridge to Vermont and drove down through the beautiful Lake Champlain. Lying in all of Canada, New York State and Vermont State, Lake Champlain is an enormous expanse of water, broken up by four main islands, which were an absolute joy to drive through. We stopped off briefly in the town of North Hero to stretch our legs, admire the lake properly for the first time and peruse an amazing antique shop. We then headed to the very south end of North Hero Island to Knight Point State Park.
As someone who is often dreaming of swimming in a picturesque lake, a stop at Knight Point State Park was the perfect way to kick off the holiday. After picnicking under a tree, we all donned our best swimwear and took a dip. It felt amazing to swim in fresh water with only blue skies and tree-lined shores as far as the eye could see. If we had had more time, we would have definitely gone kayaking (10$/hour) and been able to explore even more of the beautiful Lake Champlain.
THE MUST KNOW
Entrance to Knight Point State Park: 4$/adult | 2$/child.
Sat right on Lake Champlain, Burlington is the biggest city in Vermont and home to many universities, including the University of Vermont. We stopped off for a couple of hours to explore the downtown and waterfront areas. It is a nice place with some great red brick buildings – which I always love – but I couldn’t say there’s much to do in Burlington. We took a stroll along the famous Church Street Marketplace, which is full of both independent and big brand shops as well as lots of cafes and restaurants that spill out onto outdoor terraces. Perhaps we missed out on something by not stopping for a drink or a bite to eat but unfortunately it wasn’t the right time. As for the waterfront, it is certainly a nice place for a stroll, but after having seen Lake Champlain from a remote setting, it does seem slightly spoilt. I would definitely recommend visiting Burlington if you are in the area but you don’t need more than a few hours and it’s perhaps a good idea to aim to have lunch or dinner there.
AMERICAN FLATBREAD, WAITSFIELD
On Saturday evening we checked into our Airbnb just north Waitsfield and then headed out for dinner at a place called American Flatbread, which I had found while researching stuff to do in Burlington (they also have a restaurant there). Located on a farm just south of Waitsfield, American Flatbread offers indoor and outdoor dining in the most beautiful of settings. After about a 30-minute wait (during which we visited an adjacent art show and met a wonderful cat), we were seated outside beside a roaring bonfire just as it was getting dark. There was a wonderful atmosphere, with large groups of friends, families and couples enjoying flatbreads (which are essentially pizzas!) by fairy light. We ordered a flatbread between two because they are enormous – a margherita and one with lots of veggies and locally made goats cheese - and boy were they worth the wait! The dough was lovely and soft and the ingredients were delicious. We had an absolutely incredible evening at American Flatbread in Waitsfield – it completely exceeded our expectations and I will definitely be back.
FIND IT: 46 Lareau Road, Waitsfield, USA
Much smaller than Burlington but the State Capital nonetheless, Montpelier is a must-visit when in Vermont. We loved its quaint streets, numerous steeple churches and strangely picturesque steel bridges that crossed the Winooski River and North Branch that ran through the city. The Vermont State House is particularly impressive, its white façade and gold dome standing out boldly from the green mountain backdrop. After hearing there was a local baseball game on that evening, we returned later on to watch the Vermont Mountaineers face the North Adams Steeple Cats at the Montpelier Recreation Field. It was the perfect evening activity that had a lovely local feel we are all grateful to have been a part of. If you have to choose between a visit to Burlington or Montpelier, I would highly recommend Montpelier. The scenery is stunning and there are lots of cafes and restaurants to choose from.
WATERBURY CENTER STATE PARK
After swimming in Lake Champlain was such a success, we went searching for another lake to cool off. Just under a half an hour drive from Montpelier, Waterbury State Park was the perfect way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon in Vermont. We sat on the grass bank, watching canoes, kayaks and paddle boarders go by before getting into our swimming gear and jumping in. It was just the most beautiful setting, with rocky shorelines, lush green forest and mountains in the distance; swimming into the middle of the lake with my love was certainly a “pinch me” moment.
BEN & JERRY'S FACTORY
As a big ice cream fan, I always insist that we visit the Ben & Jerry’s Factory when we are in the area. We have previously visited the factory off-season or on a rainy day, so it was amazing to be there and sample some delicious ice cream on a hot summer’s day. The great thing about visiting the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, especially as a Brit, is that there are lots of flavours that are either exclusive to the factory or not available in all countries. Lewis and I shared our usual pint of hand packed ice cream, opting for half Salted Caramel Blondie and half Sweet Cream and Cookies because it’s sometimes just too hard to choose just one flavour. For those of you not quite as greedy as us, you can opt for two scoops for around 4$ or three scoops for around 5$ - although at just 6.50$, a hand packed pint is a much cheaper option.
So there we have it – how to spend 48 hours in Vermont. I would highly recommend visiting this beautiful region, especially if you are planning a trip to Boston, Montreal or even New York. I hope you have enjoyed this post – I absolutely love putting together these little travel guides so please let me know if you visit anything I’ve recommended. Happy travelling! X
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