Looking for a laidback, family-friendly destination in the Northeast? Here’s how to spend seven days in the “Green Mountain State” of Vermont.
Day 1: Settle into Burlington
This week, rest easy knowing your luggage will be staying put in one hotel room each night. Burlington is Vermont’s most populous city, and unless you’re planning a ski trip at one of Vermont’s mountain-top resorts, it’s best to plant your roots in Burlington and take day trips to surrounding sights. Plan to fly in and out of Burlington International Airport (BTV) and arrange your rental car accordingly. Fortunately, Burlington sits alongside Lake Champlain, which is the sixth largest lake in the country. Lake Champlain houses numerous beaches, plenty of opportunities for water sports, and a slew of state parks for camping and picnics.
Day 2: Cross the Border
Burlington is too close to Canada to forgo the opportunity to explore a new country. With your passport in tow, be adventurous and drive less than two hours north to Montreal in Quebec. Predominantly a French-speaking destination, Montreal transports tourists to Europe without leaving North America, especially in the Old Montreal district, where you can find the Notre-Dame Basilica and the picturesque clock tower. Don’t forget to taste a Montreal-style bagel, which is distinctly different from New York-style bagels with a thinner, sweeter, wood-fired flair.
Day 3: Discover Maple Syrup
Since Vermont produces more maple syrup than any other state, it is almost considered a crime to visit Vermont without exploring its sweeter side. In fact, Vermont has higher standards for its maple syrup production than the U.S. government’s standards, which is one reason the state has prevailed in its prolific maple syrup production. Sugar maple trees abound and sap from Vermont’s sugar maple trees are used to make the iconic pancake topping. Visit the New England Maple Museum over an hour south of Burlington to learn more about Vermont’s maple syrup industry, and stop by Baird Farm nearby to purchase authentic Vermont maple syrup to take home as a souvenir.
Day 4: Capture Vermont’s Beauty
Vermont is a photographer’s dream, especially in the autumn season when stunning fall colors can be seen around forests, along highways, and especially along Lake Willoughby (which is worth a visit if you’re willing to take the two-hour trip east for the day). Vermont is also home to a shocking amount of covered bridges throughout the state that are ideal for fall-themed photoshoots. To name a few popular covered bridges, Seguin, Quinlans, Sanderson, Hammond, and Depot Covered Bridges are all within reasonable driving distances from Burlington for a day filled with photography. Each bridge can be located on Google Maps, making them easy to track down.
Day 5: Ben & Jerry’s
Aside from maple syrup, Vermont is also home to the iconic Ben & Jerry’s ice cream chain. Visit the Ben & Jerry’s location in Vermont’s Waterbury Village Historic District to visit Ben & Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard, in addition to taking a factory tour and snacking on ice cream amongst beautiful mountain views. To read more about the Ben & Jerry’s factory experience and book a reservation online, visit www.benjerry.com/about-us/factory-tours.
Day 6: Shop and Dine in Burlington
After a few days of sightseeing and driving around Vermont, slow down and take time to take in the charming city of Burlington. Visit the city’s famous Church Street Marketplace to shop at a mixture of local and major retailers, grab a treat at Lake Champlain Chocolates, or sit down for a craft cocktail and a Vermont cheese plate at The Gryphon in downtown Burlington.
Day 7: Say Goodbye
Return your rental car and check-in for your flight home out of BTV. Be sure to read TSA’s liquids regulations carefully before packing up your Vermont maple syrup in your luggage to head home. The last thing you want to do is be forced to toss your sugary souvenir in the garbage at the TSA checkpoint and leave Burlington empty-handed.