Things to Do: Taste Your Way Through Northern Vermont

Three people standing in front of a window with cheese making equipment in the backThere are plenty of things to do in Vermont especially when visiting the Northeast Kingdom. Here is a day trip that is filled with spectacular scenery and several places to tour, shop, and enjoy the flavors for which Northern Vermont is famous.  Cabot Cheese, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, and a few maple syrup producers are just some of the places you’ll experience.

The trip’s first stop is St. Johnsbury. Follow Route 2 to Maple Grove Farms,  the oldest and largest maple syrup and candy producer in the USA, established in 1915. Maple Grove Farm has a large and unique gift shop that is open spring, summer and fall.

Route 2 west continues to Danville. Along the way, visit The Diamond Hill Store, a local shop of antiques and fine gifts. Just past West Danville on Route 2 West, look to the left to find Goodrich’s Maple Farm. This is the real deal as the trees are right out their back door and the sap boiled right here  (in the spring, of course) in one of the largest and fastest sap evaporators in the world. And stop by the tasting table to sample the various grades of syrup.

Now it’s off to Cabot and East Calais (pronounced Calis). Continue up North Danville Road and enjoy some spectacular scenery as you make your way to Cabot Center. Once in Cabot Center, bear left onto Route 215 and find Cabot Creamery on the left. Stop in for the factory tour and enjoy free samples of their award-winning cheddar cheese. And what goes better with cheese than great wine.

Now it’s off to Montpelier, our state capital and the smallest state capital in the USA. On the way to Montpelier on Route 14, find Bragg Farm Sugarhouse and Gift Shop. They offer friendly farm animals and a Maple Ice Cream Parlor! Now continue to downtown Montpelier — home to New England Culinary Institute. Enjoy the talents of the culinary students at the Main Street Bar & Grille in the center of town. Sarducci’s is a great place for Italian fare. Downtown Montpelier has some neat little shops and a museum of Vermont history. You may also want to tour our gold-domed state house. After departing downtown Montpelier, get back onto Route 2 West to highway I-89 North. Stowe and Waterbury are home to some more great places see, shop, and yes, nosh!

Route 100 leads to the village of Stowe, once referred to as the “Aspen of the East” and Stowe Mountain. Too many shops to list here so we recommend your first stop to be the Visitors’ Center and you can get a village map. There are gift and craft stores, art galleries, quilt and antique shops, and restaurants galore. Explore the top of Stowe Mountain in the Gondola or take a drive up the Toll Road. When it’s time to stretch your legs before you head back home, follow signs to the Recreation Path that wind along the river below Mount Mansfield.