When looking for a vacation spot, we always look for ways to explore an area while also enjoying the local culture. I have traveled up North (unless you count my 8th grade field trip to DC!) My husband has been to Main and Vermont and spoken very highly of the area up there. We decided to spend a long Labor Day weekend hiking the area around Burlington and enjoying the gorgeous downtown in the evenings. We are Marriott Bonvoy members and have been for 10+ years. It has allowed us to stay for little to no cost for many of of our trips. We always try to stay in a Marriott when traveling. This time we were upgraded to an amazing suite overlooking Lake Champlain. It had a jacuzzi tub with a window opening up to the bedroom so you could still view the lake while soaking over a day long hike. After settling into our Marriott Courtyard suite, we walked down to the harbor to take some pictures. It was already chilly and the wind was quite strong but still breathtaking.
As we walked back towards the downtown area, we stopped in at a fabulous brewery. It was called Foam Brewers. It not only had great choices to drink, but it also had fabulous food. We did not eat at the restaurant connected to it but heard several locals recommend it throughout the weekend. We did try the smoked trout dip while we there and it did not disappoint! We hopped around to a few others places looking at food choices but mainly to find the Tennessee Vols football game being shown (which finding an insignificant SEC game on TV in New England was harder than you would think!).
We knew we were going to have rain and cooler temps towards the end of the weekend so we set out for a day of hiking on our first full day. We were not sure what to expect so we went for a great starter hike. It was . It is a fairly easy hike because it is mostly steps – they built in wooden steps for the majority of the trail, and there is camping here too (not as rustic as some might want). Now as you can tell the views did not disappoint, and it was a good start to the day! The morning air provided a crisp stillness coming from being outside without city noise.
Now many of the hikes around Vermont are not located near each other, and they are about 45-90 minutes away from Burlington on country highways. You get to see to farmland which is not something a Nashville native is used to seeing regularly. Our second hike of the day was Snake Mountain which was a moderate hike. We weren’t sure there were actually views because we couldn’t figure out where they would be but then it opened up to this random concrete slab on top of the mountain. It claims to have a pond view but when we went it looked more marshy with reeds growing out it instead of like a pond. The second half of the trail was also not marked very well or traveled as much.
Now Vermont is not only known for its hiking but also for its breweries. We happen to discover a few gems along the way! One of them is definitely dear to my heart – Woodchuck Cider! Before ciders became so popular, I would be oh soooo happy to find a cider on tap which was usually a Woodchuck Cider (keep in mind this is before Angry Orchard took over the world 😂 and in the South.)
After a day of hiking and stopping for lunch at Otter Creek Brewery, we headed back to Burlington. For once I actually made reservations at a few restaurants before we arrived based on reviews I had read. We had dinner reservations at the Farmhouse Tap & Grille. My husband has eaten here a few times and raved about their food. They are a farm to table type restaurant with a solid selection of drinks. They also have a wonderful patio space in the back which offers apps and beers on tap. At the Farmhouse we got beef tartare which is something I NEVER would have thought to try or even like, but tried it in Canada and decided if flavored well then it is quite delicious! (we did get meals but were too busy eating them to snap a photo!😋)
Vermont did not disappoint for the first 48 hours. It was a little cold which was a bummer because we planned to paddle board on Lake Champlain but it was so windy it would have been miserable. Instead we just filled that day with hiking and exploring. More to come on our Vermont travels in part 2 such as hiking Camel’s Hump, eating at Prohibition Pig, driving through your picturesque New England towns including a visit to Stowe, Vermont.