Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Stowe and Waterbury, Vermont

Our trip to Vermont happened because of a treehouse. I was looking up glamping options in the Northeast and came across the Moose Meadow Lodge in Waterbury, which boasts a two-story treehouse as one of its lodging options. When I saw the pictures, I just knew we had to stay there.

So I booked the treehouse and started planning a mini vacation around its location. Of course we had to check out the area attractions in Waterbury and also Stowe, just a few minutes away, but I also really wanted us to bike the Island Line Trail, situated just under an hour away, so we ended up staying a couple of days in Burlington and Colchester as well. This tour of Vermont in the late spring blew us away. Everywhere we drove, the vistas were picturesque and verdant, and we ended up doing more hiking and biking in one long weekend than we'll probably do for the rest of the summer.

Where to Stay 

The Moose Meadow Lodge in Waterbury is special in every way. There's the two-story treehouse with wraparound porch and outdoor shower, of course. The pictures of it speak for themselves.

But there's also the main lodge, which functions as a B&B, with several themed, whimsically decorated rooms. Our friends who were traveling with us stayed in the "duck room" and the "creel room."

And on top of that, there are the hosts, Greg and Willie, who are so kind and hospitable that there's an instant rapport from the moment they greet you and your entire family by name and with hugs. We tend to avoid B&Bs because we like our privacy, but I'd stay with Greg and Willie again in a heartbeat. They've set up an experience that's more amazing than I can describe.

In addition to the lodge and treehouse, the property extends for acres and acres, encompassing a large trout pond and several hiking trails. The kids ran loose in the field by the pond a lot, and we did a three-quarter-mile hike up to the Sky Loft gazebo and amazing views.

What to Do

Just a few minutes from the lodge is Stowe, which is well known for its skiing in the winter. But in the warmer weather, the town transforms into an adorable place to eat, shop, and enjoy the outdoors. We decided to hit the Stowe Recreation Path with our bikes and ride to the Stowe Farmers' Market, open on Sundays.

The Stowe Recreation Path goes on for 5.3 miles, but we parked at a small lot on the corner of Mountain and Brook roads and jumped on the path from there. It was a 3-mile ride from that point, along a bucolic, winding road that took us along a babbling brook and across five wooden bridges, straight to the farmers' market. (On days when the market isn't operating, there are plenty of restaurant options in the area as well.) After stuffing ourselves with barbecue and ice cream, we turned around and biked back to our car.

After all that exercise, no one felt guilty about visiting the Ben & Jerry Ice Cream Factory for a quick tour and scoop. You get an ice cream sample at the end of the tour, but of course we ended up waiting on line to purchase scoops of our favorite flavors, too. There's a playground on the premises, as well as a cute little "flavor graveyard" to explore while you consume your ice cream.

Cabot Creamery also has a shop in Waterbury, where you can sample cheeses galore, but we were always so stuffed that we never made it there.

Where to Eat

Our hosts at the Moose Meadow Lodge recommended that we have dinner at The Reservoir in Waterbury, and that was definitely a fun choice, with great food. But my favorite meal was actually lunch at the Apple Core Luncheonette. The menu mainly features hot and cold sandwiches, and the homemade bread for the sandwiches was out of this world. Plus, the staff couldn't be nicer.

Across the parking lot from the Apple Core Luncheonette is a gift shop/bakery that features free samples and perfectly spongy apple cider donuts, hot off the conveyor belt. Definitely stop by for dessert.

What's Nearby

Our tour of Vermont started off in the towns of Burlington and Colchester, where we biked on the most scenic path I've ever experienced, saw how teddy bears are made at the Vermont Teddy Bear Company, and lounged around a lot in Adirondack chairs. Here's my itinerary for that part of the trip.

You might also like:
Burlington and Colchester with Kids: What to See, Do, and Eat
7 Kid-Friendly Factory Tours