Vermont: The State of Bear, Beer, Maple Syrup, and Chocolate

Planning a road-trip? Vermont, the state of bear, beer, maple syrup, and chocolate may be the perfect destination for you

Google Map of Vermont
Google Map

If you are also planning your autumn trip in New England and can’t wait for the fall foliage to completely change leaf colors down in Boston, Vermont would be your dream place to visit.

Checklist before your trip to Vermont:

  • Vehicle with a big empty trunk. It’s almost impossible to do any sightseeing in Vermont without a car, and it’s also impossible not to buy a few packs of beers in Vermont.
  • Jacket
  • Trust me; your phone carrier would not work most of the time even in 2018.
  • Airbnb or a place to stay
  • Exciting mood

What to know about Vermont before your trip:

  • Vermont is famous for its local breweries, maple syrup, farms and chocolate, teddy bear factory, covered bridges, and beautiful trees
  • Weather can turn really cold during the night and early morning
  • People are extremely nice and warm

Here’s the trip we took during Mid-September, 2018 with a three day weekend getaway.Hope it might help you plan your next trip.

Day 1: Home >Stowe, Vermont> Hill Farmstead Brewery >The Alchemist Brewery > Prohibition Pig

Make sure you slept well the day before as you will have a 3.5 hr drive from Boston to Stowe. We left Boston at 8 am and arrived at our first stop, Moss Glen Falls, around noon. Moss Glen Falls (Stowe) can be reached thanks to a short but very nice hiking trail. (Suggested duration: 30 mins – 1 hour).

Later, we headed to Hill Farmstead Brewery in Greensboro Bend, which has been named the best brewery in the world for 4 straight years according to RateBeer. If you are a dark beer drinker like me, you will definitely enjoy their Shirley Mae a lot; if you like pale ales, Abner would be a great choice; and even if you are not so much a beer fan, there’s an awesome pizza van right outside of Hill Farmstead Brewery. Try the chicken pesto pizza!

The Alchemist Brewery is another must-visit brewery in Vermont. You can sample a few of their tasty brews on draft, and take a look at their amazing facilities. Do not miss the all-time popular Heady Topper, which been rated the best IPA in the world.Prepare to bring your friends with you, as each customer is only allowed to purchase a limited number of four-packs.

Before you end your day, drive back to Stowe and have a fine dinner at Prohibition Pig, an amazing restaurant and microbrewery.

Moss Glen Falls
Moss Glen Falls
Hill Farmstead Brewery
Hill Farmstead Brewery
The Alchemist Brewery
The Alchemist Brewery

Day 2 (in Burlington): Vermont Teddy Bear Factory > Lake Champlain > Foam Brewers Brewery > Zero Gravity Brewery > Burlington Beer Company > Hen of the Wood

Vermont Teddy Bear Factory is one of the largest teddy bear factories. Its teddy bears are so cute and fluffy you might have a heart attack once you enter!You can sign up for a tour ($4 for adult),and build your own bear for the same price of an in-store teddy bear. During the tour, you will learn how and where bears are born, and see the entire bear-making process while cuddling buttercream or honey bears. Moreover, you will also visit the bear hospital, where the injured bears will sit in a hospital bed, wear a patient gown and have maple syrup IVs to help them recover faster. Once again, the place is so adorable that it will melt your heart. (Suggested duration: 2 hours).

Lake Champlain is very close to the Burlington City center area. We had our lunch in Church Street and walked around Waterfront Park. There are various ferries available on Lake Champlain, but remember to check the ferry schedule, since there are limited seats. Foam Brewers Brewery and Zero Gravity Brewery (or Queen City Brewery just across the road) are also located in the area, within walking distance. Indeed, you can take a romantic walk on the Waterfront Park from Foam Brewers, that will allow you to reach Zero Gravity Brewery in about half an hour.

If you are also planning to have a romantic dinner, head to the astounding Hen of the Wood, one of the best restaurants in the world! Remember to reserve at least a couple of weeks in advance, if you want to find a table.

Vermont Teddy Bear Factory
Vermont Teddy Bear Factory
Waterfront Park
Waterfront Park

Day 3: Bragg Farm Sugar House >Quechee Gorge > Woodstock > Billings Farm & Museum > Home

We decided to take it slow on our last day and adding more sightseeing/nature attractions. We started with a sugar-high morning by visiting Bragg Farm Sugar House. Maple syrup is one of the signature products in Vermont. Take a free tour to learn the history of Vermont Maple syrup with endless maple syrup tasting.

Visiting Vermont covered bridges is also a must-do-activity in Vermont. We picked Taftsville Covered Bridge, Lincoln Covered Bridge, and Middle Covered Bridge in Woodstock, as they some of the oldest and prettiest ones in the state. We also visited Quechee Gorge, Vermont’s Grand Canyon, during our bridge hunt. Quechee Gorge is the deepest gorge in Vermont; you can take a nice picture on both sides of the gorge, by walking on the Route 4 Bridge.

If you are an animal lover, don’t miss a tour of Billings Farm & Museum before you end your trip. You will be able to pet farm animals such as pigs, jersey cows, horses, sheep, and chickens. Stick around for the 3 pm milking demonstration, and ask the knowledgeable and gracious stuff if you want to learn more about how the milking process works, and the farm daily routine.

Quechee Gorge
Quechee Gorge
Middle Covered Bridge
Middle Covered Bridge
Billings Farm & Museum
Billings Farm & Museum

Visit the following for more information regarding tours in New England https://www.taketours.com/east-coast-tours/

Explore Boston Riding the MBTA – Travel Guide You Need This Fall

Where To Go & What To Do This Fall? The Ultimate Travel Guide in  Boston

Old State House Museum
BOSTON – APRIL 4: Old State House April 4, 2012 in Boston, MA. Built in 1713, it is the oldest surviving public building in Boston and now serves as a history museum.

Fall is right here! September and October might be my favorite months in Boston. We can enjoy the sunshine and breeze but not get turned off by the freezing cold winter yet. This is the best season to explore the Boston area.  As one of the most famous cities in the New England area, probably you know Boston because of the top tier colleges in town – Harvard, MIT, Boston University… Probably you know Boston because it is “the birthplace of the American history”. But lift up the hood of the heart of New England, you will find out that, Boston, this modern but historical,  small but vibrant city has so much more to offer.

Boston, we usually refer it to the greater Boston area, which is the metropolitan region of New England. The city of Boston itself is surrounded by many of the towns and cities such as Cambridge, Somerville and they all have their own unique styles and neighborhoods. Thanks to the public transportation in Boston, it is so easy to commute by MBTA and explore the Boston area. Before it is too cold to go out in Boston, take the time to enjoy and explore the city this Fall! I’ve organized this useful list to guide you to travel to Boston and find all the fun things to do, good food to eat and places to visit.

Somerville (MBTA: Red line/Orange line)

City of Somerville
City of Somerville

Somerville is a new hip town near Boston. Only about 20 minutes from downtown Boston, Red line to Davis Square or Orange line to Sullivan Square, Somerville will show you the creativity and diversity in this distinct neighborhood.

What to do:

  • Brewery Hopping

The Boston area is perfect for brewery hopping –  the craft beer breweries are in walking distance, you can visit a bunch of the best breweries in this neighborhood.

  • Bantam
Bantam Brewery in Somerville
Cider and more cider!

This is my new favorite cider brewery in town. Bantam’s cider is sure one of the kind. There are always 4 regular ciders on draft and 4 other are in the rotation. Rojo and Ginger Beer are absolutely the go to if you like juicy ciders. Be careful of the 8.5% Mighty Mammoth. Even though it tastes like champagne, believe me, it will kick in. Fall is the apple season, don’t miss out the apple ciders this Fall!

Bantam Brewery
Decisions…Decisions
  • Aeronaut Brewing Co.

Aeronaut Brew is probably the hippest brewery in town. There’s never a time I go there and it isn’t crowded.  Hidden in the buildings in Somerville you will be surprised how many young professionals live around and come here for a cold one.

There are so many other breweries worth going in the Somerville area – Slumbrew, Remnant Brewing.

What to eat:

  • Ebi sushi

Located in East Somerville, Ebi Sushi is just 3 minutes away from the breweries I just mentioned. When you are hungry after the brewery hopping, you can enjoy the extraordinary sushi and Japanese cuisine at Ebi Sushi.

Must try: chef’s choice nigiri

How to go there: Orange line – Sullivan Square – 86 bus

If you ride on the red line and go to Davis Square, there are a bunch of cool places you could go as well. Try the southern cuisine at Rosebud, which is one of the oldest diners in the Boston area, or have a taste of the Thai street food at Dakzen. Foods in Somerville can surely satisfy your palate.

Cambridge (MBTA: Red Line)

City of Cambridge
View of Cambridge from Charles River

Cambridge is just a few stops away from downtown Boston and is a famous college town near the city of Boston. That is only one of million reasons why millennials and all the young professionals like to live and hang out in Cambridge.

What to do:

  • Harvard University Walking Tour

I believe everyone knows Harvard University well enough that I don’t need to write another paragraph to explain why it is the most famous university in Boston or in the US.  So where’s the beef?

If you want to explore Harvard, you could take narrated tour guided by the Harvard students or just follow the freedom trail and make it your way.

1 Day Boston Freedom Trail Sightseeing Tour

  • MIT

Ride on the Red line to Kendall/MIT, you can go visit another famous university – MIT. The Infinite Corridor and the MIT Museum are two buildings in my “must see” list.

  • Charles River Kayaking

Another thing you must try is to kayak on Charles River in the Fall. I love the breeze and sun in September. You can’t believe how peaceful it is!

Location: 350 Kendall Street, Cambridge

  • HONK! Festival of Activist Street Bands / October 6-8

Here comes the most exciting thing happens in the Fall in Cambridge – HONK Fest! It is a festival of street bands from the Boston area and also some other musicians and band from over the world. Every year, they parade from Davis Square to Harvard Square. There are also beer gardens, and food stands, music and dancing in Harvard Square.

What to eat/drink:

When you visit Boston, how can you not go to an Irish pub? Here are a few oldest Irish Pub and famous music venues you should pay a visit!

  • Plough & Stars

This corner pub lies in central square has been around since 1969.

It has hosted luminaries such as Seamus Heaney, Bonnie Raitt, and Phillip Roth. These days, on any given night, you can enjoy a casual, comfortable night to take in live music and a few beers. Trivia every Tuesday as well!

  • Cantab Lounge

Even though it looks like a little old pub from the outside, Cantab is one of the best music venues and dive bars in Boston. It won the best dive bar award by Boston Magazine in 2015.

Downtown Boston (Red/Orange/Green/Blue Line)

Boston, Massachusetts
Map of the city of Boston

Finally, welcome to Beantown! I am sure you already heard of Quincy Market, Old State House, Boston Common, etc, etc. Here are some of my favorite places to go if besides all those cliches you have heard of.

What to do:

  • Shows in Boston – Theater District

My go-to area is the theater district near Downtown Crossing (Red Line/Orange Line). Theatre District has the one of the oldest theatres in Boston – Colonial Theatre. There are Emerson College’s ornate Cutler Majestic Theatre and the historic Boston Opera House. Comedy and music acts perform at the Wilbur. Either to buy a ticket to enjoy a musical or just walk around the district and appreciate the beautiful theatres, the Theatre District in Boston will never fail you.  If you are traveling to Boston this Fall, don’t miss the Hamilton musical, it is touring in Boston in October till mid-November.

  • New England Aquarium, Whale watching

Ride on the Blue line to Aquarium, you can go to the New England Aquarium. This is a perfect place for families. Kids would love to see the cute penguins, seals and so many more. After a fun time at the aquarium, don’t forget to take a walk by the harbor or join the Whale Watch Tour or sunset cruise.

  • Night life

If you want to feel the young spirit, energy, and the wildness, stay in downtown Boston until 2 am.  Indulge yourself with the best nightclubs and dive bars in Downtown Boston.  Hong Kong Boston is my recommendation for you if you like Karaoke. Even the snacks here is incredible: sometimes I would just come here in the middle of the night for the chicken skewers. Good Life is another bar that offers the best R&B music in town! Hey, you think that’s the end?  I bet you will need some carbs to soak up the alcohol. After the craziness in the clubs, I usually go to South Street Diner, which is a 24 hour diner near Chinatown.

 

 

 

 

 

Fall Foliage in New England: See the Northeast at Its Most Colorful

Have you experienced the fall in New England? Now you can! See the most colorful foliage in the Northeast

Fall Foliage in New England: See the Northeast at Its Most Colorful
Fall Foliage Leaves

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Put a Spring in Your Step at DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossoms Are The Stars of Springtime in Washington DC!

Put a Spring in Your Step at DC's National Cherry Blossom Festival
Boats on the Tidal Basin

Each year, Washington, D.C. hosts the National Cherry Blossom Festival, which commemorates the anniversary of a 1912 gift from the mayor of Japan, who sent thousands of Japanese cherry trees to the American capital. In March, these trees begin to bloom, creating a vibrant display of bright pink and white flowers along the banks of the Potomac River and throughout the city. This year, the festival will take place from March 17 to April 15 while peak blossom time is expected to be April 8 through April 12.

Continue reading “Put a Spring in Your Step at DC’s National Cherry Blossom Festival”

Fall’s Well That Ends Well

Fall’s Well That Ends Well – Foliage At Its Best!

Fall's Well That Ends Well
Fall Foliage

Fall, Autumn, The Harvest Season, Fall’s Well That Ends Well. Whatever name you use to describe the months of September to November, there’s one thing for sure: the leaves will change colors from their normal green to shades of red, yellow, orange, and brown, creating a vibrant display that amazes all who are lucky enough to see it. The best places to see these marvelous displays are the northeastern United States and Canada. Lucky for you, TakeTours has been eagerly preparing for this season. We’ve got a whole line of tours waiting just for you, so you and your friends and family can explore the beautiful, rolling hills of New England, upstate New York, and Canada without all the usual fuss that comes with traveling. You won’t have to worry about driving long distances. You won’t have to worry about booking a hotel. You just won’t have to worry when you book with TakeTours! We’ve included descriptions of some of the most popular tours below, but be sure to visit our Fall Foliage Deals Page to explore all the foliage tours we have to offer.

Fall Foliage Tours from New York

There are some truly fantastic fall foliage tours from New York that you can find on TakeTours.com. First, consider what direction you want to go. If you book this 4-Day Niagara Falls, Toronto, Montreal Tour from $200, not only will you spend two days at Niagara Falls, one of the greatest natural wonders in the region, you’ll also cross the border into Canada, getting the chance to sightsee around Toronto, known for the architectural genius of buildings like the CN Tower, and Montreal, the French-Canadian metropolis that mixes elements of American and Canadian cities. The Niagara area amazes all who visit, full of incredible vantage points that allow you to see the area in full view, such as the Skylon Tower, where you’ll get to eat lunch in the revolving restaurant at the top. You’ll also get the chance to see the Thundering Waters Cultural Show to learn about the history of Native Americans in the area. On the border between New York and Canada, you will find the Thousand Islands region. After a boat tour in this area, you will see the amazing fall foliage set against the backdrop of picturesque lakes and islands.

By booking this 3-Day Acadia National Park, Maine Coast, Head Light House Tour, starting at just $137 per person, you’ll get to travel through the brilliant foliage of New England while visiting many historic attractions. On the first day, as you make your way up to Portland, Maine, you’ll stop in Salem, Massachusetts to visit the Salem Witch Museum to learn about the spooky and horrifying history of the witch trials conducted here in the 1600s. Once in Maine, you’ll stop by the Head Light, which has guided ships safely into Portland’s harbor since it was first lit in 1791. Acadia National Park is a delightful place. Located on Mount Desert Island, it is home to Cadillac Mountain, which provides incredible views of the island, the coast of Maine, and the ocean. Also on the island is the quaint fishing town of Bar Harbor. From here, you’ll go on a cruise around the island’s coastline. On the way back to New York, you’ll stop by York’s the Wild Kingdom, a small zoo and amusement park in Maine, and the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut to learn about all kinds of animals from both land and sea.

Fall's Well That Ends Well
Maple leaves

Fall Foliage Tours from Boston

Fall in New England has always been a special time. The region seems to come alive as the leaves change, quite literally. It is this time of year when the region’s most popular crops are ready for harvests, like pumpkins, squash, apples, and more. Boston is New England’s main hub, and you can book plenty of fall foliage tours from Boston on TakeTours. Bostonians can also head up to Mount Desert Island and Bar Harbor by booking a 2-Day Maine Acadia National Park Tour, which starts at $165, a great getaway for anyone who needs just one night away from their busy lives.

For those who can’t find the time for a multi-day tour, don’t worry! You can experience the magic of fall in just a single day on something like booking this 1-Day Mt Washington Tour – The Highest Peak in New England for as little as $58. New Hampshire is home to the White Mountains, which are usually considered a top destination in the winter for their fantastic ski areas. But not as many people know that the White Mountains are one of the best places in New England to view the fall foliage. The Conway Scenic Railway is a quick and relaxed way to see the whole area. You will board a vintage train that winds its way through the mountains, looking out the window in awe at the wide open landscape of red and yellow leaves that stretch out as far as you can see. Later on, at the Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park, you’ll have a variety of fun activities to choose from, like zip-lines, tubing, and even a mountain roller coaster!

If you’d prefer to stick to New England’s exquisite coastline, we’ve got you covered, too, by booking a 1-Day Maine Beautiful Coastline, Lobstering Trip from $65. When you first get to Maine, you will stop by Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, the town’s cute little harbor. Due to its modest size and appearance, you wouldn’t guess that it is such a popular place to visit. Here, you will board a lobster fishing boat and take a cruise, where you’ll learn the ins and outs of how to catch lobster. Lobster fishing has been an important part of Maine’s economy since the 1800s. At the end of the cruise, you’ll be treated to a delicious lobster meal. The soft meat underneath the hard, red shell of these odd-looking creatures is a delicacy – and it only tastes better dipped in warm butter. It’s a messy meal: you’ll get a bib and a special cracker to break open their shells. But it’s all worth it for a taste like that! On the way back to Boston, you’ll stop by the Nubble Lighthouse and the Kittery Premium Outlets for some discount shopping.

fall-foliage-3

Fall Foliage Tours from Canada

Oh, Canada! The United States’ friendly neighbor to the north is a wide open country filled with picturesque mountain ranges and beautiful scenery – and new to TakeTours this year, are fall foliage tours from Canada! If you’re starting out from the Montreal-area, head out into the countryside of Quebec by booking a 1-Day Mont Tremblant, Saint-Sauveur Tour from Montreal starting from $34. For this insanely low rate, you’ll get a full day exploring the quaint village of Saint-Sauveur, which is full of elegant, European-style architecture, a cruise on the beautiful Lac-des-Sables, and finally, to Mont-Tremblant. Once there, you will be able to explore the wonderful mountain village and ride a gondola up to the summit to see unrivaled views of the Laurentian Mountains. Then, you’ll be back in Montreal in time for dinner!

Booking this 4-Day Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore Tour from Toronto from $260 is a great way to see three of the most historic cities in the United States. Double-decker bus tours aren’t exclusive to London, England. You’ll get to take one of the Philadelphia, the first U.S. capital. The next day, you’ll find yourself in Washington, D.C., the current capital, where you’ll visit the biggest and best monuments and memorials, like the towering Washington Monument, the grand Lincoln Memorial, and the solemn Vietnam Veterans Memorial. There will also be time to see some of the museums of the Smithsonian Institution, none more thrilling than the National Air and Space Museum. On top of all this, you’ll get to see the outside of the U.S. Capitol building, where the country’s congress passes laws, and the White House, where President Barack Obama and his family reside. Additionally, you’ll make visits to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which has been in function since the 1700s, and Penn’s Cave in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania, before the long journey back to Toronto. This tour is definitely one for you history buffs out there!

fall-foliage-4

Don’t let yourself get stuck inside all autumn and miss the most dynamic and picture-perfect season of them all. Visit TakeTours.com to find the tour that interests you the most. With thousands of options to choose from, there is no shortage of amazing getaways waiting for you. Cozy up with your laptop, a tall pumpkin-spiced latte (or hot apple cider, perhaps?), and book now!