It seems rather fitting that the snowflakes are starting to fall outside as I recount our excursion to Vermont.  We’ve been taking a short vacation during the beginning of December since graduating from college, and so far, we’ve alternated between cold and hot weather destinations.  Two years ago we went to Bethel, Maine to ski at Sunday River, and last year we went to Puerto Rico (part of the trip was a wedding present.)

Since we took a major vacation this summer, I didn’t want to have to go through booking flights, renting cars and all that hassle (and cost), so local(ish) we stayed!  My family and I went to Vermont several times while I was growing up, but each time we were there to ski.  I enjoy skiing, but wouldn’t build a vacation around it, especially since we don’t own any of the equipment.  This vacation was more about relaxing, watching snow fall by a roaring fire and exploring different parts of the state.

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The plaid bedspread in our B&B room, and a cat that lives in a bookstore.

We centered our activities in Waterbury, which is about 30 mins east of Burlington and 15 mins west of Montpelier.  We stayed at a lovely little bed and breakfast called the Old Stagecoach Inn, and we’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for lodging in that region.  Our room was spacious, yet still cozy, and the staff was friendly and helpful.  Breakfasts were included, and unlike some b&bs, where all you get is a measly spread on a little table, we could order from the kitchen every day.  Luke was very pleased to eat bacon so many days in a row.  He was also very enamored with the African Grey parrot that lived at the Inn, and was convinced it had taken a special shine to him.

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Picture of our room via Tripadvisor.

Because we decided not to ski, (when we went skiing in Maine two years ago, it was a little early in the season and too icy for our tastes) we had to get a little creative about our activities, but mostly we visited nearby cities and local specialty goods stores (which I list in detail below).

The first city we visited was Montpelier.  Whereas Waterbury held more of a New England small-town charm, Montpelier was slightly more metropolitan, with a bustling downtown area and local colleges.  We had lunch at a little crepe place, then proceeded to wander about, poking our heads into whatever stores were of interest.  We purchased some artisan-made goods (mostly carved wood goods and pottery) and took in the ambience of the little capitol.

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Calzone Crepe at The Skinny Pancake and some waterfront housing.

For the next few days we stayed local in Waterbury, visiting the various specialty food stores in the area.  Let me tell you, between the Cabot Cheese Annex, Lake Champlain Chocolate, Cold Hollow Cider Mill, the Vermont House of Jerky, and the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory tour, I was giddy.  Those are some seriously wonderful places, and I’d highly, highly recommend you check them out if you’re in the area.

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Climbing gear at Petra Cliffs and winter lights at Church Street Market.

On Monday we hopped over to Burlington, and since we were short of ideas, we decided to go indoor rock climbing at Petra Cliffs.  I had never climbed before, but Luke did in high school, and combined with the super helpful staff, our experience was great.  I’m not a fan of heights, but I found the climbing to be a fun way to move and challenge my body, which felt good after a few days of lying in bed eating cheese and chocolate dipped in maple syrup. (Just kidding…maybe).  We also checked out the Church Street Marketplace, which is gorgeous and went to another co-op/health food store.  This one had a grind-your-own cashew butter machine, score!!

On our last day, I had really hoped we’d be able to go for a trail ride, but I guess winter isn’t the best time for riding horses.  Luckily, we were able to visit a barn in Waitsfield (about 15 mins south of Waterbury) that specializes in Icelandic ponies.  I rode for 10 years growing up, and my barn specialized in Quarter horses, so I had never seen an Icelandic pony in real life before.  They are so cute!  I love their fluffy forelocks, and just want to tousle them all day long.  They have such inquisitive eyes and gentle natures, plus the barn had two bunnies!

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Winter scene at the barn, and some cute ponies.

All in all, it was a nice little getaway, and we really enjoyed experiencing New England from a different angle, as well as loading up on high quality Vermont-made goodies.  So if you’re ever looking for a little getaway in New England, summer or winter, I would definitely recommend the Waterbury area!

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