Travel

Dive In: Local Vermont Water Spots

Vermont isn’t known for hot weather but with the heat wave we had over the past week we thought it would be appropriate to give a shout out to all the great water spots around our area.

Waterbury

First and foremost is the Waterbury Reservoir – a hidden gem with a beautiful family friendly beach in Waterbury Center. Rent kayaks, canoes, and paddle boards right on the shore from Umiak Outdoor Outfitters. This is the place to be on hot days with lots of parking just a short distance from the water. It does get crowded so make sure you get there early! (Quick tip: Sadly, there are no pets allowed (sans service animals) but you can bring them to the dam access on the other side of the reservoir.)

Waterbury Public Pool – If you’re not a fan of beaches but still love to swim then head to the public pool located right off the interstate. It’s got a roped off kids section and two diving boards for extra fun.

Stowe
The Swimming Hole is a great place to hit the gym and the pool. The 8-lane, 25-meter pool has a diving board, mini water slide, and fountain-style toys for kids while the gym consists of three different rooms for cycling, free weights, and cardio. Just off of Route 100, this place is hard to beat and great for kids birthday parties.

Bingham Falls is located a mile from Stowe Ski Resort along the Mountain Road. A short walk through the woods brings you to a freshwater pool with a 25 ft. tall waterfall. If heights aren’t your thing there are plenty of smaller boulders to jump off of and of course, you can simply float around. Those looking for an adrenaline rush can find shooting flumes, swirling pools and a plummet between narrow canyon walls, all at the top of the main waterfall. (Quick tip: The water is cold since it comes directly from the mountain.)

Warren
Warren Falls are one of the most popular swimming spots in the summer with three waterfalls, three pools, waterslide, four jumping cliffs and some amazing rock formations. It’s very refreshing and the variety of swimming spots mean kids and adults can have fun. (Quick tip: This is a very popular spot to swim, so it’s best to go midday during the week if possible.)
Shelburne/Burlington/Colchester
Lake Champlain is the big one folks. We love this lake which we personally feel could have been a great lake…see what I did there. Despite missing out on a Great Lakes title, Lake Champlain has everything you could want with plenty of access areas along its shore. Some of the more popular places are Sand Bar State Park in Milton and North Beach in Burlington. If you have a boat we suggest skipping the crowds and lines by launching at a nearby marina and boating around. There are lots of natural beaches around that you can spot as you go along.

Montpelier
If you’re looking for the ultimate pool experience, you’re going to want to head to the Montpelier Public Pool. Enjoy a day with the family and try out the rafts and tower for a little extra fun. They even host fun events during the summer like a BBQ day on July 12th. See their website for more info.

Floating down the River
Both the Winooski and Lamoille Rivers offer plenty of places to cool down on a hot day and many local places offer for boat rentals for day use. This is a great (and free) way to spend a summer day. A fun past time is parking one car at a lower location and driving further up the river. Then you can lazily drift with the current in a tube and not have to hike it back to the car when you climb out.

River spots are not lifeguarded so make sure you stay safe when swimming or partaking in other water activities. Always have a life vest if you’re taking out a kayak, canoe, or paddle board and stick with your buddies. Some parts of the river can be dangerous so always be vigilant.

Vermont Summer Events

Vermonter's love to celebrate. Seriously, we'll celebrate everything from cheese and wine to bikes and cars. We like to think we know how to have a good time, which is evident from our numerous festivals and fairs. Some upcoming fun includes:

Concerts in the Park - Waterbury's Rotary Club runs a free concert series in conjunction with the Farmers Market every Thursday from 6pm - 8:30pm. Peruse the market from 3pm - 7pm, grab something to eat and snag a spot in front of the stage. Upcoming musical acts include:

  • July 12: Jenni Johnson and the Junketeers (high-energy jazz).

  • July 19: The Phineas Gage Project (“phabulous pholk punk”).

  • July 26: Full Share Band (eclectic rock).

  • Aug. 2: Northern Flyers (bluegrass).

  • Aug. 9: Cop Outs (Celtic folk punk rock).

  • Aug. 16: Robin Gottfried Band (rock, soul, funk).

Music in the Meadow - A summer-long concert series at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe that we are proud to sponsor! The meadow opens 2 hours prior to the concerts giving you plenty of time to enjoy a picnic or just relax. Ticketed shows are only $30 for adults and $10 for children. The 2018 schedule includes:

  • July 15 – Marcia Ball (7pm - 9pm)
  • July 29 – The Dustbowl Revival (7pm - 9pm)
  • August 5 – Phoebe Hunt & The Gatherers (FREE; no tickets required) (7pm - 9pm)

July 13-14 - Waterbury Arts Fest - Kick off this fun-filled event with a Friday night block party that includes a beer garden, food trucks, and raffle to win a beer-lovers package (every attendee gets a ticket). Gates open at 5:30pm and live music starts with Red Hot Juba at 6pm followed by The Grift and Josh Panda at 8pm. Saturday kicks off at 10am with 90 artisans and 10 food vendors lined up on Stowe St and Bidwell Lane. Entertainment includes Cooie Sings, Joe Adler, Hot Box Honey, Papa's Porch String Band, and Green Mountain Performing Arts. This event has quickly become one of the most anticipated of the summer.

August 10-12 - Vermont Antique Car Show - In its 61st year, this car show is the one of the biggest and longest running in New England and this year it's moving to Waterbury! Check out over 800 vehicles on display and 500 flea market auto vendors. Head into town on Saturday at 3:30pm for the parade of antique and classic cars as they drive through. Then check out the Train Station that evening for the Saturday Night Street Dance with a live DJ, food vendors and, of course, more cars (sponsored by Revitalizing Waterbury)!

August 12 - Vermont Cheesemakers Festival (Shelburne) - Don't be fooled, this festival celebrates much more than cheese with local foods, wines, ciders, beers and spirits for you to try. The festival has been picked as a "Top Summer Food Festival in the United States" and sells out every year. This 10th year will have more cheesemakers and more food in celebration of the tenth year. Festival runs from 10am - 4pm.

August 26 - Race to the Top of Vermont - Bike, hike, or ride to the top of Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak (Stowe) with this challenging course. There's something for everyone with a Youth Run for Fun for ages 4 - 14. After a long day you can rest and relax with a BBQ and Music at the base lodge. 

Past Events:

June 30 - Not Quite Independence Day - A long-standing tradition in Waterbury, VT. This year, the parade will start at 4pm and festival activities will take place downtown featuring children games, rock climbing, yoga drumming, lawn games, food trucks, a beer tent, talented bands, and fireworks.

Race Around Vermont

Vermont has some of the most amazing landscapes and one of the best ways to enjoy it is to get out and get active. We've put together a list of some of the most popular bike and running races in the area. Don't worry, they're not all marathons. If you're looking for something a little easier check out the 3 mile Mutt Strutt in Waterbury or the 5k Craft Brew Race in Stowe followed by a craft beer festival.

Biking

April 28th: Muddy Onion Spring Classic - Montpelier

May 6th: Waterbury Gravel Grinder - Waterbury

June 24th: Central Vermont Cycling Tour - East Montpelier

Early September: Green Mountain Stage Race - Waitsfield

Running

April 22nd: 22nd Annual Mutt Strutt - Waterbury

May 19th: Stowe Craft Brew Race – Stowe

May 27th: Vermont City Marathon - Burlington

June 23rd: Catamount Ultra Marathon - Stowe

July 8th: Mad Marathon - Waitsfield (Top 10 in Runner's World Magazine)

July 29th: Barre Heritage Festival 5K Race - Barre Town

August 26th: Race to the Top of Vermont - Stowe

Maple Open House Weekend 2018

One of Vermont's most popular events is the state wide Maple Open House Weekend. Every March, dozens of sugar shacks open their doors to the public and spread the delicious joy that is maple syrup! This years's Open House Weekend is just about a month away on March 24th and 25th. Some things you can expect are:

  • Free maple samples
  • Sugar on snow
  • Maple inspired foods (donuts, waffles, maple candy, maple pops, etc.)
  • Maple creemees (deserves its own category)
  • Tours
  • Maple gifts
  • Hay rides
  • Animal Interactions (some shacks are located on farms)

Activities and products vary based on sugar house so it's best to visit a bunch to get the full experience.

You can see a full map of the open maple houses here.

Find Your Harvest Festival!

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It's sad to see but August is coming to an end and harvest season is upon us. As always, Vermont has numerous celebrations planned in honor of the harvest and fall season. Check out the ones listed below:

39th Annual Harvest Festival in Shelburne - Saturday, September 16th (10am - 4pm) - Explore a tent full of children’s activities, entertainers performing on multiple stages, artisans sharing their skills and crafts, and of course, delicious farm-fresh food. Farm animals and horse-drawn hayrides, too! It’s a community event for the whole family. 

Stowe Rotary's Oktoberfest in Stowe - September 29th - October 1st - A celebration of the harvest highlighting our local beers. Bavarian style bands perform during the weekend, with food, fun and dancing for all ages. Come enjoy peak foliage and have a beer or two. 

Rocktoberfest in Morrisville on Saturday, September 30th - Starting with Copley’s “Run for the Heart” 5K Fun Run/Walk starting at Oxbow Park, followed by a street festival featuring live, well known bands, a fabulous food court, the great chili cook-off, recyclable miniature golf, creative events, local merchants, massages, live Chair-Art-Able Auction, local brews and the best of the best in the region! 

Sam Mazza's Harvest Festival in Colchester - October 1st & 2nd - The festival offers lots of on-grounds entertainment. The children can enjoy pony rides, a petting zoo, a hay ride down to the pumpkin patch, the corn maze and many craft and entertainment activities held under the tent. 

Sugarbush Oktoberfest at Lincoln Peak on October 8th - Will feature Bavarian inspired food, drink, games, and the Mad Bavarian Brass Band. Compete in the stein hoisting competition, keg tossing, and corn hole tournament for a chance to win lift tickets for the upcoming winter season. Friendly Lens will provide photo booth fun.

 

Pond Skimming Season

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It's just about April which means pond skimming is just around the corner! For anyone who is at a loss for what this event could possibly be, it's just as it sounds. Contestants race down a small hill and try and see how far they can make it across a 'pond' with their skis or boards as they skim across the water. Awards are typically given out for best splash, longest skim, style, best costume, etc. It's a great pastime that draws hundreds to the mountains for a fun-filled day. 

Bolton, for example, designates a theme for each years' pond skimming event. This year is 1966 to celebrate their 50th year. Visit each mountain's page below for more details on their event.

April 1st - Stowe Mountain Resort

April 1st - Bolton Valley

April 8th - Sugarbush Resort

 

 

It's Snow Time!

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We're smack dab in the middle of ski season and there are so many fun races, parties, and events at all the local mountains. Check out everything from a Retro 80's weekend in Stowe to an Island Weekend bash at Sugarbush Resort. Whether you ski, board, or fat bike, there is a race here for you. Check out the links below for detailed information on these events and registration for races. These are only a few of the many events in the area so make sure you check out each resort's calendar of events.

February 26th: Stowe Derby at Stowe Mountain Resort

March 4th: Castlerock Extreme at Sugarbush Resort

March 5th: High Fives Fat Ski-A-Thon at Sugarbush

March 8th: Bolton Valley Rail Jam

March 10th - 12th: Retro 80's Weekend at Stowe Mountain Resort

March 18th: Ski and Ride New England Party at Bolton Valley

March 19th: Sugarbush Mountaineering Race

March 25th: Island Weekend at Sugarbush 

Area Winter Festivals To Know About

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Hopefully, if you're living in Vermont, you actually like the snow, cold temperatures, and all the wonderful activities that come with this type of climate... or at least you don't dislike them. But whether you're a seasoned winter enthusiast, or are just starting to work on your 'icy-parking-lot-walking' form, there are a few winter celebrations in the area you won't want to miss.

Stowe Winter Carnival - January 14 - January 28

In its 43rd year, this Stowe carnival is 15 days long and full of tournaments, ice carving, skating, dance parties, movie nights, karaoke nights, brews, and a fishing derby. 

Shelburne Winterfest - Saturday, January 21

This indoor/outdoor winterfest at Shelburne Farms includes family friendly activities including sledding, horse-drawn rides, crafts, music, and a rock climbing wall by Northern Lights Rock and Ice.

Waterbury Winter Fest - January 17 - February 5

New England Landmark is a Proud Sponsor of Waterbury Winterfest!

10 days of awesome winter activities in and around Downtown Waterbury, and Waterbury Center. Partake in anything from guided hikes and classes to the Winterfest Snowball, craft beer tastings, and the highly competitive annual broomball tournament! (Some preregistration needed, so check out the schedule in advance.)

Montpelier's Ice on Fire Winter Festival - Sunday, January 29

A celebration of community along with the season, this festival features storytellers, theatre acts, music, facepainting, crafts and winter games, hot cider, chili, and warming hut to help keep warm.

Brrrlington Winter Bash - Saturday, February 25

A kid-centered celebration of snow-fun a the Miller Recreation Center in Burlington. Free snowshoeing, xc skiing, face painting, crafts, and youth yoga classes by Spark Youth Yoga. 

 

First-Rate Fall Foliage

If you live in Vermont, one of the best times of the year is fall. The scenery around you changes on a daily basis from deep greens to an assortment of warm colors. Looking out your window to a collage of yellow, red, and orange is enough to make anyone grateful that this is their home. Luckily, we know it and celebrate it through many harvest and foliage festivals throughout the season.

In our area, you'll find the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival taking place from October 7-9. And, while fall is amazing, every season in Vermont is beautiful from snowy peaks to refreshing dips in our lakes. Living here, you get the best of every season. Vermont is an ideal place to raise a family with numerous outdoor activities for everyone year round.

 

Stowe Antique Car Show August 12 - 14

The 59th Annual Stowe Antique and Classic Car Meet is this coming weekend (August 12 - 14). This is one of the largest and oldest car shows in New England featuring:

  • A Street Dance
  • Automobile Parade
  • Vintage Fashion Judging
  • Automobile Judging
  • Car Corral
  • Flea Market
  • Valve Cover Racing/Hot Wheels Racing
  • And Much More!

This event draws thousands of car connoisseurs each year and boasts over 800 antique and classic cars. There are food concessions during the festivities and this year's show will feature RACE CARS!

To read the brochure and schedule of events click here.