If you’re looking for suggestions for places to visit in Vermont, very likely one of the places mentioned is the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, VT. I’m not necessarily a big ice cream fan, but I had never been to an ice cream factory, so I thought that would be a fun place to visit during my New England road trip. So Ben & Jerry’s Factory was the first destination added to my list of destinations in Vermont for the trip.
After reading travel guidebooks for New England, I learned about some other things the state of Vermont is known for. An area called the Green Mountains have some great places for skiing during the winter time and is a great place to see the fall foliage, and Vermont State Route 100 is a road that cuts through the Green Mountain area and is wonderful route to take to experience the beauty of nature and Vermont countryside. Much of Vermont is covered with farm land, and two famous products from Vermont (other than the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream) are cheese and maple syrup. Since I only had limited time during my road trip to visit places, I decided to pick three places to stop by during the drive through Vermont: the Grafton Village Cheese Company in Grafton, the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, and the Morse Farms Maple Sugarworks in Montpelier.
After leaving my previous stop in New York City very early in the morning (around 3 am), I managed to enter the state of Vermont by around 7:30 am. Why so early? Well, I had a very ambitious plan for the day: spend the morning driving through and stopping at the places mentioned above in Vermont, then continuing in the afternoon to the White Mountains area in New Hampshire, and continuing the drive at night to my destination, Bar Harbor in Maine. In hindsight, that was pretty crazy, but it did make a fun-filled day..
The first stop, Grafton, is located on the scenic State Route 100. The drive was wonderful; fall foliage definitely was around the peak time, and it was nice to drive through the Vermont countryside. The only problem was that scenic drive meant slower drive. I did find the Grafton Village Cheese Company, but they were still closed at the time I arrived there around 8 am. So I decided to continue on to Waterbury since I knew that Ben & Jerry’s Factory would already be open by the time I got there. I abandoned the initial plan of driving through State Route 100 after experiencing the lower (and safer) speed limit on this country road. Instead I drove back to the Interstate Highway and took it most of the way to Waterbury.
The Ben & Jerry’s Factory is definitely a fun place to visit in Vermont, especially if you come with family / children. For a small fee of $3.00, you get to watch a Moovie presentation about Ben & Jerry’s history and their integral place within the state of Vermont, view the ice cream factory from an observation deck, and taste the ice cream to finish it off. There is also the Flavor Graveyard in the back of the factory where you can find headstones remembering some Ben & Jerry flavors that didn’t quite make it well in the market. And of course there is an ice cream shop if you didn’t get enough from the tour. For me, the little cup of ice cream was enough. I still had a long journey for the day — didn’t want to have stomach problem from having too much dairy products.
My last stop in Vermont, the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, is a great place to find maple products and other local food products that Vermont is known for. Since I was watching my timing closely as I wanted to get to Mount Washington Auto Road before it closes at 3 pm, I only stopped at Morse Farm to get some souvenirs to take home. It’s only a short stop, but tasting the real maple syrup (that tastes much better than the artificially flavored syrup you often get at the grocery store) got me hooked. Since I got back from this trip, I also learned that maple syrup is actually a healthier alternative to processed sugar to use as sweetener. And you can actually get the pure maple syrup at the local grocery stores (typically they’re from either Vermont or Quebec, Canada).
After the stop at Morse Farm, I continued my trip to New Hampshire. The few hours drive through and brief stops gave me a little taste of Vermont, leaving more to experience in future visits. As for the rest of the ambitious travel day, you can read about them on my posts about White Mountains and Asticou Azalea and Thuya Gardens.
The photo below was taken right outside the Ben & Jerry’s Factory. It was a nice autumn morning, and I saw this group of visitors enjoying their ice cream with the wonderful fall foliage in the background. It’s a little cool outside, but I don’t think it mattered when you have the tasty ice cream to enjoy.