Have you ever been to place in Vermont and thought to yourself, “How did I not know about this?” After making Bristol our new hometown recently, I’ve had that thought many times.
Here are my top five places that I now consider Bristol VT hidden gems.
Bristol Skate Park and Pump Track
Maybe you’ve heard of the skate park, but have you seen the pump track? The pump track is a dirt course with bumps and banked turns to navigate. It’s tucked behind the tennis courts. It’s amazing and it’s the perfect size for a budding mountain bike rider. I had no idea it even existed! My son was thrilled to discover this course and immediately became determined to conquer it. He doesn’t seem to tire of going around and around the course, trying to improve his technique and time. I confess it looked so fun I gave it a shot too! My younger child enjoys playfully running the course when it is free of bikers! It provides adventure, risk, and reward! Bristol Skate Park and Pump Track is good for kids of all ages and is one of my favorite Bristol VT hidden gems.
Otter Creek Marsh Walk
So, this isn’t technically in Bristol but it’s a short drive to the town of Middlebury, VT. We were looking for an easier hike that our 3-year-old could handle without needing to be carried by an adult. Otter Creek Marsh Walk is exactly the perfect nature hike for young kids and nature lovers alike. It’s completely accessible and a neat place. You walk out into the marshy area along the Otter Creek via a raised wooden path. There are benches and overlooks along the way to take it all in and a large overlook on the edge of Otter Creek. We spotted several frogs and did some bird watching. My kids have already asked to go back. Bring your binoculars, birding journals, and lunch, and this would make a great 3-hour visit.
Village Creeme Stand
Like most Vermont families, my children love a good creemee. My husband grew up taking trips to the Village Creemee Stand and loves taking our kids now. I love that it’s been around forever and provides an important service to the community. They recently shared on their Facebook page that in their last 38 years in operation they have, “Hired around 1000 teenagers from the community.” They have great ice cream and lots of snack bar food options. I love the small town energy that surrounds this establishment. This Bristol VT hidden gem has a wonderful legacy in our community.
Bristol Town Park
Before or after you hit up the creemee stand, make sure you stop in the center of town and play at the park. My kids love this park and ask to go daily. There’s something magical about the tree-house structure that keeps my kiddos wanting more. Tucked underneath the structure is a tiny library where you can take a book or leave a book, and my youngest looks for new books every time we go. In the summer, there will be movies on the green and we can’t wait for that!
The people and community
The community and the people themselves are another Bristol VT hidden gem. Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful to us. The town is very kid-friendly and bike-friendly. As we walked around town after dinner, one woman on a bike passed us and commented, “I love it when there are more bikes than cars at an intersection!” I love it too! We walk or bike everywhere and can’t get enough. Our neighbors stop in to meet us and one even left spring flowers and the soil and pot to plant them in. Our landlord wrote us a “Welcome to the neighborhood” note with daffodils. There are also great community events pretty regularly. We recently participated in the Human Powered Parade and we can’t wait for the Three Day Stampede and town-wide yard sales.