Summer is over and school has started, but that doesn’t mean quality time with the kids needs to suffer.
Maybe the chill of fall makes swimming in Lake Champlain seem like a distant memory, but autumn is AWESOME in VT. As you enjoy these final days of summer warmth, check out these autumn expeditions (near and not quite as near) for ideas on how you can make the most of your weekends.
This may be obvious. You live in VT, so how could you miss it? Pick any of the local farms- it’s much more fun than going to the grocery store. We love going to Chapin Orchard in Essex with its great selection of apple products and often includes free hay rides.
Nebraska Notch Trail
The Underhill trailhead is only 22 miles/45 minutes from Burlington at the end of Stephensville Rd- a well maintained gravel road. This moderately rated trail passes views of a bubbling brook, beaver lodge, and a great pay off at Taylor Lodge. Taylor Lodge offers an open front porch providing the perfect place and views for a picnic before the return hike. If you want to add to your adventure take the detour on the Clara Bow trail which includes a cool cave with a climb up a ladder with at least ten rungs to exit.
Stowe Bike Path
I love the Champlain Bike Path in Burlington, but the mountains around Stowe provide an amazingly colorful backdrop during the fall. This Stowe Bike Path is 5.3 miles that’s paved and follows and crosses the West Branch River several times providing many places for a picnic with views of mountains and farms. After burning a few calories on the bike path, a Ben & Jerry’s tour or a stop at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill can provide the perfect ending to this getaway before jumping on I-89 for the 45 minute drive back to Burlington.
Shelburne Farms Harvest Festival
My family tends to think anytime is a good time to check out Shelburne Farms, but the annual Harvest Festival on September 20 provides all the regular attractions of this working farm along with craft demonstrations, hands-on crafts for the kids, live music, and a hay-bale maze. Even if you can’t make it for the harvest festival, a “regular” day at the farm can include running with young goats, milking a cow, and a tractor ride. Check out their site for specific costs and schedules.
Montshire Museum of Science
What about those rainy weekends? We’re fortunate to have the Echo Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington, but maybe you’re wanting something different yet still dry on this rainy day. The hour and a half drive to Norwich to the Montshire Museum of Science may be daunting for some, but the hands-on exhibits will almost for sure keep your kids (and probably you) engaged for a few hours. After a day at the museum, make the short drive to King Arthur Flour’s “flagship” campus with a cafe, bakery, and store. Make sure you check their website for updated hours and admissions info.
Written By: Kevin Pounds
I and my family LOVE living in Burlington. I’m blessed to “do life” with Christin, my wife of twelve years, and our three children: Jude, Wren and Skye. I also serve as one of the pastors of Burlington City Church and on the board of Serve Burlington. I enjoy hiking, biking, movies (especially Star Wars) and playing with the family.