Upon reaching Vermont and driving down the first scenic backroad we hit, I rolled down my window and let the cold wind rush against my face. All I could smell was fresh air, leaves, and wood fire. Bursts of red, orange, and yellow lined the path ahead, while sunshine raced alongside us as we drove. Nothing had ever felt so good.
Fall is hands down the best time to visit Vermont. The vibrant trees are mesmerizing and the cool air is completely refreshing. There’s plenty to do all year long in Vermont, but seeing the fall foliage at its peak is a must. My recent long weekend trip there with my friend was somewhat spontaneous, and we didn’t have much time to plan, but we kept our eyes on the weather and went with the flow. Luckily, everything—and I mean EVERYTHING—fell into place and went perfectly. So now that we’ve done the exploring, here’s how we achieved the ultimate fall weekend in Vermont.
1. Accommodations: The only thing I truly planned was where we stayed. I picked a mountain lodge in Bolton Valley. It was located about equal distance from all the popular towns, making it easy to reach to all the best areas and attractions. I highly recommend picking a lodge versus a hotel or Airbnb. We paid a fair price and it was extra cozy being up in the mountains with a comfy living room space, fireplace, and hot tub.
2. Travel Route (From South): Being from New Jersey, our drive up was a bit long, but it was beautiful, and we made sure of that by driving up the east side of Green Mountains National Park, hitting Lincoln Gap Road (before it closed for winter), and catching some of Route 100. If you’re coming into Vermont from the southern border, I highly recommend this route we took, but depending on where you’re going on your journey, any highways, byways, and backroads you ride along will be scenic AF.
3. Outdoor Fun: Enjoying the scenery and nature is obviously key to a great time in Vermont. My friend and I brought our bikes along on the trip and we stopped in Stowe to go riding on their beautiful recreational path. This was the best day of the trip! The sun was shining, the temperature out was perfect, and the leaves were peaking. We rode along the foliage-covered pathways and bridges, took picturesque photos, and admired the unbelievably vibrant surroundings. At one point on the bike path we came across the Stowe Cider Brewery where we rested and grabbed some of their refreshing ciders while a great band played music. It was an incredible afternoon.
4. Something relaxing: One evening we decided to treat ourselves to massages and facials. My friend found the Bhav Spa, a small business in Waterbury, and it was simply sublime. The services were phenomenal and the owner was incredibly sweet and caring. She gave me a massage and facial and I loved every moment of it. The massage completely soothed my muscles and the facial truly helped clear up my skin. Plus, the prices were extremely fair. If you’re looking to unwind, head here!
5. Where to eat: My favorite meal during our trip was the dinner we had on our first night. On our way to the lodge, we stopped in Richmond and ate at Stone Corral. It was a completely random find and I swear I would travel the six hours from NJ just to eat there again. I had a pulled bbq chicken sandwich, herb potato wedges, and a side salad with maple balsamic dressing—a Vermont staple that I am obsessed with. We also had an amazing breakfast in Waterbury at Maxi’s Restaurant. I devoured the best French Toast ever, which I doused with their delicious local maple syrup, and enjoyed an exceptional cup of coffee. Also in Waterbury, we went to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill and got hot cider and incredible cider donuts—definitely a must-stop spot.
6. Animal Encounters: Another super fun part of our trip was visiting Moonacre Farms in Huntington to see their Alpacas. An older couple ran the farm and showed us around early in the morning on the day we left. They were so accommodating and excited to have us considering we randomly dropped by. The Alpacas were so adorable and incredibly friendly. We got so many great photos with them and had a beautiful backdrop of hills and colorful trees. The owners told us their farm has become pretty popular and they’ve even gotten up to 40 visitors in one day. The best part is there is no fee—just call ahead or stop by! Every trip needs an animal encounter and this was certainly a cute one.
7. Burlington: To go or not to go? We made the drive to Vermont’s most popular city and it honestly wasn’t too exciting. We loved the views of Lake Champlain and got some ice cream at the Ben & Jerry’s storefront, but besides that, the area is very touristy. We browsed some of the expensive stores and picked up some holiday gifts, but nothing too amazing stood out to us. Burlington can be nice if you’re looking to have a relaxing stroll and go shopping, but when in Vermont, I think getting out into nature is the best part. It’s all up to your preference!
Vermont is exquisite in the fall. If you visit, take the backroads, be sure to get some cider donuts, try anything maple flavored, get out into nature, and maybe even stop to see some Alpacas.