Archives for "Vermont Towns"

Posted by missmagpie on 29th January 2016

Welcome to St. Johnsbury, Vermont

The history and charm of small-town St. Johnsbury in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom can’t be beat! Shopping downtown, great dining opportunities, outdoor recreation, a fun arts scene, and even a public planetarium. There is no need to travel far, St. Johnsbury has what you’re looking for.

Best Meal

If you’re in need of a quick pick-me-up, be sure to stop by the Café at Gatto Nero Press. Delicious espresso drinks, hot chocolate, baked goods (including gluten free), smoothies, ice cream and milk shakes – all nestled inside an intaglio printmaking studio and gallery. The artists are often working on their creations as you’re sipping your latte. My son loves to watch the creative process. Oh, and he’s a fan of the donuts!

The St. Johnsbury Farmer’s Market is a cornucopia of flavors, sounds, and smells. My son’s favorite part is grabbing some kettle corn and watching the live music. My husband can’t get enough of the jerk chicken from Genuine Jamaican, and my first stop is always Auntie Dee Dee’s Baked Goods (I’ve never met a carb I didn’t like). You’ll make every member of the family happy with a trip to the farmer’s market- plus, you can grab some fresh, local produce and meat to bring home for dinner. There’s even a winter market two weekends per month, so you can get what you love year-round!

Best Outdoor Activity

St. Johnsbury is a fun location for year-round outdoor activities.  Check out the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, a four-season recreation trail that lies along the former Lamoille Valley Railroad. Hike, bike, snowmobile, snowshoe, ski – however you do it, check this trail out.  It’s still growing, too. It will eventually reach across the whole state. You’ll pass many smiling faces along your trek.

Another can’t miss location is Dog Mountain and the Dog Chapel! Stephen Huneck’s gallery sits on 150 acres of mountain and forest that are always open to humans and their dogs – even if the gallery is closed to the public. You’ll find dog ponds, snowshoe and hiking trails, and a welcoming atmosphere for your kids and dogs to run off some pent-up energy. There’s a dog chapel where you can pen and display a memorial to your beloved pets on the remembrance wall, or even host or attend a dog party or dog wedding. 

Best Indoor Activity

The Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium is my son’s absolute favorite place to explore. We go weekly and I find something new to be fascinated with every time we visit.  The first floor is a collection of thousands of taxidermy items — birds, mammals, reptiles, and more. Upstairs houses gorgeous examples of different kinds of butterflies, as well as many artifacts from around the world.  Ever wonder how many bugs it takes to make a mosaic of a famous American General? Well, you can find out at the Fairbanks Museum!  You may even catch Mark Breen or Steve Maleski, the “Eye on the Sky” guys from VPR, while they are hard at work.

The museum is home to the state’s only public planetarium. You can catch one of the daily planetarium shows or full-dome movies (usually best for kids 8+, but they occasionally have preschool shows as well!). 

Best Money Saving Tip

Want to save a bit of cash? Visit The Kingdom Taproom kids eat FREE from the kid’s menu on Wednesdays! We are always excited to visit The Kingdom Taproom to grab a bite to eat. They offer a fresh menu using local ingredients, and their staff is so great with kids. Live music, cozy atmosphere, and a full belly are where it’s at.

Secret Spots and Little Known Gems

Don’t miss the annual Pet Parade!  Each spring, people from far and wide get their pets of all shapes and sizes decked out for this comical event! A parade through town of dogs, horses, goats, and llamas- the list doesn’t stop there.  It’s an exciting (and hilarious) sight for kids of all ages. Anyone can participate, so show off your own pets in this unique parade.

About the Author

amber-01Amber Roberts is a work-at-home mom of an ever-entertaining preschooler and a soon-to-be new baby.  She grew up in Central Vermont, lived briefly in Maine, and returned to the Green Mountains as quickly as she could.  The Northeast Kingdom is now home.  Amber’s consulting business provides social media marketing consulting, website design and development, and event coordination services.

This post is part of our Hometown Expert Series: We invite FindandGoSeek users to share their insider tips about visiting their town. If you think you’ve got the inside scoop on where you live in Vermont and want to write about it, please contact us.

 

Posted by missmagpie on 29th June 2015

Welcome to Stowe, Vermont

stowe-01

Stowe, Vermont is the place I can truly call home. Although I left Stowe for 13 years, I grew up here and re-settled in Stowe in 2011 with my family. Since returning I am not only rediscovering all that it has to offer but gaining a new appreciation for this historic town. Stowe, Vermont is a mecca for outdoor activities of any season. It has a booming restaurant community and over the years, Stowe has also quietly grown into an arts and cultural hot spot.

Best Meal

Drive, ride, walk or catch their very own free shuttle to Sushi Yoshi. This Asian fusion restaurant has everything from sushi to chicken pad thai. Our kids love the chicken fried rice, but for kids who are less adventurous eaters they also have chicken fingers on the menu. We crave the seared salmon sushi roll. We love this restaurant because we can keep the whole family sitting at one of their three tatami tables. Other great family friendly features at Sushi Yoshi include Hibachi, an outdoor patio (kids can run in the grass outside), a baby changing station in the women’s room, as well as regular specials and events throughout the year.

Best Outdoor Activity

You can’t talk about Stowe without giving credit to its phenomenal skiing! Take advantage of free tickets for your children 5 and under (with adult ticket) for as long as possible! Stowe Mountain Resort has a fantastic ski school program. Consider participating in the Stowe ByPass program that gives you access to discounted tickets and direct lift access.

Best Indoor Activity

If the weather is not cooperating, check out the Stowe Ice Skating Arena that was built in 2013. They have public skating in both winter and summer. You can also rent out the community room for birthday parties.

We also just tried out the Stowe Art Store’s Sunday Funday program for kids. Each Sunday in the summer from 1-3pm kids can make free art based on that week’s theme! This You-Make, Take-It studio is open every day. You pay for the weight of the materials used.

Best Money Saving Tip

Stowe Vibrancy is hosting 5 free Friday Night Flix on the village green downtown. Movies begin at dusk. Bring a blanket or chairs and they will provide the popcorn!

Secret Spots & Little Known Gems

One of my best memories as a child is riding my bike on the Stowe Recreation Path and stopping on a hot summer day at a swimming hole. There are several along the path. The best swimming spots are located near or under the bridges. Usually there is a sand and rocky beach where you can relax with the family.

About the Author

Rachel VandenbergRACHELbio-01 is a Stowe native with roots in the Netherlands where she lived for 9 years. Rachel has three children, Noah and Evangeline (age 5) and Reagan (age 2). She returned to Stowe, Vermont in 2011 to take over the family business – The Sun & Ski Inn and Suites and Stowe Golf Park. Her family is expanding the hotel with new rooms and an 8 lane bowling lounge, Stowe Bowl, set to open in early 2016.

This post is part of our Hometown Expert Series: We invite FindandGoSeek users to share their insider tips about visiting their town. If you think you’ve got the inside scoop on where you live in Vermont and want to write about it, please contact us.

Posted by missmagpie on 22nd June 2015

Welcome to Manchester, Vermont

manchester-01Nestled among the Battenkill River and Mt. Equinox, Manchester is well known for outlet shopping, fine dining options and other attractions. It is a short drive to the Stratton, Bromley, and Magic Mountain Ski Areas. The town of Dorset, right next door, is uniquely historic and quaint. You will find numerous white houses with green shutters. The entire area boasts visual and performing arts and celebrates writing, reading and the great outdoors.

Best Meal

For a step back in time, go to Bob’s Diner of Rt. 11 & 30, just east of Manchester. It is a totally retro diner complete with juke box and counter with stools. The menu includes kids options with fair prices.

Another amazing options for good eats is the area historic country stores and their respective delis. In Dorset, you will find the H.N. Williams Store with a few tables indoors and many meals offered for take-out. A big order of really yummy chicken strips and fries is only $6. If you are looking for fresh Vermont produce the Dorset Farmer’s Market is held at the store every Sunday from 10:00-2:00 during the summer months.

Best Outdoor Activity

If you’re looking for a place for the kids to run off some steam, check out Manchester’s Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park, also known as the Rec. Park by local residents. It includes a one-mile flat, gravel track for walking, running and biking. There is also an in-ground pool (only open in the summer), basketball courts, baseball diamonds, fenced-in dog park, playground, skate board park and tennis courts.

Wildwood Berry Farm, located in East Dorset, has blueberry picking that usually begins in July. Their tall bushes make picking easy for kids and adults. Buckets are available. They make the best homemade popsicles, a great reward after picking. You’ll want to try one of each flavor!

If you’d like to explore the area a bit by hiking try the Equinox Preservation Trust Trails. There are wonderful trails to the top of Mt. Equinox and everywhere in between. The Pond Loop (1.2km) is relatively flat with an amazing view of Mt. Equinox and little creeks along the way. It is perfect for younger kids. For those not interested in hiking, or unable to hike, there is also a road to get to the summit of Mt. Equinox for a fee by car and by passenger. This is located south of Manchester on 7A.

Best Indoor Activity

Manchester has a fabulous, brand-new library with events, programs and music. It has a huge children’s section, complete with a play area and sound-proof doors so kids can be themselves without disturbing anyone in other areas. There is also an amazing teen section (wee ones not allowed) complete with chess and computers for gaming. This is a great option on that rainy or snowy cold day.

Northshire Bookstore is the gem of our area. It’s located just off the roundabouts in Manchester. Be ready to get lost for hours and have everyone leave happy, guaranteed. This is the place with something for babies, children, teens and adults. Authors, often most notable in the field, are on location throughout the week, year-round for readings and special events as well as book clubs. The Spiral Press Cafe is located in the store is a great place to grab a bite to eat.

Just a short trip from the Manchester area is Weston, home of the Weston Playhouse with a performance for every one. This summer kids will love Junie B. Jones and Peter and the Starcatcher. Weston is also home to the famed original Vermont Country Store, a place where you can find everything from yesterday and today. It’s like a museum that you can taste, try and buy. There are vintage toys, products, home goods, quality clothing, foods and so, so much more. Kids will love the free tasting samples and penny candy. There is a restaurant is on site and open year-round. A snack bar is open summer months. Definitely worth a trip with or without kids!

Best Money Saving Tip

Manchester has a two-screen movie theater, Village Picture Shows. Go on Monday when tickets offered at a reduced cost to Vermont residents. Tuesday nights during the summer enjoy free Concerts on the Green. Join them each week from 6-8 pm in Manchester.

Secret Spots & Little Known Gems

No trip to the area is complete without attending a fair or festival. These are some of our favorites:

About the Author

amy-01Amy Miller-Bremel is in her fourth year in the area after moving from Wisconsin. She is having a blast exploring and “playing tourist” in her new surroundings with her husband, Paul and three kids, London, McKinley and Meridian. They are busy taking in the many festivals, concerts, plays and are regulars at the farmers markets. They are usually found swimming all summer long and on the mountain snowboarding and skiing during the winter.

This post is part of our Hometown Expert Series: We invite FindandGoSeek users to share their insider tips about visiting their town. If you think you’ve got the inside scoop on where you live in Vermont and want to write about it, please contact us.

Posted by missmagpie on 8th June 2015

Welcome to Montpelier, Vermont

 

Welcome to Montpelier, Vermont’s beautiful capitol city. I grew up in Lyndonville and thought that I would raise my family closer to the Burlington area. I am so happy that our plans changed and that we now call Montpelier our home. This city is perfect for families with children of any ages. My own children, ages 7 and 4, love where we live and as you’ll read below they have many favorite places to share. I love that my children can call this special place “home”. We hope that you enjoy a visit to Montpelier!

Best Meal

Without question my children’s favorite place to eat out in Montpelier is Julio’s. My husband and I are happy to tag along and together we always walk away full and satisfied! Julio’s is loud and colorful and perfect for loud and colorful toddlers. The menu is long and we’ve always been happy with every new menu choice we’ve made. Kids are happy to snack on chips and salsa while waiting for their cheesy quesadilla. Mom & Dad sit back and enjoy a cold Pacifico or margarita.

Just a few doors down on State Street you’ll find Vermont’s best gelato at Chill. Their flavors are unique: Fig and Goat Cheese, Vermont Mud Season, Orange Chocolate, Olive Oil, Irish Cream, Chai, Marshmallow; and they have a few classics too like Strawberry, Belgian Chocolate, and Vanilla Bean. You can eat in, eat outside, or take a pint home with you.

Best Outdoor Activity

Do your kids have energy to burn? Take them hiking at Hubbard Park. Even little hikers can trek to the lookout tower which is a bit mesmerizing! Share the history of the tower with your kids and enjoy the 360 degree view from the top.

Best Indoor Activity

Montpelier’s children’s room at the Kellogg Hubbard Library has so much more for young children than just books (though they have plenty of those too!). They have two train tables, a doll house, stuffed animals, and a whole wall of board games. Each week the library hosts two free story times and they have dozens of special events happening all summer.

After your visit to the library your nose might lead you to Manghi’s Bread Bakery next door. It’s a bit hidden… just walk in the front door of the yellow Victorian house and you’ll find $0.05 cent rolls for the kids and a variety of breads and treats to bring home. I suggest picking up a Cheese Twist, our favorite!

Best Money Saving Tip

Visit the Brown Bag Free Concert Series on Thursdays at noon in front of the Christ Church. Bring a picnic lunch and sit on the church green, or grab a slice to go at Positive Pie. Maybe the Birchgrove Cookie Cart will drive by and you can grab an easy dessert!

Our family has already made great memories at the Vermont Mountaineers baseball games, and we look forward to many more games! Mountaineer games are inexpensive: just $6 Adult, $4 Students or $12 Family (4 tickets – max. 2 adults). At each game you will enjoy high quality baseball and be entertained by Skip the mascot! There are concessions and even chances for kids to go play on the field.

Secret Spots & Little Known Gems

Before you leave Vermont’s capital city visit our beautiful state house lawn. This is a regular meeting place for friends. We bring a picnic, kites, frisbees. The kids love going up and down the outside steps more than anything.

About the Author

Honi Bean Barrett is blessed to be the mother of two young children, ages 4 & 7. She will tell you that 99% of her day revolves around the kids and during the other 1% she enjoys reading, photography, running, and baking. Honi was born and raised in Vermont and knew that she would raise her children here, though she never knew that she could end up just outside Montpelier. Now she plans to stay there forever. Find Honi giving away Vermont products and services on her blog: Try Vermont First.

This post is part of our Hometown Expert Series: We invite FindandGoSeek users to share their insider tips about visiting their town. If you think you’ve got the inside scoop on where you live in Vermont and want to write about it, please contact us.

Posted by missmagpie on 2nd June 2015

Welcome to St. Albans, Vermont

Known for its maple farms, rolling pastures, and views of Jay Peak and Mt. Mansfield, Fairfield is a picturesque town bordering St. Albans and Fairfax. These two larger towns offer family friendly activities for those visiting the area or who live there.

Best Meal

Hoss’s Dog House in St. Albans is the place to go for creemees. Hoss’s is open late-spring through early-fall. Their creemees are made from St. Albans’ Co-op Creamery milk. It is great to support a local business while enjoying a delicious cone.

Mimmo’s Pizza on Main Street in St. Albans provides children with pizza dough to play with while they wait for their meal. Try Mimmo’s Balsamic Chicken Salad, which features warm balsamic dressing over pasta and chicken on top of a Greek salad, also served with garlic bread. There is outdoor and indoor seating.

Best Outdoor Activity

Rarely crowded, Kill Kare State Park on St. Albans’ Point is the place in Franklin County for views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks. Kill Kare’s Rocky Point House has newly-renovated facilities and rocking chairs, which are a reprieve from the park’s stone-covered beach. There are picnic tables (with and without shelter), grill stations, and boat-launch access. Children will enjoy the swing set and large lawn to play on. If families are looking to camp, they can take the ferry from Kill Kare over to Burton Island State Park.

Best Indoor Activity

Bent Northrop Memorial Library, which was formerly housed  in the Fairfield Center School, now occupies its own newly-constructed little yellow house. Inside is a large play space with toys and books at kids’ eye-levels, a computer room, and a reading loft. There is also the “Vermont Reading Room,” which looks out at Mt. Mansfield and holds books and magazines by Vermont authors. The library is a clean and homey space for my daughter, who enjoys sifting through their books and toys, while I get to relax in one of their rocking chairs. Summer play group begins Wednesday, July 8th from 10-11:30.

Best Money Saving Tip

Would you like to Nordic Ski, snowboard, and/or snowshoe for free? Want somewhere for your family to safely sled fast and far? Want a dog park, too? Then Hard’ack Recreation Area is your place!

Secret Spots & Little Known Gems

Collins Perley Sports and Fitness Center, right off exit 19 in St. Albans, is a large sports facility used by St. Albans’ schools and community members. There is a paved path that runs around the building, track and playing fields. This is a great place to push the stroller and walk the dog. No fee to walk here, plus during the school year you can often watch a few games in the process. There are bathrooms and water fountains inside as well. During the winter, stop by for family skate (for a small fee).

About the Author

Larissa Hebert is an English teacher at Bellows Free Academy in St. Albans, VT and lives in Fairfield with her husband, Thomas, and their three-year-old daughter, Ella. In her free time, Larissa likes to explore the local area with her daughter, who is always up for a road trip! You can find Larissa here.

This post is part of our Hometown Expert Series: We invite FindandGoSeek users to share their insider tips about visiting their town. If you think you’ve got the inside scoop on where you live in Vermont and want to write about it, please contact us.

 

Posted by missmagpie on 29th May 2015

Welcome to Winooski, Vermont

Winooski is quickly becoming known as the Brooklyn of Burlington. With just over one square mile of land, Winooski packs a punch with its hip dining and drinking options. Though known to outsiders for its busy rotary, surrounded by popular restaurants and bars, Winooski is a diverse city with a rich history and plenty to do.

Best Meal

For over ten years, Sneakers has been my go-to for delicious breakfast. Not only is their food delicious and their waitstaff prompt and pleasant, but their menu caters to all appetites and is wallet-friendly to boot. Sneakers is bustling enough to make it suitable for kids but never feels too chaotic or loud. What’s more, even though you’re pretty much guaranteed a wait on a weekend morning, Sneakers will send you next door to Monkey House where you can grab a cup of coffee for yourself and entertain the family with board games or a round of pool while you wait for your table.

Best Outdoor Activity

When the kids need to just play, stop by the elementary school, as their playground is fantastic. But if you’re in the mood for activities for the whole family, stroll along the Winooski River Walk and the Winooski Nature Trail. The River Walk is very family friendly and gives kids an up-close view of the falls. For a little more adventure, continue onto the Winooski Nature Trail. This scenic route takes you along the river to the falls. Just over a mile in length, it’s well-maintained and manageable for active kids. Just be aware of the steep cliffs by the gorge.

Best Indoor Activity

Libraries are always special places, but they are especially so when graced with enthusiastic children’s librarians. Winooski Memorial Library may be small, but the energy of the librarians makes it larger than life. And though Winooski is packed with dining and drinking options, indoor activities are somewhat limited. When caught on a dreary day, the library is the perfect place to wait out the rain.

Best Money Saving Tip

On Sundays throughout the summer and early fall, the Winooski Farmers Market offers local produce and products for sale, as well as free live entertainment and activities for kids. Kids can join the POP (Power of Produce) Club for discounts and special offers, but even those who aren’t members are invited to enjoy the vegetable, farming and nutrition-related activities.

Secret Spots & Little Known Gems

For an afternoon of fun away from the bustle of the rotary, stroll up to Landry Park. After a pleasant walk from downtown through one of Winooski’s quaint neighborhoods, you’ll stumble upon this gem – great for a picnic or quiet walk. Let the kids explore the playground, watch the skate park, take in a baseball game, swim in the pool, or play tennis. In the winter, the sledding hill gets a lot of attention, as does the outdoor skating rink.

About the Author

Gretchen Stern is the mother of an active four-year-old boy. She spends her weekdays as the Organizational Development Manager at the Children’s Literacy Foundation, freelance writing for Parent Express, RootsRated, KidsVT and dancing to stay healthy (and sane). On the weekends, she enjoys exploring Vermont’s food, libations, rivers, and mountains. You can find her here.

This post is part of our Hometown Expert Series: We invited FindandGoSeek users to share their insider tips about visiting their town. If you think you’ve got the inside scoop on where you live in Vermont and want to write about it, please contact us.