Seven Secret, Special Spots Worth Visiting In Vermont
Vermont is indisputably one of the hottest winter locations in the United States, but that doesn’t mean that every sight you visit on vacation needs to be accompanied by a flurry of fellow travelers. Despite the state’s relatively small population, you’d be surprised at how crowded resort sites can get. These are some of Stock the House’s favorite secret spots in Vermont. You won’t necessarily find them at the top of every travel listing, but they’re bound to offer you and your family some unforgettable experiences.
Dog Mountain (St. Johnsbury)
It might sound like a fairytale or a Wes Anderson movie, but Dog Mountain is a very real location you and your family’s best friend can visit. The park is full of wilderness trails, fishing ponds, wildflowers, and potential adventures for humans and their canine companions. Owners are both permitted and encouraged to allow their dogs to go without leashes at this doggy paradise. Be sure to take advantage of the seasonal offerings nature has in store for you. In the winter, you and your dog can snowshoe over pristine white slopes and pretend you’re walking on a cloud. And for those who want to eulogize and memorialize dogs that have passed away, you’ll definitely need to pay homage at the Dog Chapel.
The Trapp Family Lodge (Stowe)
Everybody’s heard of the famous von Trapp Family, whose lives as singers in World War II era Austria were dramatized in the classic musical, The Sound of Music. What a lot fewer people know is that they eventually moved to Stowe, Vermont, and opened up a four and a half star ski lodge. For the winter sport enthusiasts, there are 100 kilometers of cross-country, snowshoe and back-country skiing trails. The Trapp lodge also has its own home brewery for kraft beer aficionados and a Bavarian pastry filed café among other luxuries. There’s even a graveyard where the famous stepmother and matriarch of the family, Maria is buried for fans of the movie. Whether you’re just stopping by for tea or planning to ski all season, the Trapp family, (many of whom still reside and work at the lodge), will give you something to sing about.
The Old Bennington First Church and Cemetery (Bennington)
A house of worship and its graveyard might not seem like the liveliest place to visit, but Old Bennington’s First Church is a particular historic gem. The Protestant commissioned building, built in the European style and carved from local pine trees, was the first of its kind in Vermont to signify the separation of Church and State. Today, its doors and congregation remain open to the public. Legendary poet and writer Robert Frost spoke at the Church’s rededication, and while he and his family were not members, they were buried in the First Cemetery after they passed. The graveyard, which always kept in pristine condition, presents a glimpse into history going back to the 1700’s and a beautiful arrangement of weeping willows, stone cherubs, and some of Frost’s most poignant pieces. It’s sure to be a quiet and less traveled, yet worthwhile spot on your trip.
The Islands of Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain presents some of the best sunset views by the water in a state known for them, but you won’t want to blink and miss the archipelago within the lake. The ferry schedule can sometimes be fickle in the wintertime because of strong winds and a chance of the lake freezing over. However, the Lake Champlain Transportation Company prides itself on literally breaking a small sliver of water into the ice to give you the journey of your dreams. For $10 a vehicle, you can even have them ferry your car. During the winter, the area offers special opportunities for ice fishing and bird watching, and of course, the obligatory selfies amidst the silver and white waters. Each tiny island in the family of 80 from Bell to Juniper to North Hero has its own unique history, legends, and culture, and they are guaranteed to be peaceful and secluded anytime of the year.
There are plenty of adorable, sleepy little towns dotted throughout the state, but the roughly 700-person Peacham is especially beloved. The exact origin of the town’s rustic, southern sounding name remains a mystery to this day. Still, there is ample photographic evidence that Peacham is a place of quaint and quiet majesty. Originally primarily a farming town (make sure to visit the local farmer’s market or we’ll gladly pick something up for you), tourism became and continues to be one of the most important industries in Peacham. For nature-lovers there are a smattering of hills, ponds, the 750-acre Peacham bog, and enough foliage in the fall to break Instagram. Stargazers will love to know that the town has two observatories. Throughout the year, Peacham enjoys a fair amount of cultural programming in the form of such events as The Peacham Acoustic Music Festival in the summer and the Peacham Winter Carnival.
Seyon Lodge State Park
Located in the sprawling Groton State Forest, Seyon Lodge State Park has a special distinction: it’s the only state park in Vermont to be open all year round for your hiking and cross-country skiing needs. Guests of the lodge and any other visitors can also rent a rowboat and enjoy the beautiful waterside sights of Noyes Pond. Noyes is an impeccable breeding habitat for the squaretail brook trout and is also recognized as the only public fly-fishing only pond in the state. The lodge itself offers living quarters to stay in, spaces for weddings, and conference rooms for business meeting. Entry to one park in the forest allows access to the other six, including the swimming waters of nearby Boulder Beach State Park, but Seyon Lodge is the only one guaranteed to be open from 6 AM to sunset if you just want to drop by.
The World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet (Burlington)
People might usually leave their offices and home states behind for rest and relaxation in Vermont, but you’ll definitely want a quick photo of this wacky Burlington sculpture. Technically, it’s a bunch of smaller filing cabinets stacked and attached to one another, but together, they form a might structure that stands 38 feet tall. The handiwork of Burlington-based artist Bren Alvarez, the sculpture was built in 2002 as a kind of protest to proposed road construction and city-planning, though the lack of exposition at the actual site has generated heaps of speculation and urban legends. It may be pushed out by exactly what it stood against, but for now, it’s a proud monument on a deserted lot, and a nesting complex for local birds.
Emma Griffith has a lot going on, especially for a freshman at Southern Vermont College. The 18-year-old has already declared a double major in business and psychology, competes as a Division III softball player, works several jobs, and splits her remaining time between community service for both a Sunday school and a soccer team.
Stock the House was a natural pick for her when it came to employment options, and of the three jobs she works, Emma admits it’s by far her favorite.
Emma’s father was the one who forwarded her the job listing, and the premise quickly piqued her interest.
In her words:
“Stock the House appealed to me as someone who would like to own her own business with a unique concept someday. And to be honest, the opportunity for the commissions was a huge draw for me, too. 18-year-olds don’t typically make that kind of money unless they have technical training in some field (which I do not) and the minimum wage jobs that I worked this summer had burned me out.”
In a sense, Emma’s ambassador and concierge duties at Stock the House combine her two majors as she is both enacting the growing company’s vision AND performing services that make individual clients and their families happy.
Finding the perfect vegan organic gummy candy for the Catrambone family’s grocery bags or facilitating transactions with local businesses are tasks that speak to her strengths as a go-getter and communicator.
Perhaps most appropriate is Emma’s close relationship to the state of Vermont. Emma recalls that her family did not travel frequently, but the trips they did make stayed with her.
She reminisces “On the occasions my family and I did travel, we usually went camping in our small, vintage 1960’s hard-sided camper and drove up to New England. We went to Vermont a few times, which I loved.”
Without even realizing it at first, Emma had a special bond to the area. She admits: “I actually go to school about ten miles from one of our old Vermont vacation spots, Woodford State Park. When I first moved to Vermont, I would get weird, but welcoming Déjà vu whenever I drove by.”
As someone who enjoys helping others that also has a deep connection to the region she’s operating in, Emma is one of Stock the House’s star team members.
**You can catch her story and more about Stock the House on NPR here: https://www.marketplace.org/2018/04/02/business/short-term-rentals-spur-businesses-around-new-services-visitors
This one is for you, Moms and Dads! Ever feel like you need a vacation from your vacation? This is where Stock the House comes in – the newest addition to the Seven Mile Island hospitality scene, STH is a luxury concierge service that will book your dinner reservations (and your babysitter), stock your refrigerator, and even set you up with a personal chef! Think: make memories, not to-do lists.
Read more at Macaroni Kid.
Snowy beauty and New England charm make Vermont one of the best destinations for winter travel, and Valentine’s Day is certainly no exception. We asked our Vermont Brand Ambassadors and local experts, Missy and Christi, for their favorite romantic destinations and dining spots.
Looking for the perfect night or bite? We’ve got you and your partner covered.
Missy’s top romantic picks
The Dorset Inn (Dorset, VT)
The Dorset Inn is the longest, continually operating inn in the state of Vermont. Nothing speaks to the health and length of your relationship better than staying at a 222-year-old lodge that’s a favorite for both weddings and anniversaries. It has 35 rooms and multiple cottages and houses for larger parties. Their menu changes with the seasons, and their kitchen sources ingredients (all locally grown) from the Vermont Fresh Network. Refurbished plenty in the last century, each lounge and room is filled with classical décor and history. The inn is also home to several cultural and artistic events throughout the year.
The Pitcher Inn (Warren, VT)
A certified member of the Relais & Châteaux global fellowship of hotels and establishments, The Pitcher offers nine distinct rooms and two suites, each with its own theme. Its rustic, cabin-like dwellings come with themes like Trout (comes with a balcony overlooking a brook) and Ski, which comes with a collection of vintage maps and a steam shower – perfect for couples looking to hit the nearby slopes then cozy up with each other. For statelier, classical quarters, there’s the Calvin Coolidge, the School, and the Colonial. On Valentine’s Day, they’re offering a special, secret menu with bartended “love potions.”
Vermont Food Odyssey (Bridgewater Corners, VT)
Linda and Ted Fondulas have over 30 years of experience as restaurateurs, which is why we are so pleased to have them as vendor partners. They are excited to impart their knowledge to you and your love. These are no ordinary cooking classes. You can visit them or they’ll show up at your place. Greek, Italian, French, and Asian are some of their many specialties. What could be more romantic than feeding each other tortellini that you made by hand together? Additionally, the Fondulas can take your odyssey outside the kitchen with hands-on training in foraging, fishing, picnicking, plating, and sugar refining. Get ready to be the rulers of your own domestic kingdom!
Christi’s top romantic picks
Hen of the Wood (Waterbury, VT)
Foodies will find a honeymoon here. Named for the prized mushroom, Hen of the Wood is a unique and rare gourmet experience with a menu that changes daily. The original Hen of the Wood in Waterbury has been open since 2005 and it enjoyed enough enduring popularity for a second storefront in Burlington. Ham-wrapped rabbit loin and mushroom toast with poached eggs and bacon are just two culinary dreams whipped up from nearby farms’ offerings. They also serve no fewer than a dozen fresh cheeses. They accept reservations up to 90 days in advance and with their reputation, you better plan ahead.
The Inn at Round Barn Farm (Waitsfield, VT)
245 acres of mountains, meadows, woodland trails, and ponds in the Mad River Valley provide endless opportunities for frolicking and exploring that really set this bed and breakfast apart. Besides the natural splendor, there’s also a historic farmhouse, game room stocked with DVDs, popcorn, and coffee, a heated pool, and an organic garden. In the morning, you can break your fast on treats such as cottage cheese pancakes, savory egg strata or blueberry waffles, and with advance notice, they are happy to alter the menu according to your dietary restrictions.
No matter the occasion, holiday, or reason for getting away, Vermont is truly a charming destination for all love birds. Whether it’s Valentine’s Day or just a weekend escape, there are many delights to uncover in this gorgeous state. At Stock the House, we are proud to show our vacationers the best of what this state has to offer. If you need any assistance arranging an experience your loved one will truly enjoy, our local experts are ready to help make your plans a reality.