A Long Weekend in Stowe, Vermont
Recently, I made a visit to Vermont for a few days. My long weekend getaway was filled with adventure, great food and well-needed time in nature. In just four days, I was able to mountain bike, hike, paddle and take a brewery and ice cream tour.
- We had a noon arrival in Burlington and drove to Stowe (about 45 minutes). Stowe is a small quaint town that sits right below Vermont’s highest peak, Mt. Mansfield. The town has plenty of really great dining options and local boutiques. Stowe is also one of the best places to see fall colors and ski in the winter months.
- Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour (tickets required) - From where I stayed in Stowe, it was just a 12 minute drive to the Factory which made it very convenient and ideal for many ice cream stops during our time there.
- Kayaking at Waterbury State Park with Umiak - The park was tucked right into Vermont's rolling green mountains, very few people and mirror-like water. It is very scenic and great for photographs.
- The Alchemist Brewery Tour - The brewery was also less than 10 minutes from the Tälta Lodge. The staff was extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
- Mountain bike lesson with 4Points at the Trapp Family Lodge.
- Hike up Mt. Mansfield, which is less than 10 miles from Talta Lodge.
- Drive to Burlington, VT to explore in the morning before flying home.
As you can see, I had a full schedule of activities during my four-day visit. A trip to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory has been on my To-Do List for a long time, and since I was in the Green Mountain state, it seemed like a great way to kick off my getaway. I highly recommend scheduling a tour in advance, as time slots can fill up quickly and you will want to make sure to see how all of your favorite flavors are created, just like I did.
Day 2: I started out with a paddle with Umiak. Umiak provided a PFD, paddle and kayak for the most incredible morning on the water. They even transported the equipment directly to the lake for me; I just locked it up at the site when I finished. The day started pretty gray with a light drizzle. Seeing the low hanging clouds glide through the rolling hills along the lake’s edge as my boat skated over the mirror-like water, I felt like I was in a mythical fairytale. My day couldn't have started any more beautifully. I even got caught in the most magical midday shower on the water. It was such a thrill having the water fall above me and meeting at the lake below.
That evening, I made my way over to The Alchemist for a Brewery Tour. It was a great way to finish the day tasting their wide range of options. I personally enjoyed their ‘Heady Topper’ which is a Double IPA that is very hoppy and with a great blend of the six of their different hops. Their second best in my opinion was the ‘Focal Banger’, which was an American IPA that was not as hoppy as the Heady Topper but had great flavor. I toured the brewery, learned about their process from start to finish along with their sustainable habits to create such tasty and high quality beer. The staff were all so nice and even invited me back the next day for a few extra beers.
Day 3: This day was the most thrilling of them all. I had an early start with 4Points; and Rick provided me with a morning of mountain biking instruction. The outfitter equipped me with a bike and helmet, and we did about an hour of practicing before heading to the trail. Our lesson took place at the Von Trapp Family Lodge, the cool part about this location was that everything from the lessons and the actual trail rides took place all right there on the property. We biked about 4 different trails that all increased in difficulty. We practiced turns, using the breaks, even some small jumps. I was in a small group class, so it was really fun to learn and test our limits with one another on the trail.
My final adventure on this trip was a hike up Mt. Mansfield. It was a highly recommended adventure throughout my stay, so I knew I needed to make sure to get it on my itinerary. I took the Long Trail southbound, which took me about 4 hours to successfully reach the summit and get back to my car. Some hikers take a looped route that blends with other trails coming down, but we did it ‘down and back’ because we were in a hurry while heading out and wanted to be sure we stayed on the trail. Although this trail was very steep, it made for a challenging day hike that gave me the hard push I had been looking for all weekend.
Once I reached the summit and highest point in all of Vermont, I was able to check out the amazing surrounding views. Luckily it was not too cloudy on this day and I was able to see the state live up to its name as the ‘Green Mountain State’. From the summit, I could see the major mountain ranges in Vermont and even surrounding states and Canada. It made for the perfect ending to my trip. I sat at the top for about 30 mins and reflected on what an amazing experience these past few days had been and how I will definitely be back for more adventures in Vermont.
Tyrhee is a mountaineer and outdoor education advocate born and raised in southeast Washington, D.C. The West Virginia University graduate has amassed an impressive list of climbs, including Grand Teton, Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua, and Denali (as a member of the first all-African American team to attempt the peak). Through his personal outdoor experiences, he became passionate about diversity in the outdoors and speaks around the country on topics regarding the adventure gap and conservation leadership. In 2018, Tyrhee founded Soul Trak Outdoors, a D.C.-based nonprofit that connects communities of color to outdoor spaces while also building a coalition of diverse outdoor leaders. The organization runs a variety of programs that reach youth, college students, and adults within the community who are seeking opportunities for new adventures and knowledge. By engaging minorities, the goal is to develop a representative community in the outdoors that reflects our nation, and to facilitate educational and skill-based instruction that expands understanding and interest in public lands.