Fall is by far my favorite season. I love the feeling of the cool air, cable-knit cozy sweaters, and especially colorful leaves.
So last year, I decided to take a weekend away to enjoy my favorite holiday … and what better place to spend it than in Vermont – where autumn rules the landscape?
I was surprised what I was able to fit into 4 days, so I’ve decided to share my experiences, so you can be inspired to plan your own fall getaway …
There are tons of places to visit up in Vermont; it all depends on preference. We decided to visit the Burlington/Shelburne area, and also to hit up the Vermont Country store (there are a few) in Weston.
We stayed in a hotel up in Williston, which was very convenient for us. It was a 20-minute ride to Shelburne, but a lot more cost-efficient. Day one was dedicated to settling in and having a lovely dinner. After heading down to Shelburne center and chatting with a few locals, we decided to visit Barkeaters for a good meal. And they absolutely delivered. I cannot recommend giving this establishment a go. A bit pricey, but worth every penny, and boasting a cozy local atmosphere, we delighted in the best Filet mignon and lobster risotto ever. It was the perfect introduction to our weekend.
Conveniently, Barkeaters is located a stone’s throw from the original 1859 Shelburne Country Store, and that was our next stop. I have a real love of country stores boasting one-of-a-kind goods and locally made candy. I went nuts purchasing as much maple syrup candy and local jam as I could carry. You could spend hours perusing around this store (which is actually huge), and I left with a lot more than I thought I would leave with (worth it). We spent the rest of the evening cruising around the quaint streets and enjoying the picturesque landscape before heading back to our hotel.
The next day, we were up bright-and-early to head back down to Shelburne. We had an itinerary planned, but couldn’t help but explore further. We wanted to see Lake Champlain, so we headed down to Burlington, and found a lovely park bench near the docks to stare out across the lake. After we got our fill (and we looked for “champy” to no avail), we went to our first destination: Shelburne Farms.
Shelburne Farms is a must-go if you’re in the area. It’s absolutely stunning. Boasting historic buildings, farmland and absolutely stunning scenery, this non-profit educational farm is something to behold. Be prepared to take a wagon ride from the gift shop up to the main farm. There, you’ll find horses, the most stunning, award-winning Brown Swiss cows, pigs, chickens, a petting zoo, a cheese-making demonstration, and an on-site bakery. Walk the grounds and take it all in (and don’t forget to milk the cow)!
After Shelburne Farms, we went on to try some absolutely delicious wines at Shelburne Vineyard. I’m such a sucker for a good, full-bodied wine, and was dying to try some locally-vinted creations! They have a variety of options for tastings, but we went with the $8 wine tasting (no reservation required). I was so tempted to choose a wine and (local) cheese pairing, but at that point, I’d eaten so much Vermont cheddar that I passed! The tasting was lovely. Trying everything from sparkling prosecco to full-bodied reds in the sun-filled tasting room, I was in wine-bliss. I left after purchasing my favorites as a special treat for holidays after I returned home. Another option on your visit is to take a tour, but because the winery is so small, sometimes there aren’t enough staff, so plan accordingly.
My favorite wines from the tasting:
The next spot on our to-do list was to head up the road to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory. They have tours available, but we elected to browse the gorgeous shop and pick out a one-of-a-kind teddy bear (Whom I named Williston, appropriately enough). This place is a definite must-go on your trip!
We filled the rest of our day up with cruising around to local country stores, farm stands and shops to purchase local goods, before heading back to Williston to dinner. I found a lovely place called The Vermont Tap House, where essentially everything they offer is local. It was amazing. I fell in love with a local brew from the Von Trapp family lodge, and enjoyed a “Vermonter” wood-fired pizza with maple syrup, pickled red onions, apples, cheddar and bacon. Y-U-M. Friendly wait staff and incredible food made this pick 100% worth it.
Our final day of our trip – but certainly not lacking in excitement! We began by packing up and checking out of our hotel, before heading back to Shelburne. I have a thing about super awesome Christmas stores, so we decided to check out The Country Christmas Loft, A.K.A. The North Pole in Vermont. This shop was downright magical, and chock-full of every kind of Christmas decoration, gift or trinket ever desired. We spend a full 2 hours walking through the winding rooms and staring at the life-sized village setup in the center of the store. It was Christmas in October!
Afterwards, we headed up to Shelburne Orchards to pick fresh apples to bring home. The orchard was amazing and HUGE, and we wasted no time delighting in plucking the biggest, most delicious apples from the trees. We also picked up fresh apple cider as well, and stored everything in a cooler we had brought with us for the ride home!
Our final stop was along the scenic route back to Boston – The Vermont Country Store. Located 2 hours away from Shelburne, we opted to take our time and take a ride through the “Moose Country” section of the state. I will admit, I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see a moose, but it was well-worth the ride regardless. The Vermont Country Store was nestled on a rural road near another Christmas store (admittedly not quite as amazing as The Christmas Loft …) and a souvenir shop with hot apple cider. We spent a few hours in the Country Store alone. I bought one-of-a-kind candy from years gone by, and enjoyed browsing the rows and rows of unique toys and games. And of course they had several delicious varieties of fudge available, so I had to get some of that as well.
Our trip to Vermont was something that I loved, and if you ever get up to Shelburne, send me a postcard and let me know how you enjoyed your experience!
Places we went:
- Barkeaters, Shelburne VT
- The Shelburne Country Store, Shelburne VT
- Lake Champlain, Burlington VT
- Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT
- Shelburne Vineyard, Shelburne VT
- The Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, Shelburne VT
- The Vermont Tap House, Williston VT
- The Country Christmas Loft, Shelburne VT
- Shelburne Orchards, Shelburne VT
- The Vermont Country Store, Weston VT
Places we didn’t go (but wished we did)!
- Shelburne Museum, Shelburne VT
- Museum Covered Bridge, Shelburne VT
- Apothecary Shop (Shelburne Museum), Shelburne VT
*The opinions in this post are entirely my own.