On any travelers bucket lists you can certainly guess that there is some version of an autumn trip which revolves around seeking out that coveted fall foliage. Why is is coveted you may ask? Well, below a certain latitude, foliage ceases to exist, no matter the season. When it does, what are the chances it will be, stops you in your tracks, jaw to the floor beautiful? The chances are pretty high the further north you go, however, you must be sure to catch it at just the right time or it might evade you. Northwestern Vermont in the fall, particularly late September to early October, will give you all the autumn feels and foliage views that you are looking for. Be sure to follow my guide and you will have yourself a fabulous trip, full of foliage and many other fall-fun activities!
PS- This entire trip is DOG-FRIENDLY! I took my late dog, Rook, last fall and as you can see from the photos below, he very much enjoyed himself 🙂 If you need information on dog friendly hotels in the area, please feel free to contact me and I’ll provide you the information!
Ben & Jerry’s Factory
The very first Ben & Jerry’s Factory to ever exist is in Waterbury, Vermont. Unfortunately the tours are unavailable until early 2022 due to COVID. However, the “Scoop Shop” is open six days a week (closed Wednesday) to have some authentic Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. You should also expect quite a long wait here as it is very popular. However, it’s worth it! After you get your ice cream, but before you head to the car, don’t forget to check out the “Flavor Graveyard.” Here you can find all the retired flavors that Ben & Jerry’s once served listed on gravestones.
Burlington is the perfect city for an evening out after a day full of fall activities. Church Street is a pedestrian-only street, an ideal spot for taking a stroll under the lights. There are many restaurants and bars along the way for when you get hungry and want to stop for some dinner and drinks. You will find bountiful outdoor seating with heat lamps to keep you warm despite the chilly autumn air. Before your leave, you will certainly want to walk down to the waterfront. It’s especially gorgeous during sunset, so you may want to hit this area first for some photos!
Cold Hollow Cider Mill
Cold Hollow Cider Mill is the perfect fall-esque shop in Waterbury-Stowe, Vermont. This Cider Mill makes and sells its own apples, apple cider (including hard cider!), and maple products. They also bake and sell many delicious goodies, such as cider donuts, fudge, apple pies, cookies and more! There is a restaurant attached to the shop, which serves food made only from locally sourced ingredients and, of course, a hard-cider tasting room.
Drive the Green-Mountain Byway
From the Waterbury Village Historic District to Stowe, this Byway along the Vermont Rte 100, is the perfect activity if you want to see some spectacular fall foliage. Unfortunately, I missed most of the foliage by the time I drove this route in mid-October. However, if you are able to get it at its peak (late September), the Green-Mountain Byway is supposed to have amazing views.
There are so many different hiking trails in this area! Just go on alltrails and take your pick! Last fall I went exploring in Smugglers Notch State Park. Bingham Falls is a beautiful waterfall in the park that’s accessed via two different trails. We opted for the longer trail (Mill Trail), which was a flat out and back 1.5 mile trail. Gorgeous yellow and orange leaf-laden trees lined the entire trail, until it opened up to the view of the large and powerful Bingham Falls from above. If you are looking for an easy trail with amazing views of fall foliage, this is a great choice!
Stowe Gondola SkyRide
Stowe Gondola SkyRide is at the Stowe Mountain Resort, which is a ski resort come winter, and also acts as the chair lift up Mount Mansfield for skiing. However, once the snow starts to melt, the lift converts to a gondola ride that takes you up to the top of Mount Mansfield (Vermont’s tallest mountain) for some spectacular views! There are benches to relax at the top before your trip down or a restaurant to grab a bite to eat. You may also hike up and take the ride down if you wish (or vice versa). Dogs are allowed on the SkyRide, which is pretty neat. Just take note that you want to get there pretty early, as the line gets quite long. You also want to purchase tickets online, as they stop selling tickets in person after a certain time of day. You can purchase them online here for $32 USD per person.
When you think of fall, a lot of images probably come to mind. If you think of the perfect fall town, in particular, it probably looks a lot like Stowe. It looks like something you would see in a movie. First of all, it has the iconic church (see photo above). Second, it has some fabulous restaurants. I must say, you HAVE to get something that has authentic Vermont Cheddar Cheese in it, because it is delicious. Third, it has some super cute stores where you can purchase some great souvenirs to take home!
I hope you enjoyed my guide to Northwestern Vermont in the fall! This area is absolutely beautiful, especially in autumn, and I highly recommend adding it to the bucket list (if it’s not already there!). Tag me in your “Vermont in the fall” adventures on Instagram @travelswithkayy or comment below if you’ve ever been to any of these places! I’d love to hear from you!