Part of why I moved to and continue to love Vermont is because of all the fun things there are to do. What I have really come to appreciate most is that most things are children friendly, even if they are meant for us parents. Maybe it’s the culture of Vermont, but we never turn heads when we bring Caroline (our 7 month old) with us places, and it’s comforting when we see other parents with their children too!
In the last year I have seen many moms on local Facebook pages or at playgroups asking for recommendations of activities to do when they have relatives coming into town and want to show them a good time, but will have at least one kiddo in tow.
My answer is ALWAYS, Route 7 between Shelburne and Middlebury!
This is a good “day trip” if you want to show off everything Vermont offers to friends and family, or you are just looking for something to do on a weekend. It’s a good time during any part of the year and in any weather.
There are so many places you can stop along Route 7, but here is a countdown of my favorites:
6. A&W (Middlebury):
So I was going to do a top 5 list, but my husband really enjoys A&W. This is a spot that is seasonal but their root beer cannot be beat (or so I’m told, as I don’t really like root beer). My husband and our guests love getting root beer floats, while I usually stick to their milkshakes that are yummy. Kids love it because you get to eat in the car! It brings you back to the 1950’s, and on nice sunny days the energy is so fun. Also, it can be a nice stop for friends and family who don’t like to drink alcohol or tend not to be fans of beer and wine.
5. Woodchuck (Middlebury):
We just recently stopped here for the first time, and I know we will be making it part of our normal routine. The Woodchuck facility is beautiful. I think it’s only a year old and no detail was missed. There is a self guided tour of the factory and then you get 4 free tastings of cider (which I think they had 25 options when we went) with the option to add additional tastings for a dollar. The day we went we brought Caroline and there was another baby (10 months old) visiting as well. The tasting room is huge and there was space for Caroline to crawl around. The bartender was great, and I realized the versatility of hard cider, which I have never been the biggest fan of when there is such good beer and wine available. Woodchuck convinced me to give cider a shot… we brought home two bottles.
4. Otter Creak Brewery (Middlebury):
It’s located right next to Woodchuck and we bring our guests here all of the time. Its great beer but they also have a limited food menu that although is really simple the food is always good. Similar to the breweries in and around Burlington you can get a flight of beer to try multiple beers. What I think makes Otter Creak worth the drive is that unlike other breweries in the Burlington area they have food, so the stop can be longer, and compared to Burlington area brewpubs, the tasting room is small and enough out of the way that it’s never too busy or too loud. The staff and guests never seem to mind kids playing around or being loud. They also have clean bathrooms with a changing table (always a plus!).
3. Dakin Farms (Ferrisburgh):
Dakin Farms in the perfect midway stop to Middlebury. The original store in Ferrisburgh beats out the small store they have in South Burlington. There are definitely many treats to buy and bring home, but what makes Dakin Farms worth the stop is all of the yummy free samples! If you are anything like my family, we love cheddar cheese and maple syrup, and Dakin Farms has some of the best. They have bathrooms open to the public (good pit stop) and it can give the kiddos a chance to take a break from driving and get a snack for the rest of the drive.
2. Folino’s Pizzeria in combination with Shelburne Vineyards and/or Fiddlehead Brewery (Shelburne):
Folino’s may be my favorite pizza in Vermont. Two birthdays ago my husband offered to bring me anywhere to eat for dinner, and I chose to go to Folino’s. The food is pretty simple, it’s just pizza and a couple of salads, but it is just so delicious. They are BYOB and so we often first stop at Shelburne Vineyards (across the street) or at Fiddlehead (right next door) to get some wine or beer. Folino’s provides wine glasses, ice cold beer glasses, and bottle openers. We like to go to Folino’s for an early lunch or early dinner so that way if Caroline is being crabby we don’t interrupt others’ meals. Howeverm most of the time there are a ton of families with children there as well. They have highchairs and concrete floors so if food gets everywhere it’s easy to clean!
1. Lincoln Peak Vineyard (New Haven):
Anyone who knows me is not surprised that at the top of my list of favorite places to visit on Rt. 7 is Lincoln Peak. I LOVE this vineyard. Why? It’s my favorite wine in Vermont. I appreciate that they make their wine with all of their own grapes (the only vineyard in Vermont). They constantly have fun events, like their recent Harvest Party, that is children friendly. They have a roofed patio next to a pond and their vines that is both beautiful and protects the whole family from the sun. And whenever we go, it’s never too busy, the staff is always friendly, and everyone is encouraged to share tables with strangers and relax.
And of course, the drive alone down Route 7 in worth mentioning, especially during the spring and fall. There are spots that are the epitome of Vermont and should be on a postcard.