Summer in Vermont is as good as it gets. With endless nooks and crannies to explore, and stunning views around every corner—it’s the picture perfect place to be. At the heart of it all, you’ll find the Ben & Jerry’s Factory in Waterbury, VT, where guided tours show you our history and how our ice cream is made. The on-site Scoop Shop is equally awesome with every treat imaginable! If that’s not enticing enough for a visit, here are 10 things to check out within a 10-mile drive of the factory.
Photo credit: Discover Waterbury
1. Explore Downtown Waterbury
A nice drive from all corners of New England, Waterbury is the quintessential Vermont town, located at the crossroads of scenic route 100 and interstate 89. Stroll through town and you can’t help but get drawn into one of the quaint shops or many watering holes. Look closely, and you may even see evidence of the two historic floods that have nearly wiped this town off the map.
Photo credit: Wesley Carr
2. Go for a Hike
Stop by the Green Mountain Club’s visitor center for advice and information on the plethora of local jaunts for all ability levels. From short walks in search of waterfalls to half-day treks to treeless summits, the options are endless. The visitor center even offers a family-friendly hike right behind the building.
Photo credit: PDBreen
3. Bike the Trails and Backroads
The area offers some of the best biking in the state. Families will enjoy the incredibly scenic 5.3-mile Stowe recreation path, while the more adventurous can tackle a variety of road bike routes and mountain biking areas, including lift-serviced trails at Sugarbush Mountain Resort.
4. Treasure Hunt at the Flea Market
Autumn isn’t the only time you can see some local color. Stop by the local fixture that is the Waterbury flea market and there’s no telling what you may find. The people watching ain’t bad, either!
Photo credit: Breville USA
5. Taste the Local Craft Beers
Waterbury is at the crossroads of Vermont’s flourishing craft brewery scene. In-town options for a pint include The Prohibition Pig, The Reservoir, Blackback Pub, and The Blue Stone, along with the Craft Beer Cellar where you might be lucky enough to find some world-famous Heady Topper.
6. Sample the Local Delicacies
Sampling our ice cream is just the start. Keep your taste buds on their toes at the Vermont Annex—located a mere mile and a half north of our factory on route 100. It’s here that you can nibble a literal smorgasbord of Cabot cheeses, indulge in Lake Champlain Chocolates, and then wash it all down with samples from Smuggler’s Notch Distillery. In town, the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters visitor center and weekly farmers market offer even more ways to eat and drink the day away.
7. Explore a Ghost Town
For a glimpse of Vermont’s past, head up to Little River State Park and campground. It was on these hillsides in the 1800s where a settlement of 50 or so families struggled to live off the rugged land. Today, old cemeteries, sawmill relics, roads, bridges and many cellar holes can still be seen, with informational signs and a pamphlet to guide you.
8. Go Fish!
From the Winooski River, Mad River, and Waterbury Reservoir to countless creeks and streams, there is no shortage of water to wet a line for trout and smallmouth. For expert advice, last minute gear needs, the latest reports and guide services, hit up The Fly Rod Shop.
9. Float and Paddle
Waterbury Reservoir is the perfect place to cool off on a warm summer day. A look in any direction offers mountain views, with very little shoreline development to impede your sense of wild adventure. Two state parks dot the reservoir’s edge, and kayak, canoe and paddleboard rentals are available on-site through Umiak Outfitters.
10. Adventure on Vermont’s Highest Peak
Ok, so this last one might be more like 15 miles away, but trust us, it’s worth the trek! With Vermont’s highest peak as its playground, Stowe Mountain Resort offers views and adventures that can’t be beat. Hike, drive or ride the gondola to the top of the mountain, then ride the new zipline down. Afterwards, drive route 108 through Smuggler’s Notch—possibly the most scenic stretch of road in Vermont.