We woke among the trees and continued our drive. It would have been nice to stay in our hidden nook for an extra day but our fresh water was getting low and we needed to keep moving. It was another day of driving through the fall colors and we stopped by a cute little waterfall for a few pictures before reaching one of the main highlights of our tour, the Ben and Jerry’s factory.
Unfortunately, the factory tours were suspended due to the pandemic but the ice cream shop was open so we waited in the rather long line to get some Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. While the factory tour was closed the factory did have a rather nice playground for the kids and an ice cream graveyard with headstones marking discontinued flavors. That night went to Montpelier, the capital of Vermont which had one of the few Walmart stores in the state.
The next day we drove through Montpelier and it looked more like a small mountain town rather than a state capital. Our first stop of the day was a nearby state park where we were able to finally do a dump and refill our fresh water.
Chores complete, we began the tasting portion of our tour as we reached the Smuggler’s Notch area with a stop at the Cabot Market for a free cheese tasting followed by some alcohol tasting ($6) at the Smuggler’s Notch Distillery and finally the Barn where we tried some free apple cider and waited in a very long line to buy some apple doughnuts. Every place we went was absolutely packed with people for the Columbus Day weekend holiday and we heard from staff that this was the busiest weekend of the year.
Our final stop was the Von Trapp Lodge. Yes, the Family Von Trapp from the movie “The Sound Of Music.” The movie ends with Maria and her family escaping from Austria but what most people don’t know is that the family eventually settled in northern Vermont. They built a lodge on top of a mountain that reminded them of the hills of Austria to entertain family and the many friends they made while touring with their music. Now it is a beautiful, huge sprawling resort and the descendants of the Von Trapps still run it. It was so nice we were tempted to maybe spend a night. At almost $300 a night for a standard room, it was pricey but not too bad, especially considering we spent almost as much to go on activities such as lobster boating or rafting. Looking into it further though, there was a two-night minimum and the standard rooms were sold out and the only thing available were guest villas that cost around $700 a night. With the two night minimum, that came out to over $1,400, which was a bit much just to be able to say we stayed in the Von Trapp’s house. It was a very lovely resort though and the mountain views were beautiful. Instead, we were able to find a free spot to camp for the night at the parking lot of a nearby ski resort.