TAEM Tours Vermont!

Montpelier-3The Arts and Entertainment Magazine just recently toured the beautiful state of Vermont to spread the word about our publication to many of the college student population there. We flew from Washington, DC on United Airlines and landed at Burlington Airport just before midnight on Saturday, so that we could start the week off on Sunday. The trip was booked through Travelocity.

Things began to go wrong upon landing as the airport shuts down at midnight, but we landed at approximately 11:25pm. Most airport personnel had already left and we discovered that a major portion of our luggage was missing. After frantically searching for help we were able to recover it prior to the place going dark. We also booked a car rental from Dollar Car Rental (big mistake) as we normally book through Enterprise. The Dollar car attendant tried to force insurance upon us, even though we were covered through our State Farm policy. She was very adamant about it and was forcing us to take it stating that we would have an accident that we were fully liable for. To her surprise I refused and she began to get snippy. Luckily our hotel, the Burlington Hampton Inn, came to the rescue and ordered us a cab for which the hotel paid for. 

St.-Albans-3The hotel’s night clerk, Derek, was extremely courteous and helpful and that is the main reason that I always book with this chain. We decided on Burlington as our base of operations as we had stayed here before and had seen many of the sites in this exciting college town. It is also the home of the University of Vermont, and we immediately set forth to spread the word about us. For those looking to spend time in upstate New England, Burlington has much to offer. Lake Champlain, the main attraction, is huge, and offers site-seeing boat tours, museums, and an aquarium. The town also boasts of many eateries including one of my favorites, The Skinny Pancake (unfortunately it was closed at this time as it was under expansion.). Their famous crepe specialties are well known.

Our hotel shuttle took us back to the airport on Sunday where we were able to pick up a car from Budget (Enterprise was out of full size cars) and took off for a review of the state. Our first stop was Sugarbush Farm , who produces a fine assortment of

Vermont maple syrup.  The Sugarbush Farm family is famous for its excellent waxed cheeses and Pure Vermont Maple Syrup made here on their hillside farm.
You are invited to visit their 4 season farm attraction located in Central Vermont. Savor the free samples of 14 varieties of cheese, Pure Vermont Maple Syrup and Vermont made foods. You can learn about maple syrup making with the sugar house tour, walk the nature trail to see the sugar maple trees, make friends with the farm animals and enjoy the lovely views. Visit with real farmers. If you can’t make it to the farm, they invite you to order their fabulous products on line. They offer same day shipping and guaranteed satisfaction from a family farm with 55 years of mail order experience. They are located in Woodstock, Vermont at 591 Sugarbush Farm Road. Their website is www.sugarbushfarm.com and their telephone number is 1-800-281-1757. It would be advisable to have a GPS device when going there as the store and farm are slightly off the beaten path. The visit is well worth it, though.

Montpelier-1   The following day we visited the state capital, Montpelier . This town was very fortunate to have a Skinny Pancake and we made a beeline there for lunch. We had stopped at a few stores prior to going into town and we were famished. The town itself is quite artsy and caters to a younger crowd. It’s patrons are not unlike the citizens of San Francisco, and it’s establishments tend to lean towards the artistic set. It, like Burlington, has many great eateries for its size. It also boasts to being the smallest state capital in the country. It does not have as many of the amenities as Burlington does, and is more laid back. Parking is at a premium here and spaces are extremely hard to find.

Cabot-Chese-AnnexOur next stop was at Waterbury, Vermont and we visited the management of the Cabot Cheese Annex. Cabot Cheese is world renowned, and we even find their products in our home state of Virginia. The Annex is located on Route 100 and they have many fine samplings of their products for you to explore. Their staff is very helpful and courteous and we found that they offered a lot of information. I was amazed to learn how big an operation their main plant had, and their boast of the ‘Best Cheddar in the World’  is not unfounded, as their product line is delicious. The center also has other shops, namely Danforth Pewter, Ziempke Glass Blowing Studio, Lake Champlain Chocolates, and the Snow Farm Vineyard Tasting Room, so plan to spend a bit of a stay there.

St.-Albans-signageWe decided to go north of here to see what lay just south of the Canadian border (we visited Montreal on our last exploration). Our first stop was St. Albans. This town was on the upswing as it was the last stop north before the border and was planning to take full advantage of the situation. Mayor-Liz-Gamache-of-St.-AlbansTheir mayor, Liz Gamache , is re-doing the town with zest. They are opening a Wal-Mart just down the road, and she has secured funding to make massive improvements to their main street. We were simply amazed at seeing all the construction taking place as this is going to be a vital stop along Route 89, the state’s main North/ South corridor. This is something that every town in America should undertake to improve their appearance so as to generate tourism and work. Liz, and her team, has the right idea and I’d like to revisit this town once this major undertaking is completed.

Swanton-2Our next stop north was Swanton, Vermont which was taking more of a conservative approach to reconstruction. They had installed a new bridge over the Missisquoi River (the original wooden covered bridge was burned down by local kids), and its construction was that of steel to prevent further vandalism. Nearby is a fully restored train station, caboose, and the foundation of a former train roundhouse. Swanton is on a major side road to upstate New York, and should take a lesson from St. Albans to take advantage of this situation. The name ‘Missisquoi’ means ‘much grass’ in the native Indian language, and leads out to Missisquoi Bay. The town itself was founded by Jesuit priests, and its history just aches to be told.

solar-farm   We went across to upstate New York after this and was very disappointed when we visited Plattsburg. The town is in need of revamping and should take examples from its next door neighbor to do so. We spent little time her and hurried back to the Vermont side of the lake. Vermont is definately the place to be and we had spread the word about our publications far and wide. They are laid back and aggressive in their development at the same time. Solar Farms are everywhere too, as they promote alternate energy as I wish all state governments should do. There are many great Universities in this state and we highly recommend this as a tourist destination to all our readers. You will certainly enjoy your stay here, so please visit all the locations that we’ve named. Also see Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, as well as the Quichee Gorge Park and its amenities while you are there.

TAEM