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Vermont is lovely at any time of year, from the pristine white fields of wintertime, or the pastels of wildflowers in spring, to the deep greens of summer from which the Green Mountains take their name. But at no time is it as stunning as during foliage season, which generally peaks from late September to mid-October. Blazing yellow, orange, and red sugar maples carpet the hillsides and stand out against crisp autumn skies and recently mown hay fields. This trip takes in some of the best walks and hikes in northern and central Vermont, and offers time to choose your own path, as well.
Two quintessential aspects of New England life are experienced on this exploration of Vermont — small towns and pastoral landscapes. We take advantage of all that is available, from great hikes to farm tours. In the evenings, we retire to genteel country accommodations, complete with charming living areas made warm by early autumn fires, all before the backdrop of the world’s most famous foliage.
Arrival; Transfer to Woodstock
This morning, upon meeting our guides in the lakeside city of Burlington, we make our introductions before driving south to the charming village of Woodstock. Woodstock is a walker's paradise, where you can literally step outside your door onto an interconnected, compact system of pathways, trails, and carriage roads. They lead from the historic center of town, across meadows and woodlands, through a national park, and up to scenic vistas overlooking valleys, villages, and rural countryside.
Following lunch and a brief orientation on the week's adventures, we may choose to set out on a hike or a short stroll. We plan to explore the historic carriage roads and paths of the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, a living symbol of three generations of conservationist thought and practice. We learn about land stewardship and conservation as well as the histories of three American families by visiting the mansion and gardens where these exceptional people lived and observed nature.
We'll return to the village center of Woodstock where you are free to set out on your own to explore this quintessential New England town. Chartered in 1761, Woodstock is a typical, quaint Vermont village with historical brick homes, a covered bridge, a village green, and a small "downtown USA" main street. As our day winds down, a short drive down a country road and over two covered bridges brings us to our charming inn. Built in 1793, the Inn was originally the home of Colonel Joseph Marsh, Vermont's first lieutenant governor. Dinner this evening is in the Inn's charming candle-lit dining room.
The Quechee Inn at Marshland FarmQuechee, USA
Built in 1793, the inn was originally the home of Colonel Joseph Marsh, Vermont’s first lieutenant governor. Since that time, the historic residence has been expanded to include 22 guest rooms, 3 suites, a fine dining restaurant, and a common area for guests. With stunning views out toward Dewey’s Mill Pond and the Ottauquechee River, each room and nuance of the Inn has its own unique story to tell. In the afternoon, our guests enjoy fresh baked cookies and refreshments and the wood burning fireplace in the common room.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Inn maintains 19th century character and charm while adding modern conveniences.
Quechee Gorge; Woodstock
This morning's scenic walk starts from our inn and leads into Quechee State Park and along the Quechee Gorge. Formed by glacial activity around 13,000 years ago, the gorge is over a mile long and 165 feet deep. This natural wonder of Vermont is a sight to behold with spectacular views from the trail alongside what is sometimes called "Vermont's Little Grand Canyon."
From the gorge, a short diversion on foot leads us to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Located adjacent to Quechee State Park, this 47-acre campus provides a state-of-the-art environmental education facility and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. It is home to the largest collection of birds of prey in the Northeast, including bald and golden eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons. More than 400 orphaned and injured birds from Vermont and neighboring New Hampshire are treated at the center annually.
Following lunch, we have many options for the afternoon. Depending on your energy level, you may choose to set out on another of our favorite local hikes, return to Woodstock for further exploration, or simply return to our inn for a relaxing afternoon in front of the fireplace.
Dinner will be together at one of the excellent locally-owned restaurants.
Cossingham Road Farm trails; Transfer to Stowe
This morning we say good-bye to our charming inn, and head north towards the village of Stowe, but not without some excursions along the way. We stop in the town of Norwich to walk along the Cossingham Road Farm trails through managed forests and open fields that speak to the farm's agricultural history. Nearly 70 species of birds have been identified by sight or sound on the farm, and if we are lucky, we may see moose tracks or a barred owl along the forested portions of the trail. The contrast of forest and field, ecological and cultural history, and conservation and use makes Cossingham Road Farm a truly unique community resource.
On our drive north, we stop for a fresh lunch at an organic farm stand and enjoy a short, behind-the-scenes tour of the farm before continuing on our drive.
Next it's on to Stowe, a village that began as an early 19th-century farming and mill community and gradually evolved into a year-round recreation and vacation destination that attracts visitors from around the world. Our afternoon is on your own to explore the well-preserved and thriving village that retains the look of its historic role as a market town. A visit to historic buildings, such as the Akeley Memorial Building, Vermont Ski and Snowboard Museum, Helen Day Arts Center, and the Stowe History Museum, located in the Stowe Historical Society's one room schoolhouse, provide enriching experiences. You may also choose to enjoy a leisurely walk along Stowe's well-known recreation path, or explore the many unique shops for local crafts, artwork, souvenirs, and Vermont maple syrup.
Dinner tonight is in the cozy dining room of our historic inn.
Green Mountain InnStowe, USA
Visited by U.S. presidents, traded for a farm, home to a railroad company’s offices, site of a grand dance hall, and base for regular Lowell Thomas broadcasts, the Green Mountain Inn has a rich and storied history.
Nestled in the heart of historic Stowe, Vermont, The Green Mountain Inn accommodations are among the finest in Stowe and has captivated travelers from around the world for more than a century. With the perfect blend of classic ambience and modern comforts, the Inn is the ideal location for exploring the area.
Mt. Mansfield; Trapp Family Lodge
For the early risers, we will head out for a pre-breakfast walk. Be sure to grab an extra layer as the autumn morning air can be crisp. The mist rising off of the rivers at this hour, with the spectacular foliage as a backdrop, makes for a picture-perfect and serene setting.
Following breakfast, we gather as a group for a short drive out of town that brings us to Smugglers' Notch State Park. The famous Smugglers' Notch is a narrow pass through the Green Mountains lined with 1,000-foot cliffs. In the earlier days, only a footpath and trail for horses existed here as it was used by many local people who traded illegally with Canada, herding cattle and carrying other goods through the Notch. Later, fugitive slaves used the Notch as an escape route to Canada.
We return to Stowe, and head for the state's highest peak: Mt. Mansfield. We ascend the historic Toll Road by van, and then hike along the ridge to the summit. We are treated to 360 degree views of the Champlain Valley, the Adirondacks, and New Hampshire's White Mountains the entire way.
Descending back towards the village, we stop to enjoy lunch at the Trapp Family Lodge's new Bierhall. Founded by the famous family of singers who settled in Stowe after fleeing the Nazi occupation of Austria, the lodge offers many walking trails that highlight the brilliant colors of the fall foliage. The idea for an on-site brewery began "brewing" in Johannes von Trapp's mind more than a decade ago as a result of enjoying the tasty lager on his trips to the Austrian countryside near his ancestral home.
The afternoon presents a myriad of choices to consider: set out on the trails at the Trapp Family Lodge, further explore the village of Stowe, indulge in a massage at our inn, or simply grab a book and find the perfect reading nook.
Tonight, we dine at one of the excellent local restaurants within easy walking distance of our hotel.
Shelburne Farms; transfer to airport
This morning we say goodbye to Stowe but make one more special visit before saying our final farewells to Vermont. Located on 1,400 acres bordering Lake Champlain, Shelburne Farms is a National Historic Landmark that operates as a non-profit educational center promoting sustainability and conservation. Established in 1886 as the agricultural estate of William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb, today, the property hosts community and educational activities throughout the year and is a working farm producing award-winning cheddar cheese and other products that help support the organization. There are many trails on this vast estate, and we may choose to follow one that winds through fields of grazing sheep, past the dairy barn, or towards the elegant lake-side inn.
We enjoy a final lunch together with beautiful views of Lake Champlain and the Adirondack mountains before heading to the Burlington International Airport for journeys home or to other exciting adventures.
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.
Sep 30-Oct 4, 2019
$2,595 Per Person
First two reserved:$125
See single supplement policy below.
Oct 5-9, 2020
$2,695 Per Person
First two reserved:$95
Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!
*This may not apply to certain trips with unique accommodation arrangements. Please see specific trip information for more details.
Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Peak Foliage is rated 2, easy to moderate, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The walks and hikes on this trip average 2-4 hours in length with minimal vehicle support, on a mix of wooded trails, country roads, and granite ridgelines. While many of the trails we will use will be well-maintained, there will also be rocky sections with uneven footing. Please also refer to the detailed itinerary for descriptions of the activities on each day of the trip.
Your guide(s) will meet you on the first day of the trip at 9 a.m. in the lobby of the Hotel Vermont. Please be dressed for hiking!
Your guides will provide transportation to your choice of Burlington International Airport by 3:00 pm or the Hotel Vemont by 3:30 p.m. Please plan your flight schedule accordingly.
Most Convenient Airport: Burlington International Airport (airport code BTV), Burlington, Vermont
If you plan to drive to Vermont, estimated drive times to Burlington, Vermont are as follows:
New York, NY: 5.5 hours/ 303 milesBoston, MA: 3.5 hours/ 216 milesHartford, CT: 4 hours/ 236 milesPhiladelphia, PA: 7 hours/ 386 milesBuffalo, NY: 7 hours/ 408 miles
It is very important that you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. The more well prepared you are for the activities on this trip, the more you will enjoy yourself! Please engage in moderate aerobic activities (walking, jogging, cycling) for at least 30-45 minutes several times a week for 4-6 weeks before the trip. If you live in a flat area, try to incorporate some stairs into your workout, or use a treadmill with varying incline capability. Consult your doctor before undertaking any new fitness program.
As they say in New England, "if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes, and it'll change." Mornings tend to be cool, and in late September and early October frost is possible overnight. While the average high temperatures are quite comfortable for hiking in September and October, some days may be cool, and some quite warm. Therefore, dressing in layers will be essential to your comfort throughout the day. Rain is possible at any time, and weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains, so having rain gear on hand is also advisable.
You may obtain more detailed weather information on www.weatherbase.com.
Each season brings its own highlights to Vermont, but the "peak foliage" season simply cannot be beat for the ubiquitous sugar maples' stunning displays of color. The exact days of peak foliage vary from year to year, and from location to location throughout the state. However, we have chosen October 2-6 for the weeks' reliability for having amazing color, often accompanied by great hiking temperatures and blue skies.
This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.
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