Day six of the trip was shaping up to be our busiest day yet, so we checked out of our hotel early and headed up the interstate to Waterbury.
Because guess what’s in Waterbury!
Oh yeah baby.
I would so love to ride on this bus. It’s right up there with the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile in my book of awesome vehicles.
Do you know what time it is? It’s ice cream time!!
We took the Ben and Jerry’s Factory tour, which turned out to be pretty interesting. According to the 110 lb crunchy granola white girl who led our tour, I wasn’t allowed to snap photos on the tour, so I was a good little tourist and settled for pics in the lobby.
Here is the Top 10 most popular ice cream flavors. You can see number 9 and 10, but I’ll leave you in suspense for the rest.
Here are the greatest moments in ice cream history:
Here’s a bunch of antique ice cream scoops:
Don’t you wish you could take a dip in Spoon Lagoon and Hot Fudge Spring?
I said I wouldn’t take any pics on the tour, but I cheated. Here is mom saying “Mooooooo.” on the elevator:
At the end of the tour they gave us all a free sample of ice cream and told us all to come back soon! I can’t make any promises on coming back soon. But don’t worry.
Even if we never come back, I’ll always be addicted to your Half Baked and Phish Food, which I find regularly in my grocer’s freezer.
After the tour we spent way too much money in their overpriced gift shop.
And later, Garrett wore those overpriced items on many occasions!
After leaving Ben and Jerry’s, we continued on up the road toward Stowe, and stopped by the next big tourist trap, the Cold Hollow Cider Mill.
We perused the shelves and saw they were giving away donuts along with little one ounce cups of apple cider to sample. I am never one to shirk from the task of sampling free food. I am my father’s daughter, after all.
I ate a donut while I admired all their beautiful fall displays.
It’s like a Cabbage Patch kid could sprout out at any moment.
Then I went back inside for about 16 refills of apple cider in my one ounce cup, and possibly another donut, and I saw this beautiful sight in the window before we left. I’ve never seen honey bears look so good.
So with our bellies full of ice cream, apple cider and donuts, we decided to go over and see the Trapp Family Lodge. It was one of the places I had been interested in staying, but the rooms were somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars a night, so I settled for just visiting.
To avoid traffic we took a back road into the Lodge. I always prefer taking a gravel road surrounded by beautiful fall foliage over sitting in bumper to bumper traffic.
Especially when I get the chance to take a photo like this one of these trees on the side of the road:
Or this one of these horses on the side of the road:
Aren’t they amazingly beautiful??:
But then I realized these weren’t some random farm animals I was paparrazzi-ing.
These horses were very special, and the nice lady feeding them informed me that these were none other than the resident Trapp Family’s Belgian horses named Burt and Rex.
Since we came in from the back side of the place it took me a minute for my pregnancy brain to figure out that we had already arrived at the Lodge. I think the horses had me too distracted.
We parked our car over by the lodge and hurried back to catch the next wagon ride that was leaving at 1:00.
I had never been on a wagon ride before, and I was very excited to add this to my repertoire of
Old Fart Quintessential Things To Do in New England in The Fall.
So we loaded up in the wagon with a few other couples and off we trotted.
It was such a beautiful place, with gardens and trees and fields.
What an awesome stand of birch trees.
It looked like the perfect spot to see a doe. A deer. A female deer.
Or a ray. A drop of golden suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun!
And you know we wanted to bust out singing “The Hills are Alive….” when we saw sites like this.
But we didn’t. We just sat back and enjoyed the ride.
Tra la la…
The horses ambled along all over the farm, weaving their way along a path they probably walked four times a day every day since they were born.
We saw more beautiful sites, included a random restroom out in the middle of the field. I think it was intended for use when they host outdoor weddings.
But it had the prettiest entrance to a restroom that I’d ever seen.
And mom gave me a knowing look, saying “I know after sampling all those one ounce cups of apple cider that we both need to use those restrooms right now, but unfortunately we are stuck on this wagon ride.”
The horses took us past the incredible Trapp family garden.
There was a lady there painting Plein Air. And yes, I just learned that word from The Pioneer Woman.
And then the somewhat cream-colored ponies took us up past the lodge. Isn’t this just the type of place you’d expect to see crisp apple strudels and schnitzel with noodles? I think so.
And for the million dollars per night they charge you to stay there, I would expect Heidi Klum to come tuck my ass into bed with a kiss on each cheek and a warm “Aufedersein”.
And then Seal could sing me a lullaby.
And then it was all over. Our hayride ended too soon, and we were back on two legs again.
But the horsies were hungry, so we let them eat their lunch.
We wandered through the huge garden to get a closer look at some of their flora and fauna.
And saw beautiful sights like this:
and some more of this:
Then I stole a gourd. You know. As a souvenier.
What?? They’ll never miss it. They had plenty. And look how unusual it is! Something you don’t see every day.
I mean the gourd is something you don’t see everyday, not me bending over.
So that concluded our time with the Von Trapps and peeps. We left there and headed North to see Smugglers Notch which was just a few miles away.
It was extremely crowded with people parked on either side of the road, so I had to keep my focus on defensive driving while mom snapped photos along the way.
Smugglers Notch was very yellow.
With lots of huge boulders.
And some of those boulders had just one lane of traffic around them.
It was very disconcerting to be passing between giant rocks and not knowing if someone was coming around the other side.
Seriously. This was as far as I could see around the bend. Driving in Smugglers Notch made my blood pressure high.
But it was still a beautiful place to visit, picnic and enjoy the outdoors. I guess that’s why all those other people had bicycles and hiking boots. To keep their blood pressure low.
After we turned around and descended through the boulders back to more normal roads and elevations, we didn’t want to get into more crowds at the restaurants, so we had an apple on the road.
Mom had the great idea to snap a photo of our apple eating progress. Please notice mine has a sticker. I didn’t steal it.
I think she wanted to scrap book it, so I’ll include them here to satisfy her.
Even though I think the idea is a little cooky. And that’s cooky, not cookie. Just to clarify.
After our long day we decided it was time for us to head off to our final destination for the week. The Inn at Round Barn in Waitsfield, VT. The Inn is in the Mad River Valley, which, like the rest of Vermont, was not lacking for covered bridges.
We had to cross this one just to get to the Inn.
When we arrived at the Round Barn we were so excited!
It was everything we expected and so much more.
Across the road they had these awesome Fall displays set up.
A bride and a groom.
And two people either dancing or trying to strangle one another.
Two kids having an apple dunking contest.
And of course they needed some entertainment at their little hoedown / wrestling match.
Around the back of the Inn was this:
I was so excited to be there.
The inside was even better. It was such a beautiful place.
Rustic and warm, and very inviting. It smelled like stepping into my Granny’s house on Thanksgiving morning. Years of cornbread baking and bacon frying.
They immediately offered us peanut butter cookies with kisses. And guess what–MORE APPLE CIDER!!!
NOM NOM NOM NOM NOM
We wandered around the common areas and enjoyed the decoration while we waited for our room to be opened.
There were lots of different paintings of the Round Barn.
And apparently it’s another great destination wedding spot:
This was a photo of the Innkeepers father, I believe. He looked like a hard working dude.
They had a little merchandise area set up where you could purchase souveniers. Don’t worry, I didn’t steal any.
But I did purchase yet another Christmas ornament! No leaves here, but they had a cool hand carved wooden one that I snatched up. My tree will forever be a reminder of all my Vermont goodies.
The library was inviting. And I spotted some more of those evil baked goods.
Even with a belly full of ice cream, apple cider, donuts, peanut butter cookies and more apple cider, the breakfast menu looked delicious.
Finally our room was ready, so we unloaded our car for the final time.
Stepping into The Abbott Suite was like a dream.
We were both so happy to be in such a beautiful place.
I did a little happy dance.
The adjoining sitting room was incredible, with hand-hewn beams on the ceiling.
It had lots of windows facing the lake in the back of the Inn and a fireplace.
And in the corner of the sitting area was a jacuzzi tub! Too bad I was with my mom and not my hubby.
Even the potty room was nice!
And the shower was huge with a built in sauna. You could have had your very own sweat lodge in that thing.
After we got unpacked and settled in, we decided we had better find some dinner soon. The sun was going down, and we had learned back in Weston to find our dinner before daylight ended and darkness descended in the scary moose-filled woods of Vermont.
We decided to go to The Warren Store for a sandwich.
I wish I had more photos from inside the store, but I was too busy eating to take photos. We did buy my uncle Warren a shirt that said “Warren”.
And I did spot this cool sign outside the store:
And call us crazy, but we had seen a webcam on the internet in our Vermont research,and I was determined for someone to see me standing outside the Warren Store on that webcam. We called J, but he was not available. We called my Father-in-law, but his internet wasn’t working right. We called my dad and my sister, but also, not available. My mom even called her friend Carol in California and left her a crazy voicemail telling her to look for us on the webcam.
In the end, I think it was all for naught. Whew. What an ordeal.
We left the Warren Store and decided to do a quick drive-by of Sugarbush ski lodge that was just a few minutes away.
It was quite impressive. Like a red barn and silo on steroids.
And their ski lifts looked mighty convenient for taking a ride to the mountaintop, had there been any snow.
After all that sightseeing, we ventured our way back to the Inn for the evening. They had a little den area in the basement where we spent some time that night.
They even had a little mini-fridge set up with snacks so that you could help yourself.
And I did. Good griefous. How much food did I consume in this one day?!?!?
I was particularly intrigued by these Pop Soda drinks that I had never seen before. They were all natural, handcrafted (shocking, I know) Vermont micro sodas. How cool is that?
So as we drank our sodas, we shot a game of pool.
Neither of us are very good at pool, but we had fun nonetheless. We were neck and neck right to the end.
Until I tried to win the game and didn’t give my shot enough OOMPH to get it into the hole.
Then mom came along behind me and sank that shot I had lined up so perfectly for her, and won the game.
After that defeat, I was ready for some sleepytime.
We headed to bed, and as we were lying there beside each other Boudreaux started to kick. Not surprising, considering all the sugar I had consumed that day.
But as he kicked, my mom put her hand on my belly and was able to feel him kicking for the very first time! In fact, she was the very first person to ever feel him kick from the outside! We both had a excited little cryfest, then I called J back home to let him know that our baby was finally strong enough to communicate with the outside world.
I just had to get him hopped up on five gallons of apple cider and a few dozen peanut butter cookies.