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Historical Attractions on VBT’s new Southern Vermont Biking Tour

Southern VT View

One of the biggest points of emphasis on a VBT vacation is to make sure our travelers experience and learn as much about the history of their destination as possible. Although Vermont is a small state, it has a rich history that dates back to the colonial times. Guests on our new Biking Southern Vermont: A New England Idyll tour will experience some of that history during visits to the homestead of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge, a maple sugaring house, a National Historic Park and a small village constructed from granite that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Coolidge Birthplace

Despite being the nation’s second least-populous state, two U.S. Presidents were born in Vermont. On this biking tour you’ll pedal to Calvin Coolidge’s birth place, located in the sleepy town of Plymouth Notch. We’ll spend the morning touring the homestead and learn that what makes President Coolidge’s childhood home so special, is that he was actually sworn in here as America’s 30th President on August 3, 1923—after the sudden death of President Harding. Imagine becoming President in the living room of your childhood home!

800px-George_Marsh_Home,_Woodstock,_Vermont

Another memorable day is spent discovering Vermont’s only unit of the U.S. National Parks System (other than the part of the Appalachian Trail that runs through the state), the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park. Use some of your free time to walk along the carriage trails of the property and then head to the park’s visitor center and the Billings Farm & Museum. You’ll learn how three different families conserved the forest and ran a sustainable dairy farm here for generations. Admission into the park is included in the price of you tour.

As the nation’s largest maple syrup producer, we’d be remiss not to mention this integral industry’s place in Vermontsap bucket2 history. We’ll cycle to a “sugar house,” where we’ll learn how maple syrup is made. Although the sap won’t be running during the cycling season, our visit here is sure to be illuminating, as we’ll see how the sticky sap is transformed into various grades of syrup and other maple products. We’ll also have the opportunity to purchase a tasty souvenir.

Chester Stone House

One of the best rides on this tour will take you to North Chester’s Stone Village. Located along VT-103, and named to the National Register of Historic Places, the stone houses at Chester Depot are a community of homes built from locally-sourced Vermont granite and are quintessential Vermont.

These are just some examples of the historical attractions you’ll visit on our Biking Southern Vermont: A New England Idyll biking tour, one of VBT’s three tours in our home state. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868 or visit vbt.com. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturdays from 10:00am to 3:00pm EST.

Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont with VBT

HX 2014 Secondary for web

Welcome to week four in our five-part series about the great cross-country skiing vacations that VBT is offering this winter. Last week we told you about the fascinating geothermal features, amazing skiing and unreal wildlife viewing you’ll find on our new Yellowstone in the Winter: Skiing America’s First National Park cross-country skiing vacation—make sure to check out the answer to the trivia question at the end of this blog if you tuned in last week. But first, let’s discuss another new vacation we’re offering this winter: A New England Winter: Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont. With four departures throughout January and February of 2014, there are plenty of chances to take this fantastic winter vacation into the heart of the Green Mountains.

VT_LeadOne of the great things about a Vermont ski tour is the state’s close proximity to many locations on the East Coast, offering the opportunity to try a VBT ski vacation without having to travel by plane.  Plus the Green Mountains are a fantastic place to ski, steeped in a rich history of winter culture—which we’ll learn about when the tour visits the Vermont Ski Museum in Stowe. The new tour begins in the idyllic New England town of Middlebury, with the first skiing locale being the Rikert Ski Touring Center at Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf campus a few miles outside of town. The campus got its name from Bread Loaf Mountain, the iconic peak that overlooks the meadows below, a virtual skier’s paradise in winter. During your day, you may opt for a lesson or choose to ski on your own with trail recommendations provided by our Trip Leaders. One Picture10highlight is a trail through the woods to the famous Robert Frost Cabin, where the acclaimed poet wrote many of his most famous works—including “The Road Not Taken,” “Mending Wall” and “A Cabin in the Clearing.” Frost spent his summers from 1939 to 1963 living at the farm and lecturing at the Bread Loaf School of English and its annual writers’ conferences.

Trapp Family Lodge

Later in the trip we’ll head to the town of Stowe which offers much more than just an alpine resort on Vermont’s largest peak. Here, we’ll stay and ski at the historic Trapp Family Lodge, which offers snowmaking on their cross country trails as to insure excellent conditions even in a marginal snow winter. The Von Trapp family—whose lives were the inspiration for The Sound of Music—purchased the lodge after emigrating from Austria during World War II, and opened its Cross-Country Ski Center in 1968. Today the Trapp Family Lodge is one of the country’s leading Nordic ski areas with more than 37 miles (60 km) of groomed ski trails and an extensive network of snowshoe trails.  The lodge itself has all the amenities you’d expect on a VBT vacation as well as including an indoor pool, outdoor hot tub, and wireless internet. We’ll also visit the Trapp Lager Brewery where we’ll sample some of the Austrian-style lagers that are brewed right on-site. If we’re lucky, Sam Von Trapp—Maria’s grandson—will be on hand to talk with us about Austria, skiing and his family’s legacy here in Vermont. We’ll follow our beer-tasting with a delicious dinner at the brewery.

Lincoln Peak Vineyard cropVermont is quickly becoming famous for its wineries and microbrews.  And this vacation also features a tasting and tour of the Lincoln Peak Winery, which produces their wine with grapes grown right here in Vermont.  We’ll taste their northern varietals and learn about what makes this wine so unique.  At the Otter Creek Brewery, we’ll have the opportunity to sample Long Trail, Shed, and Otter Creek beers.  If wine and beer isn’t your thing, then your taste buds will be excited to know that we’ll stop at the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream factory for another special taste from Vermont.

Another great cultural activity you’ll experience on this vacation is a maple sugaring demonstration as Vermont is the sap bucket2largest producer of maple syrup in the U.S.  We’ll work up an appetite for dinner on our final night with a sunset maple-sugaring tour at the Trapp Lodge’s sugarhouse. You’ll learn how sap is collected in buckets, and then boiled down in a wood-fired evaporator to create the maple syrup. Even if the sap’s not running, this will be a great introduction to maple sugaring and its production process.

Thanks for reading this week and we hope to see you out on the trails with us this winter in some of the world’s most fascinating winter destinations. Remember, on a VBT vacation you’ll enjoy world-class cross-country skiing combined with expert local Trip Leaders, comfortable accommodations and plenty of wonderful interactions with the locals. For more information on the A New England Winter: Cross-Country Skiing in Vermont​ ​vacation you can visit us online or request a catalog here. See you next week as the series concludes with a blog about another fun-filled winter vacation.

Additional Links:
Ski Middlebury Article:  http://www.addisonindependent.com/201304could-middlebury-become-ski-destination

Trapp Family Lodge: http://www.trappfamily.com/

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