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Walking Vermont: Green Mountain Valleys & Inns

Step into picture-postcard Vermont during this walking vacation into the Green Mountains, right in VBT’s own backyard.

  • Activity Level: Easy / Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 2 - 6 mi
  • Daily Walking: 2 - 4 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Walking Activity
  • Ideal for those who walk for a morning or afternoon on a regular basis. Footing may be on a variety of surfaces. No extended ascents or descents, but some rewarding climbs.

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Vermont: Green Mountain Valleys & Inns

Follow woodland footpaths through Stowe, the Mad River Valley and Middlebury, skirting bucolic meadows and pristine, shimmering lakes. Walk in the footsteps of Robert Frost and the Von Trapp family. Marvel at Vermont’s foliage on your way to pristine Silver Lake. And explore two New England treasures: the charming town of Middlebury and the grand farmhouse at Shelburne Falls on stunning Lake Champlain. All while savoring the warmth of New England inns. Let us show you our Vermont!

Cultural Highlights

• Enjoy 5 relaxing nights in cozy, historic Vermont inns
• Walk the Luce Hill loop at the Von Trapp Family Lodge
• Enjoy the fine Austrian-style lagers at the Von Trapp Brewery
• Explore the hemlock-rich Mad River Valley Trail
• Share a delightful picnic lunch by Lincoln Peak
• Have time to make your own discoveries in Waterbury
• Delight in the trails by beautiful Blueberry Lake
• Walk meandering trails through pine forest and farmland
• Ponder the poems of Robert Frost at an interpretative trail
• See Frost’s cabin, where he lived and wrote for 24 years
• Walk the summit of Chipman Hill and the fine Trail Around Middlebury
• Tour beautiful Shelburne Farms, a National Historic Landmark

What To Expect

This tour features fairly easy terrain, with some gradual climbs. You’ll walk on a variety of surfaces, including dirt trails and paved roads. On rainy days, the footpaths can be wet and muddy. Your VBT on-tour support vehicles are available at specific meeting points for those who need assistance. Both morning and afternoon options are available on most days. This tour is ideal for both enthusiastic beginners and experienced walkers. Several of the walks require a transfer from your hotel to the start of the walk. Your Trip Leaders often use this time in the van for a morning route review, so you can enjoy a more leisurely morning at breakfast.

Average Daily Mileage: 2 – 6 miles
Average Walking Time: 2 – 4 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – Middlebury
Sep 71°/50°  Oct 59°/40°

Average Precipitation (in.) – Middlebury
Sep 3.2 Oct 3.1

What’s Included:

• 5 nights in cozy historic inns
• 10 meals – 5 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners
• FREE use of walking poles
• Service of two VBT Trip Leaders
• On-tour vehicle support
• Daily route directions and maps
• Welcome reception
• Sightseeing and cultural activities
• Transfers
• Afternoon pass at Von Trapp trails, guided von Trapp family history walk, admission to Shelburne Farms
• 5% Frequent Traveler Credit to use on your next VBT vacation
• Special Good Buy Discount

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Dates & Prices
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June
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Return: Friday, June 16
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July
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Return: Friday, July 21
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September
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Departure: Sunday, September 24
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October
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Land Only Single Supplement: $445

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

Itinerary & Map
Or, Expand All Days
DAY 1: Arrive Burlington International Airport (BTV) / Hike Trapp Family Lodge trail around Luce Hill

After you make your way to Burlington International Airport (airport code: BTV) to meet the group, VBT will offer a shuttle to Stowe and the Trapp Family Lodge. The shuttle will depart the airport at 12:30 p.m. Meet your Trip Leaders outside the main door and across the road in the shuttle pickup area. They will be wearing VBT staff garments, holding a VBT sign, and the vans will have VBT signage on them. If you are arriving after this shuttle departs or if your flight is delayed, you must make your own arrangements to the Trapp Family Lodge. Please plan to have lunch before leaving the airport, or bring a packed lunch with you.

Guests driving to the tour should meet the group at Burlington International Airport (BTV) and park your cars here for the week. Parking rates are approximately $12.00 USD per day. Burlington International Airport offers both short and long term parking in their newly expanded, multi-level, covered parking garage. The main parking entrance is located just past the terminal building on the left. Credit cards and cash are acceptable payment methods.

You’ll arrive at the Trapp Family Lodge in the renowned resort town of Stowe, Vermont, at 1:30 p.m. The broad fertile plain in which the lodge sits is framed by the emerald-hued Green Mountains to the west and the Hogback Mountains to the east. At the lodge, opened by the Von Trapp family of The Sound of Music fame after they came to the United States, you will join your Trip Leaders for a safety briefing and orientation session. Afterwards, begin a warm-up walk along Luce Hill loop and learn about the Von Trapp family history. The hill you’ll traverse was named for Stowe’s first settler, Oliver Luce, who arrived in 1793. Your roughly three-mile ribbon of narrow trail winds its way through quintessential Vermont forest, dense with trees and lush beauty. After your hike, you may enjoy refreshments at the Von Trapp Brewery, known for their excellent Austrian-style lagers.

Later, shuttle to your inn at the base of the Appalachian Gap in the heart of the Mad River Valley, where you’ll spend three delightful nights. After time to settle in to your room, gather with your fellow travelers at 6:00 p.m. for a tour orientation, welcome reception, and dinner.

Hotel: Mad River Barn
Meals: D
Daily Options: 3 miles

DAY 2: Mad River Path / Sugarbush Resort

After breakfast, begin your walk from the inn on the Mill Brook Trail, part of the Mad River Valley Trail system. The trail winds through a mature hemlock forest. Then you’ll shuttle to Sugarbush Resort, home to 2,000 pristine acres across six mountain peaks. Enjoy a picnic lunch and explore the Lincoln Peak base area. This afternoon, you may opt to return to the inn and relax, or shuttle with us to the top of Mad River Glen’s lift for an out-and-back hike along the ski trails with stunning views of the valley.

Dinner will be on your own tonight in Waterbury, one of Vermont’s newest destinations for food and cocktail connoisseurs. Choose from several local favorites. Your Trip Leaders will have suggestions and will shuttle you into town.

Hotel: Mad River Barn
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 2-6 miles

DAY 3: Explore Blueberry Lake / Mad River Valley

Start your day with a leisurely breakfast. Afterwards, you’ll shuttle 15 minutes to Blueberry Lake, a shallow body surrounded by gently sloping hills. You’ll spend the morning here, hiking well-maintained trails, perhaps jumping in the lake for a refreshing break, or maybe opting for a kayak paddle on its waters. Rentals are available from Waitsfield. Ask your Trip Leaders for details and rates.

Lunch will be on your own at the eclectic Warren General Store, built in 1839 as a stagecoach-stop inn and boarding house. You will find a nice selection of fine Vermont craft beers here. You’ll enjoy your lunch by the babbling waters of the Mad River.

This afternoon, you’ll meander on the Mad River Path through Waitsfield. Your walk passes through a variety of typical Vermont landscapes, from working farms to dense pine forests. Alternately, for a birds-eye view of this bucolic terrain, you may opt for a breathtaking glider flight with Sugarbush Soaring, based in Warren.

Enjoy a leisurely dinner at the inn this evening with your fellow travelers.

Hotel: Mad River Barn
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 4.2 miles (Blueberry Lake Loop); 2-4 miles.

DAY 4: Bread Loaf / Visit Robert Frost cabin / Hike to Silver Lake

After breakfast at the inn, you’ll shuttle 45 minutes southwest and wind your way up to the crest of scenic Middlebury Gap (elevation 2,149 feet). You’ll then plunge down through deep forest to emerge at the rambling Bread Loaf campus, the site of Middlebury’s famed summer writers’ conference. Just beyond Bread Loaf, you’ll stop at the Robert Frost Wayside Picnic Area and Interpretive Trail. The poet laureate of Vermont lived in Middlebury from 1939 until his death in 1963, and the lovely mile-long loop that you’ll follow today is dedicated to his life and work. As you stroll this pretty path, pause to learn about the poet and read excerpts from his poems posted along the way, perhaps pondering the sly wonder of “The Road Not Taken.” You can also take the short walk up the hill to the Robert Frost cabin. As you explore, keep a lookout for wild blueberries, huckleberries, and beavers in the pond.

After, you’ll shuttle 15 minutes to Blueberry Hill Inn for a picnic lunch, including their famous cookies. We then begin our walk from the inn to the Leicester Hollow trailhead. Work off your lunch along a footpath that leads through the Green Mountain National Forest along Leister Hollow Brook, crossing its running waters several times. Your destination is pristine Silver Lake, nestled between mountain ridges rich in plant species including hemlock, maple, birch, oak, red spruce, and white pine, along with woodland birds such as ovenbirds, veeries and hermit thrushes (the Vermont State bird). Then descend to the Falls of Lana, cascading waterfalls that have carved a dramatic gorge into a cliff.

After this rewarding hike, you’ll drive north 20 minutes to the handsome college town of Middlebury, its main street lined with lovely shops and galleries. Settle in at the Swift House Inn, a former governor’s mansion.

For dinner on your own tonight, enjoy one of the many fine restaurants within walking distance in town. Your Trop Leaders will have suggestions for you.

Hotel: Swift House Inn
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 6-8 miles

DAY 5: Walk the Trail Around Middlebury to Chipman Hill

After breakfast at the inn, set out for an invigorating jaunt at the summit of Chipman Hill, the original site of Middlebury College’s downhill ski area in the 1940s and 50s, with magnificent views eastward over the Green Mountains. Afterwards, you’ll walk to town to begin your exploration of the TAM, the Trail Around Middlebury. This delightful series of walking paths, developed by the local Land Trust, leads you through town, onto the Middlebury College campus, and along Otter Creek.

This afternoon, there’ll be time to discover the charms of Middlebury at your leisure. Walk over the Main Street bridge for a view of the waterfall on Otter Creek, stop in at the Vermont Book Shop (Robert Frost’s favorite bookstore), or visit the National Museum of the Morgan Horse, the prized horse that’s been bred in Middlebury since the 1870s.

Tonight, as you enjoy a farewell dinner, raise a glass and toast your Vermont discoveries.

Hotel: Swift House Inn
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 2-6 miles

DAY 6: Explore Shelburne Farms / Depart

This morning, you’ll shuttle 45 minutes to Shelburne Farms, a 1,400-acre working farm and National Historic Landmark set picturesquely on the shores of Lake Champlain. During your tour of the spacious grounds, you’ll view the farm barn, breeding barn, coach barn, and the grand Shelburne House overlooking the lake. Shelburne Farms was acquired by Dr. William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb in the late 1880s to create a model agricultural estate. Today, it is a nonprofit organization committed to education for a sustainable future.

VBT’s 30-minute return shuttle to Burlington International Airport will depart Shelburne Farms at noon. We recommend flights out of Burlington no earlier than 2:00 p.m.

Meals: B
Daily Options: 2 miles

Vermont Walking Tour Map

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Accommodations

Walking Vermont: Green Mountain Valleys & Inns

Mad River Barn

Situated on 16 beautiful acres in the heart of Vermont’s Mad River Valley, the Mad River Barn features 18 guest rooms of varied sizes and configurations, each with a classic New England touch. Guests can relax in the inn’s rustic, country-style restaurant, have a drink in the pub and admire its floor-to-ceiling fieldstone fireplace, and enjoy the offerings in the game room. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel.
Free WiFi Included

Swift House Inn

Resting just outside of Middlebury's downtown center, the Swift House Inn offers charming accommodations within walking distance of the town's many excellent restaurants and shops. Relax in this cozy 1814 inn while you enjoy its lovely gardens, exquisite dining room, cozy bar, and fireplaces. Middlebury’s only classic Vermont country inn, this former governor’s mansion has just 20 rooms offering modern amenities and perfectly chosen period décor.
Free WiFi Included
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