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Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Perfect Vermont Weekend: Shelburne & Stowe


It's always a good time to daydream about the fall season, yeah? I love living in a four-season climate, but fall wins all the points. I meant to post this months ago, and time got away from me, so better late than never? 

Last fall, Josh and I took a long weekend to our favorite place in Vermont. We always joke now that we no longer have a need to take weekend getaways to small towns out in the country like we used to because we basically live in a small town out in the country. Vermont was always our go-to place to visit when we needed to get away from every day life. It was the destination of our first trip together, where we honeymooned, where we celebrated Josh's 30th birthday with friends and family, and we even have a place that's our place in Vermont. It's been a while since going back and we were craving a fall trip away from the distraction of renovations. So we planned a last-minute getaway to our favorite little place.

We've been to a lot of little towns in Vermont, but our favorite to stay in is Shelburne. It's just outside Burlington, so you have the convenience of being closer to a larger college town with plenty of shops and restaurants, but Shelburne is a much quieter, small town that gives you that away-from-everything feel while still having things to do.

Our first stay in Shelburne at the Elliot House for Josh's 30th birthday four years ago.

The B&B we love to stay at is perfection. This year as we were pulling up, we were sad to find that it's actually for sale. The owner, Anne, is waiting for the right buyer, so hopefully we have at least another year left to visit Anne, who is the perfect host. We actually love to chat with her throughout the day and she's great at determining if you're in a chatty mood, or want to be left alone. She always makes our stay so lovely. 

This perfect place I keep referring to is the Elliot House B&B. It's very inexpensive per night (for Vermont fall foliage standards), and while the room is very basic (no TV or anything), the windows from two of the bedrooms give you a perfect view of the sunrise over the mountains in the backyard, and it's perfectly cozy with traditional decor and antiques. I love the fact that the rooms don't have TV's, so it forces us to get lost in a good book, or just drink wine in the library downstairs overlooking the big maple tree in her front yard, and spend quality time together,. Anne also cooks amazing breakfasts in the mornings, which is included in he reasonable rate. During breakfasts, you sit with the other guests. We've met some really lovely people there, and while it can be awkward at first, if you get lucky and get the right people, breakfasts are usually really fun. And the food is amazing - Anne usually wakes everyone up with smells of muffins baking in the oven, so when you come down for breakfast, they're still warm. And she offers a variety of options on her menu to choose from. Elliot House also has 400 acres of walking trails in its backyard with amazing views and apple trees. The ocean is my main happy place that feeds my soul, but if I had a top five list of happy places, these walking trails would be on it. The B&B is small with only three rooms, so typically, we're the only ones ever out there when we venture them, and I feel completely secluded from the whole world. We love staying here so much that we never even consider other places in Vermont.

Hiking the trails on the Elliot House property three years ago.


Our visit three years ago. Behind the Elliot House, the walking trails will lead you to a clearing
with a great view of the lake. 

I started to dub this the Alice in Wonderland tunnel. Picture quality isn't great, but it's totally magical in person.

Four years ago, the morning after Josh's 30th birthday party.

Four years ago at the clearing by the lake.

We have two must-visits every trip we make to Shelburne - Shelburne Farms and the Bearded Frog restaurant. Shelburne Farms is a 1,400 acre working farm with tons of walking trails through the property. We stop along the way to visit the animals - they have sheep, goats, chickens, donkeys, cows and many others I'm forgetting - and then take the hiking path that leads you to a clearing with an amazing view of Lake Champlain. During the fall season, it's lit up by firey color, making it especially worth-while. When we visited this year, they were in off-season mode, which means we weren't able to visit the on-site bakery for a snack while walking around, or sample any of their cheeses in the dairy building. But, the highlight is walking around the acreage, so it was still an amazing time. And they have a welcome center where you park, so you're still able to purchase their homemade cheeses and other foods as well as grab a coffee or hot apple cider while you peruse their gift-y items available for sale.

The path by the parking lot leading up to the trails to Shelburne Farms.

View of one of the buildings that houses the bakery, dairy building and animal petting area.



The animals are usually out and walking around.



Josh made a friend four years ago. They've been aloof since that visit.

The path leading up to the best view from the grounds.

Once you walk up the path, you come to this tree, which gives you a view of the
mountains across Lake Champlain.



The sheep are usually out to pasture, making me the happiest girl on earth.


In the fall, I love this area where the fall leaves create a walking path against the open pasture.

Selfie during our most recent visit this past fall.

The Bearded Frog is a restaurant located right in the village of Shelburne, and it's perfectly cozy. Whenever we visit in the fall, they have a fire going in the fireplace, and offer some sort of delicious fall soup (which we always get, this year it was a squash and apple bisque, which was so good). And if any vegetarians are reading, they have such an amazing house-made veggie burger. It's a great little date spot after a day of hiking outdoors. I sadly never took any pictures of our visits there.

Exploring Burlington is always exciting. It's such a beautiful city because it's lake-front, but also has the hustle and bustle of a college town. We sadly were only in Burlington for a short while this year because it was cold and rainy (cold and sunny is fun, add rain and I'm not a happy camper). But we were there long enough to stop at a favorite restaurant, American Flatbread. Amazing flatbread pizzas in a super cozy atmosphere - all tables get a nice view of the pizza oven, and the food is impeccably fresh and local. They also have a great beer list. I wish I could say we've eaten at more of the restaurants, but we haven't. Hardcore creatures of habit, you know?

Stowe has recently become one of our favorite little towns to visit as well. It's a bit of a drive from Shelburne - just under an hour - but so worth it. Cute little shops, a little park to walk around, stunning views of the mountains (it is a ski destination, after all) and has Stowe Mercantile, one of the best little general stores I've ever been in. I'm the biggest sucker for a good general store. Stowe is one of those little magical New England towns that you see in Christmas movies, but in the fall it's stunning. The main street area is perfect for a little bit of boutique shopping, and Cafe on Main has a killer pumpkin soup in the fall season, and if you tack on a Vermont cheddar grilled cheese, you've got yourself the perfect chilly autumn day lunch.





















We usually spend the rest of our long weekend enjoying wine and some books in the library of the B&B, taking naps (because that's a thing of the past while renovating a house) and talking with each other. It's the perfect escape from every day life in October.

As much as I love Shelburne and Stowe, I've heard amazing things about Woodstock. I'd be sad to to not come to Shelburne during a Vermont getaway, but it's definitely on my to-do list. 

2 comments:

  1. I have only visited Vermont once and it was in the Bennington area. It is on my bucket list to return and see the fall foliage. Thanks for this great travel guide.

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  2. Yay! I've been patiently waiting for this post :) Thank you for sharing! I've never been to New England, but thanks to you, Vermont is now top on my bucket list. I grew up in Ohio and love Fall, but haven't lived in a place that experiences it for a few years now. I always go back and watch your vlogs from Vermont several years ago to get my fix. So sad to hear that the Elliot House B&B is for sale. They can't do that! Not before I get a chance to stay there ;)
    PS- That first picture is incredible!

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