48 Hours in Addison County for Outdoor Enthusiasts
In search of a place to soak up the summer sun and enjoy all New England’s natural landscape has to offer? Look no further than Addison County, Vermont.
From hiking to biking to cliff jumping, there’s no better place to enjoy the outdoors than our little slice of Vermont. We’ve rounded up all our favorite local spots for outdoor enthusiasts – so grab your gear and follow our guide through 48 hours in our beautiful Green Mountain State. We guarantee that by the end, you won’t want to leave.
Located in the heart of the Green Mountains, the Vermont Bed and Breakfast at Russell Young Farm offers incredible mountain views, a cozy, quaint atmosphere, and a real taste of Vermont: pick your own fresh fruits in their orchard, and enjoy a breakfast of eggs from their own roost. If you’re looking for something a little less traditional, try Bristol’s New Leaf Yurt, tucked into a wooded hillside and only a 30-minute drive from the Burlington airport. For an even more adventurous experience, rent a camper from Good2Go Camping. Pick a camper and they’ll deliver it to your chosen campsite, fully stocked with all the essentials – and once you’re ready to leave, they'll take care of the clean up, too!
6pm: Dinner at American Flatbread
Head back to the historic Marble Works District to refuel and carbo-load with pizza and a view. American Flatbread has several locations across Vermont, but Middlebury’s hearth offers an unbelievable view of Otter Creek’s falls that’s hard to beat. Grab a Medicine Wheel and an Evolution Salad (we recommend adding Vermont Creamery chevre) and take a seat on the theater-style rock seating facing the gorgeous falls.
7:30pm: Catch the sunset at D.A.R. State Park
Located right on the shores of Lake Champlain, D.A.R. State Park is the perfect place to catch one of Vermont’s show-stopping sunsets. One of the earliest-settled areas in all of Vermont (with “evidence of human activity and habitation dating back over 7,500 years”!), 95 acres of Addison land were donated to the State by the Daughters of the American Revolution for the creation of this park in 1955. D.A.R. offers 47 tent/RV sites and 25 lean-to sites if you want to stay the night, and there are two horseshoe pits and a volleyball net so you can have some fun before the sun sets and stretch your legs after hours in the car. Snack on your flatbread leftovers in the picnic area on the bluff above the lake, or kick back in the lovely stone pavilion and celebrate Vermont’s beauty.
8:45: Get a creemee at Goodie’s
Known for its gargantuan creemees (some reviews claim “at least a foot tall”!) Goodie's is a great way to make your first night in Vermont even sweeter. Unless you’re incredibly hungry, we recommend steering towards the mini creemees and further from the large. With gorgeous views, perfectly creamy creemees, and generous portions, there’s no mystery as to why this cute spot is a summer staple for locals.
5am: Sunrise hike to Theron Dean Shelter in Starksboro
Catch your first Vermont sunrise from the Theron Dean Shelter on the Long Trail in Starksboro. Following the Long Trail south from Appalachian Gap to this shelter will take you on a beautiful 3.6-mile round trip with a ~943-foot elevation gain. Although a relatively short hike, the terrain is slightly tricky and there are lots of things to explore along the way (rock scrambles, ladders, and even a cave). This hike (and wakeup time) is a bit of a challenge, but it is well worth the effort.
9am: Breakfast at Juice Amour
Get a burst of natural energy after your hike from Juice Amour’s fresh, raw, organic selection. Completely gluten-free and vegan, its menu its vast and has something for everyone: delicious juices, smoothies, chia puddings, acai bowls, salads, and an assortment of fresh-cut fruit make a refreshing breakfast to kick off your weekend. The Sweet Immunity juice is the perfect boost for any post-travel fatigue, and their delicious Classic Warm Belly Jar, full of oats, chia, and fresh fruit, will provide plenty of energy for the day ahead.
10am: Prep for the weekend in Middlebury
Stock up on any outdoor gear you might need for your VT adventures at Middlebury Mountaineer/Green Mountain Adventures, and pick a read from Vermont Book Shop’s wonderfully diverse library for tomorrow’s sunbathing at Bristol Falls. Middlebury’s downtown has lots of places to shop, sit, and eat, so take your time strolling through (especially while crossing the bridge over beautiful Otter Creek).
11:30am: Take a dip in Lake Dunmore at Branbury State Park
Situated at the base of Mount Moosalamoo with the Green Mountain National Forest right to the east, Branbury State Park has an activity for every visitor. Lake Dunmore provides ample fun on the water, from swimming to fishing to boating, and don’t forget your bike/hiking boots: nearby trails lead to waterfalls, caves, mountain lakes, and streams. Stand-up paddle boards, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, and rowboats are available to rent, and there’s a volleyball net and plenty of picnic tables for more fun in the sun.
1pm: Grab some fuel at Costello’s Market
A good, hearty lunch at Italian market and deli Costello’s Market is the perfect pre-trail fuel to keep you full and energized through your workout. Meat-eaters can’t miss The Classic, the quintessential Italian sub with salami as the star. For vegetarians, the Veggie sandwich and eggplant parm are sublime, and the selection of salads is hard to beat. No matter what you order, make sure to soak up some rays in their beautiful outdoor seating area in the historic Marble Works District.
2pm: Take the Trail Around Middlebury
Maintained by the Middlebury community, this trail network is open year-round and provides some of the most stunning views in the area. Whether hiking, biking, or dog-walking, this local gem is perfect for exploring some of the best trails the area has to offer. The network includes Middlebury College Trails, Jackson Trail, Johnson Trail, Otter Creek Gorge Preserve, Wright Park, Chipman Hill, Battell & Means Woods, Jeffrey Murdock Nature Preserve, Boathouse Bridge, and Prunier Road Trail Spur and the it’s really a choose-your-own-adventure: you can explore as many or as few trails in the network as you’d like – all that matters is that you’re getting out there and having fun. Much of the TAM crosses over private property, so remember: only take photos, and only leave footprints.
6pm: Grab some grub at Mad Taco
Incredible house-smoked meats, delicious hot sauces, and an incredible location make this popular Latin spot a Middlebury must-stop. We love the smoked pork & kimchi tacos and the Margarita de Casa, but there are plenty of vegetarian options (and a killer kids’ menu!). Conveniently located right off of Main Street, the outdoor seating offerings are some of the best in town. Take your tacos to go and enjoy golden hour and the gorgeous river views from the patio or the benches on the lawn.
9:00am: Get some air at Vermont Skydiving Adventures
Can you imagine a more memorable way to start your last day in VT than a skydive? We can’t. Founded in 1992 by skydiving enthusiast Ole Thomsen, Vermont Skydiving Adventures is a self-proclaimed “Mom and Pop operation,” driven by Thomsen’s true lifelong passion for skydiving. They have lots of dive options for every skill level, from tandem skydiving to accelerated freefall training to static line, and they’re even qualified to license well-trained skydivers. For a tandem skydive – the recommendation for newbies – you’ll only need 20 minutes of training before you’re in the air. Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or you just want a good story, this is the perfect start to your Sunday.
10:30am: Brunch on the 3 Squares Café patio
If you want a morning start with less adrenaline, this delicious spot is a downtown Vergennes staple, and serves breakfast until 2pm. 3 Squares’ “fresh yet hearty creations'' capture a taste of our Green Mountain State; from locally roasted coffee to local meats, soups, and baked goods, you can be sure you’re starting the day like a true Vermonter. The Challah French Toast can satisfy any sweet tooth, and if you’re a pesto fan, don’t miss the Green Eggs & Ham!
1pm: Spend the afternoon at Bristol Falls
Grab some sunscreen and a swimsuit, and enjoy Vermont’s best attraction of all: its beautiful outdoors. With both deep and shallow waters and a walkable trail nearby, this incredible 14-foot waterfall and swimming hole is the perfect place to soak up Bristol’s natural landscape. Whether you’re interested in cliff jumping (rope swing optional), sunbathing, or simply taking in some gorgeous views, Bristol Falls (also known as Bartlett Falls) has activities for everyone.
3pm: Go for a climb
For more experienced climbers, southern Vermont has ample outdoor terrain to boulder or lead climb – and plenty of indoor climbing gyms if you’d prefer the reassurance of a soft floor below you. Smugglers’ Notch is a prime spot for bouldering, or you can make a trip back to Branbury State Park for Lake Dunmore’s small collection of “modestly sized crags” to explore.
6pm: Dinner at Black Sheep Bistro
Treat yourself after a long day (and a well-deserved shower) to a meal at one of Vergennes’ best dinner spots. With an incredible French bistro ambience and even better farm-to-table French food, Black Sheep Bistro is the perfect place to recharge after an afternoon on the trails. With a long list of glowing reviews and an incredible menu with homemade sauces and the freshest meats and produce, you’ll have no trouble unwinding here. This beautiful spot is a totally delicious way to say goodbye to VT (for now).
Book your trip today, and come soak up all of Vermont's natural wonders in beautiful Addison County.
This page was created with support from the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, Tourism & Economic Recovery Grants.