As I understand, a lament of long-time Upstaters is that the area is hailed as “close to many great sights.” I don’t think that adage is necessarily taking away from the great places in Upstate, but it’s rather another benefit to the area.
I experienced that myself when hubs and I did a whirlwind tour of Vermont. We left on a Saturday morning and returned on Sunday afternoon. It was a quick little jaunt, yet it felt like just the right amount of time for an introductory course.
The library is a fantastic place to do pre-trip research. I checked out a book on Vermont and started to loosely plot our course. I learned that the #1 tourist attraction in Vermont is the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, so that was the first stop on our adventure.
Located in Waterbury, VT, it took us approximately 3 hours from Albany to get to the B&J Factory.
The entire factory area that we saw was very much “in brand” with the recognizable colors, images, font, and general whimsey everywhere.
We paid the $3 fee each and took a tour of the working factory. We saw a 10 minute video on the history of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and hubs wondered why only that single photo of Ben and Jerry themselves is used. It is odd. Anyway, we were then brought onto a tall observation deck and saw the ice cream production area. It was spotless and looked like a standard food factory.
I wasn’t allowed to take any photos during the tour, but hubs snapped one when I was enjoying the sample at the end of the 30 minute adventure. The sample was Boston Cream pie which I wasn’t crazy about. So we bought a cone at the on-site Scoop Shop, too.
The factory grounds are very cute. We tried to get into this bus er…cowmobile, but it was locked.
There is a nice playground for kids (y’know, to work off the energy from all that sugar!) and just beyond the playground is the “Flavor Graveyard.” This little park area is set up with tombstones for the flavors that have been retired. Each tombstone has a quirky little phrase on it that’s quite clever. My favorite is below.
I recommend a stop at the Ben & Jerry’s Factory, but think you could get the bulk of the experience by skipping the tour and just getting some ice cream and walking around yourself. The gift shop is also amusing and has all the standard fare including t-shirts, ice cream scoops, pencils, etc. Interestingly, the gift shop sold bags of the fudge fish from Phish Food…I was tempted, but resisted!
Click here for the second post about our Vermont adventure!