Quechee Gorge and Windsor Vermont

There’s something about the mountains of Vermont which speaks to me at a deep level. The winding roads, the gentle green slopes, the contrast between the lush mountains and the blue skies … it relaxes me almost immediately. Add to this the excellent local food and beer, and the fact that we can get there without touching the Mass Pike, I-495, or I-95, and you can begin to understand why I keep coming back.

To close out May of this year, we traveled with our friends Sean and Crystal and their daughter Olivia. We’ve traveled with them several times before, in both Vermont and the Berkshires. We have similar relaxed traveling styles when it comes to the outdoors and a love of great food, and our kids get along well too.

This time, we stayed at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations Mount Ascutney Resort, a small ski resort near Windsor, Vermont.

The resort itself is beautiful, spacious, and quiet (maybe too quiet for some — it’s certainly a vastly different feel than Smugglers’ Notch). In the photos above you can see the building we stayed in, as well as the views from the rear of the main building, looking out over a small pond and up at the hills.  If you look closely you can see a fire pit with firewood stacked near it; we enjoyed some relaxing time around this fire but not nearly enough.  There’s something about a fire pit and a good drink that erases weeks of stress per hour spent.

We drove on Saturday up to Windsor for a visit to The Harpoon Riverbend Taps and Beer Garden. The food was great, and the atmosphere a ton of fun. I highly recommend it if you’re in the area.

We enjoyed sampler flights and a good lunch, and then spent some time outside playing as families.

Unfortunately, we didn’t time things well and I missed out on the brewery tour.  Next time!

The next day we went up the road a bit further to Quechee Gorge, also known as Vermont’s Grand Canyon.  A hundred year old bridge here is 163 feet above the river below, and makes for jaw-dropping views in both directions.  The bridge has crosswalks at both ends and wide sidewalks making for excellent, safe exploration (once you get over your fear of heights).

There’s a few hiking trails near here and we did a short hike up the river to the beautiful Dewey’s Pond. Along the way I couldn’t help photograph some of the cool tree bark.

At the end of the trail, we caught tadpoles in the pond and watched kayakers go by the river bend.

After exploring the trails, we stopped at the nearby gift shop and ice cream store.

The next morning, before the rains hit, we did a bit of exploring the property. Little memories sometimes make the most difference; we floated sticks under a small bridge over a nearby stream and watched them go over a little waterfall.

It wasn’t a very long trip, but three nights in the mountains does a world of good.