What to do in Vermont when traveling companion has mobility issues?
July 8, 2021 8:46 AM   Subscribe

A friend and I are taking a trip this month to see other friends in Vermont, about 20 miles from Montpelier. We'll be staying with those friends, so lodging isn't an issue. I'm looking for fun, sightseeing things to do within our ability to walk around.


-- 4 days, 3 nights trip

-- My mobility is OK, but my traveling companion walks with a cane and sometimes gets dizzy spells when they over exert themselves.

-- None of us are big nature-lovers... I mean, we're not nature haters or anything, just that camping and hiking are not activities we usually do.

-- Our hosts will likely be doing the sightseeing with us, and we'll all go back to their home each night, so no overnight stays elsewhere

Thank you!
posted by The Pluto Gangsta to Travel & Transportation around Vermont (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
On a rainy day, go see the Vermont state capitol building in Montpelier, a little gem. It is fully open for visitors although the legislature is not in session. Adjacent is the Vermont history museum. Both are fully accessible and have places to sit as needed. The capitol has a nice cafeteria which appears to be open.
posted by beagle at 9:01 AM on July 8, 2021

Best answer: I loved the Vermont History Museum! They also have information on the historical societies of other towns in Vermont.
You can get maple syrup and creamees (like a soft serve) from Morse Farm Sugarworks.
If you can get to Burlington, the community path is paved and accessible.
If you have any interest in historic buildings... the old State Hospital (Waterbury Asylum) was kind of neat. They have modernized the back of the building and I believe it is open to the public.
I know you said you're not really into nature/hiking, but there are a bunch of wheelchair/mobility-limited accessible boardwalk paths listed here (although they are kind of spaced out, so I'd only do it if one of the paths turns out to be convenient to your itinerary rather than going out of the way to see any one of these paths).
posted by gemutlichkeit at 9:03 AM on July 8, 2021

If you are into beer, Burlington has a cool microbrewery scene. Zero Gravity, Foam, Magic Hat, and Switchback are all in or around Burlington.

There's also the Vermont Cheese Trail which has a number of stops in the area.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:40 AM on July 8, 2021

Best answer: How far are you willing to drive?

The Calvin Coolidge historic site is about 1 1/2 hour away.

The Jericho historical society ( about 1/2 hour away)has a snowflake Bentley exhibit
posted by brujita at 11:03 AM on July 8, 2021

The Shelburne Museum will take up at least a full day. The grounds are fairly huge, but there's a shuttle to take you to the different buildings.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:05 AM on July 8, 2021

Best answer: Three very different recommendations:

About 45 minutes north of Montpelier, inside an old barn, lies the Museum of Everyday Life, an "ongoing revolutionary museum experiment" celebrating banality. Its mission is "a heroic, slow-motion cataloguing of the quotidian–a detailed, theatrical expression of gratitude and love for the miniscule and unglamorous experience of daily life in all its forms."

I have heard that the drive up the Stowe Toll Road, which takes you to an elevation of 3800 feet on Mount Mansfield, is worth the (rather steep?) price of admission.

Finally, if you are so inclined, in Montpelier proper you could do worse than to visit the bar at the Caledonia Spirits distillery, AKA Barr Hill for a fancy cocktail. Outdoor seating only, currently. Sit by the bar, if you can, to watch them make the drinks.
posted by baseballpajamas at 11:42 AM on July 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Depending on whether you are north or south of Montpelier here are a few options.
South: Billings Farm and Museum in Woodstock, Vermont Institute of Natural Science (raptors, yay!) Maple creemees in Randolph at Silloway Farm or Woods Maple on the weekend. Have lunch at Chefs Market in Randolph- they have outdoor seating currently. Rock of Ages Quarry and the Granite Museum are both in Barre, there is a rich history of stone cutting and quarrying. You can drive around the Hope Cemetery which has some wild gravestones.

North: Museum of Everyday Life, Bread and Puppet museum are very close to Glover, there is a new market there and on the weekends the best donuts ever at Red Sky trading. Hardwick is also a neat little town with a few good options for lunch. Go through Stowe-and keep going over Smugglers Notch or stop before you get there and drive up the toll road on Mt Mansfield. It is worth the $ as mentioned above. I would go on a weekday. Burlington is fun, but can be a lot of walking depending on where you are. The Shelburne museum is huge, but there are shuttles to get around. There's always something interesting on exhibit and their permanent collections are amazing. The circus exhibit and the Ticonderoga are two of my favorites.
Enjoy your trip!
posted by bookrach at 12:45 PM on July 8, 2021

If you have decent weather, Hope Cemetery in Barre, next door to Montpelier, has some impressive granite gravestones. It's a fun way for a person who walks slowly to get some outdoor time.

(On preview: I see it's already been recommended, but I'll post just to get the link out there.)
posted by brianogilvie at 1:01 PM on July 8, 2021

Best answer: Oh hey the gang's all here! 20 Miles outside of Montpelier can be a few different directions

- Barre to down near me (Randolph direction)! I really like VINS which does not have a lot of walking but is quite pretty, nice raptors you can learn about, there is an accessible canopy walk depending on people's abilities. If your hosts have a nearby participating public library, you may be able to get passes that get you in cheaply. Woodstock is a cute little town to walk around and would be good for food. I also agree Hope Cemetery is something, can take it at your own pace and the granite museum is small and interesting. My fave eatery nearby is the 103 year old Wayside. Comfort food, local drinks, excellent service, cheap prices.
- Towards Burlington: there are a lot of nice places to take in the lake, excellent places to get good beer or coffee, Shelburne Museum is fascinating. If this is the direction you're in, you'll have no trouble finding spots.
- North - I also like the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium as well as the St J. Atheneum a grand old library with a small and interesting art gallery.
- East - White River Junction has some nifty stuff in it and you'd be near Dartmouth (neat campus, libraries). Hanover has a cute walkable downtown and a good movie theater.

I also agree that the capitol building is nice to walk around in (and not too overwhelming) and getting a maple creemee somewhere on your trip is a must as long as everyone is ok with soft serv. We have a place in town here, Silloway Maple which has a creemee window and there are a lot of places with various offerings. Please DM me if I can give any more feedback, happy to help.
posted by jessamyn at 10:12 AM on July 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Wanted to thank everyone for their help! The weather was a pretty serious factor in our decision making; the rain and fog meant that most outdoor stuff was a non-starter.

We did wind up going to Silloway Maple and got a tour of their main barn, although the weather and terrain didn't let us get much a view of their forest.

We also went to the American Precision Museum in Windsor, which we learned about at one of the highway hospitality stops. it was a bit of a drive but the topic was interesting.

We also visited the Museum of Everyday Life, which was as cool as the people who recommended it said it would be, and also the Rock of Ages Quarry, which offered a tour that kept us mostly in our cars.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta at 1:29 PM on July 26, 2021 [1 favorite]

« Older How do I entertain a teen around Crown Heights?   |   Explain it like I'm five: high-pitched sounds and... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments