Tagged with "food"
9 Aug
2017
Posted in: travel
By    No Comments

Take a Trip: Ben & Jerry’s Factory

Ben & Jerry's photo op

During the initial planning stages for our epic road trip this summer, I made a list of all of the states we’d travel through and researched top destinations. The Ben & Jerry’s Factory continually popped up in my research as a fun family destination in Vermont, but it was more north than we planned to be in Vermont and seemed out of the way. We were making the trek to the Northeast to see first-hand where important beginnings of our country occurred. We can now confirm that a short tour of the Ben & Jerry’s Factory and the promise of ice cream is a great family-friendly excursion among the history lessons.

Ben & Jerry's factory tour ticket

Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is a a treat we indulge in occasionally while our children sleep. They’re on to us, so visiting the factory was like joining a club their parents had been keeping secret from them. You can’t purchase tickets ahead of time for the 30-minute tour. During summer the tours run 9 a.m.-8 p.m. We arrived at 5 p.m. to a full parking lot and a crowd of people. If you visit and find the parking lot packed, don’t panic yet. We learned there is a second parking lot up the hill toward the milk tanks that had plenty of parking. While the gift shop was crowded, it was easy to get all six of us on the next tour. We paid $4 per person over the age of 12, and those 12 and under were free.

ice cream milk and sugar tanks at Ben & Jerry's Factory

The tour starts near the gift shop. The color choices throughout the area are reminiscent of Ben & Jerry’s packaging. There are tables to sit and wait at with various historical ice cream related items like scoops around the vicinity. The tour takes visitors up a flight of stairs to a small theatre where a short video is shown giving an overview of the history of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. It was engaging and informational.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream line

The best part of the tour is one you can’t take photos or videos of: the factory floor. Visitors are taken to an enclosed area looking over the factory floor. They were producing pistachio ice cream during our visit. Each step in the process is explained while visitors watch it happen. We’ve been on a couple factory tours and seeing how things are made never gets old. Ben & Jerry’s did not disappoint.

ice cream sample testing at Ben & Jerry's Factory

The end of the tour concludes with a sample of ice cream and some funny jokes from the tour guide. It’s a generous serving of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. You don’t have a choice in flavors, but I don’t know that you can go wrong with Ben & Jerry’s. Visitors can also purchase more ice cream outside, including a maple walnut variety only available at the Vermont factory. We enjoyed waffle cones of ice cream before walking around the grounds surrounding the factory.parents eating ice cream at Ben & Jerry's Factory

Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavor graveyard

A Flavor Graveyard sits at the top of a hill overlooking the factory. Tombstones are engraved with puny, witty epitaphs dedicated to flavors that are no longer manufactured. The tombstones fit perfectly with my own sense of humor. We walked around the small graveyard reading each tombstone before taking a short walk to visit a couple of dairy cows that live on the property.

Ben & Jerry's ice cream headstone

The Ben & Jerry’s Factory was a manageable tourist destination. I’m more of a museum and memorial person, but enjoyed our visit. Vermont is a gem in the U.S. It’s called the green mountain state for a very good reason. The rolling hills covered in green are a treat to drive through. I loved the quaintness of the small towns we were in, and the people were sociable. It’s in the top five of states I’d moved to if I was forced to leave Wyoming, and a state I’d love to explore more.


 
May Madness
By     |    May 13, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    No Comments

May Madness

The month of May is when I’m in high-mama gear. Four school-aged children means that on any given weekday from now until the last day of school, someone has a field trip or track or junior Olympics or an assembly or a concert. Some days it’s multiple children requesting a parent make an appearance. If field tripper was a profession, that would be my career in May. The build-up to the end of the school year starts at the beginning... [Read More]

Read more
Power in Cupcakes
By     |    Jan 22, 2016
Posted in: parenting     |    No Comments

Power in Cupcakes

I’m awful at recognizing my limits. I knew I was approaching my stress threshold this week, but kept pushing. Yesterday, I reached my breaking point. My self-induced pressure to fix a situation was causing me stress which was making my household miserable. I couldn’t be done with yesterday fast enough. I needed a start over something fierce. Today was not a day for emails, meetings or phone calls. Today there were surprise cupcakes at elementary school lunch and coffee with... [Read More]

Read more
Tips for Gingerbread House Construction
By     |    Dec 17, 2015
Posted in: projects     |    No Comments

Tips for Gingerbread House Construction

The last time I made a traditional gingerbread house was years ago. Everything was chugging along smoothly until the three boys realized their were only two sides to the roof. The fun was sucked right out of house decorating. The best part of a gingerbread house is the roof for my kids. My job became referee. Heaven helps us if one brother had more design input on the roof than the other brothers. We finished the house, and I vowed... [Read More]

Read more
Project-Based Learning: My Favorite Way to Learn
By     |    Dec 9, 2015
Posted in: parenting     |    No Comments

Project-Based Learning: My Favorite Way to Learn

I’m not a teacher, but I am in my eighth year of having at least one child in the public school system. I’ve witnessed a wide-range of teaching styles and been bombarded with acronyms. I firmly believe schools should give parents acronym cheat-sheets to aid parents in understanding what educators are talking about. There are styles of learning my kids are drawn to more than others. Currently, we’re immersed in project-based learning or PBL. My kids are energized by PBL... [Read More]

Read more
5 Reasons to Visit Key West
By     |    Oct 13, 2015
Posted in: travel     |    1 Comment

5 Reasons to Visit Key West

When we started planning our epic road trip to Florida, I knew we had to visit Key West. I’m drawn to superlative places…the biggest, tallest, longest, farthest. Key West is the southernmost point in the United States. For that reason alone, I had to visit the quirky destination. I wasn’t prepared for how much I would enjoy the atmosphere in the Keys. Southernmost Point — I knew I would regret not trekking through the entire state of Florida to stand... [Read More]

Read more
Walt Disney World: Epcot
By     |    Jul 29, 2015
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Walt Disney World: Epcot

My feelings on Walt Disney World’s Epcot are complicated. It’s the park geared toward adults with smaller crowds and more free space to wander. The pace was less frantic giving the illusion of being a tourist in a different country taking in architecture and food instead of a typical theme park. I didn’t feel pressured to hurry from place-to-place, which was a welcome break from other parks in Disney World, mainly Magic Kingdom. BUT, I would have enjoyed Epcot more... [Read More]

Read more
Planning for Walt Disney World
By     |    Jul 8, 2015
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Planning for Walt Disney World

I have two words for potential visitors to Walt Disney World: be prepared. Seriously, don’t arrive in Orlando thinking everything will be magical without planning beforehand. There is a lot happening at Walt Disney World. It’s important to know your options and fit those with your family. Everyone’s trip to Disney World looks a little different, much like a fingerprint. Our visit was fast and furious. We’ve visited Disneyland in California twice and felt our experiences there would be helpful.... [Read More]

Read more
Time Away from Parenting
By     |    Apr 20, 2015
Posted in: parenting, travel     |    No Comments

Time Away from Parenting

A date night for my husband and I consists of eating takeout in the living room while we watch a movie after putting kids to bed. We rarely spend time together without one or more of our children. I enjoy the kids, most of the time. We do have a tween who tests my annoyance levels (on purpose). Still, they’re good people. The kids are at ages where we can all go do just about everything I want to do... [Read More]

Read more
Essentials for Family Road Trips
By     |    Apr 2, 2015
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Essentials for Family Road Trips

It’s spring break, and we’re staying home for the first time in years. We have an epic road trip planned this summer and vacation days are being stockpiled for the adventure. I’m antsy to hit the highways, Interstates and (sometimes) unpaved county roads to discover new places in the USA. Even though we’re months away from our next major family road trip, I’ve already started packing in my head. I have lists tucked away in notebooks for items to pack.... [Read More]

Read more
St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Mischief
By     |    Mar 17, 2015
Posted in: parenting     |    No Comments

St. Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Mischief

I’m a sucker for fairy tales, unicorns and magic. The wave of a wand, pixie dust and true love’s kiss were the root of my dreams as a little girl. Daily life  can be harsh, unforgiving and difficult to navigate. I try to fill childhood at our house with a little bit of magic and wonder. Our house has hosted a wee mischievous leprechaun for quite a few years. She makes an appearance while we sleep March 16. There’s always... [Read More]

Read more
Free Family Activities in Denver Area
By     |    Feb 18, 2015
Posted in: travel     |    No Comments

Free Family Activities in Denver Area

It was evident for weeks that my family needed to regroup. Three basketball teams and one cheer team with practices and games had the drivers in this house worn down. I was tired of an hour here or there of time with all six of us. I’m greedy about family time. We knew our school district had a four-day weekend in February, and we decided to leave the to-do list at home for a mini-retreat. We spent a few days... [Read More]

Read more