Tagged with "road trip"
9 Aug
2017
Posted in: travel
By    Comments Off on Take a Trip: Ben & Jerry’s Factory

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.


 
Cuyahoga Valley: An Urban Park
By     |    Jul 20, 2017
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on Cuyahoga Valley: An Urban Park

Cuyahoga Valley: An Urban Park

I had predisposed ideas about Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. I knew it was large with an extensive trail system, waterfalls and a covered bridge. What we found was the most urban national park we’ve visited. The park, our first major stop on our epic road trip, is not far from both Akron and Cleveland. It’s a refuge for animals and people alike in the bustling urban sprawl. We visited on a weekend, and the park was busy. The... [Read More]

Read more
East Coast Road Trip Debriefing
By     |    Jul 18, 2017
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on East Coast Road Trip Debriefing

East Coast Road Trip Debriefing

5,905 miles. Three weeks. 21 states. I can guess what people will say each time I recite theses details about our most recent epic road trip. People think we’re “amazing” to take our children on an adventure of that caliber, but cannot fathom doing anything similar. We’ve been called crazy. People think there’s some trick for getting our children to travel for weeks and swear their families would not survive the journey. This was the second time we’ve been on... [Read More]

Read more
Fighting Through Travel Anxiety
By     |    Jun 16, 2017
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on Fighting Through Travel Anxiety

Fighting Through Travel Anxiety

I’m at the point in vacation planning where I think it’s best to cancel our plans. This happens every time we travel, whether we’ll be gone for five days or three weeks. I’m overwhelmed by the planning process and dreading the packing. My anxiety has me worrying about everything from flat tires to lost hotel reservations to vomiting children to terrorists and everything in between. I can’t even think about the crowds of people and lines we’ll encounter. We’ll stay... [Read More]

Read more
Five Favorite Family Vacation Destinations
By     |    May 25, 2017
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on Five Favorite Family Vacation Destinations

Five Favorite Family Vacation Destinations

My list of places to vacation is extensive while the allotted vacation days are finite. I like picking the brains of fellow travelers for tips on destinations we have planned and will talk your ear off if you venture to ask for ideas of places to visit. This is the time of year I’m asked quite often for vacation ideas. Most of my suggestions are for outdoor lovers and those who don’t have a fortune to spend on vacation. We’ve... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Badlands National Park
By     |    Apr 3, 2017
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on Take a Trip: Badlands National Park

Take a Trip: Badlands National Park

We visited Badlands National Park for the fourth time this weekend. After several friends mentioned not knowing about the park, which is four hours from our home, I thought it needed some love. Our first three visits to the park were in the summer months when it’s crowded and hot. A spring visit was much more to our liking. There were no crowds. We didn’t have to circle around for a parking spot at the visitor center or any trailhead.... [Read More]

Read more
Joy in a Staycation
By     |    Mar 27, 2017
Posted in: uncategorized     |    Comments Off on Joy in a Staycation

Joy in a Staycation

My preference is to leave town whenever possible. I like to explore and discover new places. We’re on a staycation this spring break, and I was dreading it. I longed to spend our five school-free weekdays somewhere other than here. We’re stockpiling vacation days for an upcoming summer road trip, so home is where we are for the week. Technically we have small getaways planned for the weekends buffering spring break week and a small excursion mid-week. We’re only partially on... [Read More]

Read more
Different Side of Las Vegas: Valley of Fire State Park
By     |    Feb 12, 2017
Posted in: photography, travel     |    Comments Off on Different Side of Las Vegas: Valley of Fire State Park

Different Side of Las Vegas: Valley of Fire State Park

Quite a few people in our circle of friends will be spending Spring Break in Las Vegas. I’ve replied to a few inquiries about family-friendly ideas in Vegas on the cheap and outdoor activities that don’t include sitting poolside. We’ve been through Las Vegas numerous times one our way to and from other adventures like Disneyland, Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park. My go-to suggestion for people staying in Vegas who want an outdoor adventure is Valley... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Great Lakes Love
By     |    Dec 29, 2016
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on Take a Trip: Great Lakes Love

Take a Trip: Great Lakes Love

For someone who has spent almost 40 years living near mountains, I sure do love the beach. I love the sound of the waves crashing. I love the feel of sand in my toes. I love the pure joy my kids have in the water. However, I don’t love what the salt does to skin or hair. I don’t love the smell of the saltwater-soaked towels or swimsuits. This summer I learned the perfect substitute for the ocean is the... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Discovering History
By     |    Dec 28, 2016
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on Take a Trip: Discovering History

Take a Trip: Discovering History

We’re only a few weeks into winter in Wyoming, and I’m over it. The mounds of snow followed by hurricane-strength winds, seriously 70+ miles per hour, wears me down and makes me irritable. I’m finishing 2016 with a few posts looking back on our summer adventures while I begin planning our 2017 vacations. For me, gifting our children with experiences is the most ideal way to teach them. We travel a lot by car because it allows us to see... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
By     |    Nov 10, 2016
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on Take a Trip: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Take a Trip: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

All outdoor enthusiasts or lovers of beautiful landscapes should place Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan on a must-see list of places to visit. The foliage-covered sandstone cliffs of Pictured Rocks rise above the aquamarine water of Lake Superior lending itself to picturesque views around every bend. I couldn’t get enough of the landscape. While the view was truly mesmerizing, our nemesis on the trip, stable flies, were in full-force. Stable flies are quite possibly the worst insect we’ve encountered... [Read More]

Read more
Take a Trip: Apostle Islands and Keweenaw Peninsula
By     |    Nov 9, 2016
Posted in: travel     |    Comments Off on Take a Trip: Apostle Islands and Keweenaw Peninsula

Take a Trip: Apostle Islands and Keweenaw Peninsula

There have been several places we’ve visited that we hope to visit again when children are older and physically capable of doing more. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin is one of those places. I hope to go back and try kayaking Lake Superior. During our July vacation stop at Apostle Islands we enjoyed hiking a mainland trail to view “sea” caves. We hiked most of the Lakeshore Trail which begins at Meyers Beach. We only saw a handful of... [Read More]

Read more