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Small Town Gems of Vermont

Program No. 24038RJ
Discover the appeal of small-town living as you learn about the history, politics and people of three of Vermont’s most charming cities – Stowe, Montpelier and Middlebury.

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At a Glance

Go beyond the tourist trail to uncover historic treasures of the Green Mountain State. Discover the appeal of small-town living while staying at two of the state’s most charming inns and exploring lesser-known historical institutions like the UVM Morgan Horse Farm, Champlain Orchards and the Sheldon Museum, the nation’s oldest community-based museum. Study local government at the nation’s smallest capital, the Vermont State House, before unwinding at the beautiful Shelburne Vineyards with a private lecture and tasting. Experience the closeness of these tight-knit communities while venturing to the Waybury Inn, the set of the Bob Newhart Show, and spending two nights at the historic Green Mountain Inn. Delve into the countryside culture as you discover a new side of Vermont that few seldom see.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to 2 miles per day; standing up to 30 minutes at a time during presentations; walking on uneven terrain; getting on/off motor coach. The Middlebury Inn is an historic hotel and accessible rooms are limited. If unable to use stairs, elevator is available but manually operated by Inn staff, who are available 24 hours to offer assistance.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Stay at the wonderful Green Mountain Inn located in the heart of the Stowe Village.
  • Explore the Rock of Ages granite quarry, the largest of its kind in the Northeast, which produces a superior-grade granite used in monuments and building around the world.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the state’s history, politics and culture by exploring three of Vermont’s small towns.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Bill Suhr
Bill Suhr and wife Andrea Scott own Champlain Orchards, an idyllic Vermont farm that overlooks Lake Champlain and prides itself in growing a diversity of ecologically grown fruits and vegetables. With a commitment to Vermont’s local food economy, all of the farm’s vegetables are certified organic — as are three blocks of organic apples, as well as organic cherries, plums and peaches. The farm utilizes integrated pest management growing techniques.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Bill Suhr
Bill Suhr View biography
Bill Suhr and wife Andrea Scott own Champlain Orchards, an idyllic Vermont farm that overlooks Lake Champlain and prides itself in growing a diversity of ecologically grown fruits and vegetables. With a commitment to Vermont’s local food economy, all of the farm’s vegetables are certified organic — as are three blocks of organic apples, as well as organic cherries, plums and peaches. The farm utilizes integrated pest management growing techniques.
Profile Image of Brent Curtis
Brent Curtis View biography
Brent Curtis is a sixth-generation Vermonter who has led and entertained hundreds of visitors with stories, and back stories with the knowledge that only a special Group Leader can possess. A retired police detective, public outreach coordinator for Vermont Transportation, world traveler, and an award-winning broadcaster his lifetime of experience and knowledge in a host of states and countries comes to light when the wheels on the coach start turning.
While we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of our published materials, programs are typically advertised more than a year prior to their start date. As a result, some program activities, schedules, accommodations, personnel, and other logistics occasionally change due to local conditions or circumstances. Should a major change occur, we will make every effort to alert you. For less significant changes, we will update you during orientation. Thank you for your understanding.
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6 days
5 nights
11 meals
5 B 2 L 4 D
Individual arrivals & check ins, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Stowe, VT
Green Mountain Inn

Activity note: Some walking, level ground.

Dinner: At hotel, order from a limited menu, three course dinner, beverages, coffee, tea. Other beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Rock of Ages Granite Quarry, Montpelier, Vermont State House
Stowe, VT
Green Mountain Inn

Activity note: Some walking on uneven and unpaved surfaces, some hills, some standing during presentations, some stairs, getting on and off motorcoach. Total driving mileage of less than 100 miles.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet is served in the Main Dining room. Buffet includes breads and pastries, fresh fruit, eggs, breakfast meats, juices and coffee.

Morning: This morning we board our motorcoach for the Rock of Ages granite quarry. Our first stop takes us to Hope Cemetery where we will explore this historic place with beautiful granite memorials. Next we will meet our guide who will take us to the largest quarry in the Northeastern United States. Learn about the quarry, visit the museum and watch the masters in factory. Board the coach for a short trip to Barre, VT for lunch.

Lunch: Lunch is included today at a restaurant in Barre, VT.

Afternoon: Following lunch we will meet with a Friend of the State House who will take us on a guided exploration of this historic building. We will visit both chambers and historic reception rooms. We conclude our day with a visit to the Morse Maple Farm for an educational program on making syrup along with a traditional sugar - on - snow.

Dinner: Dinner is included this evening at a local restaurant.

Shelburne Museum, Shelburne Vineyards, Middlebury
Middlebury, VT
The Middlebury Inn

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles today, some grass, some hills, boarding motorcoach, total driving around 75 miles, 2 hours on coach

Breakfast: Breakfast is served at the lodge.

Morning: Luggage to the coach by 7:30 AM. Today we board the coach and begin our journey to Middlebury. Our first stop this morning takes us to the historic Shelburne Museum. We will have time to explore the museum on our own. The museum offers 37 exhibit buildings that include fine and folk art, quilts, blacksmiths, railroad station, lighthouses and much more. Our visit will include a private presentation aboard the M/S Ticonderoga which was the last side wheel steamship to operate on Lake Champlain.

Lunch: Lunch is on your own this afternoon at the museum cafe.

Afternoon: This afternoon we travel a short distance to the Shelburne Vineyards for a lecture about growing grapes in Vermont's harsh climate. We will explore a portion of the vineyard and facility. Following our talk we will enjoy a tasting. Following our visit to the vineyard we will continue to Middlebury where we will stay for the next three evenings. Check into the Middlebury Inn. Explore town on your own.

Dinner: Dinner is served at the inn.

Evening: This evening is free for relaxation and enjoyment at the inn.

Champlain Orchard, Sheldon Museum, Exploration of Middlebury
Middlebury, VT
The Middlebury Inn

Activity note: Some walking on hills, uneven ground up to two miles today. Getting on and off motorcoach. Motorcoach time of less than two hours.

Breakfast: Breakfast is served at the inn.

Morning: Today we travel to Champlain Orchards over looking beautiful Lake Champlain. Champlain is one of the oldest continuously operating Orchards in Vermont, they take pride in growing over 110 varieties of apples, as well as peaches, pears, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, and many berries. They are careful stewards of our land and grow all of our fruit following either strict Eco-Apple requirements or strict NOFA-VT Organic Growing Guidelines, while striving to minimize their carbon footprint and sustainably that contribute to their community.

Lunch: Today we enjoy a delicious soup and sandwich lunch served at the historic Waybury Inn (Home of the Bob Newhart Show). Lunch will include a piece of their wonderful Spice Cake along with the recipe. Other drinks are available for purchase.

Afternoon: This afternoon we visit the Henry Sheldon Museum. The Sheldon Museum is the oldest community-based Museum in the country and has welcomed visitors and researchers since 1884. In 2015, the Sheldon Museum announced a two-year alliance with Historic New England. Their mission is to serve the public by preserving the historic memory of Addison County and neighboring communities, heightening the awareness and enjoyment of our rich cultural legacy, and stimulating the study of connections between Vermont’s past and broader historical themes. We conclude our day with a trip to Woodchuck Cider, Vermont's first hard cider producer for a program and tasting. .

Dinner: Dinner is on your own this evening.

Evening: This evening enjoy a lively presentation from a local historian.

UVM Morgan Horse Farm, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum
Middlebury, VT
The Middlebury Inn

Activity note: Some walking on uneven, unpaved surfaces, barns, stairs or hills. Driving time about 2 hours. Getting on and off cruise boat on Lake Champlain.

Breakfast: Breakfast is included this morning at the inn.

Morning: This historic farm is a beacon for horse and history lovers, the UVM Morgan Horse Farm is home to the oldest, continuous Morgan horse breeding herd in the world. The farm was established in 1878 and is a historic site and a working farm of 40+ Morgans that is open to the public May through October annually. Here we will learn about this fabulous horse, meet many of them, explore the barns, enjoy a riding demonstration by staff and students.

Lunch: Lunch is on your own this afternoon in the charming town of Middlebury. Your group leader will help you find a restaurant if needed.

Afternoon: This afternoon we board the coach for the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. This non-profit museum focuses on the history and archeology of the lake. There are hundreds of historic shipwrecks in Lake Champlain. We will cruise and explore one of these underwater treasures. We take our boat to the site of one of these wrecks and go for a “dive” using an underwater Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). Our robotic camera sends back real-time video to an on-board monitor as we share the vessel’s dramatic story.

Dinner: A farewell dinner is included this evening at the inn.

Evening: This evening we enjoy some light entertainment and share our travels with your fellow participants.

Breakfast, Airport, Trapp Lodge for departures
Middlebury, VT

Activity note: Getting on and off the coach.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the inn.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll board our motorcoach and transfer back to the Burlington Airport, making a stop at the Airport and hotel as needed. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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