The Green Mountain State calls us back again and again in the summertime. The days are warm enough for swimming in lakes and rivers, and the nights are cool and comfortable. It’s perfect weather for curling up around the campfire with a blanket and book…and sleeping with all the windows open.
But this heavenly New England weather doesn’t last long, and if you blink you will miss it.
So where do we camp in Vermont when we want to escape the humidity of the Mid-Atlantic states?
Two years ago we discovered a little gem of a campground called the Quechee/Pine Valley KOA, and we fell in love. The property is filled with towering and fragrant pine trees, and it is immaculately clean and lovingly managed. It also served as a perfect base camp for exploring an area that is rich with options for family adventure.
The owners, Michael and Cindy Scruggs, make great recommendations for their guests–and they did just that for us two years ago. I emailed them before arriving and Cindy sent me back a great list of hikes and activities that were perfect for our family:
We climbed to the top of Mount Tom and enjoyed looking down at the picture perfect town of Woodstock in the valley below.
And we hiked down into the Quechee Gorge, known as Vermont’s Little Grand Canyon, and splashed around in one of the dozens of small, rocky pools at the bottom.
And we visited the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS) and watched a falconry display.
So when Vermont started whispering our names again, we knew a return trip to the Quechee/Pine Valley KOA was in order. We left last time feeling like there was so much more to explore, and we were right.
Before trying anything new we headed back to the Gorge. The boys had so much fun there last time. This time was even better. The water was running higher and it was perfect for a gentle float down the Ottauquechee River. We must have floated down the river and swam back upstream over a dozen times. By the end of the day my arms felt like spaghetti.
The next morning Cindy recommended that we visit the Montshire Museum of Science and, like all of her recommendations, it was amazing. We could barely rip the boys away. They loved the gigantic building blocks and quickly became engrossed in the hands on (and very kid friendly) class on batteries and motors. If you go, plan on exploring the indoor exhibits first, and then head outside to get wet in the “water and how it moves” exhibit.
The next day was all about cheese and maple syrup. We arrived early at Sugarbush Farms and were delighted to walk into their country store and find copious amounts of free samples.
Employees are there to give individualized tastings of the syrup and cheeses. Our family stood around a small butcher block and learned about lighter and darker syrups. Then we got to taste our way through 12 different cheddars and jacks. The young lady helping us was kind enough to end with another round of syrup shots for the boys.
As always, Max and Theo enjoyed their time back at the campground the most. This trip ended up being extra memorable because they learned to ride their bikes during our time here. After less than a half hour of “training” with mom and dad they were whipping around the campground with complete confidence and joy.
Many other campers applauded them and gave them high fives throughout the day. The bottom loop of the campground became their own personal bike trail. Wesley had to join in of course. He must have done about 50 circuits on his pedal free balance bike.
At one point Cindy came out of the camp store to watch the boys riding their bikes. She said, “I just had to come outside and take a look! It’s so nice to see kids playing outside these days.”
I knew exactly what she meant. It is so nice watching kids play outside these days. Especially when it’s at a great campground, in the summertime, in Vermont.
We didn’t blink and we didn’t miss it.