Journey’s A-Mazing Birthday in Vermont

The Great Vermont Corn Maze

A corn maze that you could actually get lost in always seemed like a fun thing to do. I have been in several corn mazes, but never one that was challenging and definitely not one I could get lost in. They are usually pretty small and only take a few minutes to get through. Our daughter Journey had a birthday coming and we wanted to do something different that would be fun for the whole family. When we found out that Vermont was home to New England’s largest corn maze, The Great Vermont Corn Maze, we decided it would be a great place to spend her birthday.

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Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour

We had never eaten Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream before

The original factory was near where we were staying in Vermont. Since we love ice cream and it was really close by, the decision to visit Ben &Jerry’s ice cream factory was easy. This place was more touristy than places we usually choose to visit and we knew that going in. The hope was that we could learn something about how their business is run and how ice cream is made commercially. Although the tour was short and the factory floor was between flavors so only the cleaning crew was working, we still learned lots during our tour.

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The Smallest Capital in America

Montpelier Vermont may be the smallest capital city in the US, but it is a great place to visit

The Vermont State House in Montpelier is made from granite quarried in the state because they really like to keep things local. Walking up to the building you will notice how well they keep the grounds. It is very pretty with a beautiful display of flowers leading up to the front steps. It made for some great pictures. Our tour guide did a great job of showing us the building and giving us some interesting facts. At the start of the tour she informed us that they will soon be redoing the gold dome and she brought out a “bar of gold” that would be equal in weight to what they put on the dome. The kids were thrilled to hold a “bar of gold.”

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Rock of Ages

Rocks. This family is a big fan of rocks. The kids collect them, we all are fascinated by their different formations, and of course climbing on them is fun too! So when we got to Vermont and heard they had this place called Rock of Ages we just had to go check it out. When we pulled into the parking lot we noticed a big yellow metal rider box. This is what they use to lift workers out of the granite quarry and they had one here that we could get into. Rock of Ages makes many things out of granite including some famous monuments. One of these famous monuments is the WWII memorial in Washington DC, this was pretty cool for us because we have recently visited the monument.

The granite quarry Rock of Ages gets it’s material from is one of the largest in the world. They had a really great visitors center where we were able to watch a video about how they get the blocks from the quarry and then turn them into beautiful works of art. We read the time line of the history of the company and then checked out some of their works as well. Just outside the visitors center and across the parking lot was the real reason to visit this place. In the 1950’s they were experimenting with making bowling lanes out of granite because it is very durable and weather resistant. If you have been to a bowling alley since the 1950’s you have probably noticed that the lanes are not made of granite. The reason for this is that the granite is too hard and overtime will break the bowling balls. However they still have one of the prototypes from that experiment available to anyone that visits to try out. The only difference is that you will be bowling with a rubber bowling ball and let me tell you it is very different. We tried it many times, it was a blast.

After several rounds of bowling we wandered into the factory for a free self guided tour. Unfortunately everyone had just gone to lunch so there wasn’t any work being done but we got to see the factory floor and some works in progress which gave us a pretty good idea of the process for completing their works. Before we left we stopped by the free sample bin to pick out small piece of granite to take with us. It was a very cool and interesting place and worth stopping in if you are ever in the area.

 

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Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks

Vermont is known for maple syrup, so what better way to start our time in Vermont than with a tour of a maple syrup farm? Maple season is actually in the spring so they were not making the syrup while we were there, but we stilled learned about the process. Maple syrup isn’t something I ever really thought much about, I just knew it was way more expensive than other syrups in the grocery stores. After visiting a real maple syrup farm, the      Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks, I have a much better understanding about making maple syrup. It takes forty gallons of tree sap to make a single gallon of maple syrup! The farmers need to charge more for their organic products and after tasting real maple sugar I don’t know if we will ever go back to the cheap imitation syrups. We really enjoyed exploring the farm. The kids loved hiking through the trees where we got to see the tubing hooked up that drains the sap. I especially enjoyed all the wood carvings that were scattered around the farm. It was an educational day spent learning about a farming tradition that goes back eight generations on the Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks. After sampling maple syrup and other yummy goodies we decided to get the kids creemees and a maple milk shake for the adults. It seems like a tradition for many of the locals because we kept seeing people stop in to get one for themselves. We enjoyed ours outside while we lounged in the beautiful fall weather, it was delicious. The fall foliage made a quaint backdrop and added to our experience as much as the great tasting treats. Near the swings the farm has a large model of the capitol building that was built for parades. It was nice to see another work of art, especially a capitol building since we are visiting them all. Afterwards we let the kids play on the swings for a spell, then we walked over to visit the goats. The kids had a blast petting and saying hello to these friendly mammals. It was a perfect finish to our afternoon spent touring The Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks where we all learned somethings about life on a maple sugar farm.

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