Monday, October 18, 2010

Happy 21st Birthday!

First sight of the 21 year old!
I do some of my best thinking while running and one of the better ideas I have had is to take each of my children on a trip of their choice for their 21st birthday. It is a trip for just the two of us and is a great memory for both of us to share.  I came up with this when I realized I have no recollection of how I celebrated my 21st birthday and I didn't want that to be the case for them, plus with them getting older and their lives getting busier, opportunities like this won't always be available.

My oldest turned 21 in 2009 and we visited Seattle together.  This month child #2 turned 21 and she picked a trip to Vermont.  We went on our trip this past week.
Beautiful fall colors
We spent 4 days in Vermont starting in Burlington and visiting a different part of the state each day as well as a day trip to New Hampshire.  For those of you who experience fall every year it may be no big deal, but we have not lived in a part of the country that has fall for 16+ years.  So traveling to a cooler climate with beautiful fall scenery is very exciting.  To the locals we were considered leaf peepers and Vermont is a popular destination.
Franconia Notch State Park, NH
In making a schedule for our trip, we considered what Vermont had to offer as well as what interested us and created a daily itinerary.  We were not bound to this but we have found that we enjoy our trips so much more, when we are well prepared. It takes a lot of preplanning, but is well worth it.  

Day 1 - Highlights in downtown Burlington:  We ate lunch at Stone Soup and had delicious sandwiches on fresh baked bread.  We walked throughout the Marketplace and visited some shops. 

Day 2 - Highlights included an early morning visit to Ben & Jerry's Factory for a tour.  We beat the crowd and got there when they opened @ 9:00am.  A cow greeted us in the parking lot and we got a sample of Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream at the end.  Ice Cream is a great way to start the day!

While there, I visited the flavor graveyard and was saddened and surprised by one of the flavors I saw.
How could this be???  This is the ultimate flavor combination.  

Next we went to the Burlington Pumpkin Festival at the waterfront just in time to see the pumpkin races. 
Yes, those are real pumpkins hollowed out and used as a boat.  They are not easily controlled and are easy to tip. 

Day 3 - Highlights started with food.  I found this fabulous little diner in Lincoln, NH.

It only has 6 booths and counter service.  I had the best breakfast of the trip. Corned beef hash, eggs  and hash browns with a homemade chocolate whoopie pie to go.

We got an early start because we had plans to go zip-lining through the White Mountains. We made reservations through Alpine Adventures.  In a group of twelve we zipped six lines on the Tree Top Canopy Tour over a 2-hour time period.   You actually zip from tree to tree.

On the last run they have you climb up on a platform surrounding one pine tree and the take off is a free fall.  We decided to leave it all on the course and both dropped off backwards!!  WOW!!  What a great ending to a super experience (and I don't like heights). We both want to go again.

Day 4 - Highlight was a trip to an apple farm and Shelburne Farms.  It is a historic working farm with beautiful trails and farm animals (donkeys, pigs, chickens, goats, sheep, llamas, cows)

Looks just like Donkey from Shrek

We couldn't leave Vermont without a visit to a brewery and some taste testing.  So we squeezed in a stop to Otter Creek Brewery. We were able to see them brew and bottle the beer while having a free taste test of their six draft flavors.  The organic pumpkin was our favorite.

All in all it was a perfect trip, perfect weather, perfect food, perfect fun and perfect company!  I am so thankful we had this time together. 


  1. That looks like an amazing trip! Fun, beautiful, a little crazy. I bet that has to be one of the most memorable 21st birthday gifts EVER!

  2. What fun! I love that you take your kids on a trip at 21. You are a great mom.

  3. that is such a wonderful idea!!! I think traveling creates life long memories and that is just so smart ofyou!!

  4. looks like a great trip! what fun! i agree, you are a great mom!

  5. what a perfect time of year to take a trip to Vermont! I love B&J's mint oreo!!

  6. What an awesome idea for when our kids turn 21! My oldest will be 20 in a few months...scary! Your daughter is beautiful and I am sure she will treasure the memories that you were able to give her with this special trip:)


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