Celebrate fall before the frost bites with these weekend plans

A colorful batch of gourds outside the Trapp Family Lodge on Sunday. (Photos by Morgan Johnston)

By Morgan Johnston

Some of the best opportunities are less than a 40 minute drive from campus, and most of these activities are reasonably affordable. So before the frostbite sets in, grab your sweaters and some friends and make sure to take in some of these autumnal flavored bites and brews, cozy activities, and breathtakingly scenic routes on your next weekend off. 


Cold Hollow Cider Mill
30 minutes from campus
Location: Waterbury
Price: Under $20 

Begin your day at one of the largest cider mills in New England, just 30 minutes from campus. With free and fresh apple cider samples, freshly baked cider donuts and cinnamon rolls, pumpkin spice fudge, and many other fall favorites, Cold Hollow makes a great place to venture to on a Saturday morning. It might have your mouth watering as soon as you enter the parking lot. 

Bingham Falls
20 minutes from Cold Hollow
Location: Stowe
Experience: Beginner 

As part of the Mount Mansfield State Forest, the Bingham waterfalls are surrounded by foliage. The short hike brings you to a 40-foot cascading waterfall, a soothing river, small pools and deep-seated gorges that are nestled into fall colored maple, birch and beech trees. 

The Brewski Sampler at Idletyme BrewingCompany in Stowe on Sunday.

Idletyme Brewing Company
Seven minutes from Bingham Falls
Location: Stowe
Price: Under $30 

With indoor and outdoor fire pits, an outdoor patio, a biergarten and bar under the trees, this might be one of the coziest breweries in Vermont. A variety of IPA’s, and German and English crafted beers, offers a selection of European brews with a Vermont flare. 

Idletyme bartender, Jay Kiley suggested their Oktoberfest brew and recently-tapped winter stout. Kiley also reccomended the Butternut Squash Arugula Salad, the Cheddar Ale Soup, and the “stick to your ribs” Truffle Mac and Cheese with bacon. 

Kiley said one favorite seasonal menu item is the Vermont Cheddar Fritters. “As staff, we can’t wait to see an extra batch of cheddar fritters up for grabs in the kitchen,” Kiley said. “People flock to them like vultures.” 

Mount Mansfield – Cantilever Rock
40 minutes from Idletyme Brewing Company
Location: Underhill
Experience: Beginner 

Demery Coppola, a sophomore and instructor at the Adventure Sports Center, said this is her favorite hike and a must-do this fall. “On the easier side is Sunset Ridge to Cantilever Rock.” Coppola said. According to Coppola, this is one of the quicker hikes that can be done in the afternoon or evening. “You’ll see the rolling hills, long range of mountains, and no obstructions from the rock you’ll climb up, it’s a really nice place to have lunch or dinner, especially right now with the views of the sunset and foliage.” 


Stowe Farmers Market
40 minutes from campus
Location: Stowe
Price: Under $20 

Also located in the Mount Mansfield region is the Stowe Farmers Market which hosts over 50 vendors along with live music every Sunday in October from 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m. 

Sleep in and take a scenic drive down I-89 to try colorful fall produce, Vermont cheese, hot chocolate, artisan popcorn, and a plethora of pumpkin and apple flavored pastries. 

Trapp Family Lodge Bierhall
10 minutes from Stowe Farmers Market
Location: Stowe
Price: under $20 

The hills are alive with the sound of lagers pouring from the taps of this Austrian-style bierhall. Along with a variety of year-round Austrian style beers, the Trapp Lodge also offers their seasonal brew, the Oktoberfest, with tastes of caramel and toffee on top of Munich malts and hops. With a full menu, the bierhall might be a great place to stop for lunch or an afternoon snack. Just up the road is the Trapp Family Lodge Resort, which also offers stunning views of the Mount Mansfield region. 

Route 108 Scenic Drive
40 minutes from Trapp Family Lodge
Location: Stowe to Jeffersonville

This two-lane road travels through northern Vermont all the way up to the border of Canada, but one of the most scenic parts of the entire route is just miles from campus. The 20-mile stretch between Stowe and Jeffersonville is a renowned route with ups and downs that might make your stomach drop, but the scenery will be worth the butterflies. 

Sterling Pond
20 minutes from Route 108
Location: Jeffersonville
Experience: Beginner 

Complete your Sunday with a sunset hike near Route 108 and Smuggler’s Notch. Coppola recommends Sterling Pond as another must-do hike this fall. Sterling Pond is a 2.3 mile trail that intersects with the renowned, Long Trail. Hikers will have views of the alpine pond itself, along with views of the Smuggler’s Notch ski area.