By Forum Staff
With a new school year starting, new students are moving to Vermont despite classes being online. The Forum asked the returning students, faculty, and staff for fun (and COVID-19 safe) places to visit and activities to do around South Royalton, Vermont, and surrounding area.
In Vermont, everyone is required to wear a face mask in public when unable to stay 6 feet away from others. Additional information regarding face masks, social distancing, and symptoms is available here.
If you are coming from outside of Vermont you must quarantine for 14 days. There are certain exceptions and additional guidelines explained here.
Websites are included with the majority of ideas. In addition to Vermont COVID-19 guidelines, the suggested places often include COVID-19 protocols specific to their businesses or park on their website. Please check yourself for symptoms before leaving your residence. Before adventuring, check the information provided by Vermont and individual places for updates.
Jo D. Saffeir, a recent graduate of the MELP program, suggests driving “to Marsh-Billings for a trail run – gorgeous property in Woodstock – very much worth the drive.” The Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller website includes information on the phased reopening of the park and how to properly socially distance while in the park.
Lauren Mabie, 3L, says, “Visit Silver Lake in Barnard for a swim or picnic. Go skiing at Stowe. It’s very expensive but very worth it. While you’re up there, drive through the Smuggler’s Notch Mountain Pass. The Von Trapp Lodge is also not far from there and a good place to get a beer. Go to ‘Feast and Field’ in Barnard. It’s a really awesome and Vermonty event where you can get dinner while listening to live music in the middle of the woods. What more could you want? Hike up Kent’s Ledge. We’re lucky we have a mountain accessible so close to town, so take advantage of it.”
Brittany Forrest, a 2L AJD, suggests, “Lake Dunmore is beautiful. There is also a hike to a waterfall nearby called Falls of Lana. I also love swimming at the bottom of the Quechee Gorge. Stowe, VT, has a hike to a waterfall called Moss Glen Falls where people like to swim and admire the beauty. And of course Burlington! The waterfront is to die for.”
Kelly Olszuk, 3L, suggests hiking Gile Mountain (especially during fall foliage), bowling in Stowe (including the health and safety guidelines from Stowe Bowl), touring Ben n’ Jerry’s (tours are currently cancelled, check the website for updates), eating at Worthy Burger, and tubing on the White River.
Katherine Frederick, a MARJ ’20 and a JD ’23 student, suggests, “Drive (or bike) from So Ro to Strafford/South Strafford. Along the way, while on Strafford Road, stop at Orchard St, ironically by a dead tree and take a photo of the mountain range. Great view. Strafford Road becomes Justin Morrill Highway – a dirt road for a while. Watch out for chickens in Strafford. Drive slowly. You’ll drive by the Strafford Village Farm, owned by a former VLS’er. Everything is grown organically. Farmstand is on certain days and orders are through their website, with designated pick up days. Pretty to drive by in any case. Visit the Justin Morrill Homestead, Strafford, Vermont. First Read LandGrabU.org about the Indigneous Tribes, the Morrill Act, and Land Grant Universities. Then learn about Justin Morrill at the homestead and stay tuned for a future training on the LandGrabU at the homestead this spring. For fun, go in to tiny post office across the street for complimentary tea and check out the book case. Drive by the outdoor Social Justice Climate Change exhibit – changes frequently at the Universalist Society. Next, visit the Edible Pocket Park in South Strafford, has fruit trees, nut and berry bushes, flowers, picnic tables, and benches by the river. It’s for the enjoyment of the whole community, so come for a visit. You can take a dip in the shallows of the river here too. Last, go to Coburns General Store in South Strafford. They sell Stafford Organic Creamery ice cream and milk, made by a former VLS’er.”
Katrina Munyon, Academic Success Program Manager, included a “[s]hort, easy hike up Mt. Tom or Mt. Peg in Woodstock, VT. Mt. Tom also has snowshoe trails in the winter months. Swimming, fishing, kayaking at Silver Lake in Barnard, VT; McIntosh Pond, in South Royalton, VT; Kent Pond in Killington, VT. Visit to VINS & Quechee Gorge in Quechee, VT. Sugarbrush Farms Cheese in Woodstock, VT.”
Andie Parnell, 2L, included a list of places to check out:
- Volunteering at the South Royalton Community Garden – Monday’s and Thursday’s from 4:30-7 pm. Volunteers weed, water, and manage the community garden crops. Community gardening starts in May and harvesting continues through the Fall. This is a fun activity to get outside and harvest your own fruits and veggies!
- Hiking–download the All Trails application from your phone’s app store, then search for hikes in your area. All Trails categorizes each hike ranging from easy to hard, as well as specific hike features (biking, skiing, dog friendly, etc.). I have enjoyed hikes this summer and would recommend the Pogue Trail/Mount Tom hike in Woodstock for Beginners and Camel’s Hump for experienced hikers. But if you would like to take a day trip farther away from campus, Lye Brook Falls Trail outside of Manchester, VT, is moderate and leads to a beautiful waterfall. There are plenty of amazing restaurants (with takeout, pickup, or other distanced options) around these hikes to enjoy after!
- Have a picnic on the green – Pick up a burger (and donut holes) from Worthy Burger, or even make a meal, and sit out on the green while the weather lasts! Upper Pass has also been hosting a “tasting room” on Friday and Saturday evenings on the green, with beer, pizza and live music.
- Pick blueberries at Cedar Circle Farm – Cedar Circle Farm is about a 40-minute drive from campus, but is worth it! You can pick blueberries at $4/pint, buy their farm-grown flowers and produce and enjoy a drink from their cafe. They will also have pumpkin picking in October! I recommend picking a couple of pints of blueberries then drinking an iced infused maple latte in their flower garden.
Lily Elmore, an alumni, says, “As a resident of 6 years I like to slow the spread of COVID 19 in the small state of Vermont by staying home.”
If you are staying inside, check out Kanopy, a film and documentary website. Students have access to documentaries through VLS.
Finally, if your mental health is suffering, please use the five free sessions per semester VLS guarantees each student with the Clara Martin Center.