My two kids and I recently hit the road and headed to the beautiful state of Vermont. Having never been before, I had no idea what to expect. As soon as I saw the rolling green hills, I fell in love. I also immediately wondered what I was going to do solo with two kids in Vermont. Our trip was a complete success in the end. Here are my three recommended activities for solo parent vacations in Vermont.
1. Stay at Smuggler’s Notch
Unlike other hotels, where I sometimes feel guilty for taking a break from the kids, at Smuggler’s Notch I knew they were outside exploring nature with their peers. Smuggler’s Notch recently built a million dollar child care centre for kid 6 weeks to 3 years that offers local foods, a clean and fun environment and daily nature walks and outdoor activities. In Winter, the Treasures child care centre even has a ski instructor that individually teaches each child to ski, once they are able to walk, on a small hill attached to the centre.
Smuggler’s Notch is also famous for its SNAP program which is a year round program working with children and adults with special needs. While we were visiting, there were numerous children working individually with camp counselors and participating in family events with their families. It was an incredibly program to witness and I would highly recommend it to any family with a family member that may require extra care or attention while on vacation.
Each activity we participated in at Smuggler’s Notch was easily doable as a solo parent. From family hiking tailored to younger children to swimming in the many pools, the set up is definitely child, family and solo parent friendly.
2. Have Fun with Ben & Jerry
You cannot go to Vermont without eating Vermont’s Finest Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. More importantly, you do not want to miss the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour in Waterbury, Vermont. The tour begins with a hilariously kitchy movie about how Ben & Jerry’s came to be. Their history is entirely Vermont and you and the kids will love it. I particularly loved that the factory tour is easily accessible and in a very small location. I didn’t worry about losing my kids or stress that I was alone with them. We loved seeing the ice cream being made and particularly enjoyed the free tasting portion at the end of the tour.
Once we were outside, catastrophe hit as my youngest dropped her sprinkle covered ice cream cone. Tears and ice cream puddled in front of her as I tried to decide what to do. Immediately, I was reassured that a dropped cone was no big deal at Ben & Jerry’s and they immediately replaced her tasty treat. The Ben & Jerry’s tour is $4 for adults and kids under 12 are free.
3. Hit the Family Obstacle Course at Arbortrek Canopy Adventures.
Hear me out before you say no. When Smuggler’s Notch, first recommended that I head to Arbortrek Canopy Adventures, I quickly reminded them that I was traveling solo with a 4 and 6 year old. I pictured kids stuck in tree tops and pinched fingers in zip line cables. Still, I never say no to adventure and figured I should check it out with the kids. The three of us were welcomed by our guides and quickly harnessed and given zip lining equipment.
We were taught how to safely clip in to the cables and zip line while my mind was racing wondering how we were actually going to do this. The guide reassured me that it would be fine and that this was the perfect activity for us. As we hit the obstacle course, I realized he was right. Arbotrek has two courses, one for smaller kids and families and a larger course for kids over 8 and adults. My kids took to the family course and never looked back. The guides serve as “lifeguards” and are always close by to offer a helping hand.
Due to the safety systems in place, it is impossible to unlock yourself from the cables until you go down the very last zip line and are safely on the ground. We stayed at Arbortrek for over 2 hours and at the end my face hurt from smiling so much. This is a closely monitored and incredibly easy activity for a parent with one, two or even more children. It is a team building experience that will bring you closer to your kids as you come up with solutions to the obstacles together. Plus, a 4 year old zip lining may be the most adorable thing you will ever see.
Vermont is a playground for families in the summer and should be considered as a prime destination for solo parents. With tons of space to run and family activities galore, you won’t feel the stress that you may at amusement parks or other classic summer activities. My son cried as we drove out of Smuggler’s Notch Resort and I think each of our hearts will from now on hold a spot for the Green Mountain State of Vermont.