With the whirlwind of Memorial Day weekend behind us, it’s time to turn our attention towards summer and the next holiday weekend – Father’s Day. Although the thought of planning a last-minute weekend trip with Dad may seem a tad overwhelming at first, there are plenty of fun and affordable activities for families to enjoy together all over Vermont! Here we’ve compiled six ideas that will keep you and your family entertained the whole weekend, all without breaking the bank.
Father’s Day is the perfect excuse to take Dad on a fishing trip. From bass to trout, from fly fishing to live-bait, Vermont has it all. I recently accompanied my father and brother to the Townshend Reservoir, only about a half an hour trip from the beautiful Stratton Mountain Resort, as it was recently stocked with 1,400 rainbow trout on May 15th. Don’t know where to start? Check out 3rd Alarm Charters, a fishing guide service run by Captain Matthew Trombley. This versatile service is perfect for fishermen and women of all levels and is accommodating in regard to equipment and waterbody preferences. Want to venture out on your own? The Vermont Fish and Wildlife stocking schedule provides a list of fish species, waterbody location, and the amount of fish stocked.
For something more challenging, try fishing some of Vermont’s waterbodies with wild trout, such as the Battenkill and Mettawee Rivers. More information about these can be found on the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife website. Be sure to double check on Vermont’s fishing regulations before you go!
2) For Families with Little Kids:
Planning a fun activity for the entire family may be a challenge with young children in tow, but a trip to an amusement park or Bromley’s Fun Zone is an easy solution.
Located in Peru, Bromley is a family-friendly ski mountain that doubles as an adventure park during the summer with 23 different rides and attractions fit for all ages, including their famous 2/3 of a mile long Alpine Slide. June 14th is the official opening of Bromley’s full-time summer season, just in time for Father’s Day. Two-for-one Mountain Adventure Passes are available online if purchased by June 13th!
3) For Families with Big Kids:
If everyone in your family is over the age of 21, then be sure to explore Vermont’s selection of award-winning breweries! Some fan favorites include the first brewery in Vermont, The Vermont Pub and Brewery in Burlington, as well as the world-renowned Hill Farmstead Brewery located in North Greensboro.
The Vermont Pub and Brewery, which has been in operation since 1988, both runs its own pub, and brews twelve different kinds of beer, including its medal-winning Burly Irish Ale, Forbidden Fruit, and Handsome Mick’s Irish Stout. All regularly on tap in the pub, making this a great spot to enjoy dinner and drinks on Father’s Day.
Another hidden gem lies in the Northeast Kingdom. The Hill Farmstead Brewery has been ranked as the #1 Brewery in the World by Ratebeer.com, and self-describes its beers as being “softly elegant, palatable, and succinct”. Experimentation and collaboration lie at the core of its brewing philosophy, and they rarely make the same beer more than once or twice a year, and their beers are extremely limited. If you can make it, visit their taproom and retail shop open Wednesday through Saturday from 12-5:00 p.m. to say you’ve tasted some of the best beer in the world! Please enjoy responsibly.
Another classic go-to for spending a day with Dad is golf. There are plenty of places to play all over the state, particularly with the expansive golf courses available at Stratton, Lake Morey Resort, The Essex, and the Basin Harbor Club.
The scenic Stratton Mountain Resort in southern Vermont, a prior host of six LPGA golf tournaments, offers a 27-hole championship golf course complete with its very own golf school to help you perfect your game. On the eastern side of the state, in Fairlee, Lake Morey Resort has its own full-service 18-hole golf course that has been home to the Vermont Open for more than 50 years. The course itself has been in operation since 1929 and is impeccably maintained no matter what weather the season may bring, making for great playing all summer long.
If you’re looking to go further north, The Essex Resort is located adjacent to The Links at Lang Farm, which possesses 18-holes of golf in addition to a 20 station practice facility. For added ease, there is a complementary shuttle to and from the golf course for guests of The Essex, with tee times and lessons arrangeable through the concierge. Also up north, in Vergennes, is the Basin Harbor Club, home to the only lakeside golf course in the Green Mountains. Designed by world-renowned architect Geoffrey Cornish, this 18-hole course was the first in Vermont to become a sanctioned Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Golf Course, a program dedicated to the preservation of wildlife habitats and natural resources.
Although it may be hard to choose just one, any of these suggestions are guaranteed to provide you and your family with a premier golfing experience.
5) Hiking and State Parks:
Another classic Vermont activity that is both cheap and fun is hiking! Vermont’s rolling mountains and valleys abound with recreational trails for adventurers of all ages and fitness levels.
In southern Vermont, specifically near Manchester, some popular hikes include Bromley, Stratton, Prospect Rock, Equinox Pond, and Lye Brook Falls. In northern Vermont, you can tackle some of the tallest and most challenging mountains in the state— Mt. Mansfield, which stands at an elevation of 4,393 ft., and Camel’s Hump, at an elevation of 4,081 ft.
You can also explore Vermont’s extensive collection of state parks scattered across the state, and even take on the Venture Vermont Outdoor Challenge! To participate, download your scoresheet from the Vermont State Parks website and take pictures of the activities you and your family complete as you go. When you reach 250 points, send in your scoresheet and photos to receive free state park entry for the rest of this year and all of next year! The 2019 challenge takes place from April 15th to October 15th.
6) Plays and Productions:
Come from a family of theatre lovers? The Weston Playhouse in southern Vermont is family friendly in every way, from their show times to their ticket prices. Weston Playhouse is Vermont’s oldest professional theatre company and is a non-profit with two different stage locations.
Starting Thursday, the 13th, the Weston Playhouse will be putting on its production of The Phantom Tollbooth ($20 for adults, $10 for children). The play is based upon the children’s fantasy adventure book by Norton Juster that was published in 1961. The Phantom Tollbooth is an all ages event and follows the journey of bored young protagonist Milo who stumbles across a mysterious package that transports him to the Land of Wisdom, where he embarks on an adventure that leads him to discover that everything in the world has a purpose.
Dependable no matter the weather, a play is a wonderful opportunity for family bonding and delightful entertainment, and is the perfect way to kick off Father’s Day weekend.
However you decide to celebrate, we hope you have a fun and safe Father’s Day Weekend!