Things to do / Travel Guide
When one thinks of New Hampshire and Vermont, one can't help but picture dairy cows and maple syrup. Supplying copious amounts of the stuff, and much more, the New Hampshire and Vermont region is among the richest regions in the U.S. when it comes to food and drink production, and many of the local factories offer tours of their production facilities. In addition to seeing how these delicious products are made, you're invited to tour the region's other factories where teddy bears, hand-crafted pewter, and other fun items come hot (or cold) off the assembly lines daily.
Dairy Tours in Vermont
Probably the most popular factory in the region, taking the behind-the-scenes tour of the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury, is a must for any visitor. While taking a self-guided factory tour there, you'll learn about the ice cream production process and the history of the company, see some genuine Vermont dairy cows “in action,” and of course be able to taste some of the world's best and most popular ice cream brands.
Known nationwide for its dairy products, Vermont is home to the Cabot Creamery, in the state capital of Montpelier, Crowley Cheese, in Healdville, and the Grafton Village Cheese Company, in Grafton. At each of the free factory tours you're guaranteed to learn a lot about the cheesemaking process. Crowley is unique in that all cheese is made by hand there, as it has been for the past 100+ years. And at Grafton you'll also be able to see the main players in the cheese making process - the dairy cows - as they graze the rolling green hills Vermont is famous for.
Located in Burlington, Dakin Farms is unique and intriguing in that it produces many different types of specialty foods, including the regional specialties of cheeses and maple syrup, as well as smoked ham and turkey. Giving you a genuine “taste of Vermont,” on this free factory tour you can watch as workers smoke meats over corncobs, hand-wax cheeses, and employ age-old techniques to refine maple syrup, providing consumers with the flavors they love so.
Sugar and Maple Syrup Tours in New Hampshire and Vermont
World-renown for its incredible fall foliage, the New Hampshire and Vermont region's maple trees also serve a second important function: providing consumers with some of the world's best maple syrup. Take one of the factory tours at Maple Grove Farms of Vermont, or the Sugar Shack or Parkers Sugar House in New Hampshire, to see how maple syrup and maple-flavored candies are made. And if you want to inspect the products' quality for yourself, then go right ahead - all three establishments provide you with the opportunity to purchase some of their tasty treats.
Brewery Tours in New Hampshire and Vermont
Whether you happen to be visiting New Hampshire or Vermont, there are plenty of places to learn all about beer. In New Hampshire you have the Anheuser Busch plant, in Merrimack, and the Redhook Brewery, in Portsmouth. In Vermont there's Otter Creek Brewing, in Middlebury, and the Magic Hat Brewing Company, in Burlington. Guests over legal drinking age can sample some frothy, ice-cold liquid on the house at any of the establishments before they “head” out on the brewery tours, most of which are free. While also welcome on the tours, people under 21 will have to make do with a non-alcoholic drink instead.
Other Factory Tours in New Hampshire and Vermont
Enter the wonderful world of wood at Maple Landmark, in Middlebury, Vermont. Watch as woodworking professionals hack away at solid blocks of wood to craft and create maple masterpieces. Further north, in Shelburne, sits the Vermont Teddy Bear factory. Open to anyone over the age of three, the cute, cuddly bears come to life right before your eyes as you learn the history of the company and its lovable, one-of-a-kind product.
Across the state line in New Hampshire sits the Hampshire Pewter factory, which has developed quite the reputation for producing classically beautiful handmade items. After the factory tour, visitors are invited to the site's shop where they can purchase statuettes, figurines, unique gifts, and other hand-crafted pewter pieces.
Behind-the-scenes and factory tours are typically family-friendly activities good for a short and interesting diversion from a region's mainstream tourist activities. Generally inexpensive, visitors are often given complimentary tastes and samples, like some tasty treats at Lake Champlain Chocolates in Burlington, Vermont or at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury, Vermont. Note that some tours have irregular hours and admission restrictions. Click on the individual icons for more practical information.
Behind-the-Scenes and Factory Tours in Burlington, Stowe, Rutland and the New Hampshire and Vermont mountains