Vermont Fall Foliage: Norwich to Stowe

Guided Walking Tour, Vermont Fall Foliage: Norwich to StoweGuided Walking Tour, Vermont Fall Foliage: Norwich to Stowe

Vermont Fall Foliage

Norwich to Stowe

overview

Every autumn, an ecstasy of color transforms Vermont into an artist’s vision. The rural landscape of working farms, rolling hills, old-growth forests, and picture-perfect New England villages kindles with brilliant reds, deep burgundies, glowing oranges, and sunny yellows. Immerse yourself in the woodsy beauty of Quechee Gorge, a 165-foot deep, glacially carved furrow in the surrounding hemlock and spruce forest punctuated with schist outcroppings and cascades of clear water. Walk the ridgeline of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak, to experience an amazing view encompassing three states and Canada under a quilt of majestic color. Explore a lost pioneer settlement, then trek through Smugglers’ Notch, a mountain pass with a notorious history. Trails through lovely meadows and mountains lead past painted barns to quintessential New England towns like Norwich, Woodstock, and Stowe—where you can enjoy the mix of old-fashioned general stores and chic boutiques. At night, relish chef-prepared meals of local specialties, and let the comfort of your charming inn lull you to sleep.

Activity Level
Easy to moderate;
2-6 miles daily
Meet
Burlington, Vermont
Depart
Burlington, Vermont
Reading List
Recommended
pre-trip reading
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From our blog

Guided Walking 
6 days, 5 nights Trip Includes 

Trip Includes

  • Two expert, local guides (for groups of 8 or more), with you 24/7
  • All meals except for one dinner; local wine or beer included with dinners
  • All accommodations while on tour
  • Transportation from the meeting point to the departure point
  • Entrance fees and special events as noted in the itinerary
  • The unbeatable and cumulative experience of the Country Walkers staff
per person double occupancy
Single supplement + $650
 

Solo surcharge + $0
 

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

REQUEST RESERVATION
Number of Travelers
Total in your party
Price From
per person double occupancy

Call 800.234.6900 to book this trip.

REQUEST RESERVATION

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Itinerary and Accommodations

Days
Destination
1
Norwich
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2
Norwich
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3
Stowe
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4
Stowe
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5
Stowe
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6
Stowe
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Day 1

Norwich

Arrival in Burlington. Hubbard Park; 2-3 miles, easy to moderate. Transfer to Norwich. Hazen Trail to Montshire Museum of Science; 2 miles, easy

The tour meets in Burlington, where you depart for an introductory walk in the nation’s smallest state capital, Montpelier. Located 40 miles from Burlington and with only 8,000 residents, Montpelier is a small town known for its big-city amenities. It boasts a lively music and arts scene, as well as a host of great restaurants to choose from—perhaps due to the fact that it’s home to the world-renowned New England Culinary Institute! Your first walk today is in beloved Hubbard Park, created when John E. Hubbard donated 125 acres of his family’s land to the city in 1899. A range of different habitats exist in the park, along with seven miles of hiking trails—so there are plenty of options for your first walk. Regardless of the trail chosen, your walk culminates at a 50-foot-tall stone observation tower, which offers views of Montpelier and its surrounding mountains.

After lunch, you depart for a one-hour drive to the quintessential New England town of Norwich. With a population of just over 3,400 people, Norwich has a vibrant downtown, a lovely village green, and the memorable Dan & Whit’s general store, whose motto is “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it!”

This afternoon, you embark on a meandering walk overlooking the Connecticut River, which forms the border between Vermont and New Hampshire. The Hazen Trail is steeped in geologic and cultural history and traverses farmland near the river, eventually connecting with the trails of the Montshire Museum of Science. The trail was established when two farms were combined to create the Maanawaka Conservation Area, and is named after the Hazen family, who have owned one of the conserved farms for over two centuries.

Your final destination today is the Norwich Inn, your home for the next two nights. First established in 1797 by Dartmouth College graduate Jasper Murdock, the inn’s Victorian architecture and antique furnishings belie the modern amenities available to its guests. A short walk brings you to tonight’s dinner at a nearby restaurant known for its impeccably prepared and locally grown menu options.

Norwich Inn

Norwich

A historic Vermont inn located in the heart of town, featuring rooms decorated with Victorian antiques and traditional furnishings. An on-site microbrewery, outdoor patio, wine cellar, and enclosed terrace dining room complement the inn's many modern amenities.

Day 2

Norwich

Optional morning self-guided history walk; 1 mile, easy. Norwich Loop Walk; 2-3 miles, easy to moderate. Thetford Hill State Forest; 3 miles, easy to moderate

Early risers may opt for a brief self-guided history walk along Norwich’s Main Street before breakfast at the inn’s terrace dining room. Following this refreshing start to your day, you embark on a loop walk along old country roads and well-worn trails that offer wide-open views of Norwich and the surrounding countryside.

Next, a short but scenic drive brings you over a covered bridge and into Thetford, a town made up of six villages lining the Connecticut River and home to the nation’s oldest secondary school, Thetford Academy. In East Thetford, you visit the Cedar Circle Farm, an organic farm stand and education center whose mission is to raise awareness about the importance of local agriculture and to increase access to affordable healthy produce. After a private tour, you enjoy a homemade lunch specially prepared by Chef Alison Baker, featuring the farm’s delicious fruits, vegetables, and other products made on-site.

Satiated from this special meal, you depart for the Thetford Hill State Forest and a walk along the Ompompanoosuc River, eventually reaching the Union Village Dam. Built in 1950 as part of a system of 16 dams and reservoirs, it was installed to control flooding along the Connecticut River and its tributaries. This walk offers a window into the history of Vermont industry, as you pass the foundation of an old woolen mill and the sites of former farms and homesteads. In addition, a multitude of birds and other wildlife inhabit the mature hardwood forest surrounding the dam. Dinner tonight is at the inn’s Jasper Murdock Alehouse, where you choose from their extensive and diverse menu featuring fresh and local ingredients.

Norwich Inn

Norwich

A historic Vermont inn located in the heart of town, featuring rooms decorated with Victorian antiques and traditional furnishings. An on-site microbrewery, outdoor patio, wine cellar, and enclosed terrace dining room complement the inn's many modern amenities.

Day 3

Stowe

Quechee Gorge; 2 miles, easy to moderate. Mt. Tom, 2 miles, easy to moderate. Transfer to Stowe

A brief 15-minute drive from Norwich brings you to Vermont’s “Little Grand Canyon”—the 165-foot-deep Quechee Gorge. Here you descend into the gorge and walk along the Ottauquechee River before a visit to VINS, the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Established in 1972, the VINS Nature Center provides environmental education and wildlife rescue and rehabilitation. State-of-the-art enclosures accommodate the largest collection of birds of prey in the Northeast, including bald and golden eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons. More than 400 orphaned and injured birds from Vermont and neighboring New Hampshire are treated annually at the center, and a special one-way viewing window offers a glimpse into wildlife rehabilitation in action.

Lunch today is at the award-winning Simon Pearce Restaurant, overlooking the falls of the Ottauquechee River and its covered bridge. Before lunch, you have a chance to watch master artisans blowing glass, or perhaps to browse the gift shop’s extensive selection of handcrafted glassware, dinnerware, and home accents. After an unforgettable meal in what is considered one of Vermont’s finest restaurants, you continue on to the charming village of Woodstock. This afternoon’s walk offers final expansive views of this idyllic part of Vermont before a 90-minute transfer brings you to the classic mountain village of Stowe, where wooded trails welcome and spectacular views abound. Your home for the next few evenings is an inn situated in the heart of Stowe village amidst the Green Mountains. New England charm and excellent cuisine provide a warm welcome at the end of an active day.

Green Mountain Inn

Stowe, Vermont

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this property sits in the heart of Stowe Village and features rooms with early American reproduction furniture, stenciling, and handmade quilts.

Day 4

Stowe

Trapp Family Lodge; 2-4 miles, easy to moderate or Mt. Mansfield Ridgeline; 3 miles, moderate to challenging

Today you drive to Smugglers Notch—the deep, boulder-laden passageway between Mt. Mansfield and Sterling Peak. In the early 1800s, Smugglers Notch was used as a route for transporting illegal or embargoed goods in and out of Canada.

After ascending Mt. Mansfield by van via the winding Stowe Mountain Toll Road, you take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding valleys during a brief stroll from the Visitors’ Center to a viewpoint offering 360-degree vistas. Those continuing to the summit of Mt. Mansfield walk along the ridge, enjoying views of Lake Champlain and several mountain ranges along the way, including the Adirondacks in New York, the White and Green mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as Mount Royal in Canada. Those opting for the walk at Trapp Family Lodge return to the van and continue the short journey to the lodge founded by the famous family who settled in Stowe after fleeing the Nazi occupation of Austria. The walking choices are infinite, as their 2,500 acres boast over 30 miles of hiking trails, which double as cross-country ski trails in winter.

Later in the afternoon, there is time to explore the village of Stowe, take a stroll along its recreation path, or simply relax and enjoy the tranquility of your inn. Tonight you are on your own for dinner, choosing from many local restaurants within easy walking distance. Your guides will be happy to assist in your choice.

Green Mountain Inn

Stowe, Vermont

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this property sits in the heart of Stowe Village and features rooms with early American reproduction furniture, stenciling, and handmade quilts.

Day 5

Stowe

Bull Moose Pasture; 4 miles, easy

Today’s walk takes you to beautiful Bull Moose Pasture. On your way to the pasture, your guides share secrets about the art of maple sugaring and tell tales of the little-known political history of the area while you pass working farms, sugar maple groves, and meadows dotted with Vermont’s ubiquitous Holstein cows.

This afternoon you take time to visit with George Woodard, a third-generation Vermont organic dairy farmer and storyteller. From George you gain a better understanding of Vermont’s history of dairy farming and maple sugaring as you take a hayride through his meadows in fine view of Camel’s Hump, Vermont’s third-highest peak. This evening you gather for a final dinner, where you toast your Green Mountain adventure and perhaps enjoy a post-dinner swim in the hotel’s heated outdoor pool.

Green Mountain Inn

Stowe, Vermont

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this property sits in the heart of Stowe Village and features rooms with early American reproduction furniture, stenciling, and handmade quilts.

Day 6

Stowe

Shelburne Farms; 2-3 miles, easy. Departure from Burlington

After a leisurely breakfast, you depart Stowe for historic Shelburne Farms, a nonprofit education center promoting sustainability and conservation, set on a 1,400-acre working farm. Located on the shores of Lake Champlain and designated as a National Historic Landmark, it was established in 1886 as the agricultural estate of William Seward and Lila Vanderbilt Webb. Today, the farm integrates a host of community and educational activities with a cheese-making facility, a seasonal inn, an organic market garden, and a working dairy with over 100 Brown Swiss cows.

With numerous trails to choose from, you explore the grounds taking in the incredible vistas while passing by the historical inn as well as the dairy and coach barns. Lunch today is a locavore’s dream. With an ever- changing menu, the Farm Cart offers a host of fresh and creative menu options supplied by local producers and the farm’s own Market Garden, a seven-acre mixed vegetable garden that furnishes produce for the inn and local farmers’ markets. Dramatic views of the lake and Adirondack Mountains leave a lasting impression of your visit to Vermont. Following your final lunch as a group, you transfer to the Burlington International Airport where you bid farewell to your newfound friends.

Itinerary Disclaimer

Bear in mind that this is a typical itinerary, and the actual activities, sites, and accommodations may vary due to season, special events, weather, or transportation schedules. We reserve the right to alter the itinerary since tour arrangements are made up to a year in advance, and unforeseen circumstances that mandate change may arise. Itinerary changes are made to improve the tour and your experience. If you are currently booked on a CW adventure, an itinerary has been sent to you for your exact departure date. Please call CW at 800.464.9255 if you have any questions about the exact itinerary or hotels selected for any of our tours.

Guides

Deborah Lewis

Deborah's enthusiasm for her adopted state of Vermont overflows into everything that she does. She enjoys guiding hikes, searching for buried treasure, and creating trails on the land surrounding her cabin west of Middlebury, Vermont. The winter season finds her teaching her children to cross-country ski. A former corporate consultant, Deborah is happiest on the trail with her Robert Frost poetry in hand.

Maggie Anderson

Maggie, both a massage therapist and yoga instructor, has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast. She spent 5 years working for the Adirondack and Green Mountains Clubs doing everything from ridge running to stewarding trail maintenance projects. Her love for hiking inspired her to hike Vermont's Long Trail 3 times and attempt an Appalachian Trail through hike. When not enjoying the trails you can find her training for triathlons, listening to live music, or practicing headstands.

Mark Kutolowski

Mark is a veteran wilderness guide, naturalist, and wilderness skills instructor. A passionate student and teacher of the ecology and natural history of Northern New England, Mark is proud to have eaten over 150 wild plant species from the region! In addition to guiding walking tours for CW, Mark teaches wilderness survival courses at Dartmouth College and also leads retreats exploring the relationship between wilderness living and contemplative spirituality.

Marina Meerburg

Marina can be found hiking the green hills of Vermont every morning with her dog. Born and raised in Sweden, Marina lives in Stowe with her husband and works as a freelance translator. She is an avid outdoor and exercise enthusiast and has been a ski instructor at Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak, for ever 20 years. Marina also enjoys mountain biking and is a certified Nordic Walking instructor. As a guide, sharing the beauty and treasures of the Green Mountain State is her passion.

Matt Witten

CW guide, performer and writer Matthew Witten has studied the Champlain Valley’s environment and history as a longtime adjunct of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum staff. A native Vermonter, Matthew leads boating and hiking trips and travels the northeast as a performing musician, songwriter, and storyteller. He also coordinates a network of River Watch volunteers, who monitor streams in western Vermont.

Guest Comments

A. Boateng, Maryland, September 2011

My CW experience on the Vermont Fall Foliage from Stowe to Goshen was rejuvenating and I regained a sense of myself that can only be accomplished when you hike to the highest summit on Mt. Mansfield.

J. Conway, Alabama, September 2009

The guides were very knowledgeable about the history of Vermont and the flora. It was a great learning experience and we laughed a lot!

M. & R. Kalef, British Columbia, October 2011

Exceptionally friendly & helpful guides, impeccable organization of each day, with knowledgeable & insightful talks during the walks.

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