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Vermont Biking Adventure

September 25 - 29, 2021

I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all because of her indomitable people.

Calvin Coolidge

Vermont is the number one state in the US for bicycle touring. The relatively low population, the cute small towns, the green forests, and the opportunity to sample and purchase locally-made products make for an extraordinary vacation on two wheels.

But Vermont is not called The Green Mountain State for nothing! Much of the state is hilly. In fact, it is really only the far western portion of the state in the Champlain Valley that one can find moderate cycling. This is where our tour takes place. In the southern end of this verdant valley, you will enjoy five days of biking on rolling country roads with wide-open agricultural vistas, and an array of quaint small towns.

If you ride the main routes each day, you will ride from inn to inn, never having to see the inside of our support vehicle. Our routes are almost entirely paved and mostly very low traffic. We start and end in the town of Brandon, Vermont, which has what the New York Times dubbed “the prettiest street in Vermont.” If you drive to this tour, you can park your car at the beginning, return to it at the end, and enjoy five days of being outside in wonderful Vermont.

As on all our bicycle tours, you get to choose from two or three routes each day of different distances. You’ll have a map, route notes, and electronic routes you can upload on your cell phone but you can always choose to ride with others in the group and ignore the directions. You can bring your own bike or rent from us and we even have e-bikes and tandems available. We’ll visit towns such as Middlebury, with its small college town feel and village center on the National Register of Historic Places, and ride past apple orchards, horse farms, and covered bridges.

Our 2021 tour date happens just before peak fall foliage but we should get to see the start of it. If you want to extend your trip we suggest you do so afterward. Regardless of the colors, we think you will love this new tour.

Private Tour Info

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Details

Other Info: Optional bike rental $38/day for four days is an additional charge. E-bikes for $65/day. Tandems available.

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Trip Highlights

  • Explore the cute villages of Brandon, Middlebury, Vergennes, Bristol, Shoreham, Addison, and Proctor
  • Check out the seven beer, wine, spirits, and cider makers on the Middlebury Tasting Trail
  • Pretend you are on horseback in the 1800s as you ride through one of three covered bridges in the area
  • Cycle past rolling farmlands and lush orchards and then sample the bounty of wares produced
  • Take an historical walking tour of the village of Brandon, with its 250 buildings on the national register
DAY 1

We meet as a group after lunch in Brandon, Vermont (an hour and 15 minutes south of Burlington - we can pick you up at the airport in the morning if you fly to Burlington). If you are renting a bike, we'll introduce you to your steed and fit it properly. We'll then do a loop ride through the Marble Valley south of town, with the option to cycle through three different covered bridges. Brandon is a cute small town of 4,000 inhabitants and you'll have time to walk Park Street (the cutest street in Vermont according to a New York Times writer), stop into the Center Street Bar for a drink, or grab a bottle of wine at Gourmet Provence for after dinner. Dinner tonight is at the Brandon Street Inn, our home this first night.

Distance: 25 or 35 Miles

DAY 2

After breakfast, we are off on our bikes, past active dairy farms and apple orchards, with glimpses of fall foliage colors on the trees in the foreground and the green of the Adirondack Mountains of New York in the back. You will have multiple route options today with some of them passing through Orwell, a small village with a country store that looks classic on the outside but offers a modern take on lunches on the inside. For longer routes, you can cross over Lake Champlain on a seven-minute ferry ride to visit Fort Ticonderoga in New York. Our ultimate aim is the small town of Shoreham and the Shoreham Inn, where we'll eat dinner in its Euro-style pub.

Distances: 16, 33, or 46 Miles

DAY 3

After a delicious breakfast at our inn, we again jump on our bicycles. There are a few hills to get over in the morning - you can use the shuttle van if you wish - and then we'll be on rolling farmland for much of the day. Most of our routes are way off the beaten path, meaning you'll be more likely to have a conversation with a farmer (or her cow) than you are to come across a coffee shop. However, as you approach Middlebury, things change. Middlebury is one of the hippest small cities in Vermont, with only 8,000 residents but home to Middlebury College, which gives it a great cultural scene. Stop at one of the seven wineries, breweries, cideries, or distilleries on the Middlebury Tasting Trail. And, yes, you can stop at one of the two local coffee shops or even the teahouse in town.

Distances: 15, 27, or 49 Miles

DAY 4

We'll start the ride today passing through the traditional farmland you have seen in the past days once we get out of Middlebury. However, we'll then head south under the western edge of the Green Mountains, making our way to the Lake Dunmore in Branbury State Park. If you wish, you can stop to enjoy a hike in the park or nearby Moosalamoo National Recreation Area. We eventually make our way back to Brandon where we started our tour. We'll celebrate our final evening with elegant French dining in a casual Vermont setting at Cafe Provence.

Distances: 25, 29, or 39 Miles

DAY 5

On this, our final morning, we put away our bikes and take a walk around the town of Brandon with a local history professor, learning a little about the history of the town as we go. Brandon has an amazing 250 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Then it is back to clean up, check out, and say our goodbyes.

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Trip Accommodations

NIGHTS 1 & 4 >> BRANDON INN / BRANDON, VT

The Brandon Inn is located just across from the village green in the heart of this classic Vermont village, known both for its architecture and artistic community. It was voted the Best Historic Inn in Vermont in 2017.

NIGHT 2 >> SHOREHAM INN / SHOREHAM, VT

Built in 1799 and first operated as a hotel in 1800, the Shoreham Inn has centuries of history as the mainstay of the small community of Shoreham. Family run and boasting a pub and restaurant onsite, it is in the heart of the best cycling in Vermont.

NIGHT 3 >> SWIFT HOUSE INN / MIDDLEBURY, VT

Claiming to be "Vermont's only full-service inn", the Swift House is composed of three historic buildings on four acres just a short walk from the city center. The inn's 21 rooms are updated to contemporary styles and with modern amenities.

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Arrival & Departure

If you are driving to the tour, we will meet you just after lunch in Brandon, Vermont. You can leave your car there as you will not need it during the tour. If you are flying to the area, we will pick you up at the airport in Burlington and drop you back off on the last day of the tour.

What's Included?
  • At least two Zephyr guides accompany each trip and a third is added as necessary.
  • Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.
  • All of your dinners and breakfasts are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included. In general, we leave lunches open so that you have time to explore and enjoy the local flavors en route.
  • All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
  • NOT INCLUDED Beverages, desserts, lunches, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
Weather

The biking season in Vermont runs from about mid-May through mid-October. By the time our tour starts in late September, average highs will be down to the low 60s - perfect for cycling. It does rain or snow in Vermont pretty much year-round (that is why it is so green) so be prepared and we'll adjust as needed. Nights should be pleasantly cool and we should see the start of the fall foliage leaf color show.

Extending Your Stay

You will need a car if you wish to extend your stay in the area. Since fall is peak season, we suggest you make hotel reservations in advance. One nice town we don't visit is Stowe, at the base of Vermont's tallest mountain. Burlington is also a fun city worth spending a night or two. Since the fall foliage season will likely still be waxing, we suggest you extend your stay after our tour.

Changes to Your Itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.

 

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