view on the river near our Vermont bed and breakfast

Summer Vacation Kickoff: Family-Friendly Activities in Waterbury

With schools letting out and the summer calendar opening up, it’s time to book your family getaway to Waterbury! Spend fun-filled days biking down mountain trails, seeing live music under the stars, swimming at a gorgeous reservoir just down the road, fly-fishing for world-class bass and trout, and getting out into nature. It’s all just minutes from our Vermont bed and breakfast, so join us and experience the beauty of summertime in the Green Mountains.

comfy room in our Vermont bed and breakfast
Thrills at Bolton Valley – Downhill Biking, Hiking, and Live Music Near Our Vermont bed and breakfast

Now that our mountains and trails have emerged from mud season, our local ski resorts switch gears into summer mode, when mountain bikers replace skiers and snowboarders on the lifts. Bolton Valley, one of the last independent resorts in the country, is just a 15-minute drive from downtown Waterbury. Their 300-acre mountain features 27 mountain bike trails during summer, including long and flowy beginner-friendly runs like Ebascootcha, Vista Glades, and Bluebird – all ideal for getting everyone in the family out for an exhilarating day of riding. Moreover, the Bolton team collaborates with the legendary bike park construction team Gravity Logic, which builds parks nationwide and creates “safe, progressive trails” welcoming to every age and ability level. If not everyone in your group wants to ride bikes, Bolton also has an extensive hiking trail system with routes of various lengths and breathtaking high-alpine views. Or try a round of disc golf before cooling off at their pool or taking a dip in the hot tub! Bolton Valley truly offers fun for the entire family.

During early summer, Bolton Valley offers an excellent deal called “Training Wheels.” Aimed at intro-level bikers and only $79 during all of June, it includes a half-day lift ticket, bike and gear rental (helmet, pads, etc.), and a 90-minute lesson before heading up on the lift for your first ride down the trails. Bike lift access opens on June 8th, with the Training Wheels program offered twice daily (10 am and 1:30 pm) every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Having worked up an appetite after hours of riding, grab nachos, a pulled pork sandwich, or a burger alongside a refreshing local microbrew on the sunny deck at James Moore Tavern at the base of the mountain. Starting in late June and continuing through summer, stay for the free Music on the Lawn when local bands set up on the grass near the Bolton base area and play from 6:30-9 pm on Wednesdays and Fridays.

A Quintessential Summer Day – Picnic, Swimming, and a Day on the Water at Waterbury Reservoir, Followed by a Treat at Ben and Jerry’s

With the arrival of Memorial Day weekend, the summer season officially kicks off along the pristine shores of Waterbury Center State Park. Constructed nearly a century ago and the 9th-largest body of water in all of Vermont, the 850-acre Waterbury Reservoir is picture-perfect for escaping the heat on hot summertime afternoons and easily accessible, less than four miles from our Vermont bed and breakfast.

Start the day with a stop for provisions at Cold Hollow Cider Mill, across from the reservoir on Vermont Route 100. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2024, Cold Hollow has been producing their famous apple cider using a rack-and-cloth system since the beginning, with a charming cafe and rustic store within their farmhouse. 

Watch the cider press making magic just feet away before browsing their country store and getting some fresh-made cider alongside Mediterranean-style wraps and turkey & Cabot cheddar sandwiches. Round out your picnic goodies with some hard apple ciders for the adults and maple candies for the kids – see our recent blogs about local cideries and maple sugaring season, two staples of Vermont culture.

Spend the day along the reservoir’s banks, relaxing and snacking at one of the dozens of picnic tables between dips in the water, which already warms up into the high 60s by late May. The park maintains a nature hiking trail and wooden piers, all ADA-accessible, and a main beach area with a shallow shore ideal for family swimming. If you want to get out on the water, kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards are all available to rent by the hour or day right at the swimming beach, offered by Umiak Outdoor Outfitters – a great way to see the expansive reservoir’s more secluded coves and inlets.

After a day in the sunshine, cool off and treat yourselves to a scoop of the 30+ flavors of ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s, located between the reservoir and Waterbury. While you’re there, tour their “flavor graveyard,” where tombstones with playful inscriptions pay tribute to past versions of Ben and Jerry’s throughout their four-plus decades of ice cream-making history.

ben and jerry near our Vermont bed and breakfast

Exploring the Outdoors With the Family – Fly-Fishing, Farm Tours, and Nature Center Festivities Near Our Vermont Bed and Breakfast

Surrounded by rivers, streams, and quaint farms, our Vermont bed and breakfast in Waterbury is the epicenter of family-friendly excursions into nature. If you’re curious about fishing, look no further than the Family Gone Fishing guided tour offered by the Fly Rod Shop, a local institution for nearly four decades. After a tutorial about proper fishing techniques, one of their professional guides will lead your family to their “secret fishing hole,” where you’ll catch a bounty of fish, including smallmouth bass and rainbow trout, at their peak during spring and summer. If you get the fishing bug and want to toss a line again during your stay, check out our blog about fishing near Waterbury, including info about the best spots along the Winooski River, at Waterbury Reservoir, and stretches of trophy streams nearby.