Experience a couple of rugged hikes, a few local beers to follow the hikes up, and throw in a dollop of “everyday life” and you too will come away thinking that The Hills Are Alive … in Vermont. Stopping in at the von Trapp Brewery in Stowe, Vermont had me humming a bit of music from The Sound of Music together with a bit of 49 Bottles of Beer on the Wall. More on that in a few minutes, but first a little bit about a couple of hikes.
[Note: We know COVID-19 is impacting travel plans right now. For a little inspiration, we’ll continue to share stories from our favorite places around the world so you can keep daydreaming about your next adventure.]
Camels Hump Loop Hike
Camels Hump is the third highest peak in Vermont’s Green Mountains at 4,083 feet (1,244 m). However locals may tell you it is the most famous and recognizable of Vermont’s mountain peaks. The distinctive shape is hard to miss. Our approach was on Burroughs Trail from the west. It is a steep, rugged, rocky trail up to the intersection with Vermont’s Long Trail – a famous trail that traverses the state from north to south. Long Trail climbs up over the peak, then makes a steep, rugged, rocky drop back down to connect with Forest City Trail that heads back west to complete the loop.
This is definitely a challenging and thirst prompting loop. Camels Hump is not too far from the village of Stowe – predominantly a ski town and three breweries for the 4000 residents (and the town’s visitors). More on the visit to von Trapp brewery and bierhall in a bit.
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Mount Pisgah Hike
Mount Pisgah towers 1,590 feet (480 m) above the surface of a long, deep, glacial lake called Lake Willoughby. Willoughby is a popular recreation lake with vacation cottages, swimming beaches, and fishing – rainbow trout, Lake Trout, Atlantic salmon, rainbow smelt, burbot, yellow perch, longnose sucker, white sucker, lake chub, common shiner, and round whitefish are all caught there.
The hike is contained in the Willoughby State Forest and starts off in a swampy area that skirts a pretty pond before beginning to climb. Several overlooks are passed along the way up that afford big views of the lake and the mountains to the west.
Beers After the Hikes
Vermont has built quite the reputation as a craft beer mecca and, for beer hikers, that nicely complements the natural environment and proliferation of interesting trails. At last count, there were more than 50 breweries in Vermont. In addition to von Trapp Brewing after the Camels Hump hike, we also made stops at Lost Nation Brewing and Ten Bends Beer after Mount Pisgah.
As a lover of European beer culture, I have a special place in my heart for von Trapp. The family relocated to Vermont from Austria in 1942 (the actual circumstances were a good bit different than portrayed in The Sound of Music) and have operated their mountain lodge since the late 1940’s. A small brewery was added in 2010 and has been successful enough to expand to the production of nearly 2000 bbl annually. von Trapp specializes in traditional German- and Austrian-style lagers including a Helles, pilsener, Marzen, and Dunkel.
Everyday Life in Vermont
I am a sucker for quirky roadside attractions, so I have to mention our stop at The Museum of Everday Life near Glover, Vermont. Located in an old barn in the countryside, this is a self-service museum celebrating things that many people would likely consider mundane. But they do it in a way that struck me as great fun. There is a dust collection, a match collection, a toothbrush collection, a scissor collection, a pencil collection, …. well, you get the idea.
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