Trina Mezzacappa covers what’s hot and happening on the NYC nightlife scene on her blog Love, Your Favorite City Girl. But even this girl about town needs to take a break sometimes. And when she does, she escapes the bustle of the city by heading north to a quiet little town in Vermont called Lydonville near Burke Mountain.
I have been vacationing in Lyndonville/Burke, Vermont for the past 16 years and I love it there! Lyndonville is a super small, cute town. When I say small, I mean that the “downtown” area is one or two main streets. So if you want to “get away from it all” that is a definite possibility in this area of Vermont that’s just a five-and-a-hour drive from Manhattan if you don’t hit traffic.
Since it’s too bit too far for a day trip, you’ll need to find somewhere to stay and luckily there’s plenty of options. You can look into lodging at Burke Mountain or stay at a B&B, inn or motel in the area. The inn that I’m familiar with is The Wildflower Inn, where my family has been staying for the past 16 years whenever we journey up to Vermont. It’s a great family inn — it’s about as child-friendly as you can get for a bed-and-breakfast/inn. I don’t have any children but I still enjoy the casual atmosphere. The staff is very friendly (as are most people in the area), so if you need recommendations they are more than happy to help. The prices can run a little high here, so if you want a less expensive alternative, try the Lynburke Motel. It is, or at least used to be, owned by the same family as the Wildflower Inn, so you know it’s clean and pleasant. I have never actually stayed here, but I have heard that it’s ok and it is definitely cheaper.
Anyway, on to one of my favorite topics.. food. . My favorite restaurant is the River Garden Café. It’s a great place for lunch, even dinner, and has typical café food and literally some of the best soups that I’ve ever eaten. Juniper’s Restaurant at the Wildflower Inn is good too; it’s more of a family restaurant. Ask to be seated on the porch so you look at the pretty mountain/valley views. Also, remember that you are in Vermont… and Vermont is known for cheese and maple syrup. So, make sure you have lots of both of them! One more thing, if you are into beer, there’s a well-known local brewery called Trout River Brewing Company. My family is a fan of their “Rainbow Red” beer.
So, you gotta work off all of that maple syrup somehow. I love Burke Mountain. It hasn’t been over- commercialized, has beautiful slopes and doesn’t get huge mobs of people. The longest I’ve ever waited to get on a lift was maybe two minutes and no worries, the lifts aren’t totally antiquated like at Windham Mountain. It’s far enough from the city that you don’t get the Manhattan/tri-state weekend skier crowd (I like to think of this as a good thing).Plus it’s very affordable: they have full day, half day, student (they count children as students), and senior citizen tickets available.
If you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, Burke is great for lessons and you can buy a ticket for just the “j-bar” which is the “bunny slope” for only $9. Also, if you have no experience, I would recommend taking a private lesson because you will get the attention that is necessary for a first timer — otherwise you might get lost in the group lesson and will most likely feel like you learned nothing.
The lower half of the mountain is where you will find all of the green circle (easy/beginner) trails as well as two terrain parks for snowboarders. The top half of the mountain is all blue squares (intermediate) and higher. So, if you’re a more advanced skier or snowboarder, you don’t have to worry about crazy beginners all over the place.
Downhill skiing isn’t all that there is to do there in the way of winter sports, you can cross country ski or snowshoe as well! There are trails on the mountain as well as the Kingdom Trails which are around the Wildflower Inn. At both places, the trails are gorgeous and go back through the woods. Another fun winter activity/sport to do in this area is dogsledding. I regret that I have never tried this, but my family has and they loved it. You can either just ride the dog sleds or you can do packages where you learn how to actually drive the dog sled. Check out Peacepups Dog Sledding and Eden Dog Sledding.
I do have to warn you, nightlife in Lyndonville isn’t so great because it’s such a small town. There is one bar called the Packing House which I went to a while ago… it’s a very young college-age crowd though. Last I went, the bar at Burke Mountain stays open at night also and does different events/parties. The Burke Mountain bar would probably be a better choice unless you are in college. But you will probably be so tired after all of the fun daytime activities that you won’t want to look for nightlife.
(Photos by Trina Mezzacappa)