I’m up early to go exploring up the mountain today. Stowe is a spread out town at the foot of Mount Mansfield, Vermont’s tallest peak. It is the east coasts premier snow area in winter but it’s far too warm for that now. I’m heading first to Bingham Falls, a pretty waterfall a few km up the hill.

The road up here is almost completely covered in trees, the colour is amazing.

I’d heard that the trail to the falls isn’t marked but to look for the siding on either side of the road. I spot another photographer lunching a pretty serious looking drone, I figure this is the place!

Ditching the car by the road I head down into the valley, sipping on a delicious takeaway coffee from PK Coffee in town (aren’t I just the Bear Grylls type lol)

The walk down to the falls is only about 20 minutes, through some light forest. The falls is a narrow gorge that drops into a small pool maybe 10-15 metres below.

I spend a heap of time exploring the falls, not another soul around. I hear the other guys drone buzz me a few times but no sign of life other than that.

Trekking up to the car is a bit slippery, I hadn’t noticed it on the way down, probably not the best conditions for walking to waterfalls but never mind.

Next stop, the mountain.. I wish there was snow!!

It seems like a bit of a circus up here, ski buildings all over the place, gondolas, huge car parks… it’s just a mess. I’m guessing when it’s covered in the white stuff it all makes sense! I’m going to blow this popsicle stand… I don’t need to sit on a gondola with a pair of overtanned grandmothers from Florida.

Heading further up the mountain road takes me to Smugglers Notch where the ski circus gives way to thick forest and vertical rock faces that rise into the clouds. There’s virtually nowhere to stop the car as it’s barely the width of a car, weaving around giant boulders and trees. I’d hate to be driving a big SUV!

I stop at the peak, there’s a little parking spot on the right. Again, I’m just overwhelmed with the beauty of the place and get so into it, I barely take a photo. I guess that’s a positive right… I am on holiday, I’m not here to work!!

I spend a half an hour rock hopping, checking the place out, it really is stunning.

On the way down the norther side of Notch, there’s a bunch of places to stop. Not as scenic as the southern side, but plenty of sweeping views to the north. I guess Canada is over there somewhere not so far away.

Venturing north I pass though a bunch of towns I’ve read about with killer breweries, Morrisville and I can’t remember the others… there’s a heap of awesome old barns and wooden houses by the road, it’s really cool up here, the real deal not just something created for tourists to snap photos of. Old barns covered in blackberry bushes, being consumed by nature. Love it.

I’ve decided to head north to Greensboro where Hill Farmstead is located. They open at 12 so I should be spot on.

Thankfully I bout an AT&T SIM card before I heft New York. Siri got me there without fail which is awesome as the brewery is on a farm in the middle of nowhere. A bunch of dirt tracks and hidden bends, good luck getting here without a GPS!

A stocky bloke is directing parking out the front, there’s a few people today as Clover, a highly anticipated bottle release happened just yesterday. I’d best be getting myself one of those.

There is two buildings, the retail shop to the left and the tasting room and growler filling station to the right.

When you walk into the tasting room, immediately take a number. The number gets you growler fills. You want this because most of their beers are only available this way. You only need to line up for beers to have here, I made the mistake and stood there like a muppet for ages only to be told you just approach the bar for as many free tasters as you like. Oh well, best take advantage so I grabbed pour of Arthur, a delicious farmhouse ale, definitely one of the best I’ve tried, up there with Fantome. Brewer Shaun Hill has brewed with them so guess it figures.

I had a tonne of tasters, most notably Society & Solitude #5 and Legitimacy, both of which I bought growlers to go. Had tasters of everything else on the list.

What a great experience!

There was a Mexican food truck parked out front so I grab me some chilli and head for a covered picnic table as it’s starting to rain. I meet a dude from Connecticut, we get chatting, he tells me much about Treehouse Brewing and how good Julius is, their flagship double IPA. It’s only thee hours from here, I’d love to go but can’t.

Loading up the car outside, there’s a call from across the carpark, ‘hey buddy… you going to Treehouse?’ I explain I don’t have time here to make it there and his buddy runs over and gives me a can of Julius!!!! I am speechless. Such an awesome gesture from a total stranger!!! Beer comradery!!

So happy right now 🙂

I ended up getting three takeaway bottles, no point going too mad, I won’t be able to carry them. I bought Clover, Leaves Of Grass and Fear & Trembling.

After a bit of rest (and beer tasting – Lawsons, Otter Creek collaboration Double Dose is to die for!) I head to the nearest place to my place for dinner, Idletyme Brewery. If this place was in Australia, we would go crazy for it but on Vermont level it’s just ok. The service was excellent, I had truffle mac & cheese which was insane! Had a tasting paddle featuring a few lagers, bocks and dunkels.. not my thing really. Their pale ale was nice but a bit tame for me.

Another early night, I’m shattered.