A Vermont Family Getaway
Located nearby Quechee and Woodstock, the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Ascutney Mountain Resort is the perfect place to escape to for a weekend of family fun. Their villa-style accommodations have been designed with families in mind. They are spacious and well appointed. There is a full sized kitchen with granite countertops in the kitchen and stainless steel appliances and a flat screen TV above the beautiful fireplace in the living room. There are lots of little touches, like nightlights in the bathrooms and tons of closet space, that make this a place for families to call home while they explore Vermont.
Upon our arrival, we headed straight for the fitness center (a short walk/car ride from the main building) which houses the large indoor pool. There is no need to bring towels as there are plenty in the bins outside the locker rooms. It was nice and toasty in there and our kids had a blast. The shallow end begins at a little over 3 feet. Although there are stairs for little ones to ease their way in and hang out, there is no separate kiddie pool. I would recommend bringing your own floaties, goggles, and anything else you need to make swimming fun for your kids.
The Rivers Northeast Adventure Center operates out of the hotel. They are available to set up bouldering, snowshoeing, campfires, hiking trips, bike rentals and more. We were supposed take a white water rafting trip with them however the unpredictable April weather was less than cooperative and our trip was canceled.
For dinner that evening we took a short 15-minute drive over to the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor. We enjoyed the casual, family style atmosphere at this eatery. While outside it may look just like an industrial brewery building, inside it is relatively modern, and definitely inviting with a roaring fireplace. Families who come here during the day might pair lunch at the Brewery with a visit to the Path of Life Sculpture Garden which is located right next door.
Sunday morning we were up and out early to explore. It was a short 25-minute drive to the quaint town of Woodstock. There we enjoyed a traditional country breakfast at the Mountain Creamery Restaurant. After that, we strolled the streets and found ourselves in cute stores like the Red Wagon Toy Co., the Yankee Bookshop which has a nice children’s section in the back and Giggles, a very upscale children’s boutique.
Winding our way out of town on Route 12 we popped into the Sugarbush Cheese and Maple Farm. Although it was too late in the season for sugar-on-snow we were still able to sample several cheeses and purchase a few for home. Journeying on to Quechee we stopped into Simon Pearce. This is a serious “no touching” store even for my nine and twelve-year-olds however, they really liked watching the guys in the workshop blowing and shaping the glass to create these magnificent dinnerware pieces. We were also lucky to be there on the weekend when the pottery studio was open and what a bonus, they had extra clay out for the kids to play with. Quechee is also home to the Vermont Institute of Natural Science (VINS). They have a wonderful raptor program as well as hiking trails. If you are hungry, we would suggest grabbing a sandwich at Sheppard’s Pie on the Green.
Next stop was a family favorite, the Montshire Museum of Science. We have visited museum many times before, but we really wanted to check out the current traveling exhibit, the Blue Man Group, Making Waves. It was great as was the rest of the museum. By now was time to refuel our empty bellies, so we drove right across the river to Hanover, NH, home to Dartmouth College. After walking around a bit we settled in for an early dinner at Murphy’s.
By now we were all tired and anxious to get back to our spacious Holiday Inn Club villa. More than ever, I was really glad we had more than just one hotel room. We needed some space to spread out after being in the car and touring around all day. The kids immediately departed for Sidewinder’s Arcade. With several video games and two pool tables, it kept them busy for a while. Another on-sight entertainment option for kids/families includes the free nightly movie showing complete with popcorn.
On our last morning, we had breakfast downstairs in the Lobby. This inexpensive option offered bagels, English muffins, sausage biscuits, cereals, yogurts, fruits, and beverages. Of course, the kitchen in our villa came stocked with enough dinnerware and pots and pans to make brunch for 12 people. If you are looking to fill up your fridge there is the Brownsville General Store right in town as well as a larger grocery store in Windsor near the Harpoon Brewery.
Although our time at the Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Ascutney Mountain Resort was just a short weekend stay, families should consider this hotel an ideal option if they want to spend time exploring classic New England towns, enjoying multiple outdoor recreational opportunities and visiting local farms and museums. This property is ideally situated to take advantage of nearby family fun, year-round.
Check our other suggestions for family friendly hotels in Vermont.
Disclosure: My trip was sponsored by Holiday Inn Club Vacations, who provided a two-night stay, expense credit, and attraction tickets. We paid for most of our activities outside the resort. This post is solely my opinion and based on my experience without outside influence.
Photo Credits: Holiday Inn Club Vacations & Dana Freeman