Montpelier with Tweens: A Perfect Family Day

by Pam, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Aug 30th 2010 04:46 PM

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Montpelier with Tweens: A Family Vacation

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Montpelier, Vermont may be the smallest state capital in the United States, but this vibrant town is a great family vacation destination. Montpelier offers kids a vacation filled with days of adventure, and mom and dad appreciate the great accommodations and places to dine. Tweens love touring the capitol, visiting the sugarhouses, and attending the free concerts in the park. Make sure you bring your cameras to capture all the fun-filled memories from your trip to Montpelier with your tweens.


Morning


No matter how you plan to spend the day in Montpelier, kids on vacation deserve a great breakfast. Start the day at the Wayside Restaurant (1873 US-302, Montpelier, VT 05602, 802-223-6611). This family-friendly restaurant is a hidden treasure. They offer homemade, diner-style meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their homemade biscuits and gravy will take you back to grandma's house. Tweens love the homemade onion rings that taste as good as those at the state fair. For lunch or dinner, a personal favorite is their Yankee Pot Roast meal. The pot roast is tender and the mashed potatoes are smooth and creamy. Fresh coffee for you and homemade pie for everyone is the perfect way to finish the meal. Try a piece of homemade chocolate pie or maple cream pie, both are heavenly. The best time to dine at this restaurant is mid-week. It is often packed on weekends, and you may have to wait for a table. To find out specific hours or the specials of the day, give them a call at 802-223-6611.

Since Montpelier is the state capital, plan to take a tour of the Vermont State House (115 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05633 802-828-0004).The free guided tours offer an informative and entertaining history lesson. You'll be mesmerized by the beauty of the capitol. Ask your tweens to look closely at the tiles in the lobby floor; fossils are embedded in the black ones. The workmanship of the capitol is breathtaking; marble floors, magnificent wood carvings, period rooms and interesting paintings make for a fascinating tour. Tours are offered Monday through Friday from 10AM to 3:30PM, July through mid-October. Saturday tours run from 11AM to 2:30PM.

Family vacations deserve a bit of fun. The Brown Bag Summer Concert Series (64 State Street, Montpelier, VT 05602 802-223-9604), every Thursday at noon, is a chance for families to enjoy a concert together. These concerts in the courtyard of Christ Church begin July 1st and end on September 2nd. They are free and feature some of central Vermont's best performers. Musical styles range from old-time fiddlers to soul and jazz with nearly everything in between. Pack a lunch or bring snacks for the family, and enjoy them as you sit on the grass. This is a great social event that offers families quality time together, and it's a great place to make new friends on your trip to Montpelier with your tweens.


Afternoon


If your tweens are craving pizza, Angeleno's Pizza Restaurant (15 Barre Road, Montpelier, VT 05602, 802-339-5721) is the place to go. Not only to do they offer the best pizza in town, but the menu also has subs, salads, seafood, calzones and dessert. Angeleno's is located on 15 Barre Road in Montpelier. This family-oriented restaurant offers dozens of topping choices for creative, personal pizzas. Don't be surprised if your more daring tween orders a pizza topped with peanut butter; I've heard it's awesome. A favorite pizza combination is Canadian bacon and broccoli. The chicken parmesan is also a great choice. After gobbling down your pizza, treat them to a waffle brownie sundae. They are incredible and hit the spot on a hot summer day. The best time to visit is mid-week or mid-afternoon. Weekends are often busy, and there may be a longer wait time for meals. For specific hours and specials, call 802-229-5721.

Bragg Farm Sugarhouse (1005 VT Route 14 North, East Montpelier, VT 05651, 802-223-5757) is a tween favorite. Vermont and maple syrup go hand in hand. The Bragg Farm offers a great chance to see this proud tradition up close. Save time to visit the Maple Ice Cream Parlor and Gift Shop to sample the best maple creamies, a soft serve frozen treat that melts in your mouth. The educational tours and 20-minute video help your kids understand the hard work involved in gathering sap and making maple syrup. Your tweens will love Bragg's petting zoo, where they can enjoy playing with the goats and adorable rabbits. And as a bonus, you will see some of the most spectacular views of Montpelier. Family vacations also deserve special souvenirs, so end your day at the sugarhouse with a stop at their gift shop. This is also a great place to start your Christmas shopping. They offer great maple gift packs that can be shipped anywhere in the United States. Open Jun – Aug, 8:30AM to 8PM and Sep – May, 8:30AM to 6PM


Evening


The Hilltop Inn of Vermont (3472 Airport Road, Montpelier, VT 05602, 802-229-5766) is one of the best family-friendly hotels in the city. This recently-renovated hotel has clean and comfortable rooms that make you feel at home. Each room has a refrigerator, microwave, and satellite television with four HBO channels. After a day of family travel around Montpelier, stay in for a movie night with your tweens. If you get hungry, Suzanna's Restaurant is just steps away and serves affordable meals and great burgers. Then, the entire family can have a blast swimming in the hotel's indoor, heated pool. The Hilltop Inn treats guests to Green Mountain Coffee and tea 24 hours a day. The free wireless Internet access is a must for tweens, too. Drive a little way down the road, and your family can shop at the Berlin Mall, featuring a Walmart, a fabric store and a book store. Room rates at the Hilltop Inn start at $59 per person but vary according to season. The lowest rates are during the week and off-season.

The staff at the Economy Inn (101 Northfield Street, Montpelier, VT 05602, 802-223-5258) makes you feel like family. This full-service hotel is both affordable and pet-friendly. Each room has a refrigerator, microwave and free Internet access. You'll appreciate the free HBO, continental breakfast, and the free 24-hour coffee service. Their Little India Restaurant serves authentic Indian cuisine for a tasty alternative. After unpacking, stroll the streets and browse the many great shops and restaurants in the heart of Montpelier. If you love books, check out Bearpond Books, an independent book store. Your family can spend hours in this unique store rummaging through their book tables. Tweens can shop their children's room for a little summer reading. If antiques are your passion, take a stroll over to Antiques at 110 Main. This treasure trove is a great place to find a must-have souvenir to remember your family travel in Montpelier with tweens. And since the hotel is 0.25 miles from the capitol, it is the perfect place to stay. The lowest rates are during the week and off-season.

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