Filed under: Family Camping, Family Day Trips, Historic Places & Landmarks, Kid-Friendly Trips
The Stowe Experience–Part 2
One of the first things we did in Stowe, VT when we visited on an RV trip a few years ago, other than set up camp and eat pizza, was take a tour of the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. It was quite a complex with several buildings and a large number of outbuildings. They can also boast the largest parking space and RV parking area I have seen this side of Disney World! Even the biggest rigs should have no trouble pulling in here! They really go out of their way to make their establishment accessible to everyone and to make it easy to visit.
The Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory complex is located in nearby Waterbury, VT, a few short miles from the town of Stowe. The company actually started in the nearby city of Burlington and was established by Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, two childhood friends, who turned a $5.00 correspondence course on how to make ice cream into a way to provide an exceptional product and make a few bucks in the process. Founded in 1978, it grew to become a national and socially responsible corporation.
On the tour we learned much about the values and principles upon which the company is based as well, leading us to want to support it even more than we already did: principles such as providing an exceptional product and treating employees well and promoting a team atmosphere in the workplace. Employees of the corporation also operate a foundation designed to eliminate the underlying causes of environmental and social problems.
In terms of factory tours, Ben and Jerry’s really knows how to put on a show. From designating several regularly scheduled tour times each day, to making it easy for visitors to sign up for a tour, to employing a number of knowledgeable guides, to handing out Ben and Jerry’s tour pins, visitors are treated to a rich experience. We were able to see all phases of ice cream research, production and marketing. At the end of the tour, we were treated to samples of the flavor of the day: strawberry cheesecake ice cream. And I know both of our children had several extra samples after everyone had received one. This, of course, was their favorite part of the tour!
Naturally, after all of that, we felt the need to spend 30 minutes and $30 in the gift shop, purchasing souvenirs, such as straws, spoons and pins and, of course more ice cream! This was definitely a highlight of our trip. Of course, after we left I realized that I had forgotten to take photos of this attraction too so I offer instead their website with a complete view of the factory and grounds: www.benjerry.com/scoop-shops/factory-tour/. Enjoy!
For more information about things to do while camping in Vermont, check out Vermont campgrounds and things to do in Vermont.