Our travels tend to take us to the Cape or Maine, so it was lovely to head up to Vermont to explore Killington last weekend. I think the last time I was in Vermont was for a visit to Brattleboro with Jon pre-kids and this trip was a reminder of the unique beauty and vibe of this state. Though well-known as a ski hub, Killington recently opened their summer Adventure Center and today I wanted to share 10 tips for how to make the most of a visit to Killington Resort.
1. Book a suite. The trappings of the Grand Hotel are standard (vs. posh fancy), but it’s arguably the best place we’ve ever lodged as a family by virtue of the suite layout. We stayed in a one-bedroom suite (shockingly only about $190 per night during the summer), which included (in addition to the bedroom + bathroom) a generous living area, kitchenette (including an 8 person dining table), and a porch with a view of the mountains. We had plenty of space to spread out, could put the girls to bed and not have to sit in the dark (in addition to the traditional bedroom, there was a sleeper sofa + wall pull out bed), and were able to bring in groceries so we didn’t need to eat out for every meal. It was perfect!
2. Consider the age/activity preferences of your kids. A visit to the new Killington Adventure Center is really best for older kids. Some of the activities (e.g., ropes course) have height requirements, none of which 4-year-old Violet hit. Fortunately, between other adventures + her need for nap, Violet was happy and I was able to explore some of the Adventure Center offerings (e.g., ropes course, terra maze) with Laurel. I couldn’t get Laurel to ride the SkyRide with me and the Beast Coaster wasn’t operational yet (in general, it felt like the resort was just getting warmed up for the summer), but I’m sure thrill-seeking kids would love those options! Killington also offers golf, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, disc golf, and of course hiking and mountain biking. Mountain biking clearly is a huge draw there, and in fact, there were cyclists heading up the gondola for a race one day.
3. Ride the (cow powered!) K-1 express gondola. As soon as we told Violet about the gondola ride, she was laser focused on it (read: asking every 10 minutes when we were going to go) and man, it did not disappoint. Though someday with just Jon (or when the girls are older) I’d love to attempt hiking all the way up the mountain, the gondola made for a beautiful ride (I Periscope'd from the gondola if you want to check it out; I’m @christinekoh).
4. Hike up to Killington Peak. Once you exit the gondola, Killington Peak is just a short hike up and the views are simply breathtaking. It was very, very moving for us to enjoy some quiet moments at the top together.
5. Eat at Peak Lodge. Before heading back down Killington Peak, we stopped for lunch at Peak Lodge. We dined out several times during our visit but Peak Lodge was probably my favorite stop. The cafeteria style food arrangement made it easy with kids and the food was delicious and high quality. The wrap around windows offer a gorgeous view and the lodge’s electricity is completely cow powered. We marveled considerably over what it must take to pump water up the mountain to service the lodge.
6. Don’t forget your swimsuits! No matter where we are Laurel and Violet always want to hit the pool and the Grand Hotel has a great one; deliciously warm, outdoors, and with a gorgeous view of the mountains. There are also hot tubs. (If you'd like the below view, book room #136!)
7. Enjoy indoor games. By accident -- while we were waiting for the pool to be treated -- we discovered a ping pong table (ridiculously fun!) and also an arcade. These are handy options if you’re, well, waiting for the pool to open, it’s raining during your trip, or you just need to switch things up.
8. Visit the Grand Essentials shop/cafe. A top priority for me is knowing where my morning coffee is coming from and the Killington Grand Hotel has a cute shop/cafe on the first floor that serves Starbucks. YAY. This place was a little unusual from your typical gift shop in that they clearly know people want to use the aforementioned kitchenettes. The shop offers wine, beer, cheese, crackers, and other fun items to make a pretty snack plate in your room. (Also, Laurel loved the smoothies.)
9. Visit Thundering Falls. While we were wandering the property on our first day, we met a lovely local woman named Nicole who recommended we visit Thundering Falls and I am so glad we visited. A beautiful boardwalk leads to a short hike up to the falls. Totally doable for the girls and it was pure magic to see them experience their first waterfall.
10. Visit Woodstock. On our way to Killington we passed through the beautiful town of Woodstock and ended up returning on July 4. It’s about a half hour from Killington and utterly charming, with independent shops, beautiful homes, and plenty of green space. My only complaint was that the below store was not filled exclusively with unicorns.
In short, Killington Resort offers plenty to do for adventure seeking families and at under 3 hours from Boston makes for a doable getaway with kids. It’s important to figure out where your passion pulses -- we were quickly reminded that our family is more geared towards the nature elements than the thrill seeking ones, and there’s plenty to do in both domains.
Image credits: Christine Koh
Disclosure: Killington kindly provided media lodging and activity passes during our stay. We paid for all other expenses. All thoughts and opinions about the property are -- of course -- my own!