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  Ice Cream Around the Country -

July is National Ice Cream Month. Former President Ronald Reagan dubbed it so.. But since his time as president, ice cream has grown up.

If you are traveling this summer, you will have an opportunity to branch out from your own backyard and discover some of the new cool flavors artisan parlors are churning out…. or stick with the classics. Either one is good for melting all your troubles away.

One of the most popular ice creamery in our country is the Ben and Jerry’s  factory that is open to the public in Waterbury Vermont. It is a sweet stop if you are anywhere in New England. ..this colorful creamery nestled in the beautiful Green Mountains.

Ben and Jerry's Factory Tour, Waterbury Vermonr

The tour starts off with a movie about the company’s history – it is a great business story about two young friends who attended an ice cream making course for $5, and invested their life savings into a gas station they turned into their ice cream parlor where they churned out all different kinds of wacky flavors with fresh ingredients.

The branding of their product is a huge success story  – and interesting.

Ben and Jerry's Plant - photo from

You then get to see the ice cream factory from a platform above all the machines – (photo from

and finally – the tasting room where guests are given free samples of a delicious flavor of the day – the kids’ favorite part!

Make sure to visit the flavor graveyard where some of your old favorite flavors have been laid to rest :)

Admission for adults is $4. Kids under 12 are free!

I recently taped a few video segments for – one specifically about ice cream, and got to visit some old favorites.

Dad’s Donuts and Bakery Shop on Balboa Island, Newport Beach CA is special to me -  I used to visit as a child.It’s  a tiny little bungalow on the quaint Balboa Island, but has plenty of character – and serves up an ice cream bar dipped in rich chocolate, then dipped in toppings of your choice. It has been named the “Balboa Bar.” (photo from

Taking a more avant -garde turn… to try truly special flavors, head to Mitchell’s in San Francisco – it’s been around since 1953, but has been serving gourmet flavors before it was fashionable. how about avocado or mojito on a cone ? Don’t miss the pumpkin flavor in the fall – apparently has a cult following.

Pazza Gelato

And finally – Pazza Gelato in Los Angeles’s SilverLake neighborhood  takes organic seasonal fare and turns it into splendid sorbetto. What’s at the farmer’s Market this week? That’s what you’ll find in your cone… Toasted Almond Fig…. or Guinesss extra stout…or Buttered Brown Sugar…or Sicilian Pistachio. If you can grow it, Pazza Gelato can churn it.

My family and I love trying the local ice cream shop when I travel – what’s your favorite?

  Tues. Travel Tip: Not 2 Late for New England Leaves & an Upscale Farm to Visit While You’re There


It would be easy for anyone who watched the news during Hurricane Irene to think the state of Vermont was floating away. Yes, there was significant damage for many, and a few roads are still closed. But according to Greg Gerdel of Vermont’s Dept of Travel and Tourism, the storm directly impacted only 15% of the state.

I was there for the storm and luckily it wasn’t bad in Stowe. But – Gerdel says there were a rash of leaf peeping reservations that were cancelled as a result. I want to tell you that it’s not too late to book a room for a fall trip. There are availabilities, and you can go plenty of beautiful places that aren’t feeling Irene after affects. has detailed maps with updates of road closures… and links to lodging.

Vermont Fall Foliage

Vermont is one of the most quaint and gorgeous place to witness the splendor of the season. What I have always loved about Vermont is that there are no billboards on the highways  and most are lined with trees.

Vermont Fall Foliage

In the northern part of the state, the leaves are already changing color. The colors will move south and will last almost until the end of October. But in the Burlington area near Lake Champlain, the “late effect” keeps that area warmer, so leaves will change later than nearby areas.

Shelburne Farms, Vermont

If you do get to the Burlington area, there is so much to do – but don’t miss Shelburne Farms, a National Historic Landmark. When the farm was established in the late 1800s, it was ahead of it’s time, aspiring to become a model agricultural estate; a working farm that emphasized sustainability.

Shelburne Farms, Vermont

Today, it is still a 1400 acre working farm teaching others about the connections to the land – an awesome lesson to reinforce to my city slicker kids. For instance, we walked around the barn …

and  got to milk goats and cows. Every morning the raw milk goes to the farm’s cheese plant, where award winning cheddar is produced.

We then toured the cheesemaking area, and watched the process – from cow’s udder to the curdling vats.. direct connection. Shelburne makes about 130,000 lbs of cheese  – all from their cows’ milk.

The farm raises all their animals with no anti-biotics and are grass fed… and man, can you see the healthy difference in the chickens there.

Seriously, they look healthier than my adorable dog.

Kids love being able to “pet” the chickens, and collect the eggs, which goes to feed the guests at the inn on the farm. Same with all the vegetables and other foods grown on the land.

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Whether watching leaves change… or at home on the range… Vermont offers so much for visitors, and fall is a fabulous time to visit.