by Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman
My husband and I have no problem getting in the car and driving for hours to discover new places. The kids? Not so much. Last weekend my family and I took a five-and-a-half hour drive from NYC to the Essex Resort & Spa in Essex, Vermont with three small kids in tow. How did it go? Perfectly fine – the kids did great, probably due to the fact that we promised them a visit to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory. As it happens, people will do a lot when it comes to great food and what place is better for foodies than Essex, near Burlington, Vermont – a city known for its incredible restaurants?! With innovative chefs that use a considerable amount of locally-derived food for their dishes, Burlington has emerged as one of the top cities for foodies in the U.S. On our agenda was a two-night stay at the Essex Resort & Spa and I was planning on checking out Camp Cook, a kids’ cooking camp, as well as trying an adult cooking class. What we got was everything on our list and then some.
We arrived at the resort on Friday afternoon and headed to the lobby to check in. The cozy lobby area has coffee, tea and cookies in the afternoon available for the guests. The Essex Resort & Spa is the recipient of the Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2013 & 2014. Aside from the culinary school and spa there are so many on-site activities to do on the 18-acre premises, you really don’t need to leave. Click here for a list. Here’s a list of suggested off-site activities if you plan on staying longer in the area.
After checking in we got into our room. A traditional room with a fireplace, it was quite elegant and beautifully decorated. The beds were really comfortable with plush, down comforters and soft sheets. It was nice to have a couch to lounge in and watch a little TV. The kids from Camp Cook left us some wonderful treats they had made during one of their classes.
We started the day with a delicious breakfast at the Tavern, the restaurant at the Essex Resort & Spa. A lot of the food and herbs come from the organic gardens at the grounds of the Essex. Some of the other ingredients, such as the ground beef in the burgers come from local farms.After breakfast we took a tour of the spa. As a guest of the hotel you get complimentary sauna and steam room, as well as access to the fitness center and pools. For an additional fee you can get a variety of treatments such as massages, facials, manicures, pedicures and even makeup and hair color/styling.
After touring the spa it was time to get in the pool. It was a lot of fun and I especially loved the waterfall.
After the pool we took a drive to downtown Burlington for a visit at the Lake Champlain Chocolates factory and the boardwalk, near Waterfront Park where we viewed Lake Champlain and the New York Adirondacks in the distance.
Right next to the Essex Resort & Spa is an adventure park called Northern Lights Rock & Ice. They have all types of challenges for kids starting from age two and up. My fearless seven-year-old did a zipline (together with an instructor) and had a blast! (Be sure to mention you’re staying at the Essex to get a 10% discount).
After the zip lining we took a walk in a nearby hiking trail and then relaxed on the hammocks on the resort grounds:
After a quick rest we went to dinner at the Tavern, which was outstanding. Left to right: Winter Greens Salad, Mock Duck and Fajita Salad.
After dinner we had s’mores by the campfire (available every Saturday night) and enjoyed a gorgeous sunset. It was the perfect ending to a long, fun-filled day.
Stay tuned for my next post where I will discuss Camp Cook – the unique cooking camp made especially for kids, as well as my own experience with a cooking class for adults (we made delicious cuisine from New Orleans!) I will also be sharing recipes from both the adult and kids cooking classes.
Click here to learn more about the Essex Resort & Spa.
I was not compensated for this post. I received a two-night stay, some meals and a cooking class for review.
Senior Reviewer Maytal Wichman is the owner of Mama’s Bites and has also written for The Huffington Post. She has been living in New York City for thirteen years and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature as well as a Law Degree, but blogging is her true passion. Maytal is a stay-at-home mom to three kids (ages 7, 5 and 1) and loves finding great products that make her family’s life easier.