A great day-trip destination that includes something of interest for nearly everyone is Jericho’s Old Red Mill, about an hour from Stowe and 30 minutes from Smugglers' Notch.
A national historic site, the Old Red Mill is one of the most photographed spots in Vermont. Built some time prior to 1855 and substantially renovated in 1885, the mill towers above the Browns River, which crashes through a rock gorge next to the mill. Also known as Chittenden Mills, in honor of Vermont’s first governor, this imposing structure exudes history.
The mill serves as home to the Jericho Historical Society, and a museum inside includes original milling machinery and the Snowflake Bentley exhibit. Born in 1865, Wilson Bentley was an area farmer with a passion for snowflakes.
In 1865, Bentley began exploring photomicrography, using the technique to become the first person to take pictures of individual snowflakes. In his lifetime, Bentley thereafter took photographs of 5,000 snowflakes and discovered that none of them was exactly alike. (Check out the snowflake website at snowflakebentley.com.)
If you tire of history, the mill also houses the Old Mill Craft Shop, which sells regional crafts and snowflake items. The mill is open Thursday to Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
For the more active-minded, check out the river gorge and the 12 acres of woods and trails that extend behind the mill. Follow one trail along the river for several minutes and you will find swimming holes, picnic spots, and waterfalls.
Getting there: To reach the Old Red Mill from the Cambridge area, take Route 15 through Underhill to Jericho Village. From Stowe, take Route 108 through Smugglers' Notch to Route 15. There is ample parking next to the mill. On your return trip, vary your route by taking the scenic Pleasant Valley Road, easily found in the center of Underhill Village.