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Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

Atlanta, GA
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Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

Hi! We are flying into Burlington April 5 at night (only flight from Atlanta) and plan to stay overnight in Burlington just to sleep - we have 3 little boys so figured it would be easier and safer to stay put until morning and get our bearings in daylight.

Plus, it saves us hundreds of $$ on a night's stay at Jay Peak Resort since we would get there around 11pm and wouldn't get to enjoy any of the amenities until the next day anyway.

SO - my questions are:

1) We plan to rent a minivan but now I'm reading about "mud season" and wondering if there's a chance we would get stuck?? If so, is a full size SUV recommended at this time of year?

I haven't been able to find any info online about when mud season officially begins, so hopefully it's after we leave April 12!! :-)

2) We plan on shopping for groceries in Burlington before driving to the resort the morning of April 6. I'm seeing quite a few options around Burlington and just off the interstate we'll be traveling on. Any recommendations for most economical store....Costco? Walmart? Though I don't think we'll be going in the direction of Walmart. I'm not familiar with the chain stores up there so any advice will be welcome. Thanks!

3) Do we need to pack for a range of weather....from what I've read, it could be as warm as 50's or as cold as teens?? And rain one day, snow the next? Just can't tell if shell jackets with layers underneath will be fine, or if we all need our ski jackets/gloves/scarves/balaclavas, etc....I'm dreading packing all this! haha

4) Unfortunately, our flight home to Atlanta is CRAZY early - 6am - so we plan to leave Jay Peak Saturday afternoon April 11, and I'd like to drive the kids to the Ben&Jerrys factory before heading into Burlington for another short hotel stay. Is there anything else you'd recommend instead of the factory tour? I mean, not sure I can top ice cream for 3 little boys, but I'm open minded! We will only have time in Burlington for dinner & super early bedtime for ALL of us since we'll be up at 4am. :-(

Thanks so much in advance for any tips or guidance you can provide!

We can't wait for this trip, SO excited for my 3 boys' first snowboarding lessons!!!!

Just hoping & praying for a great big snow storm just after we arrive. I can dream right!!

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Atlanta
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Jay Peak Resort
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1. Re: Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

1) Don't worry about mud season. You are going to be on paved roads everywhere you go. When people talk mud season we are talking about all the dirt "back" roads-it always happens this time of year when the frost in the ground thaws-turns those dirt roads to mud! You may experience this if you are in any dirt parking lots but a mini van will be fine.

2) There is a Costco just off I-89 exit 16 a couple miles north of Burlington. Right on Williston Road (the road from the Airport to I-89 is a Price Chopper. On Dorset Street just off Williston Road is a Trader Joe's, Hannaford and Healthy Living (a locally owned Whole Foods type store).

3) Weather...be prepared for anything. Could be in the 50s plus...could snow, rain, etc. Layers are key! I'd bring the heavier ski jackets just in case. You should bring hats/gloves for sure.

4) The kids will like Ben & Jerry's I'm sure. Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury Center would be a nice quick stop.

Do you need hotel recommendations for Burlington? There are a cluster of hotels located on Williston Road/Dorset Street at it's intersection with I-89...about a mile away. Holiday Inn, Comfort Inn, Homewood Suites (brand new), Doubletree, Best Western Windjammer.

Edited: 25 March 2015, 09:34
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Cold Hollow Cider Mill
Cold Hollow Cider Mill
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2. Re: Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

Hi! Enjoy your visit. Answers:

1. A van will be fine. Mud season just means that the dirt roads are rutted and soft. You're not likely to be driving on any dirt roads getting to/from Jay & Burlington. No worries. Front wheel drive is a plus though (as is 4WD), in case of snow.

2. There's a Costco and a large Shaws grocery store just off I-89 exit 16 in Colchester, which will likely be on your way, and it's pretty easy-on/off the highway.

3. Yes. Your comments are all right on. check the weather before you go and pack accordingly. The weather tends to be changeable, so plan on +/- 10 degrees from whatever's forecast.

3. B&Js is fine for an hour (or less). It's mostly a gift-shop type of thing. Another place that's just north of B&Js on Rt. 100 is the Cold Hollow Coder Mill store - great place to buy souvenirs and snacks. The Echo Lake Champlain museum in Burlington is another option, with some good hands-on stuff for kids.

BTV airport is pretty small, but you'll want to get there at least 70 min before your flight time, so you have plenty of time to drop off your car & get thru security. Enjoy!

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Jay
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3. Re: Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

Personally, I would hit a grocery store in Burlington before departing for Jay Peak -- that way you can leave the 3 boys and one parent at the hotel instead of having them tag along or wait in the car. I also would prefer a normal grocery store over Costco to supply for a week of food -- don't really need bulk items.

If you stay near the airport (which I would recommend) then either Price Chopper on Williston Road or Hannaford's on Dorset Street would work just fine (both in South Burlington). The Doubletree on Williston Road is a nice option and only minutes from the airport. We use their pool in the winter and the staff and everyone there are super friendly and helpful.

You can get to B&J by driving from Jay south on Route 118 and then south on Route 100. It will take a little over an hour. Don't get too excited for the factory -- it's really not that exciting -- although you can certainly buy your boys ice cream there. It's about a half hour from B&J into Burlington so it's not too bad of a detour as opposed to driving straight from Jay Peak to Burlington.

If you get into Burlington and it's a nice day, consider going downtown for dinner. On a warmish Spring afternoon/evening, Church Street (pedestrian only) is very lively and a lot of fun to walk around. Our 5 year old boy always has fun climbing on the rocks and we enjoy just people watching and popping in somewhere for an early bite to eat.

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Jay Peak Resort
Jay Peak Resort
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Jay, VT
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Atlanta, GA
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4. Re: Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

Thank you SO much for all of the suggestions & answers to my questions!! :)

Someone asked if we needed hotel options...we are using Amex skymiles for the 2 separate one-night stays in Burlington, and so far we chose Holiday Inn for the first night -- based on a great skymiles rate & reviews I read of a nice warm pool, friendly staff, and kids eat free (which is awesome cause my kids can eat their weight in breakfast foods!).

Holiday Inn seems to be an older hotel but I don't think we'll care at 9:30pm when our single goal will be to get 3 giddy, over tired boys to bed!

Another post suggested 1 of us stay with the boys at the hotel while the other adult buys groceries the following morning....that's exactly what we plan to do. The pool will come in handy for that task!

I've booked our rental van - also via skymiles. Fingers crossed Alamo will still have some nice options & potential upgrade at 9:00pm that evening.

The only thing left to do is pick out the hotel for our last night. I really want to choose the new Homewood Suites.

With a full kitchen, we could potentially use up any groceries from Jay Peak & not have to throw things out plus we'd have a 1 or 2 bedroom suite instead of a small hotel room....but...the skymiles rate is a little more than double what the Holiday Inn charges. :(

Still trying to figure out what to do on that. We'll likely not arrive until dinner time and we'll be leaving at 4:30am so maybe the Holiday Inn again would be our best option???

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Jay Peak Resort
Jay Peak Resort
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Burlington, Vermont
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5. Re: Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

Holiday Inn will work just fine and the pool area is very nice. I've been to conferences there and it's definitely been updated over the years. I imagine the rooms are perfectly adequate. Your call on whether or not the Homewood Suites is worth the extra miles. I am sure it is very nice being a brand new hotel, and we too always prefer a separate bedroom when traveling with our son, but it sounds like you basically just need a bed to sleep so...

Holiday Inn is at the intersection of Dorset Street and Williston Road. When exiting the parking lot (there is a traffic light) go straight to go down Dorset Street. Hannaford's grocery store is on your right after you pass the University Mall (use the last mall turn-in on the right right by a Sears automotive store). It's a bit better of a grocery store than the Price Chopper on Williston Road. Early morning it will be very easy to quickly breeze through there and supply for the week.

Renting a car in Burlington is super easy and the airport should be pretty quiet. You may be the only flight coming in at that hour. The rental counter is steps from baggage claim, and then only a couple more steps into the garage where you'll find the van. Baggage carts are free, and you should be able to wheel all your stuff to the garage without having one person circle around to do a curbside pickup.

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Atlanta, GA
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6. Re: Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

AWESOME!! Thank you very, very much AdamTraveler!

Now all we need is some great SNOW right after we arrive. ;-))

Though I'm sure you get so tired of it and are ready for spring temps right!

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7. Re: Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

Ditto Adam. You can also hit up Trader Joe's and/or Health Living which are also on Dorset Street (opposite University Mall & Hannaford) if you prefer organics and local (Healthy Living) over conventional groceries.

Enjoy your trip!!

Alexandria, VA
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8. Re: Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

I used some kind of bonus points to stay at that Holiday Inn several years ago, and it was very nice. Exceptionally friendly staff.

I LOVE the rental car arrangement at BTV, the counters are right inside the airport and the cars are in the adjacent parking garage, which as a short walkway. The walkway has chairs for viewing the planes which can be fun for your children although yours may in fact be the only flights at those times! Not many food options at the airport and they may not be open at your hours so don't plan on being able to get anything to eat there.

Last year I was at a place on Lake Memphremagog about half an hour from Jay Peak a couple days before Easter (which was later in April). The lake was still completely covered with snow but I was comfortable with a long-sleeve shirt and sweater.

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Jay Peak Resort
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9. Re: Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

Thank you so much, NYYVA!

Yes, I think we'll need to plan on filling up the kids for dinner before the evening flight departing Atlanta and I'll have some dry snacks on hand.

I'm now looking at what will be open between the airport & hotel in Burlington at 9:30pm.

I see a McD's along the route but hopefully there are more options or a late night grocery open.

My husband also thinks maybe if we tell the hotel we stay in for the last night that we have a super early flight, & ask if they can grab us some yogurts & croissants before we check out since we'll obviously miss breakfast. We'll see :)

And yes, definitely praying for the rain to LEAVE and temps to drop that week we are there.

I can't tell you how pumped up my kids are about seeing snow -- it only dusted a few times in Atlanta this year so they were sorely disappointed.

Thanks again for your help!!

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10. Re: Burlington & Jay Peak in early April..few questions!

As you drive from the airport to Holiday Inn, you will be driving down Williston Road. The Price Chopper grocery store is on the left (just before McD's) and is open 24 hours, and will be quick in/out at that time of night. There are also a number of open gas stations that you will pass. Gracey's probably has the best food selection and you can get basics like juice and yogurt there. It is also on the left, just before the Price Chopper (at the intersection with Hinesburg Road).

No worries at all on there being plenty of snow at Jay Peak when you arrive. Although it did warm up and rain yesterday evening, the temps dropped over night and are continuing to drop. It turned over to wet snow here in Burlington so I am sure it is all snow up at Jay. They also have a very large base of snow that won't be going anywhere soon. The resorts here are set up for some fantastic spring skiing. If you see sunny skies and temps in the 30s and 40s the snow will soften up and the skiing will be amazing, as will the views which are awesome from the top.

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Jay Peak Resort
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Jay, VT
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