2023 Vacation Report: Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour

I knew we were heading from Maine over to upstate New York, since we wanted to see some church history sites. The trouble with that direction is that there really isn’t much in the way of “short stops to check out” on the way. Also, there are no real highways that go east to west over there, so it would take a long time and have plenty of windy roads.

After some research, I found out that Ben & Jerry’s factory is pretty much right along the way, however, and who doesn’t like Ben & Jerry’s? (Ironically, after I visited, Republicans came out against the company because it endorsed giving Mount Rushmore back to the original owners, but we’re talking about ice cream today, folks. I’m going to leave that be.)

It turns out, that factory is the #1 tourist attraction in Vermont. They release tickets for their tours two weeks in advance, and I was sure to hop on and get our reservations right when I could, since I only had a small window of times that would actually work for us. I’m glad I did, as the tours sold out. There were way more people there than I expected. The line for ice cream must have been around 45 minutes long. In the rain. And people were still waiting for it.

We skipped the ice cream line, since the tour had a free sample at the end of it. (Mind you, the tour’s about $5, so “free” isn’t exactly accurate. That said, I didn’t feel like I was shortchanged at all, especially once I looked at what they were charging for ice cream at the shop there.)

It’s a half hour tour that involves a video that talks about the history of the company, followed by a look at the factory floor, and then a stop for the ice cream sample. Short, sweet, and to the point. I found out they have two other factories, and that they put out a whoooooole ton of ice cream. I also found out the company has been quite liberal right from the get go. They back up their talk by paying workers fairly, and by sourcing their ingredients fairly as well. I was pretty impressed with the operation, honestly.

There’s also a “flavor graveyard” at the site, that lists all the flavors that have been laid to rest over the years, along with a short funny poem about what happened. We all got a kick out of that.

When you add in a decent playground for younger kids, you’re left with a pretty darn appealing stop on a road trip. Was it enough for me to want to make a trip there just for the tour? Well, no. I’d be surprised if you found more than an hour’s worth of things to do there, unless the ice cream line is really long. But if you’re passing through the area, it’s very much worth a stop.

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