What: Ben and Jerry's Factory Tour
Where: 1281 Waterbury-Stowe Road, Waterbury VT
Admission: $4 Adults; $3 Seniors; 12 and under Free
I rarely watch TV but I often see myself tuning on to Travel Channel. There, I learned that Ben and Jerry's provide factory tours. It seems to me that the marketing was overrated or maybe I just expected too much.
Last July 4th, I somehow forced my husband to take a road trip to Vermont instead of going to Cape Cod/Martha's Vineyard just to see Ben and Jerry's. In the TV it looked so big, so cool, so nice... So, I wrote in down in my go-to-places wish list, take note, I only had four.
I was so excited when we arrived. We parked on the lower area so we needed to climb up the hill. It was a good exercise and this made me more excited to see how it looked like for real. The outside view was great, there were tables with umbrellas and quite a long line at the ice cream store. It was inviting! So inviting I wasn't able to take a photo of it and wanted to start the tour already! So, I paid for our tickets and waited for less than 5 minutes. Then our guide called our batch. I let all the other excited visitors to go ahead so I can take photos. It was a 3-part tour and I'll explain it in more detail:
A short video clip of how Ben and Jerry's started. I thought it was humorous. Just like the other informative videos provided in tourist spots, it was okay.
This is where I got dismayed. After the video presentation, we were asked to go upstairs to the other "room" where you can take a look at how they make their euphoric ice cream. The "room" was like a bridge with clear glass panels on both sides. Pictures are not allowed in this area. There were two small televisions where you can watch the production process. There was no production at that time because it was holiday, July 4th. If you stayed on the other side of the room, there's a high chance you won't be able to take a glimpse of the other side of the production floor because the "room" is too small for the number of people in the tour. Unless, you let them go first to the next room so you can have a few seconds to take a closer look at it.
At this stage, I know that the next will be the last part of the tour. I was like, "So, that's it?! After more than 8 hours of driving, this is it what we'll get?! With $4". It's so not worth it! It should have been free. LOL!
Probably everybody's favorite because we all get to taste a sample of their free ice cream of the day! The serving was like a scoop of ice cream or maybe less but it was so delicious. It's one of their new ice cream which doesn't have a name yet. It's a mix of berries and dark chocolate chunks! Sooo good! They make everyone suggest a name for the ice cream, if they choose the name, that person will win Ben and Jerry's ice cream for a year! Awesome! (...if I win. LOL)
After the tour, we were able to look at the stuff they offer at the store. There were beach towels, shirts, cow bells, the usual souvenirs - though I thought they have low-quality fridge magnets and they are being sold cheap of course. They also sell the pints at a higher price compared to grocery stores. At the ice cream shop, we tried stuff the we can't buy from home like smoothies/shakes, sundae and banana split. =) Still a bit pricey but they're good!
It rained that day and most of us got stuck inside. There's no way we can't get out of the main building without getting wet. They do have a short covered pathway but they need to place like an extended roof so those who are entering the car won't get wet. We haven't gone to the graveyard yet so we waited until the next day to view it. I didn't expect much this time. Good thing because the graveyard was just so-so. The RIP notes were humorous or at least are trying to be. I took some photos of my favorite.
Overall, even if I was disappointed with the tour, I was thankful because if not for Ben and Jerry's, I wouldn't realize how wonderful Vermont is. There's a lot of other companies offering free and paid tours within a 30-mile radius and you can read about them on the Company Tour tab.