One weekend in August or September of 2005, Ravi and I decided to drive to Vermont on a whim. This was back in the day before we had children, and the prospect of a 3 hour car ride was fun-a chance for us to talk, listen to music, and just hang out.
a covered bridge
Vermont is famous for many things. It’s good skiing country, a beautiful place to drive through in the fall when all the trees are changing color, place of origin for delicious maple syrup, home of the Trapp Family Lodge (owned and operated by the family that inspired “The Sound of Music”), it’s where Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream got their start (and you can tour the factory) , and it is home to the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory, which was our destination.
Ravi and I have always been fans of teddy bears. So it made perfect sense to us (who were barely engaged) that we go tour a teddy bear factory. But not just any factory. Vermont Teddy Bears are handmade. They’re delivered in bear-grams. They are utterly adorable.
This is the exterior of the factory, walking up from the parking lot.
I absolutely loved the paw prints on the path leading you the entry
You can pose up to four friends in this interactive photo op
We entered and got our tickets for the tour. We had some time to kill, so we made some new friends….like this giant teddy bear Ravi is posing with. This may be one of my all time favorite pictures of Ravi.
The tour began with some general history about teddy bears, the company, and their process.
As we were there on the weekend, no one was working on the floor. However, if you tour during the week, you’ll actually see the employees making the bears. This is the cutting area. The tour is really great for kids, as it’s interactive at every step of the way. During the cutting stop, they passed around the fabric that is cut out to make the bear.
Sewing and pinning come next. Sewing is where they sew the cut pieces together to make the various parts of the bear. Pinning is where they assemble the bears. Vermont teddy bears have articulated legs, arms and heads (meaning you can move them to stand, sit, look in a specific direction, etc).
Here we have Ravi illustrating how to pin the head on a bear. Or maybe he just decapitated it. Either way, I think he looks a little too happy when regarding the headless bear. On his chest you can see the adorable bear shaped cut outs we got to wear to mark us as part of the tour group.
They guarantee the bears for life. If something happens to your bear, you can mail it back to the factory where it will be “admitted” to the “bear hospital” “healed” and sent back to you.
Of course the tour ends with a showroom.
If you ever find yourself in this corner of the US, I absolutely recommend the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory Tour. The awesome part is that it’s a short drive from there to the Ben & Jerry’s Factory tour (we did both in one day). There’s also great bed & breakfasts in the area. We stopped in at a glassblowing studio in the area as well.
Ironically, I did not get a Vermont Teddy Bear on that trip. I still don’t own one.
Ellie received one from a family friend for her first Christmas, when she was not quite 2 months old. Lucky girl!