This would be my first visit to VT. I would be in Londonderry during 5th -7th October. I have a 5 yr old kid. Please suggest the best scenic drives and light hikes.
I hope the quote helps to reduce any confusion. I actually have a few moments to respond and I didn't want to risk not being able to do so when the new post went up.
I love SVT and, after years of mostly solo trips, I am bringING my family with me for the first time next year. My son with be 5 for that trip so, I am casting my eye in a much similar way.
West River, Jamaica State Park - it can be as easy as a walk on an old small gauge rail line that is now a smooth walking path or a scramble through boulders deposited by the stream or a walk up a traditional trail to a waterfall - you choose. Even the walk along the path has nice views of the West River.
Ball Mountain Dam - a fun walk for a kid (even a 45 year-old one like me). You can walk out on the dam and have a nice view of the valley to take in the views from the parking area (where the gazebo is located). Not a hike, per se, but a fun and short walk for smaller legs.
Stratton Mountain - take the gondola up to the top of the mountain and either walk back down or hike about on the summit and ride back down on the gondola.
Emerald Lake State Park - a nice and easy walk around a gorgeous lake. Pretty much all there is to say about that...
Equinox Mountain - also a strong option for a scenic drive (see below) to the summit, the lower reaches of Equinox Mountain has a network of trails that can be done in pieces or together to create a hike as long, or as short, as little legs are willing to do. Trail map found here: http://www.equinoxpreservationtrust.org/index.php.
I will come up with some more hikes shortly. Some come to mind but, I don't want to recommend ones (like the Dorset Quarry or the Scott Bridge) that have additional risks.
Pikes Falls Road - named after town of Pikes Falls, I am uncertain as to whether there are waterfalls or it is named after a family named Pike who tripped a lot in the vicinity. You drive along the North Branch of Ball Mountain Brook. The road narrows often and has large stretches of gravel (really more like very well packed sand). I drive an Acura TLX (four door sedan) so none of these routes require four wheel drive or tires so large each represents one day of OPEC production.
Deer Valley Road
Kelly Stand Road
Colvin Hill Road - I swear I once glanced a bigfoot on this road. My wife pointed out that "bigfoot" was wearing a flannel shirt, denim overalls and slurred "*&^ing tourists" at me as I drove by. I stand by my sighting and believe that disguises like this are why sightings remain so rare, as few have my powers of observation to see through his cunning camouflage.
Skyline Drive - OK, first, is your car under warranty? Are brakes (rotors and pads) covered? Seriously, use low gear during the descent and pull over occasionally to take in the views and to allow your brakes to cool off. When I last went on this drive, they still had buckets of water that you can use to cool off your brakes, if they get out of hand. All of that aside, this is a great drive. Wonderful views, especially later in the day. Expect it to be more windy and cool than the valley below and layer accordingly.
Danby Hill Road - if you have time, take a drive down Easy Street. No seriously. Danby Hill Road merges with (or splits off from, depending on which way you are driving it) Brook Road. If, at the fork in the road, you take Brook Road, Easy Street will be at the next fork in the road, right after you cross Mill Brook.
Mount Tabor Forestry Road - OK, a few notes. This is a seasonal road. After a heavy rain I do not advise this one and, I believe, it closes after first snow fall. This drive runs between 7 and Londonderry. You can pick it up as Brooklyn Road in Mount Tabor where it intersects with 7 or, from Londonderry, take the following:
A. 11 west toward Peru. Right on Lover's Lane. Right on Hapgood Pond Road. Visit Hapgood Pond. Get back on Hapgood Pond Road and resume your driving by turning left. Continue to intersection with Landgrove Road where you will turn left. Turn left on Little Michigan Road and right on Danby Mountain Tabor Road Number 10 (gonna tell you now, I don't believe that 1 through 9 exist but, someone liked "Number 10" at the end of the name). This is the forestry road.
B. Take 11 or Old Stowell Road to Landgrove Road and turn right. Turn left on Little Michigan Road and right on Danby Mountain Tabor Road Number 10 (you know the route and joke from here).
Equinox Valley Nursery - they have a great fall festival thing going on from September through November. Pumpkins? Check. Cider? Check. Those donuts you guys all like? Check. Corn maze? Check.
Orvis Flagship Store - see how New Yorkers think Vermonters would live if they were New Yorkers who lived in Vermont. Oh and feed the fish, kids love to feed the fish. Seriously, the upscale fly fishing, wing (i.e. bird) shooting and clothier is a fun visit. After you walk around, check "next door" (across a field really and, if it is Columbus Day weekend, there will be big tents on that field) at the Outlet Store for sale items.
Covered Bridges - Arlington Covered Bridge, Chiselville Covered Bridge and Scott Covered Bridge are all nearby. For Arlington, drive through the bridge and park at the church. It will keep the little one farther from the road (speed limit 55, at that point, I believe). As mentioned previously, I am reluctant to recommend the Scott Bridge as it sits right off of 30 with parking being just feet off of the road. Scott Bridge also was closed to foot traffic when I was last there so, you can neither walk or drive across it. Forget I even mentioned that one.
Bromley - kids rides and an alpine slide. Need I say more?
Northshire Bookstore - great kids section and a wonderful place. The best independent bookstore in Ver..., the United..., THE WORLD!!! Seriously, a good time.
Killington - also a small amusement park (make sure there are things that your little one can do, based on height and weight: http://www.killington.com/site/summer/adventure-center). You can even go to the golf course and watch people hurt themselves on these: http://www.killington.com/site/summer/golf_course/Golf_Boards.
Vermont Country Store - a good time for all ages.
I hope that gives you a few ideas. Have a great time!