For me, Vermont is another one of those states that has a mystical haze surrounding it – for heaven’s sake, they have kingdoms there! Fortunately, Tara’s guide to her favorite places to eat and visit help solve a piece of the puzzle. So here’s the important question – who’s driving? -Amy
Vermont and I are having a whirlwind love affair. We may have only been acquainted for a short period, but our bond is deep and true.
I fell in love almost instantly, on a snowy Saturday in January 2012. Despite being a lifelong New Englander, the Green Mountain State had eluded me until then. Lyn and I were taking a Boston Food Swap day trip to indulge in some agricultural tourism and sample the state’s fine dairies.
I-89 should win an award for “Most Scenic Highway” with the way the tree-covered mountains create stunning vistas as you drive through. Even having to push Lyn’s totally non-rugged Suzuki up an unplowed (there was like a millimeter of snow) hill couldn’t dampen my spirits (it helped that we were less than a mile from Cabot, and the car regained traction fairly quickly). Twelve hours and many stops later, our shopping bags and our stomachs were full of cheddar, goat’s milk caramel, and ice cream, plus the best barbecue I have ever had from a gas station parking lot. I was smitten.
We gushed about Vermont so much, Lyn’s parents rented a timeshare up by Stowe, and the Boston Food Swap trio went north for some more cheese with a side of late October leaf peeping. On that jaunt, Vermont and I got to know each other a little better; we explored local breweries, chocolatiers, winemakers, pizzerias, and coffee roasters, proving there’s more to the state than cheese. I even met the neighbors–a few hours away and fitting of our cheese theme, we spent an afternoon in Montreal, sampling cheese curds and effectively ending our poutine virginities (our adorable waiter said it was our baptisme). Back in Vermont, we pet goats and cows, followed a “road” that ended in a photogenic ravine (but didn’t exactly get us to our intended destination), and experienced the best of self-serve, honor system rural commerce.
My third visit to Vermont was in July, and we’re definitely feeling comfortable around each other. I had grand plans of exciting dates– more dairies and exploring. Instead, we stayed in. The few days were spent swimming, writing, and unwinding at my friend’s postcard-worthy family home. We grilled simple meals made from the garden and the farmers market, and drank more wine than I care to admit. I relaxed into Vermont, and it was glorious.
A dear friend is turning 30 this October, and we’re returning to my favorite state for a long weekend of celebrations. I can’t wait to be back. Below is a list of my favorite Vermont links:
- VT Cheese Trail map http://www.vtcheese.com/cheesetrail.htm
- Cabot Creamery Cooperative, Cabot http://www.cabotcheese.coop/
- Fat Toad Farm, Brookfield www.fattoadfarm.com
- Neighborly Farms, Randolph Center http://www.neighborlyfarms.com/
- Shelburne Farms, Shelburne http://www.shelburnefarms.org/
- Ben & Jerry’s Factory, Waterbury http://www.benjerry.com/scoop-shops/factory-tours
- King Arthur Flour, Norwich http://www.kingarthurflour.com/visit/
- Lake Champlain Chocolates, Burlingtonhttp://www.lakechamplainchocolates.com/about-us/visit-our-factory/
- Cold Hollow Cider Mill, Waterbury (Cider, Cider Donuts, Fudge, Maple Products)http://www.coldhollow.com/
- Woodstock Farmers Market, Woodstock http://www.woodstockfarmersmarket.com/
- Village Butcher Shop, Woodstockhttps://plus.google.com/114435947251927635454/about?gl=us&hl=en
- Maple Delights, Montreal http://www.mapledelights.com/maple-syrup/index.aspx
Restaurants & Cafes:
- Vermont Maple BBQ truck, Randolph http://www.vtbbq.com/
- White Cottage Snack Bar, Woodstockhttps://www.facebook.com/TheWhiteCottageSnackBar?rf=115706228485281
- Farmhouse Tap & Grill, Burlington http://www.farmhousetg.com/
- Folino’s Pizza, Shelburne http://folinopizza.com/
- Uncommon Grounds, Burlington http://ugvermont.com/
- Montreal Poutine, Montreal http://www.montrealpoutine.com/
Wine & Beer:
- Shelburne Vineyard, Shelburne http://shelburnevineyard.com/
- Fiddlehead Brewing Company, Shelburne http://www.fiddleheadbrewing.com/
- Snow Farm Vineyard, South Hero http://www.snowfarm.com/ (they also do tastings at the Cabot Annex Store in Waterbury)
- Long Trail Brewing Company, Bridgewater Corners http://www.longtrail
All photos taken and styled by Tara Belluci.
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