Vacation recommendation - Central VT or Bar Harbor, ME?
We are planning our vacation for a week in August, but we are debating between Woodstock/Sugarbush areas of Vermont or Bar Harbor, Maine. Any recommendations? We're not into touristy places - we like local spots with great food and heart in their food. BYO's welcomed...Thx!
Woodstock is a lot less touristy than Bar Harbor. However, Acadia National Park is worth seeing.
Woodstock has great dining options. Two nights, maybe three is more than enough, including a side trip to Hanover, NH.
How long is your vacation? Are you driving and from where? Maine is great, but I personally think two or three nights in Bar Harbor is enough.
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I haven't been to Bar Harbor since 1997. We usually choose someplace further south but still the mid-coast area of Maine. Typically we are on the search for the perfect lobster roll or steamed lobster by the sea. Camden is very touristy but offers a superb place for a picnic (top of Mt Battie) and we have enjoyed repeat visits to the Cellar Door Winery in nearby Lincolnville. I think the lobster choices are better in the Rockland and Brunswick areas. Last summer's visit to the farmers market in Brunswick made me want to move there. We bought fresh biscuits for strawberry shortcake, other nice baked things, fresh mushrooms and some herb plants to take back to my garden. You can get a farmers market listing on Maine's Dept of Agriculture or a brochure at the visitors center on Rt 95. You should also look for events where there is likely to be church ladies selling homemade pies. We struck gold at Bath's 4th of July celebration. Early summer is a great time to go to enjoy rhubarb but in August there should still be blueberries available. You'll see trucks by the roadside on rt 1 selling fresh berries. To me, it's important to have lodging that allows you to partake of non-restaurant foods. You could keep it simple just mixing fresh berries into vanilla yogurt (Belfast has a great food coop) or other simple fresh berry dessert. Hope you can bring some home to make blueberry pudding cakes and other things you can't get in restaurants. BTW at the Brunswick farmers market there was also a lady selling middle eastern foods.
I would not choose Woodstock at all because I think it's a New Yorker's idea of Vermont plus I was very disappointed by last summer's sunday breakfast at Bentleys. I like the food store across the street though. I loved Simon Pearce in Quechee but we've only been there once and got there at 11:30 so we got a great table overlooking the river. I like their menu but my husband prefers plainer eating. We had a wonderful week splitting time between the Burlington and Middlebury areas. I think Middlebury has a great food coop, too. We liked Boyden Valley winery to the east of Burlington. Since the Champlain valley has a lot of agriculture it was easy to find farmstands. I would definitely search out some farmers markets and places that make their own cheese. You could food sample your way up the road between Waterbury and Stowe (cheese samples at stores, Cold Hollow Cider, etc). Include a visit to Vermont Country Store (there are two locations) for more food tastings and a good place to find some kitchen gadgets. If you go to the Vermont Country Store in Weston, Raspberries and Thyme in Chester has great sandwiches. We like things like maple flavored salad dressing. If you are in the Woodstock area you could also visit King Arthur flour for great baking ingredients and kitchen gadgets. I'm definitely thinking of a Vermont cheese tour! I would also try to visit Vermont farmers markets. I think there have been some recommendations on past Chowhound posts.
BTW in Maine we like Round Top ice cream. For a summer vacation if you like ice cream you need a list of the best ice cream stands.
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Woodstock is pretty touristy... lots of wealthy families from metropolitan areas vacation there. It's beautiful... very Norman Rockwellesque... but can be very busy and difficult to find parking. The restaurants aren't that great, although Simon Pierce is excellent. I think it would be a nice day trip, but not worth spending more than a day there. The last time my husband and I visited, we nearly pulled our hair out it was so crowded! If you're looking for something less touristy, maybe others have recommendations.