Vermont trip this weekend
Hello Fellow Chowhounders,
My friend and I are planning a short trip to VT from NYC this weekend to (hopefully) catch the last days of foliage. I searched this board and got some really great info.
Would you please have a look at my tentative itinerary and tell me if I missed any important food places/towns or if there is any place we should skip for this two-day visit:
1. Manchester - Skyline drive, Up for Breakfast
2. Weston - Vermont Country Store, Podunk
3. Ludlow - Inn at Waters Edge (there is a must-see VT pub?), Green Mountain Sugar Co.
4. Woodstock - Pylmouth Cheese Factory, Waterstock Buffalo Cheese Factory, Mill at Quechee Rest, hiking by the waterfalls
5. Middlebury - Otter Creek Brewery, Natural Food Co-op (possibly having dinner in this town)
6. Burlington - We are spending the night here.
The Northern Lights cruise, Ben&Jerry's (my friend is so into this), Magic Hat Brewing Co., Cheese Outlet, Cheese Traders, Church Str., Mt Mansfield for hiking
7. Mad River Valley / Waitsfield / Warren
I would prefer to go to places with a "real Vermont" feeling. I heard that The Starry Cafe is amazing, and I should eat Maple Creeme and Cider Donut.
And of course I will try to find Lazy Lady Goat Cheese, Jasper Farm Blue Cheese, Vermont Coulpole by VT Butter & Cheese Co., Woodchuck and Original Sin cider, Lake Champlain chocolates. So I have some shopping to do.
What am I missing here? I would love to hear your opinions.
Thanks so much for all your help!
If you like to bake, you can find some unusual ingredients at King Arthur Flour in Norwich. Stop at an orchard store for some fresh apples. I bought apples at the supermarket this week after several weeks feasting on local apples. What was I thinking!!! Not sure if Honey Crisp are still in season but I paid almost twice per pound what ordinary apples cost and they were worth it!
In terms of Burlington I would skip the Northern Lights cruise, if it's the ferry or Spirit of Ethan Allen, just plain cheesy and worthless. If you want to go out on the lake check out the smaller charters or rent a bike down at the Waterfront and ride along the lake on the bike path, it's really quite pretty, I usually suggest going North up the path because the South End gets somewhat confusing, having to cut through neighborhoods. If your in Burlington on Saturday the Farmers Market is a must, lots of local cheeses/food/crafts, etc. If not head to City Market, just one block off Church to grab your local stuff. Starry Night is great, but outside of Burlington, about a 40 minute drive out route 7. If you're tired of driving and just want to have a good meal in town check out Trattoria Delia, L'Amante or A Single Pebble, and always make a reservation, you can't get in any good restaurant here without one. Oh and B & J's would be closer to Warren/Waitsfield area than Burlington, check out the Warren Store when you're there, it's pretty "Vermonty" without the country edge (more funky than country).
Assuming that you are driving from Middlebury to Burlington on the same day, I'd have dinner at Starry Night, rather than in Middlebury. There's decent food in Middlebury, but Starry Night is really good, and it appears to fit into your itinerary well, as it is about 1/2 way between the 2.
If you are driving from Manchester to Weston you are probably heading to Londonderry to pick up Rt. 100. Instead of turning north, head south for about two miles. There is a bakery on the left called Grandma Miller's. Very good. I think they run fresh stuff up to the Vermont Country Store everyday but I always like to go to the source.
I second the Grandma Miller's recommendation! Favorites: Sticky buns, lemon cake, and the eclairs.
If you are in the Manchester/Dorset area on Sunday, stop by the Dorset Farmers' Market (10am - 2pm), which is indoors at the JK Adams Kitchen Store on Route 30 in Dorset, about 4 miles north from Manchester Center and only a couple of miles south from the Dorset Inn, which is a good spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
JK Adams manufactures their own wood cutting boards, pot racks and other things, as well as carrying a huge selection of kitchen stuff so that is worth a visit in and of itself.
Just a word to the wise from someone who lives here, make your decision as soon as you can (this morning!) as reservations go very quickly this time of year, especially on a weekend. I hope not, but you may find some of these won't be able to accomodate you at this late date. :-((
When you get home, be sure to come back and fill us in on where you ate! :-))
Just a quick followup here.
We drove up there that weekend and we had a lovely time... Our plan proved to be too aggressive and we ended up doing half the things we planned.
We managed to go these places: Manchester; had breakfast at Up for Breakfast. Their pumpkin-walnut pancakes were yummy. Weston Country Store was impressive. Woodstock was such a beautiful town, we loved it. We had dinner at Starry Night Cafe and I have to say that was the highlight of my trip despite the not-so-hospitable Hostess. I had a goat cheese ravioli with tomatoes & baby greens; and grilled mahi mahi as main. Mahi mahi was served on a bed of greens, on the side was a raspberry jelly and some grains and vegetables. Absolutely amazing dish... Next morning we had breakfast at Magnolia and I had the Lime waffles with yogurt. It was ok, My friend had the Mexican omelet and it was delicious. They have such friendly service and good atmosphere.
We stopped by at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill and was very surprised to see how the cider was made. We had read about the Green Mountain Coffee Factory; we were excited to see some of the roasting processes etc, but when we went there it turned out to be just a coffeeshop with some interactive multimedia info about coffee and that was a dissapointment. It was even more dissapointing to see that they sold no freshly roasted coffee by the pound. They had only limited selection of 1-lb bags of some of their coffee.
We also went to City Market in Burlington to do some shopping and how great is that store... I wish we had one at where I live as well. Got a lot of chese etc from there... My friend and I loved how everyone was so friendly and also so athletic. We hope go back there next year for a 3-4 day trip.
Thanks again for all your recommendations!