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Bob Cafe Brewery
This article is a special contribution from Kurt Staudter, Vermont Brewers Association

The idea of pairing beer with food is perhaps the oldest preoccupation of mankind, but only in Vermont has the art reached its zenith. Greg Noonan of the Vermont Pub & Brewery in Burlington is credited with being a brewpub pioneer, and for almost twenty years is still on the cutting edge of blending great food and interesting brews. Just down the block is the Zero Gravity Brewery at American Flatbread where in addition to their own beers, they have a fantastic selection of other offerings in their Burlington Taproom. If you’re looking for a game of pool, another great brewpub in the Queen City is Three Needs.
Outside of Burlington along the spine of the Green Mountains, we have The Alchemist in Waterbury, The Shed Restaurant and Brewery in Stowe, The Bobcat Café in Bristol, and Stonecutters Brewhouse in Barre. All have many exciting menu items to pair with creative craft beers.
On either end of the state you can get a craft brew with award winning food: In the Northeast Kingdom in Lyndonville, The Trout River Brewery serve up flatbreads on Friday and Saturday night, and in Bennington Madison Brewing declares that they are a great restaurant that happened to brew beer. Windsor County boasts three great places to have a meal and a fresh brew: The Long Trail Brewery in Bridgewater Corners, a little more upscale is the Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse at the Norwich Inn, and lighter fare can be found at the Harpoon Brewery in Windsor.
Another Vermont original is McNeill’s Brewery in Brattleboro, where locals and visitors gather at long shared tables, and can snack on light finger food over a pint of one of their award winning ales. Hours of operation for all the pubs can be found at www.vermontbrewers.com.
So if you’re hungry and want some of the best craft beers in the country, visit one of the many extraordinary Vermont brewpubs. You’ll quickly understand why Vermont is the place where the good things to eat and drink come from, and as they say “Vermont brews Best!”
Related post: Harpoon Brewery – BBQ Competition

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Vermont Summer Festival Horsehow

Another month has gone by… and it’s time again to share which were the most popular articles in August. Interestingly, some of our July articles were still very popular.

1- Fun things to do in Vermont
2- Vermont Summer Festival Horseshow – July 9 – August 17
3- Things to do in Vermont – August 1-3
4- Labor Day Week-end – Things to do in Vermont
5- Things to do in Vermont – August 22-24
6- Who Makes the Best Maple Creemee?

No doubt, you love our “things to do” articles, and with the upcoming Fall season, we’ll continue to bring you our small and big discoveries – with pleasure and passion!

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Morse Farm

That is indeed an essential question: who makes the best maple creemee in Vermont?
Essential because you cannot come and visit Vermont without trying a maple creemee. It has to be part of the experience!
The creemee is a soft serve ice cream (also seen spelt creamee or creamie) and people agree that a great maple creemee uses real maple syrup rather than flavoring. Many people say “Morse Farm” on County Road, just outside Montpelier has the best maple creemee, and indeed it’s good… It is one of these little pleasures of life, right after supper to go there for a creemee, sit down in one of their Adirondack chairs, watch the valley and the mountains far into the distance… and if you’re interested, visit their shop and their sugarhouse…
I don’t think that all sugarhouses necessary have great maple creemees though. I have had some with little taste (cheap on the syrup I guess) and on the other hand, I have seen little ordinary soft serve ice cream stands have top-class maple creemees (like Simply Subs on Main Street in Barre… I am hoping they continue to use as much maple syrup as they now do… their creemee is really good…).
One thing for sure is that it seems impossible to declare a winner… you’d need to try them all at the same time and I have not heard yet of such a competition… may be I should make the suggestion to the Harpoon Brewery group… to add a maple creemee competition to their BBQ competition next year
In the meantime, here are some tips from maple creemee lovers on the best place to get one!

  • Maynard’s on rte 100 between Waitsfield and Moretown
  • Bragg Farm, Route 14 North, East Montpelier
  • Strafford Organic Dairy farm
  • Dakin Farm in Ferrisburgh on Route 7

Where is YOUR best place?

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Swimming - LakeThere are lots of fun things to do in Vermont in the summer. Here is for starters:
– Go to one of the 89 swimming holes – ponds and rivers – listed on this website. Make sure to watch their slideshow, it gives you a great idea of the look of the different places (names are on the photos). Great for a hot day!
– Go to one of many outdoor concerts of the Vermont Mozart Festival or the Lake Champlain Bluegrass Festival;
– Watch antique cars at the 51st Annual Antique & Classic Car Meet, in Stowe on August 8-10;
– Eat a maple cremee: you got to have one if you are in Vermont in the summer… Make sure you get the ones made with real maple syrup and not just the flavor! We’ll give you some addresses soon, but for now, let’s mention Morse Farm, up County Road, near Montpelier, that’s the place everyone knows;
– Go to the Harpoon Brewery BBQ competition in Windsor on July 26-27; 40 teams from all the country will compete!
– Get a Vermont Brewery Challenge – Official Passport and visit all 18 great micro-breweries in the state of Vermont; Get a stamp at each and you can win prizes!
– Go and watch the Challenge Race at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, near Vergennes on July 20; it’s a 3-mile race of around 50 small boats. Should be fun. Around 200 spectators usually attend. And may be even more fun, on Saturday 19 (today!) there is a duct tape boat construction and race there!
– Attend your first Thunder Road night in Barre (not NASCAR racing but close!) – every Thursday and occasionally on week-ends;
– And if you are into American Revolution history, go to one of the reenactments/encampments which take place at different historic sites along the summer: the Battle of Hubbardton early July, Mount Independence encampment this week-end, Bennington in August…
What do you think? Fun enough?… Anything fun we should add to this list, leave us a comment and tell us about it!!

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Hen of the WoodThe Hen of the Wood was again noticed last week, and by noone else than the Mark Bittman, who writes for NY Times’ dining section. Nice!
The title of his article definitely caught my attention: “Revitalized Eating in Vermont”. Seems like some other gourmets agree with our team (see our posting on “Waterbury award-winning restaurants“), and believe that there is now some nice gastronomy in Vermont!
I will let you read the article but in summary, he mentions “3 wonderful eating experiences” he had in Vermont last week-end:
– the Hen of the Wood,
Clotilde, a 70-family community supported agriculture operation,
Ariel’s in Brookfield.
Ariel’s? Interesting… The owners have another restaurant in Montpelier called Ariel’s Riverside… We were there the other day, and were actually disappointed that the owners had decided to change the menu from the BBQ place we loved (Finkerman’s Riverside) to this fancy, somewhat expensive, undifferentiating menu… oh well…

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President Calvin Coolidge Homestead
This posting has been moved to: http://christineseclecticlife.com/president-coolidge-house/

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Chimney Point historic siteRoute 17 is not frequently listed among “scenic drives” but it definitely has a stunning view from the top of the Green Mountains at the Appalachian Gap (great during the foliage season) and lots of sweeping views of the Lake Champlain Valley. It will be enjoyed by people who love far away views and the immensity of the valley (and may be less by people who love the cozy valleys with mountain backdrops, which you find in Central Vermont on the famous route 100).
Route 17 is also very interesting by the great diversity of its landscapes, from the end of Lake Champlain, to the valley, the hills and finally the top of the Green Mountains.
You start at the shore of Lake Champlain (literally!) at “Chimney Point” state historic site (a wonderful spot unto itself). The first half of the drive, about 45 minutes, has you cruising across fabulous farm country in the Champlain Valley with sweeping views to the north and to the south across the flat and rolling farmlands. You can see the Green Mountains in the distance getting closer. The local scenes of farms and landscape are really classic Vermont.
Then, you hit Bristol, and start the “transition” to the Green Mountains. Bristol, itself, is just a perfect example of a 4-block long “Main Street”. The town is very vibrant with stores and restaurants. When we took the drive, last week-end, we enjoyed dinner and a “cold frosty one” at the Bob Cat Brewery (we will be back!).
Within seconds of leaving the town’s main street area heading east, we were into the hills and soon the Green Mountains, rapidly gaining altitude and enjoying the scenery as we headed up the very windy turns (no views there though).
Within 20 minutes, you finally cross through Appalachian Gap which has a very nice panoramic view to the West (fabulous sunset view!).You pass over the Long Trail at over 2,300 feet and then quickly head down the other side. A couple of minutes later, you get a glance of a ski lift. You are at the top of Mad River Glenn Ski area (how many times have you actually driven by the TOP of a ski lift?!). A few more minutes and you pass the bottom of the ski slope and quickly follow the wonderful river shores down towards Vermont’s famous Route 100 and the end of your Route 17 journey…
Pick a great day this summer to do it. Start around 5, stop in Bristol for dinner, and you should be perfectly timed to see the sunset at 8pm from Appalachian Gap.

Post-scriptum: Later this summer, I have done this drive again, but from route 100 to the lake this time… I actually prefer it in this direction. For the first few miles, before you start the climb, the Green Mountains are unbelievably impressive, truly rising as a wall in front of you… Later, Bristol is again a surprise at the end of the descent… and arriving at the lake at Chimney Point is precious. Enjoy!

Related posts:
Sunset on Historic Chimney Point
Brewpubs of Vermont
Enjoy Vermont foliage… Differently

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vermont culinary classic

10 days of delightful gastronomy experience in the Stowe area! You cannot miss it if you enjoy food and wine. You can taste wines, beers, cheeses or all-natural chocolates, learn to make bagels, take a 2-hour cooking class with Vermont 2007 Chef of the Year Michael Kloeti, have a “farmer’s lunch”, visit cheese farms and have a “cheese dinner”, enjoy some fancy dinners all made with local farmers’ products, etc. The list of events and activities is almost endless! The brochure for the program includes location and prices for each event. Some are pricy but I am sure everyone can find something to enjoy. Don’t wait, the kick-off is today!
And don’t hesitate to give us your comments on your favorite event!
For more information, visit their website: www.vermontculinaryclassic.com or download their brochure at: http://www.vermontculinaryclassic.com/2008Brochure.pdf
Related post: Waterbury award-winning restaurants

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