Meredith and I often post about summer “blowing by” or life feeling too rushed and busy, so in an attempt to slow things down a bit, disconnect for just over a day, and take advantage of some of the precious remaining summer, we recently took a somewhat impromptu overnight trip to southern Vermont. The trip was just what we were looking for, and in under 30 hours, we had the chance to visit some picturesque New England towns, try some unbelievable meals, cheeses, and desserts, and relax by the pool on a Vermont hillside – not too shabby!
L.A. Burdick Chocolates
While technically not Vermont, the town of Walpole is a quaint hamlet just over the border in New Hampshire. Meredith and I made the slight detour to sample the chocolates and cuisine (pretty much in that order) of L.A. Burdick, which clients of Meredith’s had introduced her to in Cambridge. Lunch was delicious – paired with Vermont cheeses and beers – and with a cooler full of chocolates we happily headed on our way, but not before we spent a few minutes walking around the town square and popping into the Artisan Cooperative.
Grafton, VT and Grafton Village Cheese Company
While on the topics of New Enlgand quintessential townery and Vermont cheeses, our next stop was in Grafton, VT. At some point in the past couple of years, Meredith and I started religiously purchasing the 2-year aged Grafton Village Cheese cheddar for afternoon wine hours and our favorite pimiento cheese recipe, and in large part due to our affinity for this cheese, we added Grafton to our list of stops (even though the cheddar is now produced just outside of Brattleboro). The town itself seems to be a Rockwellian throwback to a different era – whitewashed colonial homes, shops, and galleries hidden beneath large shade trees, and a creek running through the center of town complete with covered bridge. It took just a few minutes to walk around the downtown area and play in the stream, but given the time, Grafton could be a serious weekend relaxation stop. We have it on good intel that Grafton at christmas is practically a cuteness overload. If you can’t make it down to Brattleboro, definitely stop into the Grafton Village Cheese shop as we did and try your hand at some of the different varieties of cheddar they offer. I’ll be surprised if you leave without making a purchase.
Windham Hill Inn
The Windham Hill Inn was an ideal destination to disconnect and relax. Set far enough off the beaten path that cell phones aren’t even really an option, we were able to completely unwind in the warm afternoon sun by the pool overlooking the rolling Vermont hills. There were tennis courts that we were just too short of time to take advantage of, but the well-maintained, fern-clad hiking trails were a major enjoyment and the perfect way to start our morning before we returned home.
SoLo Farm & Table
Always save the very best for last. Food is easily one of our favorite means of relaxation, so in typical Map & Menu fashion, one of the biggest reasons we chose to visit southern Vermont for our getaway was to try a dinner at SoLo Farm & Table in South Londonderry. The exquisite food from SoLo is far from a secret, but it’s enough off the beaten path that you’ll almost have to make it a destination dinner. That being said, you’ve got to believe me when I tell you that I would easily double the hour-long roundtrip we made from our inn to the restaurant to enoy another meal from SoLo. Every part of our meal, from the heirloom tomato salad, to the salmon, to the roasted suckling pig was fresh, locally sourced, creative, and perfectly prepared. Everything down to the drinks – Meredith’s cocktail and my Heady-Topper imperial IPA – was just right, and I have to say that they’re something pleasantly surprising about a white-tablecloth establishment that doesn’t shy away from serving a delicious canned beer. We strongly recommend making reservations (ours landed us an awesome table in the enclosed porch), and a little pro-tip would be to purchase a bag of the Tout de Sweets Black and Tan caramels that come with your check – they almost didn’t make it the entire way home!