In just a couple of months, this same picture will be covered in snow. Taken August 2013.
Summer has come and gone, with little to no blogging accomplished. I have no excuses. I had every intention of displaying my favorite summer recipes that used all of the veggies out of my new garden, but instead gobbled most of these up before I had time to snap a couple of photos. No worries, though, I will be writing some more about the summer in the upcoming days. Then, maybe once I am all caught up, I can get back into current blogging.
Anyways, I really had another amazing summer. It was so great, that I feel fine with letting it go and welcoming Fall with open arms.
Anth and I kicked Summer off with a visit from my parents. We were able to show them around some of Vermont including Burlington and Stowe and made sure they ate and drank the best of Vermont (maybe too much!). Trapp Family Lodge, pictured above, offers amazing views, delicious beer made on the premises, and a variety of luscious baked goods.
We also started our first real garden this year. We have been wanting a garden for the longest time, but have been moving in and out of new places with little to no land over the past two and half years during summer. This year, we moved to our new place, that had some room for a small garden in May, and were quick to start planting. Considering the hard ships many gardeners and farmers had this year with too much rain, we had a bountiful year. Here, you can see our baby kale turning into more adult kale. It was convenient and fun having kale, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and parsley whenever we needed it. In addition, we had beets, zucchini, mint, hot peppers, and chives at other times.
We didn’t end up camping as much as I had hoped but did get a trip in at the beginning of summer. Our favorite place to camp in New England is in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. This time we ended up at a cute little campground set right behind a covered bridge.
Shortly after camping, we made our way into Portland, Maine for the “Festival“, an amazing international beer event. There, we got to chat with some of our favorite brewers from across the world, while also sampling their beer. We love Portland, so we also enjoyed the weekend eating, drinking, and basking in the sunshine around the city.
As I briefly mentioned above, cooking this summer was fantastic. I had so much to cook with from the garden, plenty from the farmer’s markets, and it seemed like everywhere we went, we were ending up with more vegetables and meal ideas. Although soup is usually thought of as a savory winter meal, whenever the garden would get too overwhelming, I would end up throwing everything together for some of the best summer vegetable soups I have ever had. One of my favorite memories of this summer, is having the door wide open, Pup laying outside in the sun, while I cook up a hearty vegetable soup.
Summer in Vermont is not complete without a trip to see Bread and Puppet. I have other posts on here just about Bread and Puppet, so if you have never heard of it, take a look here.
I continued my mentorship with Jeremy this summer and we ended up having all kinds of fun, finally getting to enjoy swimming holes and hiking. One of his favorite places ended up being Moss Glenn Falls which is located in Stowe, Vermont.
The Festival wasn’t the only beer festival of the year. Of course, we also enjoyed the Vermont Brewers Festival that takes place right on Lake Champlain. This year the underdog breweries were the highlight, and I will be adding an article about it shortly.
Surprisingly, Anth, Pup, and I also took a trip outside of New England this Summer. We usually try to save those types of trips for the other seasons, but when my Mom invited us down to the Outer Banks for a few days, we just couldn’t pass it up this year. I was able to show Pup and Anth all of my favorite childhood spots, including my favorite Southern Lighthouses.
This year, I finally jumped the Ausable River Gorge, right outside of Lake Placid. We had toyed with this idea late last Summer, but were never able to figure out the logistics of it at the time. This year, though, I took the leap.
Most of our Summer was spent enjoying hikes, covered bridges, and brewpubs right in our backyard of Vermont and New Hampshire. As usual, the Vermont Summer activities did not disappoint.
Almost 200 years ago, during an embargo on English goods, Vermont’s Long Trail was used as a smuggling route for British goods and supplies. Then, 100 years later, the trail was used once again to smuggle alcohol from Canada during the Prohibition. Smugglers used Smuggler’s Notch, made up of dense woods, dark caves, and steep cliffs, to aid in their operation. These days, modern day smugglers make their way through the Notch to get their hands on delicious, and completely legal, beer and food from Vermont’s new brewpubs: the Crop Bistro and Brewster River Pub.
The easiest way to begin your smuggling adventure is at the Crop Bistro and Brewery off route 108 in Stowe, Vermont. The Crop Bistro and Brewery has been open since January of 2012 and brewing beer since January of 2013. They have a pub type area perfect for snacks and beer, in addition to bistro style dining, both indoor and outdoor. The brewmaster is Will Gilson, a 20 year veteran of the industry, who was previously Moat Mountain Smoke House and Brewing’s brewmaster. Although Crop seems to specialize in German lagers, Gilson also produces deliciously hoppy IPA’s and even tart cherry milk stouts. In addition to a solid selection of house-made beer, Crop sustains a magnificent bottle and draught list, including beers handpicked from Vermont and around the world. I prefer to spend my time in the pub where I can sit at the bar with their hoppiest house beer, their house-made pickle of the day, and a big soft pretzel.
The real smuggling adventure begins as you continue on route 108 towards Mount Mansfield and Brewster River Pub. You’ll continue along 108 as it slowly begins the ascent up Mount Mansfield ultimately zig-zagging around large boulders towards the top. When you finally make it to the top, you could park your car for some hiking around amazing views, waterfalls, and caves, however, your mission requires you to begin the descent into Jeffersonville and, ultimately, the Brewster River Pub and Brewery.
Positioned right down the road from the locals’ favorite skiing resort, Smuggler’s Notch, the pub has a classic ski lodge feel to it. Yet, it is equipped with an outdoor volleyball and horse shoes, perfect for spending time outside during those beautiful summer sunsets behind Mount Mansfield. Brewster River Pub is also the most indoor fun available on Jeffersonville’s side of the mountain with free pool on Sundays, pub quiz night on Mondays, and open mic night on Wednesdays. Most importantly, though, co-owner, Bill Mossinghoff, started brewing Brewster River’s own beer this year in their brand-new brewing system. Brewster River consistently has at least a couple taps devoted to their house beer with recent offerings of a rye IPA and a barleywine. Visitors can look forward to a multitude of styles including an Irish red ale and a honey orange blonde beer. In addition to the tasty beer, Brewster River offers food that utilizes local ingredients to create delectable bar food such as duck wings and Andouille corn dogs in addition to different sandwiches and burgers. I couldn’t pass up an order of Chili Rellenos washed down by their house-brewed barley wine.
You won’t go thirsty when visiting the Stowe-Smuggler’s Notch region, but if you do find yourself looking for more, check out nearby drinking attractions Smuggler’s Notch distillery in Jeffersonville, Rock Art Brewery in Morrisville, and Lost Nation Brewery also in Morrisville.
Things change here in Vermont very quickly once we reach May. Spring turns from Vermont from mud and maple back to the Green Mountain State. Once the snow completely melts and the grass and trees are able to breathe a bit, different shades of green seem to sprout from the valleys to the mountains all at once. Then the dandelions begin to appear. Before we know it, the middle of May brings ramps, fiddleheads, and deep green fields covered in bright yellow dandelions.
We began May in the Mad River Valley, foraging for wild baby leeks (ramps) and exploring the valley before tourist season hits. We make the trip to the Mad River Valley a couple times a year, and also enjoy driving through it on our way to the Middlebury area. I’ve updated the site with an article on Warren, but the Mad River Valley has many towns, forests, covered bridges, and swimming holes to explore outside of Warren also.
I’m on a constant quest to find small towns that offer all of my favorite indoor indulgences: delicious cuisine, top rate beer and wine, and friendly company. I’m on the lookout for towns I can visit that only require crossing the road to go from one great establishment to another. These towns may be far and few, but I recently found one more to add to my list: Waterbury, Vermont. Waterbury, Vermont is the kind of town that appreciates food and drink. Known best for being the birthplace of the Alchemist Brewery (parents of the top rated beer Heady Topper), Waterbury offers a relaxed tone perfect for indoor amusements.
Although the Alchemist Brewery no longer owns a brewpub in town, the Blackback Pub & Flyshop will give you exactly the atmosphere you are looking for. Located on the corner of Main and Stowe Street, Blackback is comprised of two rooms and one bar completely made out of old bowling alley flooring. Although there are a couple of televisions, the entertainment is mostly good conversation. On my last visit to the pub, there were 16 beers on tap with half of them being from local breweries and all of them being top rated craft beer. It didn’t take long for me to get comfortable with a Hill Farmstead beer, and a highly recommended burrito. In addition to serving great brews, the Blackback Pub & Flyshop is also home to the Mad Taco, one of the best known burrito spots in Vermont.
When you’re ready for a change in scenery, it won’t take long to find your next destination. Cork Wine Bar & Market is Blackback’s neighbor and offers a variety of wines, beer, cheese, and other delicacies such as oysters on Wednesdays. The interior is simple yet gorgeous and there is a wide, carefully selected variety of wine by the bottle for sale. There is no better way to enjoy Vermont than with a glass of local wine, a wedge of local cheese, and a spot on Cork’s patio. Fridays and Saturdays can be quite packed at this local hotspot, but it is well worth it, especially for the live music on Saturdays.
If wine isn’t your thing, then head across the street to the Reservoir Restaurant and Tap Room. With a whopping 38 draft beers, a full bar, and a pool table, you won’t be disappointed in your options. This place specializes in comfort food, but the outrageous beer list certainly shouldn’t be overlooked. There is always something going on at the Reservoir including frequent beer promotions and live entertainment.
You will undoubtedly visit Waterbury, Vermont because it is beer capital of Vermont, however, you are likely to come back because it offers all of the indoor amenities we value and appreciate in one place. To get to Waterbury, follow 89 North two exits past the Montpelier exit.
could just miss one of Vermont’s original classic villages. To get there, you must take route 100, a curvy, hilly road that sticks close to Vermont’s rivers and mountain valleys, and is also known as one of the most scenic drives in all of New England. Watch out, the Warren Village sign is your only reminder to change course towards town. Once in town, Warren Village welcomes visitors with a timeless atmosphere and many outdoor recreation opportunities, certain to make you feel like a kid again.
Throughout the 19th century, Warren was a lumber and grain milling center. The mills produced everything from wooden bowls to shingles and exported most products to southern New England. You can experience this 19th century history by visiting many of the original town buildings. There are over 75 buildings and sites in all that are a part of the Warren Historic District. Start your tour in the center of Warren Village, on the hill that houses the Warren United Church. The church dates back to 1838 and is a good viewpoint of the rest of town. Be sure to also include: the 1867 schoolhouse (now the Municipal Building and Library), the Village Cemetery of 1826, and the Warren House Hotel (1840) which is now the town’s general store. Although this building has a new purpose, it is still the center of village activity.
After you have enjoyed the classic ambiance of Warren Village’s rich history, you can move on to Warren’s outdoor amusements. On your way out of the village, though, don’t miss Warren’s unusual covered bridge. The Lincoln Gap Bridge, built in 1879-80, is a queenpost type covered bridge; unusual in how the two portals differ, meaning that the entrance extends farther than the exit. To this day, a town ordinance exists that restricts any alterations to the bridge unless two-thirds of the voters approve a change.
A trip to Warren in the summer is not complete without experiencing its natural wonders. An absolute must is a visit to what the locals know as Warren Falls. Although somewhat hidden off route 100 south, Warren Falls, is a natural water park for all ages, complete with water slides naturally carved out of boulders and diving platforms high enough to get your adrenaline going. Whether or not you are interested in taking a dip, the cosmic variations of blue and green that exist throughout the falls are sure to impress. Next, drive or bike down route 100 south to Moss Glen Falls. This unique landform is not a swimming hole but is an easy hike to two magnificent, clear blue waterfalls. If the swimming holes of Warren are too off the beaten path for you, take a trip to Blueberry Lake, a warm, pristine lake that was actually once a marsh. The lake is great for swimming, kayaking, and sailboats.
Warren is a must stop on any trip to Vermont. It is close to many other Mad River Valley attractions in addition to being less than an hour to Stowe, Montpelier, and even Burlington. Although summer is the best season to enjoy its many swimming holes, Warren is remarkable during any season.
Enjoy more pictures below:
You can’t come to Vermont without getting caught up in the localvore movement in some way. Vermonters love local food of all types. So, after a long winter of beets and potatoes from the year before, ramps (wild leeks) and fiddleheads awaken our collective taste buds, a welcoming reminder of the months to come.
Well, we were surprised with fresh picked ramps at the co-op this afternoon. For those of you who haven’t had a wild leek, also known as a ramp, these earthy greens are the perfect natural blend of onion and garlic flavors.
Tonight, we decided to introduce Spring into our meals by making Ramp and Cheese Enchiladas. These were easy to put together in less than 20 minutes.
I took one bunch of ramps, and using both the bulbs and greens, chopped and sauteed them. Then, I rolled two tablespoons of sauteed ramps and three tablespoons of Cabot sharp cheddar cheese in a whole wheat tortilla. These were covered in a tomato black bean sauce and baked in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes.