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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Taste Culture and Country in Brattleboro


5. Oddball Day

The West River flows alongside Brattleboro, offering many swimming spots just outside of town.  

Hop on a cycle to explore the lush countryside surrounding Brattleboro. Pick up your ride at Brattleboro Bicycle Shop, where you can rent a hybrid, helmet, and lock for $25 a day (book in advanceóthere are only ten available). Then go west about fifteen minutes to the Brattleboro Farmers’ Market (9 a.m. to 2 p.m., every Saturday through October 27), a leafy gathering spot with more than 50 food and craft vendors, picnic tables, and live music. Fill up on a honey custard bun ($2.75) from Wild Flour Vermont Bakery or a variety of steamed bites from Dim Sum Tea House before picking out supplies for lunch, like a wedge of Vermont Shepherd’s Invierno, a cheese made with a blend of sheep and cow milk ($20 per pound). Once you’ve finished shopping, head back downtown on scenic Route 30, which runs along the West River and has a wide shoulder to accommodate bikers. Keep an eye out for groups of cars parked along the side of the road, often a sign there’s a swimming hole nearby. You’ll find a quiet one if you turn down Stickney Brook Road, about six miles from downtown, where Old Jelly Mill Falls offers a series of shallow pools and large slabs of rock that work well as picnic tables. Afterward, head another six miles up Route 30 to explore colonial Newfane, a picturesque town where a columned courthouse, high-steepled church, and clapboard houses sit around a village green. Stop by Dutton Berry Farm (open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during summer) to pick your own blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Pedal back to Brattleboro, return your bike, and grab a booth at the Chelsea Royal Diner, which dates to 1938, for Saturday’s blue-plate special of chicken-fried steak with country gravy ($10.50) followed by a banana split with homemade ice cream ($4.50). Finish off the day with a pint ($5) at McNeill’s Pub, which exclusively serves the sixteen craft brews produced at McNeill’s Brewery in town.

Published on Jul 12, 2012 as a web exclusive.

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