1. Where to Stay
Feed the lambs or collect eggs from the chicken coop at Shepherd’s Hill Farm (from $135), right outside Woodstock. (Helping with morning and afternoon chores is optional.) Two loft-like bedrooms share a bathroom and panoramic views of the farm. A locally sourced breakfast is included, and you can pick up some fresh lamb, honey, or eggs from the farm’s store on the way out.
Dinner and breakfast are family-style and included at Liberty Hill Farm ($90), outside of Rochester. Ask for a room in the extension of the 1825 farmhouse for more privacy; the two rooms in the main house share a floor with the owners. The working dairy farm has 125 Holstein cows to visit, but you can also go tubing or trout fishing on the adjacent river.
Hide away at the Vermont Grand View Farm (from $110), where you can stay in an eighteenth-century farmhouse with a separate entrance. Twenty minutes outside of Barre, the farm raises sheep for fiber and offers classes on felting, spinning, and dyeing.
2. Where to Eat
The Red Rooster at the Woodstock Inn opened last September, with a design by Blue Hill at Stone Barns’s architect, Peter Guzy, and a dining concept by Blue Ribbon Group. The menu emphasizes the area’s syrup supply with dishes like Northern fried chicken with maple syrup and maple-walnut-and-banana bread pudding.
Carpenter & Main, in Norwich, is Vermont’s answer to the French Laundry. Chef-owner Bruce MacLeod worked stints at Masa’s in San Francisco and Peninsula Grill in South Carolina, and oversees an entirely house-made menu. From the more casual pub menu, try the grass-fed Vermont beef burger with béarnaise sauce on an English muffin.
Listen to old-timey country and blues music every Friday night at Skunk Hollow Tavern. Eat by candlelight in a colonial-style dining room upstairs (the building dates from the late eighteenth century) or dance and drink in the English-style pub downstairs.
3. What to Do
Billings Farm & Museum is an operating dairy farm, so get there in time to see the 3:15 p.m. milking. Visit the restored 1890 farmhouse and see demonstrations of rug hooking, wood carving, spinning, and butter churning.
Otter Creek Brewing in Middlebury offers three daily free tours and tastings. The accompanying store has six-packs to go.The Jasper Murdoch Alehouse puts the micro in microbrewery — quaffs like Famous Sidekick and Fuggle & Barleycorn are available only in the taproom in the on-site Norwich Inn.
Take a class at the Baking Education Center at King Arthur Flour and learn to make flatbreads, bagels, yeast breads, and pastas. Buy finished products at the Baker’s Store, as well as cookbooks, ingredients, and baking supplies.
4. Insider’s Tip
Copeland Furniture in Bradford is the exclusive builder of Frank Lloyd Wright furniture designs as well as original hardwood furniture. The company store has “seconds”—discounted pieces that are structurally sound but aesthetically flawed.
5. Oddball Day
The railroad town of White River Junction has reinvented itself as a haven for artists and craftsmen. At the Tip Top Media and Arts Building, visit open studios and galleries displaying everything from stained glass to printmaking. Paint your own pottery at the Tip Top Pottery Studio or visit Venetian-style mask-maker and puppet-maker Gabriel Q. Eat lunch on the ground floor Tip Top Café, where the waitstaff skews toward middle age. At the Main Street Museum, puzzle over exhibits like “Objects With Orifices” and “Tangled Things.”
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