I’ve been all over the place lately- both figuratively and literally! Work has been super crazy busy, but I’ve also gone on some pretty awesome trips as well! My travel log is more of a backlog at the moment, so let me start with the trip to Vermont I took a few weeks ago…
Where: Waitsfield, VT
Stay: 2 nights at The Featherbed Inn
Food and Drink: Pizza at American Flatbread, Cappuccinos at The Sweet Spot cafe, Craft Beer shopping at Craft Beer Cellar and Burgers at Prohibition Pig
Shopping: Artisan’s Gallery
My mom and I went up to Vermont to celebrate her, ahem, 29th birthday. She and my dad used to go up to the Sugarbush area a few times a year, so this was a little trip down memory lane for her, but a new experience for me.
We stayed at this awesome little B&B called the Featherbed Inn, run by Tom and Linda, who are perfectly friendly and ready to offer suggestions about anything you might need- from where to go skiing or hiking to the best places to grab a bite to eat. I had never been to a B&B before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but the Featherbed would have surpassed even my greatest expectations. We stayed in the Ilse room, which was spacious, with two beds and a small sitting area, and an adjoining private bathroom. The beds, I should note, are actual featherbeds, as the name suggests, and they are supremely comfortable. Seriously, it was like sleeping on a cloud. The rest of the inn open to guests, which consisted of two living room type areas and a four-table dining room, was clean and cozy, with all of the mountain charm you’d expect to find in a Vermont inn, complete with two friendly cats and two dogs.
It being a B&B and all, breakfast was included with our stay. And let me tell you, we had THE best breakfasts while we were there. The first morning we had what they called “Featherbed eggs,” which was a sort of egg souffle. How I’ve never had an egg souffle before, I’ll never know, because it was so delicious! The texture was amazingly fluffy and the eggs were perfectly flavored. The meal was accompanied by a pitcher of brewed coffee that was as good as I brew myself. Those of you who know me know I have high standards, so this is no easy feat…
The second morning we had a little birthday champagne to go in our orange juice (courtesy of a gift basket my dad snuck into the car when my mom was packing), plus more of the delicious coffee, of course. The meal that morning was raspberry and ricotta stuffed french toast. French toast as in, I’m pretty sure it was actual slices of French bread. Fancy! (And so, so good.)
Where We Ate
We got to the area late afternoon on a Friday and, after checking in at the Featherbed, went next door to the Lareau Farm to put our name in at American Flatbread. Never heard of it? I hadn’t either. But my mom raved about it the whole ride up, so we made sure to get our name on the list asap.
They have kind of a funky reservation system. They’re open Thursday through Sunday, and start taking reservations at 4 pm (you must go there in person to put your name on the list). How it works: You go there as close to 4 pm as possible and put your name on the list for a certain seating time. Then you come back a little before that time, check in and wait for a table to open up.
Since it was late in the season, we only waited 15 or so minutes for our table when we went back later that night. On busy nights, my mom told me you can wait hours! Luckily, they have a bar, and drinking by their outdoor fire pits while you wait is highly encouraged. We both grabbed drinks and were settled at our table in no time. We were seated right near the oven and had a good time watching them throw and cook the pizzas. The dining room is adorably cozy and warm, and super casual, with folding chairs and red checkered tablecloths.
While everything sounded scrumptious, we settled on splitting a salad (which was a special salad they had that night which I can’t for the life of me remember, shame on me), half of a special pizza which had roasted portobello mushrooms, roasted garlic, arugula, blue cheese from a local farm and was sprinkled with a honey glaze and half of their New Vermont Sausage pizza with house-made maple-fennel sausage, sundried tomatoes, caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms, olive oil, cheeses and herbs. (How cool is it that they let you get half a pizza of ANY pizza?) Both pizzas were so yummy! Think organic everything and the freshest pizza you’ve ever had baked in a wood-fired oven. We ate leftovers for lunch the next day and were tempted to go back for dinner on our second night. You can find more details about the reservation process and menu on American Flatbread’s website.
On Saturday night, we drove into nearby Waterbury, VT and had dinner at the Prohibition Pig. I had read about the restaurant online because they are one of a select number of places that sells Alchemist beer. Unfortunately, they only had Alchemist IPA (I am NOT an IPA fan), so I ordered one of the Prohibition Pig’s own ciders, which was the cloudiest cider I’ve had to date, and also tasted more like an actual (non alcoholic) apple cider than any I’ve had. It was a good twist from the usual Woodchuck or Angry Orchard I typically get.
We weren’t expecting it to be super crowded, but of course it was, so we waited a good 45 minutes for a table. They had a nice long area by the bar with a table height shelf for drinks and hooks for coats and purses, etc., so with drinks and good conversation, the wait was OK. The actual restaurant part was pretty small, but very comfortable. Maybe I’m used to Philly, where restaurants really pack you in like sardines, but it seemed like the tables were really spaced out, which meant some good distance between us and the people eating next to us, for a change.
My mom and I split a kale salad that had sweet potato, cranberries, cheese and buttermilk dressing. I don’t love kale, but the salad was so good! And they even put it in two separate bowls for us, which was super helpful. We also split the house burger, which has pimento cheese, fried green tomato and applewood smoked bacon. We subbed out the pimento (I’m not sure if I’ve ever even had pimento cheese?), but I love me some fried green tomatoes (fried anything, really), and putting one on a burger did not disappoint. Check out the rest of their menu here.
What We Did
After putting our name on the American Flatbread list on Friday night, we drove up the mountain to check out the ski area. There’s a neat little patio right at the base of the ski trails where they have some shops and restaurants- you can just picture how popular it must be in peak season! It started snowing lightly when we were up there and made it, to use a term completely ruined by The Bachelor, pretty magical. Unfortunately this was as close as we got to snow sports the entire weekend. We brought cross country ski and snow shoeing gear, but the conditions weren’t great for either of those, so we ended up scrapping that idea in favor of shopping and sightseeing.
After breakfast on Saturday, we headed out in search of the land my family used to own. Back when my parents came to the area multiple times a year, they purchased an acre of land with the intention of building a house on it. I was very young, but specifically remember my parents pulling the car to the side of the road and saying something about how “this was ours” as we got out of the car to look at a (then) very run down wood barn. This moment must have made quite an impression on me, because other than that I can’t remember ever coming to Sugarbush. But that big old barn, with its red roof and enormously high ceiling, is a memory as clear as day. The land, which was supposed to be called “Sweet Meadows,” never came to fruition, and eventually my parents sold it. Since then, the paperwork has gone missing (likely been thrown out), so we had no address to look up, but my mom knew what general direction it was in and was sure she would recognize it. That is, until it occurred to her that the barn might not still be there, in which case she might not recognize it. But we went looking nonetheless… And success! The barn is still there and no one has developed the land. It was right around where my mom thought it would be, and just like I remembered, plus an amazing view of the mountain that made me pretty impressed with my parents choices way back when. We can’t, however, decide whether we’re happy or sad about the fact that nothing really became of the land…
Next we swung by the round barn, which is as gorgeous on the inside as it looks on the outside, and saw them setting up for a winter “elopement.” Apparently these days there is such a thing as an elopement ceremony… Which I guess is just a really REALLY intimate wedding? Right next door is the Inn at the Round Barn, which looked very nice as well (and has the cutest mailbox ever).
From there we headed into the Waitsfield “shopping district.” Our first stop was at Artisan’s Gallery. It set the bar pretty high, and was definitely my favorite of all the stores we went into. It had all kinds of things, the items are curated by a handful of people that run it, including fine art and pottery (!). It’s where I found my new favorite mug! Have I mentioned I LOVE Birch trees?
Across the street from Artisan’s Gallery is an interesting little place called All Things Bright and Beautiful. It has every stuffed animal you can think of, from small enough to fit in your pocket to can’t even fit in my apartment, and hand-painted and glass ornaments. Two (what looked like twin) sisters run the shop, one of them does the painted ornaments, and there were a couple cats sitting around in boxes. You couldn’t have gotten me out of this store when I was younger, so definitely a good spot to check out if you’re in Waitsfield with kids. Or, on second thought… Maybe not!
Around the corner from those stores is the most adorable cafe, The Sweet Spot. When we first drove through town, I noticed there weren’t any coffee shops. Not that I was expecting a Starbucks on every corner, but I didn’t even see any privately owned places! Thankfully we found this place, because we had THE BEST cappuccinos there. They also served delicious looking breakfast items and baked goods, although we didn’t indulge in any of them. Despite it’s somewhat hidden location, the place seemed to have a bunch of regulars, and was quite crowded when we stopped back in on Sunday before our drive home.
We also stopped into Waitsfield Pottery, of course, a few antiques shops and an unbelievably expensive French boutique that was entirely unimpressive.
And we made sure to stop by the Waitsfield General Store on our way out of town on Sunday morning. It had a lot of fun kitchen and home items, and we ended up picking up some gifts there. If I could shop at a store like this for all of my kitchen stuff, I would be a happy woman.
After checking out Waitsfield, we headed to Warren Village, which is basically the most quaint (quaintest?) road you’ve ever seen, with a general store, a picturesque American inn and a covered bridge. The Warren General Store is a funky place with a nice clothing shop upstairs and food, beer, etc. on the first floor. Across the street, The Pitcher Inn is the most expensive place to stay in the area. It has a very nice restaurant off of the lobby and a more casual bar/restaurant in the basement (it’s possible I was taken here as a very young child…). Even back then I was making friends in bars, you guys.
We decided to drive the 20 minutes to Waterbury for a little change of scenery (and passed the other Duxbury, Duxbury, VT). Since we weren’t ready for dinner when we got there, we went craft beer shopping at the Craft Beer Cellar. Little known fact about my mom- she loves craft beer. Probably more than I do. What’s it like to have uncool parents? I clearly wouldn’t know…
The Cellar did not disappoint with its craft beer selection, and my mom ended up getting a few different things to try. She picked up some Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout which she had already had and liked (and then we had a couple later that night and I definitely recommend it if you like stouts!). I’m pretty sure the employee dress code was dirty blonde hair, a good beard and a hoodie because all of the employees looked the same, and we had a hard time remembering which ones we had talked to. Fortunately, they were all really nice and helpful and one of them recommended my mom get Evil Twin Brewing Imperial Biscotti Break and even said it would “change her life.” (My mom opened the bottle with my dad a few days after we got back and let me know that it did live up to the hype.) We spent about an hour in the shop and had so much fun picking out beers to take home.
My mom and I had a great time on mini vacation in the Sugarbush area. We did a lot, but also kept things low key and relaxing, and had some really great girl time (and girl talk) along the way. The area was beautiful even amidst melting snow, and I’m sure is just gorgeous in the peak Winter season and during the Summer. There are lots of outdoor activities, if you’re into that, but also plenty of other activities if you’re not. It’s a great place to get away if you’re looking for a relaxing girls weekend, or some time to hit the slopes. One of my favorite things about the area is that no matter where you go, jeans and winter boots are totally acceptable attire. Score one for foodies in Vermont! If you’re in the area, definitely don’t miss American Flatbread, and if you need a place to stay, with your significant other or your whole family, look no further than the Featherbed Inn.
Until next time, Vermont!