July 19, 2017

Mid-Summer Weekend in Vermont

A mini three-day-vacation in Vermont arranged around the annual sold-out Vermont Cheesemakers Festival felt like a week.

Our main reason for coming to Vermont this past weekend was to attend the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival again thanks to tickets that were gifted to us by some friends last February. This sold-out event is always so enjoyable, and this time, we added a few extra days to make it a long weekend - kayaks were loaded onto the truck, and off we went to the Green Mountains of Vermont for a mini vacation.

What's more New England than fiddlehead fern pickles?

I'm not only a fan on hand-crafted type on signs, I'm a fan of single-sourced dairy cheese!
click below for more:

There are so many different types of cheese to try at the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, than one has to pace oneself, but there is much more than cheese to sample, food products include spirits, beer and wine, chocolate, caramels and more.

The folks at Jasper Hill Farm, well known for their caves where many other farms age their cheese is a top table to visit. From clothbound cheddar to Jasper blue cheeses - they are always top notch.

Beyond cheese, many beer brewers were exhibiting.

I like this label design.

On the first night in Stowe, VT, we were lucky to get reservations at the HEN OF THE WOOD where we had a fabulous cheese from Woodcock Farm called Timberdoodle. I am now a fan.

This year there were other crafts people at the festival. I was drawn to the all-white glazed pottery shown by hand from Farmhouse Pottery. Here, Zoe shows off some of their work - check out their story here.

There were so many nice pots, crocks and bowls at Farmhouse Pottery, that I could not choose a favorite. I think I need to visit their shop.

A sponsor for the festival  called Vermont Open Farm Week promised another weekend of fun and food adventure later this month.

All sorts of cheese were her to sample, cow, sheep and yes, goat.
This year the temperature was much cooler than the last time we attended, so no melting cheese! We were able to buy some cheese to bring home.

Yes, there was ice cream too.

Sap Maple beverages is made by this 8 generation family raised in Vermont.  Their products include both maple and birch water, soda and other beverages.

Woopie Pie's might be considered a product from the state of Maine (at least, according to the folks from Maine!), but these Vermont Woopie Pies made by Time Out for Woopie are pretty authentic (i.e. frosting is made with 'Fluff')., and that's what really counts!

One of our favorites (I mean really a favorite!) is Barr Hill Gin (both the dark and the light), which we first tasted at Mario Batali's Eatily in Boston. Made by Caledonia Spirits, these are definitely worth investing in.

A second picture (as requested by a follower) of the Barr Hill logo.

The event it held at Shelburne Farms, a National Historic Landmark dedicated to educating a sustainable future, originally a Vanderbilt estate located on Lake Champlain. One can make a day of it, picnicking on the lawn, or touring this historic Olmsted-designed property.

Shelburne Farms has incredible architecture (Thanks to the Vanderbilt's!) This is part of one of the barns. I can't even begin to describe what the carriage houses, barns and even the chicken coops look like - you have to experience it. One of Vermont's treasures.
The next day, we visited Gardener's Supply Company's headquarters and retail store in Burlington, VT. I was surprised at how nice the nursery was. the plants were so well maintained.

At the store, I was able to stock up on more tomato cages and cucumber trellis', plus some late season veg seed.

I wanted to Kayak, and Vermont has so many places to explore, that we started with Lake Willoughby, a noted lake that is so deep and surrounded by mountains that it looks more like Norway than New England, but when we arrived the weather wasn't cooperating so we passed.

Later that day, the weather cleared, and since we were near Lake Champlain, we decided to check out a famous site - the cliffs of Lone Rock Point at sunset. This lake is so large and beautiful, with the Green mountains of Vermont on one side, and this view of the Adirondacks of New York State on the other side.

As promised, the sunset reflected on the cliffs and sparkled - such a spectacular natural feature, totally worth the mile of paddling.

Its summer, and it's light late into the evening, so at 9:00 we spoiled ourselves - having drinks and then dinner at The Roost, and then dinner at Flannel, both at the Topnotch Resort.


  1. Was the milk used in the cheese low heat pasturized?

    Also, is there another picture for "Barr Hill Gin" you can post? The current picture, the focus is near the front, not the bottle (and person holding it).

    1. Hi Linus. I added a second picture of the Barr Hill logo. Funny, because I loved that photo which was out of focus, but I understand if you can't see the logo. You can also check their website for additional info. As to the low pasteurization - it's my understanding that all cheese aged less than 60 days in the US must be pasturized. I will need to check with specific producers to see if their alpine or older cheese were low pasturized (I assume many were, but I never asked the question). Good point, though! Le me find out more.

  2. What an amazing festival, and what a fun vacation! I've been to the Biltmore house in North Carolina, but didn't know the Vanderbilts had an estate in Vermont. Definitely looks like a fun place to check out. How awesome to go to Gardener's Supply Co's headquarters! I am also a huge fan of their tomato cages and buy a couple more every year. Going to remember this area for a future vacation!

    1. Actually, Shelburne Farms was the home of Eliza Vanderbilt Webb, her younger bother George Vanderbilt built the Biltmore estate in NC. She was known as the 'lesser known' Vanderbilt. This family though is so fascinating - worth a good read or a summer study! From Cornelius Vanderbilt and his railroad fortune, to his 13 children, to Cornelius Vanderbilt II, Gloria Vanderbilt to her son Anderson Cooper. So fascinating!

  3. Absolutely fantastic festival. But the most important part of this festival is totally natural food stuff.

  4. What a fantastic trip! I love how creative everyone seemed to be. Thanks for sharing about Gardeners' Supply. I just get their catalog. Happy Summer Matt!~~Dee

    1. Hi Dee! If you ever find yourself in Vermont, you really should pay them a visit - so friendly and both stores are full of interesting products and plants. Of course, you would have to stop by and see us too! You are always welcome!


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