Travel: Southern Vermont

Aaaaaaaaaand I'm back!  My small business consulting company is well on its way, so I finally have time to post about our trip to Vermont in June.  You're probably thinking "Vermont in June? There's no beach there!  Don't people only go there to ski?"  Well, all of those skiers are missing out on the local culinary amazing-ness that is summer in Vermont.

We found a small bed and breakfast in Perkinsville, VT that happens to share our love of food.  The Inn at Weathersfield is just a short 4.5 hour drive from Manhattan.  We booked the trip for 4 (me, J, and our friends J-squared) in about 15 minutes over the phone.  The Inn is owned and run by Jane and Dave, who are friendly and helpful, and their little pup Lucy, who runs around the inn on occasion, is a sweetheart.  After deciding on the Inn due to its location, TripAdvisor reviews, and appearance, we found out that it has been rated one of the "7 great eats in Vermont" by Saveur and one of the "Hot 10 Culinary Inns in America" by Bon Appetit.  We had accidentally chosen the best possible lodging for our stay.

We arrived late on a Thursday night and had a casual dinner in the Tavern.  Although "casual" in atmosphere, the food was seriously good.  Chef Jason Trosup has worked at Jean Georges and Thomas Keller restaurants, and it shows.

On Friday, we took advantage of the Inn's GPS system, which you can rent for $8/day.  Jane, Dave, and Jason took the time to add all of the local farms, cheese makers, sugarhouses, and other points of interest to the GPS.  An accompanying notebook describes each location and maps out sample day trips.  The Inn sources much of its food locally, and many of the farms we visited were familiar with Jason.  We hit up farms, a sugar house, a glass blowing workshop, King Arthur Flour, and Harpoon Brewery - all located within 45 minutes of the Inn.  Here are just a few of our pics, see the whole Vermont GPS slideshow here.

Maple syrup grading - Grade B, the maple-iest on the left, through Fancy on the right
Highland cattle at Black Watch Farms (they were adorable AND delicious)
Feeding chickens at Taylor Farms
Vermont Scale Museum @ the Vermont Country Store
Vermont Country Store

Hanging out under a covered bridge
Simon Pearce glassblowing

A snack from the King Arthur Flour Baker's Store

A flight of beers at Harpoon

Our room rate included breakfast each morning in the tavern.  The coffee was strong, and the ingredients were locally sourced.  Fresh muffins, fresh fruit, french toast, eggs, sausage, and more.

Also as part of our package, we had a custom tasting menu in the Inn's wine cellar.  Jason contacted me a few weeks before our trip to ask what we liked, didn't like, etc.  Half of J-squared is allergic to nuts so the prior-arranging was key.  We asked him to highlight as many local ingredients as possible, and we were not disappointed.

The wine cellar was set up beautifully and lit by candlelight.  Earlier in the day we had worked out wine pairings with Jane (who is super knowledgeable about wines).

The full set of pics from the tasting menu can be found below.  This was my favorite dish of the evening:

A plate of tempura asparagus, toasted bread crumbs and herbed salt arrived on the table
Jason arrived with a tray of steaming cast iron dishes.  He cooked the duck eggs tableside in the pre-heated dishes.

It really was the coolest presentation.
We topped it with wild mustard pesto, truffle foam, and the asparagus/breadcrumbs/salt.

Absolute perfection.

At the end of our 3-night trip, we all wished we had scheduled more time in Vermont.  The state has so much to offer, especially if you're a foodie.  We highly recommend the Inn at Weathersfield, and enjoyed all of the places we visited, including: Simon Pearce, Taylor Farm, Grafton Village Cheese, Black Watch Farm, Harpoon, King Arthur, The Vermont Country Store, and Woods Cider Mill.  Next year - Northern Vermont!

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What was cooking this time last year?

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