On our way back from Montreal last week, we took a little detour through Vermont to check out the Cheese Trail and relax at a B&B. I thought I'd share some highlights from our short trip.
Our B&B, Inn Victoria, is in the little town of Chester. Southern Vermont is so pastoral and picturesque, with beautiful mills, perfectly dilapidated and rustic structures, and gorgeous covered bridges.
On our way down to Chester, we stopped in Quechee (near Woodstock) to have dinner at the Simon Pearce Restaurant.
The restaurant (and store and workshop) are located in a mill that is adjacent to a historic covered bridge and the stunning Quechee Gorge. The night we were there, local kids were having a blast jumping off the rocks under the bridge into the gorge -- it totally freaked me out, but no one seems to have gotten hurt.
The restaurant's terrace overlooks the falls. The rush of the water provided a melodic soundtrack at dinner.
And while we were waiting for a table, we checked out the glassblowing workshop, where a few artisans were crafting some of Simon Pearce's delicate (and expensive) glassware.
The food was scrumptious; I had a panko-crusted fish with crispy onions. The entrees were probably slightly overpriced, but you can't beat the experience and the view. Sadly, Hurricane Irene did a number on the mill; the gorge apparently flooded, and the mill is temporarily closed while they assess the damage. I hope they are able to make speedy repairs; it's really a beautiful building and site.
Our B&B, Inn Victoria, is the second highest-rated B&B in Vermont. The Inn takes its Victorian seriously -- lots of tchotchkes, a glorious selection of mismatched china (which I love!), florals everywhere. You probably know that's not exactly my aesthetic, but it's got tremendous character and is really comfortable and well-appointed. Also the inn-keepers are so welcoming and hospitable that it's no wonder the Inn has such glorious Tripadvisor ratings. I particularly loved their afternoon tea; they even dress up in Victorian garb!
Of course, even an extravagant afternoon tea wouldn't keep me away from a delicious dinner experience. We managed to score a last-minute reservation to Restaurant Verterra at the Inn at Weathersfield. The chef at Verterra is at the forefront of the farm-to-table movement, and we were treated to a menu of Vermont delights, beginning with a corn chowder with a corned beef hash.
The main course was a soy-glazed sirloin, from cattle raised on a local farm.
The dessert was a carrot cake with cream cheese ice-cream (!), pickled rhubarb, and peach chutney.
Of course, since we were in Vermont, we couldn't pass up the cheese plate, which featured a tarentaise from Spring Brook Farm, and two cheeses from Consider Bardwell Farm, including Consider Bardwell's Dorset, a pungent, soft cow's milk cheese that is probably the best cheese I have ever had. (Consider Bardwell's cheese shows up regularly at Per Se and French Laundry, so you know it has to be good.)
The Times this morning reported that many areas of Southern Vermont, including Chester, sustained quite a bit of damage from the hurricane. Thankfully, the Inn Victoria did not report any damage. My heart goes out to the other residents of the area . . . .