International hospitality from Iceland to Bosnia
Vermont is a slice of “Old World” New England with sleepy pre-Revolution towns, green mountains and rolling farmland stretching to the Canadian border. And with maple syrup, artisan cheeses and microbreweries, it’s a culinary force to be reckoned with.
Created in 1910, the Long Trail is a 250-mile north-south path and the USA’s first long-distance hiking route. Day hikers enjoy the views from the Green Mountain National Forest. The Green Mountain Club visitor centre has routes (00 1 802 244 7037).
Snow Farm Winery, situated on the island of South Hero in Lake Champlain, is Vermont’s first vineyard. You can sample its much-vaunted whites or an ice wine – a dessert wine made from grapes frozen on the vine. The vineyard hosts free concerts in summer (00 1 802 372 9463; open May-Dec).
Vermont has more craft brewers per person than any other state – the Magic Hat Brewery in Burlington is possibly the most celebrated and eccentric. Their “Artifactory” tour ends with the chance to try seasonal and experimental concoctions (00 1 802 658 2739; free).
The Robert Frost Stone House Museum in Shaftesbury was once the great poet’s home. And just a short distance away is the picturesque town, Old Bennington, where Frost is buried (museum closed December-April and Mondays; £3).
From anti-Vietnam War to nuclear disarmament demonstrations, the folks from the Bread and Puppet Museum in Glover have been staging politically charged, life-size puppetry performances for decades (00 1 802 525 301; 753 Heights Road, Glover; closed Sun; free).
Eat and drink
Vermont’s finest producers gather every Saturday at Burlington Farmer’s Market. As well as vegetables, artisan cheeses and meats, many stalls offer soups, stews and breakfast sandwiches (8:30am-2pm; cakes from £4.50).
One of Burlington’s most experimental restaurants, the Bluebird Tavern might offer smoked fallow deer or mussels with smoked almonds on its menu. There’s also live music (00 1 802 540 1786; dishes from £7).
One of the best restaurants in the state, Pangea in North Bennington mixes and matches New England produce with more international influences. Try the grilled mahi-mahi with ginger broth or Maryland-style crab cake with remoulade (00 1 802 442 7171; mains from £11).
A teaching kitchen for the New England Culinary Institute, Montpelier’s Main Street Bar and Grill describes itself as a gastronomic “production lab”. You can watch its students at work in the open-plan kitchen, and the Sunday brunch buffet is popular (00 1 802 223 3188; mains from £14).
Said to be haunted, the White House of Wilmington is a colonial revival mansion with views of Deerfield Valley. Mains might include homemade crab cakes, roasted Vermont duckling or Cajun pork. There’s a pretty heavyweight wine list, too (00 1 802 464 2135; mains from £18).
A ‘40s building with rustic wood-panelled rooms and brightly coloured quilts, the Inn at Mad River Barn is one of the last old-time Vermont ski lodges. There’s a massive stone fireplace, deep leather chairs and a deck overlooking landscaped gardens (00 1 802 496 3310; VT 17 Waitsfield; from £60).
A boarding house since 1908, Sunset House is the only bed and breakfast in the centre of downtown Burlington within walking distance of the waterfront. Four cosy guest rooms are tastefully decked out with antiques and ceiling fans (00 1 802 864 3790; 78 Main St; from £75).
The Inn at Shelburne Farms was once the 19th-century summer mansion of a wealthy family connected to the Vanderbilt dynasty. Inside, spacious rooms still display reminders of the previous occupants, with antique furnishings and ornate fireplaces. Don’t leave without exploring the hiking trails around the outlying countryside (00 1 802 985 8498; closed Oct-Apr; from £100).
The Inn at Round Barn Farm in Waitsfield is a decidedly upscale bed and breakfast – cosy rooms feature gas fires, antiques and canopy beds. Most overlook the meadows and the Green Mountains, plus there’s a hearty breakfast with Vermont roasted coffee (00 1 802 496 2276; from £110).
One of New England’s grandest hotels, Equinox in Manchester traces back to the 18th century and was frequented by Theodore Roosevelt and Ulysses S Grant. It’s now a luxury complex – bag a room in the Charles Orvis Inn with its own library and veranda (00 1 802 362 4747; 3567 Main St; from £160).
When to go
Winter sees throngs of skiers descend on Vermont’s resorts, while summer is festival season – the Discover Jazz Festival brings jazz luminaries to Burlington in June. Autumn is best for landscapes, with swathes of forest turning rusty red and amber.
Public transportation is neither frequent nor widespread in rural New England, so the easiest way to get around Vermont is by car. Hertz, Alamo and Avis operate car hire centres at Burlington International airport (from £60 per day).
Delta Air Lines flies from Heathrow to Burlington International airport via New York JFK (from £430). British Airways flies from Heathrow to Boston, Massachusetts (from £360). Greyhound buses run between Boston and Burlington (from £31).