2020-04-25


A note from the editors: After Yankee published its summer travel guide, many of the terrific destinations that it showcases have changed their operations in light of COVID-19. But while you may not be able to dine out, book a stay, or go explore shops, museums, and other attractions right now, you can help ensure they are ready to go when the current crisis recedes. Just contact your favorite New England small business or nonprofit attraction, and they’ll be happy to tell you how.  

Burlington Bike Path, Burlington

Monica Donovan/Jam Creative
Best of Vermont | Hall of Fame DINING
A Single Pebble
Burlington

A temple of sophisticated Asian cuisine located in a simple storefront, A Single Pebble serves traditional recipes that are about as different from deep-fried Americanized Chinese food as Burlington is from Shanghai. 802-865-5200; asinglepebble.com

Al’s French Frys
South Burlington

It’s a wonder that any fast-food chains ever came to Burlington, when the Queen City already had Al’s. Since the 1940s this beloved institution has done its best to explain why potatoes were put on this earth—and served up more than a few burgers and hot dogs in the bargain. 802-862-9203; alsfrenchfrys.com

Cold Hollow Cider Mill
Waterbury

Though cider is pressed here year-round, the real reason to visit is the cider doughnuts. The recipe: a secret mix of fresh cider, whole wheat, cinnamon, and cloves. The machine: a near-round-the-clock contraption that drops rings of dough into vegetable shortening, lets them fry for a minute, then transfers them to a conveyor belt that lifts the cakes out of the fat and onto trays. The result: a crisp shell, a soft, slightly dry inside, and a tangy aftertaste. 800-327-7537; coldhollow.com

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill
Burlington

The classic pub menu is deliciously reimagined at this cheerful, highly local-centric eatery, which is adding a second location in Williston in 2020. A stellar lineup of Vermont craft beers costars with homemade charcuterie, regional cheeses, and hearty favorites like meatloaf, fish and chips, and burgers. 802-859-0888; farmhousetg.com

Hen of the Wood
Waterbury

Fresh regional ingredients are the hallmarks of this handsomely rustic restaurant, housed in an old gristmill and overseen by chef Eric Warnstedt, a perennial presence on the James Beard Awards short list. Even better, Warnstedt and his partner, William McNeil, worked their magic again by opening a Burlington location in 2013. 802-244-7300; henofthewood.com

The Lincoln Inn & Restaurant
at the Covered Bridge
Woodstock

Chef Jevgenija Saromova and host Mara Mehlman don’t fuss with plebeian concerns like à la carte service. Instead, they guide guests through different fixed menus, with plates such as maple confit duck and seared tiger prawns with asparagus. In the private dining room, Saromova celebrates a high mass for avant-garde gastronomy with a seven- or 12-course tasting menu. 802-457-7052; lincolninn.com

Misery Loves Co.
Winooski

Chef-owners Aaron Josinsky and Nathaniel Wade fuel their kitchen with ingredients from dozens of area farms. Sip a glass of wild apple cider with oysters, house-made charcuterie, or fried chicken. Adventurous eaters may opt for something outside the standard culinary canon, such as whole lubina or salt-roasted rutabaga. 802-497-3989; mlcvt.com

Morse Farm Maple Sugarworks Montpelier

The Morse family’s sugaring roots stretch back nearly two centuries, and the delicious results of that expertise are showcased in many ways at this farm, which includes a country store and farm-life museum. But for our money the can’t-miss offering is the Morse maple creemee, made with a full gallon of syrup per container of creemee mix. 800-242-2740; morsefarm.com

Penny Cluse Café
Burlington

This brunch mecca has drawn generations of UVM students with its moderately priced ham ’n’ egg alternatives such as “Bucket-o-Spuds” (home fries with melted cheese, salsa, sour cream, and scallions), fish tacos, peanut-ginger tofu scram, and gingerbread pancakes. Not that you’ll need lunch, but that’s served here, too. 802-651-8834; pennycluse.com

Red Hen Baking Co.
Middlesex

The gorgeous artisanal breads are fresh and certified organic—and you can see them being made right in front of you, thanks to the large window that separates the café from the bakery. Standouts include ciabatta bread and olive bread; also delicious are the sumptuous maple-glazed sticky buns. 802-223-5200; redhenbaking.com

Revolution Kitchen
Burlington

The Queen City’s first all-vegetarian restaurant woos herbivores with dishes that balance elegance with creative surprises, not to mention a host of choices. Guac-stuffed wontons are the base for a killer nacho platter, while the laksa noodle pot will warm up a chilly day. 802-448-3657; revolutionkitchen.com

Trattoria Delia
Burlington

When Trattoria Delia opened in 1993, authentic Italian dishes like squid ink pasta and grilled octopus were a novelty. But its resounding success proved Vermonters were ready for a change of palate, and they still flock here for gorgeous pastas, hearty flavors, and an abundant Italian wine list. 802-864-5253; trattoriadelia.com
LODGING
Basin Harbor Club
Vergennes

Elegant yet relaxed, swank yet camplike, steeped in more than a century of resort tradition and family ownership, this sprawling complex on Lake Champlain encompasses 700 acres, spectacular flower gardens, nearly 80 cottages, three restaurants, and an 18-hole golf course to go with a cruise ship’s menu of activities. 802-475-2311; basinharbor.com

Craftsbury Outdoor Center
Craftsbury Common

Rustic, friendly, and absolutely devoted to fun in the outdoors, Craftsbury’s sprawling complex of dorm-style rooms, simple family suites, and lakeside cabins is a sports paradise that’s fun for everyone, from millennials to seniors. World-class scullers and runners mingle with bird-watchers and walkers at the home-cooked, buffet-style meals (vegetarian-friendly). 802-586-7767; craftsbury.com

Derby Line Village Inn
Derby Line

Dog bowls on the front steps bid “Hallo” to four-legged visitors, who care less for the antique furnishings in the five well-appointed, country-chic rooms than they do for a romp on the inn’s expansive lawn. And on the off chance you don’t finish your supper of handmade jägerschnitzel or pasta Piemontese at chef Fritz Halbedl’s Austrian-inflected on-site restaurant, you won’t have to travel far with the doggy bag. 802-873-5071; derbylinevillageinn.com

Hotel Vermont
Burlington

This rare independent hotel in downtown Burlington offers bright, modern accommodations featuring wood and stone accents from Vermont forests and quarries. Locally sourced ingredients are the rule at Juniper restaurant; other hotel dining options include a satellite location of Hen of the Wood and seafood eatery Bleu. 855-650-0080; hotelvt.com

The Inn at Shelburne Farms
Shelburne

With a fin de siècle library, marble-floored dining room, and billiard room, the Inn at Shelburne Farms is Edwardian grandeur at its finest. Best of all, it’s part of a nonprofit environmental organization that runs the on-site working farm, which is spread over 1,400 acres overlooking Lake Champlain. 802-985-8498; shelburnefarms.org

The Mountain Top Inn & Resort
Chittenden

Set on 700 scenic acres hugging the Chittenden Reservoir within the Green Mountain National Forest, this resort immerses you in a traditional “great camp” vibe (massive fireplaces, wrought iron, rough-hewn wood). Canoe, kayak, swim, or take a guided pontoon boat ride on the reservoir, or take a dip in the heated outdoor pool. Other activities include tennis, clay-bird shooting, a full equestrian program, and a kids’ adventure camp. 802-483-2311; mountaintopinn.com

North Hero House
North Hero

No small inn sits closer to Lake Champlain than this serene spot, in business since 1891. Twenty-six rooms and suites feature amenities such as fireplaces and screened-porch hammocks. Fine and casual dining options include a lakeside Steamship Pier Bar and Grill. 802-372-4732; northherohouse.com

The Pitcher Inn
Warren

The village of Warren provides a classic Mad River Valley backdrop for this Relais & Châteaux gem, which offers nine sumptuous rooms and two suites. The inn’s 500-bottle wine cellar was recognized with a “Best Award of Excellence” by Wine Spectator and its two restaurants, 275 Main and the more casual eatery Tracks, offer delicious reasons to stay put. 802-496-6350; pitcherinn.com

Rabbit Hill Inn
Lower Waterford

A Greek Revival gem overlooking the White Mountains, Rabbit Hill defines romance. Most rooms have fireplaces, and many feature double whirlpools and/or canopy beds. The inn also offers a farm-to-table menu in an elegant dining room. 802-748-5168; rabbithillinn.com

Shearer Hill Farm B&B
Wilmington

Years before agritourism became a popular concept, guests at this small, out-of-the-way farm were milking the cows and plowing into hearty breakfasts. The six rooms—all with private baths—are cozy and the hospitality impeccable. 802-464-3253; shearerhillfarm.com

The Woodstock Inn & Resort
Woodstock

Crossing the threshold at Woodstock’s best address is like stepping into a sumptuous country home. Each of the inn’s 142 rooms and suites are distinctively furnished. Local ingredients enrich the menus at the Red Rooster, the inn’s main dining room, and at the snug, wood-paneled Richardson’s Tavern. The resort offers golf, ski, and spa packages, plus activities ranging from fly-fishing to falconry. 802-332-6853; woodstockinn.com
ATTRACTIONS
Billings Farm & Museum
Woodstock

Frederick Billings’s model farm, established by the railroad magnate when he returned to his native Woodstock in 1871, still showcases champion Jersey cows, Southdown sheep, and magnificent draft horses. Visit the 1890 farm manager’s home and creamery, learn about farm work of yesteryear and today, and climb aboard for horse-drawn wagon and sleigh rides. Interactive farm programs change with the seasons. 802-457-2355; billingsfarm.org

Burlington Bike Path
Burlington

With its lakeside vistas, ice cream shops, sculptures, and swimming spots, this byway is a bikers’ paradise. A bridge over the Winooski River at the north end extends the 14-mile path to the Champlain Islands, with about four miles of biking along Burlington’s waterfront. At the southern end, the path crosses the bustling ferry landing, with its cafés and restaurants. Time your ride to catch the stunning sunset over the distant Adirondacks. 802-863-3489

Dog Mountain
St. Johnsbury

One of the world’s most inventive chapels is situated just a Frisbee toss (OK, three miles) from downtown St. Johnsbury. Complete with pews, stained glass, and walls filled with poignant photo tributes to bygone canine pals, the chapel is just one part of a property that was designed with dogs in mind. Free and open to the public, it’s fully appointed with hiking trails, a pond, a dog agility course, and one of the last remaining galleries of Stephen Huneck’s humorous, colorful, dog-oriented art. 802-748-2700; dogmt.com

Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium,
St. Johnsbury

It’s a window on the wider world, Victorian-style. The Romanesque Revival building boasts an astoundingly eclectic hoard of natural science, ethnology, and Vermont-history treasures—an old-style “cabinet of curiosities” writ large. Upstairs, the state’s only public planetarium offers state-of-the-art star shows. 802-748-2372; fairbanksmuseum.org

Frog Hollow
Burlington

We doubt whether there’s a single town in Vermont that doesn’t have a resident craftsperson or three, and an impressive number of these are at the top of their game. Founded in 1971 as an artisan workspace and gallery in Middlebury, Frog Hollow later relocated to Burlington, where its gallery features jewelry, ceramics, furniture, glass, and more. A juried application process ensures that everything exemplifies the finest craftsmanship the state has to offer. 802-863-6458; froghollow.org

Great Vermont Corn Maze
North Danville

The biggest corn maze in New England is a 24-acre mind-bender whose setup includes an underground tunnel and a 28-foot cabin cruiser parked amid the corn. On average, completing it takes nearly three hours. Come autumn, daring visitors can sweat out Dead North, a haunted attraction that takes you through the fields and into various buildings as costumed characters leap out from the dark. 802-748-1399; vermontcornmaze.com

Hildene
Manchester

Presidential son Robert Todd Lincoln built his Manchester summer retreat here in 1905. Home to Lincoln descendants until 1975, this Georgian Revival mansion features family furnishings, a 1,000-pipe organ, landscaping by an Olmsted protégé, and a restored 1888 Pullman rail passenger car, a legacy of Lincoln’s presidency of the firm. 802-362-1788; hildene.org

Hope Cemetery
Barre

When the “granite capital of the world” founded Hope Cemetery in 1895, it was understood that its stones would be something special. Serving as both cemetery and unofficial art gallery, its 65 acres display masterful carvings by master stoneworkers, many of them immigrants. A large number of the tombstones mark the graves of the sculptors themselves—and some were even carved by the very artists that now lie beneath them. 802-476-6245; barrecity.org

King Arthur Flour
Norwich

The home of America’s oldest family-owned flour company (since 1790) runs what must be the most amply stocked baking-supply shop in New England, offering staples as well as exotic items such as Heidelberg Rye Sour, nonstick popover pans, and Belgian waffle makers. Not only that, but it also hosts a wide range of courses in this tastiest of the liberal arts. Bonus: The on-site café serves the flakiest pastries imaginable. 800-827-6836; kingarthurflour.com

President Calvin Coolidge
State Historic Site
Plymouth

Presidential birthplaces abound, but Vermont has preserved an entire presidential birth town. The visitors’ center uses Coolidge’s own words, objects from his life, and interactive media to relate the story of how this farm boy became our 30th president. His white-clapboard village is frozen in the 1920s, and the cheese factory his father built now produces exceptional granular curd cheddar. 802-672-3773; historicsites.vermont.gov

Shelburne Museum
Shelburne

A landlocked steamboat and lighthouse are only the tip of the iceberg at this collection of collections, which ranges from a miniature circus to duck decoys to hooked rugs to paintings by Monet, Degas, and Cassatt. Uniting them all is an unerring eye for timeless design and artistry in even the humblest medium. 802-985-3346; shelburnemuseum.org

Vermont Country Store
Weston

Looking for a flannel nightie, a manual typewriter, old-time candies … all in one store? That barely begins to describe the diverse inventory at this Vermont institution, founded in Weston in 1946 (there’s a second, newer location in Rockingham). You’ll find both the expected (maple syrup, wheels of cheddar) and the unexpected (pants stretchers, anyone?) in the aisles; plus, nostalgia is sold by the scoop at the sprawling penny-candy counter. 802-824-3184; vermontcountrystore.com
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Best of New England 2020 | Hall of Fame
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