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Food is one of the highlights of any vacation, and you'll find great meals to remember in Vermont. The farm-to-table trend in many restaurants enhances your dishes with the flavor of freshness. Along with local food, try local drinks, including some infused with maple.
Locals produce alcoholic beverages including hard cider, distilled spirits, beer, and wine. Follow the Distilled Spirits Council's tasting tour to distilleries throughout the state; you'll get an explanation of distilling and fermenting plus enjoy the finished products in the tasting rooms. Explore the flavors of maple liqueur and vodka, gin, and rye. Mad River Distillers has a tasting room in Burlington.
If you prefer wine, follow the Vermont Wine & Vine Trail, organized by the Vermont Grape and Wine Council. Show your passport at the 21 wineries. Besides wine made from grapes at wineries like Fresh Tracks Farm in Berlin, you can try mead (honey wine) at Artesano Meadery in Groton, and fruit wines made from apples, blueberries, and raspberries.
Beer drinkers are in luck, too. There are more than 40 breweries in the state, meaning lots of tasting choices. Get your Vermont Brewery Challenge Passport, follow the Middlebury Tasting Trail, or head out with City Brew Tours for a guided trip to breweries in Burlington and Stowe. The Alchemist Brewery in Waterbury is your destination for great India Pale Ales. Visits to the Magic Hat Brewing Company in Burlington are even more fun during their special events, like Mardi Gras Weekend in February and Night of the Living Dead around Halloween.
Vermont is full of apple orchards, and some of those apples end up as hard cider. Take a taste at Citizen Cider in Burlington or the Woodchuck Cider House in Middlebury.
Established in 1994, the Magic Hat Brewing Company is located in South Burlington in northern Vermont. Open daily throughout the year, Magic Hat Brewing Company offers free guided and self-guided tours. Visitors to the brewery need stop by Growler Bar – containing over 48 Magic Hat beers on tap. Magic Hat also sponsors a number of annual events, including Mardi Gras Weekend come February, Night of the Living Dead during the Halloween season.
Specializing in unfiltered IPA – or India Pale Ale – the Alchemist is a brewpub located in downtown Waterbury in northern Vermont. Established in 2003 as a seven-barrel brewpub, the Alchemist is best known for their American Double IPA named Heady Topper. Open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., the Alchemist features a tasting room and retail shop. Self-guided tours of the Alchemist brewery are also available to visitors.
Some of the best food in Vermont is at the farm-to-table restaurants. Well-known purveyors include Hen of the Wood in Burlington, Michael's on the Hill in Waterbury Center, and SoLo Farm & Table in South Londonderry. Menus change depending on what's fresh and available from nearby farms and orchards.
For great views with your meal, head up any of the mountains, whether or not you plan to ski down. You'll find both casual and formal dining choices atop Killington, Stowe, and other ski destinations. At Cliff House in Stowe, the open kitchen lets you watch dinner being prepared. Whether the mountains are wearing spring's green, summer's flower colors, autumn's golden leafy canopy, or winter white, the views are exceptional.
Taking a meal in The Backroom of Pittsfield General Store is a great way to meet locals in the communal dining room. Three-course meals, plus cocktails and pre-meal snacks, are served "dinner-party style" Friday and Saturday nights.
Taste New England-style seafood at The Anchor in Wilmington's Historic District. The restaurant's modern building is a replica of an 1850's maple syrup cannery.
If you want a fresh, Vermont dessert, head to either Ben & Jerry's ice cream factory in Waterbury or Mountain Creamery in Woodstock. Mirabelles Café and Bakery in Burlington makes everything from scratch.