Within 30 Minutes

You can leave Brandon on Route 7 to the north and be in Middlebury in 20 minutes or to the south through Pittsford and on to Rutland in 20 minutes. On Route 73 to the west lies the open lower Champlain Valley with the NY Adirondack mountains in the distance and dairy farms, apple orchards, and the ferry to Fort Ticonderoga all within 30 minutes.  To the east you are quickly climbing the Brandon Pass over the Green Mountains and headed toward access to the Long Trail and the Moosalamoo Recreation Area and then over the gap and down to quaint little Rochester.

Within 30 minutes you can choose from:

Antiquing

Vermont has long been known for antiquing at all levels, from the humble low to very high-end.  And Route 7 is known as the “Antique Trail” in Vermont with shops becoming more numerous the farther south you travel.  Many shops are seasonal (May – Oct) and you can get lost for hours in even just one, so plan accordingly.

The Perfect Image Antiques
On Route 7 just south of Brandon, stock is always changing, check it out!

Tom’s Treasures
In the middle of Pittsford on Rte. 7, fills 2 houses and a small church

Juniper Hill Antiques
On 73 West, just their views are worth the stop

Middlebury Antiques Center
Group shop, quite high end, on Route 7 south of Middlebury near the intersection of 7 and Vt 125.

The Barn Antiques
Across from the Middlebury Antique Center, lots of small items, lots of repurposed gems, seasonal operation, watch for the “Open” flags on the left as you head north on Rte 7 to Middlebury.]

Belladonna
Located in downtown Middlebury, antiques, gifts, flowers, art

Historic Sites

The state has only a handful of official sites, but each of them is well curated and staffed.

Of course there are many small sites, museums, and cemeteries, and many of Vermont’s small towns have historical societies with buildings open to the public.  If you have an ancestor connected with Vermont, stop in at his home town’s office and ask the town clerk for help with your research.

The Hubbardton Battlefield

Mount Independence

Chimney Point

Marble Museum  
In Proctor. Not a State of VT site, but a fascinating history of the marble industry in Vermont

Fort Ticonderoga
Across the lake in NY, daily programs, seasonal schedule, take the rope ferry across Lake Champlain from Shoreham

Fort Ti Ferry

Cycling

Cycling is very popular here in the Green Mountain state, and the operative word is “mountain”.  Although our elevations certainly don’t rival the Rockies, the grades of the gaps over our Green Mountains are very challenging and I’ve had guests from Colorado who claim they don’t ride any roads there as tough as ours.  But more gentle hills and many covered bridges offer scenic rides, especially just west of Brandon in the Champlain Valley.  As a result, Vermont attracts cyclists from all over the world and in the warm season drivers need to be alert to sharing the road.  Extreme mountain bike trails, arduous over-the-gaps road biking, and easier on the body rides around lakes and across valleys are all here for the choosing.

Mountain biking
On the trails at Moosalamoo or at Pine Hill Park in Rutland

Road biking
All over the area on sparsely traveled paved back roads used by all the area cycling outfitters. Bike right out of the driveway at the Inn.

Bike rentals
Available at Green Mountain Bikes in Rochester or The Bike Center on Main St. in Middlebury (Green Mtn will deliver to my door!)

Country Inns Along the Trail
Self-guided cycling/mountain biking trips customized to each guest with stops at a different inn each night

Wine, Beer, and Cheese Tasting

In the last 10 years there has been an explosion in the number of wineries and breweries in Vermont. Hill Farmstead Brewery of Vermont was named the 2014 Best Beer in the World this year. There are also more and more brew pubs, some with very interesting stories of their opening and funding.  Both beverages have organized their owners very well and there is both a brewery “trail” and a wine “trail” to go along with Vermont’s long-standing “cheese trail”. Use these web sites to locate excellent local offerings wherever you travel in the state.  Below is what you can find within 30 minutes.

Neshobe River Winery
Just 5 minutes from the Inn and with great views of their vineyard and Neshobe Golf Club.  Tasting room for their wines and Foley Bros. Brewery (which is on the premises also).

Otter Valley Winery
Brandon’s second winery just south of the village on Route 7. Tasting room and gift shop too.

Lincoln Peak Vineyard
Just a few minutes north of Middlebury on Route 7; tasting room with wraparound porch by a pond; you are welcome to bring your lunch.  Already a prize-winning winery

Foley Brothers Brewing
Associated with Neshobe River Winery, growing by leaps and bounds

Otter Creek Brewing
Located in Middlebury, tasting room with light lunch, make sure you try the Copper Ale

Middlebury Co-op
Located right in the center of Middlebury just off the rotary around the green, the Co-op has a great selection of Vermont made cheeses and most available in small portions so you can sample several.

Blue Ledge Farm
Since 2000, making great goats’ milk chevre in several varieties, used in local restaurants and available at Murray’s in NYC; my personal favorite is their “Camenbrie” made with Ayrshire cows’ milk from their neighbors at Crawford.

Outdoor Recreation

The reason why many of Vermont’s visitors are here!  Vermont’s known world-wide for its “green” mountains, sparkling waters, clean air, environmental advocacy, and opportunities everywhere for outdoor recreation in all seasons.  The entries below are all within 30 minutes or less.

Green Mountain National Forest
Hiking on the Long Trail or in the Moosalamoo area

Branbury State Park
Sandy public beach along Lake Dunmore with lifeguards and modest fees, refreshments, showers, boat and kayak rentals, picnic areas, camping, plenty of parking.

Silver Lake
Hike up to the Falls of Lana and a beautiful view, parking available

Blueberry Hill Nordic Ski Center
Cross country skiing and snowshoeing out their door in winter and great hiking in warm weather, free blueberry picking in season

Middlebury College’s Snow Bowl and Rikert Center
Downhill and Nordic skiing at very reasonable rates.  Locals like the Snow Bowl for teaching their kids to ski

Mountain Top Inn
Cross country skiing, ice skating, sledding, sleigh rides, and a gathering room with a magnificent stone fireplace. Very family friendly. Public restaurant.

VAST trails
Extensive system of marked trails for the snowmobiler

Robert Frost Trail
Off Route 125; more like a pleasing walk, very accessible

Fishing
World class trout fishing in the Furnace Brook; Chittenden reservoir; toss your line into the Neshobe right in downtown Brandon

The Waterhouses in Salisbury
Rent a rowboat and take it out on Lake Dunmore, finish the afternoon with snacks and a drink back at the bar; pure nostalgia

Golf
Here in Brandon at Neshobe and 15” to Proctor-Pittsford Country Club

Vermont Sun in Middlebury
Now in its 30th year organizing events such as the Lake Dunmore Triathlon, Vermont Sun Half Marathons, etc.

For Foodies

It’s not surprising that Vermont is in the forefront of the “localvore” movement.  Organic farms, grass-fed beef and lamb, organic chicken, “farm” eggs, unpasteurized milk, hydroponic greens and herbs, orchards and berry-picking, artisanal cheeses – all are here in Vermont and in abundance.  Farm stands and Farmers’ Markets can be found every day of the week usually from early May through some time in October.

Berry Picking
In season at Woods’ Market Garden, Blueberry Hill, and Sunshine Valley Berry Farm you will find first strawberries and then raspberries and blueberries as well as fall raspberries. There really is nothing to compare with real farm-grown local berries!

Orchards and Apple Picking
Champlain Orchards in Shoreham is growing those absolutely fantastic Honeycrisps – perfection!  Then visit their neighbors at Douglas Orchards.

Artisan Cheese Makers
Blue Ledge Farm’s famous goat cheese, Crawford Family Farm’s well-known Vermont Ayr.

Woods’ Market Garden
A farmstand with the best sweet corn, tomatoes ready by early July(started in the greenhouse), local cheeses, meats, veggies, fruits, bakery. Also great hanging baskets, annuals and perennials, garden starts.

Vermont Maple Museum
Lots of info; syrup and maple products for sale. Quite charming and located right on Route 7 just north of Pittsford

Farmers’ Markets
Brandon on Fridays in Central Park; Middlebury on Wed and Sat. downtown; the largest is in Rutland on Tuesdays and Saturdays from May thru November and then an indoor winter market.

Unique Vermont and Vermont Made Shopping

Vermont is still filled with artisans and handmade crafts which are sold in area shops and/or in the artist’s own retail space.  There are also unique shops like old-time country stores remaining in many of the smallest villages

Vermont Made Furniture

Sandy’s Book Store and Café

Woodware

Goshen Country Store

Maple Landmark Woodcraft
Located on Exchange St. in Middlebury, fine crafters of  wooden toys

Morgan Horse Farm

Sugar and Spice
Restaurant, maple syrup, VT products, located on Route 4 outside Rutland on the route to Killington

Kamuda’s Market  
If you’re cycling/driving through Pittsford, this is the place for great sandwiches!

Covered Bridges

Vermont still has many covered bridges.  Although some cannot be used by vehicles any longer, you can cycle through most of them. Right in the Brandon area we have several – one in Brandon, four in Pittsford, and one each in Shoreham, Cornwall, and Middlebury.  Get a state map of covered bridges and explore as many as you can.

Arts and Museums

Vermont Folklife Center

Sheldon Museum

Edgewater Gallery

Big Town Gallery

Middlebury Town Hall Theater

New England Maple Museum

Vermont Marble Museum

The Carving Studio

Paramount Theater