48 Hours in Addison County for Summer Foodies
Any foodie knows Vermont is famous for its incredible local ingredients, farm-to-table eats, and for being home to more breweries per capita than any other U.S. state – and with an incredible array of in-season fruits and veggies, summer is a wonderful time to stop by our Green Mountain State. Bordered by the Adirondacks to the west and the Green Mountains to the east, Addison County is one of the best places to take advantage of all the incredible agriculture Vermont has to offer. Between Middlebury, Bristol, and Vergennes, it’s hard to pick all the must-hit spots for a central VT weekend – but we compiled a list of a few of the places that make our little slice of Vermont just so special.
Home to Jessica’s Restaurant (see Friday’s schedule), Middlebury’s cozy Swift House Inn is a wonderful lodging choice for any foodie who wants easy access to Jessica’s delicious menu at their convenience. Middlebury Inn is another great spot to stay nearby, with a quintessential New England feel and a delicious restaurant (Morgan’s Tavern, beloved by locals and guests alike) in-house. You won’t have to go out of your way to find local souvenirs staying at Bristol Suites, with Vermont Marketplace located directly in their lobby, and Vergennes’ Basin Harbor offers three incredible restaurants and gorgeous Lake Champlain views.
6pm: Dinner at Jessica’s Restaurant
Located inside Middlebury’s incredibly charming Swift House Inn, Jessica’s is well-known for its quintessential New England food and award-winning wine list. The outdoor deck is a perfect summertime spot for al fresco dining (and admiring the Inn’s impeccably manicured lawns). The lovely gardens surrounding the Inn are filled with fresh herbs used in their dishes. The menu includes plenty of local beers and intriguing signature cocktails and mocktails to choose from. Try a fun twist on the martini with the “Kimchini,” featuring housemade kimchi-infused vodka and garnished with a locally sourced, pickled ramp sprout.
7:45pm: After dinner treat at lu•lu
No meal is complete without dessert – indulge in a cone from lu•lu, Vergennes’ go-to farm-to-spoon ice cream shop. Made without preservatives, mixes, or additives and pasteurized in-house, this sunny spot is a must-stop for any sweet-tooth. Their wide and constantly changing variety of flavors, from simple Basil (deemed “the best ice cream in Vermont” by Food Network Magazine) to boozy Luck of the Irish (made with Bailey’s Irish Cream and espresso beans) is sure to offer something for every palate. lu•lu’s mission is “to create ice cream so outstanding that there is always room for more” – in our experience, they succeeded!
9am: Breakfast at Minifactory
Kick off your weekend at one of Bristol’s newest popular spot, Minifactory. Their fresh, delicious twists on breakfast classics serve up the perfect combination of comfort and creativity.
Try their house-made, lactose-free yogurt, or if you’re a little hungrier, Smashed Pete’s Green Potatoes (complete with garlic scapes and paprika salt) or Veg For President (a gluten-free buckwheat apricot tabbouleh) are sure to satisfy. For any sweet tooths, a crumbly buttermilk biscuit topped high with local V Smiley Preserves (rhubarb cherry, strawberry grapefruit, or navel orange mission fig) will easily make your morning. And don’t forget to take some local bread and your own jar of V Smiley Preserves for the road!
11am: Shop local at the Middlebury Farmers' Market
Stock up on Vermont treats for foodie friends and family (and your car ride home) at the Middlebury Farmers' Market. From 9am to 12:30pm, explore products from over 20 vendors and enjoy live music as you shop. Organic produce, bread and baked goods, and great Vermont cheeses are just a few of the delicious things you’ll find here.
2pm: Mosy down the Middlebury Tasting Trail
Middlebury’s five-mile trail of vineyards, distilleries, and breweries is a wonderful weekend activity for any 21+ visitors. Start your journey at Woodchuck Hard Cider to enjoy a self-guided tour of their facilities and 20 ciders on tap, then make your way to Drop-In Brewing for their varied selection of unique, “top shelf” beers. Last stop? Golden Rule Mead, made with 100% Vermont-origin raw honey and other local ingredients. Take your time at a tasting or grab a bottle to go if you’re running late for dinner. Don’t forget to bring a designated driver along, or book a cab with Middlebury Taxi to make sure you’re traveling safely and responsibly.
7pm: Dinner at Bar Antidote/Hired Hand Brewing Co.
Vergennes’ Bar Antidote and Hired Hand Brewing Co. have combined to create the ultimate Vermont farm-to-table restaurant and brewery. Inspired by his childhood on the family's Monkton farm, award-winning chef and brewer Ian Huizenga sources and forages ingredients for his dishes from local farms and forests. Huizenga’s and Eliza Benton’s beers at Hired Hand are considered hyperlocal with ingredients sourced from “Champlain Valley Hop Farm in Starksboro, Peterson Quality Malt in Charlotte, water from the Huizenga Family Farm in Barnumtown, and foraged nuggets from around Addison County.” And if beer isn’t your preferred indulgence, their dessert menu is definitely something to write home about too (we can’t get enough of Cheryl’s Chocolate Pie). For a true taste of Vermont, don’t miss this lovely Vergennes spot.
8am: Wake up with little seed COFFEE ROASTERS
Find your caffeine fix at this cute coffee roaster in the heart of Middlebury. A super cozy ambience, delicious coffee, and a great mission make little seed a morning essential. With their “You Sip, We Give” Initiative, 5% of their proceeds are donated to non-profits that help improve the communities of their coffee producers, and their commitment to using primarily biodegradable and recyclable materials means you don’t have to feel guilty about taking your cup to go. little seed also takes an actively inclusive approach to specialty coffee culture, creating a welcoming environment for both instant-coffee-drinkers and pour-over connoisseurs alike to enjoy the peace that a slow, intentional morning routine can provide.
11am: Head down the street Haymaker Bun Company
Fuel up with a Coco Loco bun or vegan olive oil lemon cake at Haymaker. If you’re more into savory, Haymaker has a long list of brioche buns for every palate (try the Paris Agreement bun – trust us). Many of the ingredients used by owner/chef Caroline are sourced locally (King Arthur Flour, Cabot cheese, Green Pasture Meats), while most of the herbs, vegetables, and fruits she uses come from her own garden. And the eggs? From Caroline’s hens. The spacious outdoor patio is the perfect spot to start a slow summer Sunday – and if its stunning river views weren’t enough, the lush patch of lilac growing right nearby makes it smell almost as lovely as it looks.
1pm: Stock up on local ingredients at New Leaf Organics
Take a taste of Vermont back home at New Leaf Organics’ farm stand in Bristol. This idyllic spot offers every fresh local goodie you can imagine: freshly picked plants and produce, locally-sourced tea, honey, pickles, popcorn, chocolate, llama fiber, artwork, skincare – and so much more! They also stay stocked with pies from Humble Pie Baking and fresh granola and bread from Bristol’s Bicycle Mill Bakery. Make sure you’ve got a cooler in the trunk ready for any perishable items, and you’re ready to go!
3pm: Take a trip to Vermont Marketplace for more shelf-stable souvenirs
No cooler? No problem. Vermont Marketplace is located in Bristol’s charming downtown and is chock full of local brands and locally made (non-perishable) products. Grab some VT-made jewelry, wood bowls, arnica and CBD products, crackers and chips for the drive home, and Vermont and Bristol-branded t-shirts (so everyone knows what a great weekend getaway you had). Stroll around downtown Bristol after your shop to enjoy the town’s quaint, cozy atmosphere.
6pm: Head down the street to The Bobcat Café
With their own host of hand-crafted beers and elevated comfort food, Bobcat is the perfect place to close out your weekend in Addison County. Offering everything from falafel to chicken enchiladas to Massaman curried mussel stew, every craving can be satisfied here. Bobcat’s in-house brews are varied in flavor, but all equally refreshing – and they also offer Aqua ViTea, one of Vermont’s most popular kombuchas. So grab a table (or a barstool) and enjoy reminiscing about your wonderful weekend full of incredible Addison County eats.
Wherever you stay and wherever you dine, our Green Mountain State is truly a little slice of foodie paradise. Come get a taste of Vermont this weekend in Addison County.
This page was created with support from the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, Tourism & Economic Recovery Grants.