Taste Your Way Along Vermont’s Byways
Vermont’s stunning views pair perfectly with its vibrant culinary culture
Vermont is home to the country’s highest concentration of craft breweries per capita, a thriving agricultural economy and a hyper-local farm-to-table dining scene—all of which are accessible via Vermont’s designated state byways.
Our state byways—a network of 10 well-signed and well-mapped scenic routes—wind around Vermont’s mountain peaks and travel through valley towns. They range in length from 14 to more than 400 miles, meandering along rivers, bisecting forests and opening up to rolling farmland. Farmers, restaurateurs and food producers of all varieties dot the byway system ready to share their offerings—they know that a fun day of exploration works up a hunger and thirst.
You might arrive in Vermont via the interstate, but discovering Vermont’s rich food flavors, aromas and textures requires travel off the beaten path. But the inspired palate that gets off the main highways and onto Vermont’s byways will be uniquely rewarded, so bring your sense of adventure and your appetite.
Visitors can get a jump start on finding their favorite flavors or discovering new delicacies through a smorgasbord of culinary themed itineraries, trails, events and challenges covering all corners of Vermont’s foodie scene.
Resources to Guide You
The Explore Vermont Byways guide offers themed itineraries along each of the 10 routes to help guests explore the state’s hidden gems based on their interests. The Chews & Brews itineraries recommend farms to visit, farmers markets, vineyards, breweries, maple sugar houses, cheesemakers and tasting tours of all kinds. Many of these attractions are small, family-run operations, and some operate on a larger scale, but most offer a closer look at production processes and delicious samples. Chews & Brews itineraries can be followed in conjunction with any —or all—of the other themed recommendations for travel along the byways including Arts & Culture, History & Heritage and Outdoor Recreation. Find these itineraries online or request a brochure at www.vermontvacation.com/byways.
Those interested in combining farm visits with artist studio tours will enjoy Palate to Palette recommendations. This map provides 134 recommendations for food-, farm- and arts-centric exploration from U.S. Route 4 southward along byways, local roads and main thoroughfares. Southern Vermont has a diverse artisan culture of local foods and artistic exposition. Points of interest on this map highlight the region’s producers of Vermont-grown products, farms where the production takes place, performance and visual art venues and farmers markets—where arts, crafts, specialty products, produce and live performances often merge. Plan a farm stay or attend a workshop to maximize your time on the land. Find the map at Visitors Centers and businesses in Southern Vermont, or view it online at www.vermontvacation.com/itineraries.
Looking for more variety? Create custom itineraries using the filters available at Dig In Vermont. Visit www.diginvt.com and click on “Trails” to choose from more than 500 customizable experiences or create your own. This website is a comprehensive resource for all things Vermont food related and it allows users to build a list of places to visit. Users can save their trail to access it again later—perhaps from the road—as well as share trails on social media, email, in print, or even name and submit unique trails to the site, making them available to other users.
Several thematic passports are available for visitors to take along on tasting trails. They all follow a similar principle: get a stamp in your passport for each visit along the trail and redeem a full passport for exclusive prizes. Challenge your friends the next time you visit a participating location and be sure to pick up your Vermont Brewery Challenge passport, Vermont Winery Passport or Vermont Bakery Tour passport and get started.
Farms across Vermont open their doors to the public for one week each August to celebrate Vermont’s agricultural heritage. Open Farm Week provides visitors the opportunity to step onto farms—many of which are not typically open to the public—for a behind the scenes peek into farm life. Nearly 100 farms participate throughout the week by hosting special events, dinners and activities the whole family can enjoy together. Every farm is unique and the experiences they offer reflect their individual charms. Meet the farmers during live demonstrations or take the matter into your own hands and try milking a cow or harvesting a ripe vegetable. Experience the working landscape first-hand and create a genuine connection with the bountiful harvest. Farm locations, hours of operation and a list of events are posted on www.diginvt.com each summer. Open Farm Week also happens to be one of the filters on the website’s “Trails” page, so save your favorite events and plan a week’s worth of farming fun.
Vermont is jam-packed with foodie festivals and events all year long. As the snow starts to melt away in late spring, sugarmakers fire up their evaporators during Maple Open House Weekend, giving visitors behind-the-scenes access to another busy agricultural season in the state. Countless wine and beer festivals occur during all four seasons and often feature local snacks alongside the libations. Apples are ripe for the picking at pick-your-own orchards throughout autumn (see below) and festivals pop up around the state to celebrate the star of each harvest. Look for the Blueberry Festival, Garlic and Herb Festival, Golden Honey Festival, Vermont Cheesemakers Festival, Strolling of the Heifers and annual Ice Bar for a taste of Vermont. See www.vermontvacation.com/events for a full calendar.
Experiencing Vermont’s culinary offerings is a delicious way to explore the state, but it can also be rewarding. Take apple picking to the next level and look out for a wooden apple hanging in the branches. Vermont’s Apples to iPods challenge rewards those who “pick” one of the wooden apples with a brand new Apple device. The more participating orchards you visit during the fall campaign, the better your odds of winning. Visit www.vermontvacation.com/apples-to-ipods for details.
Vermont’s scenic roadways lead to delicious, local cuisine lovingly prepared by creative chefs, specialty food producers and passionate farmers. There aren’t enough hours in the day to taste it all, but you can extend your experience with a culinary themed lodging package and continue your tasting tour into the late night variety. Visit www.vermontvacation.com/packages for current offerings.