By Laurie Bain Wilson
Autumn in Vermont is made for flannel days and wooly nights, outdoor fire pits, and an uber-local food and drink scene. And even when the last crimson leaf has crinkled, and it turns to stick season in this neck of the woods (November 1st–December 15th, it’s still a great time to visit and beat the ski crowd crush.
The Inn on Putney Road The Green Mountain state has bragging rights when it comes to a colorful culinary and foliage scene. Book a room at this unpretentious, lovely hideaway within walking distance to town. The six-room, almost century old, French Baronial-inspired estate sits next to the West River, with a necklace of walking trails to work off innkeeper Paul Tokmakian’s healthy breakfast menu that showers the region’s ingredients with love. Info: vermontbandbinn.com
Chesterfield Inn Retreat to this inn, a snappy two-mile drive from Brattleboro in Chesterfield, New Hampshire. The inn commands sneak peeks of the Connecticut River Valley and has lots of romantic fireplaces, too. Or, just come for dinner; chef Carl heats things up in the kitchen. Info: chesterfieldinn.com
Kampfires Settle in for sweet airstream dreams, where you’ll find a campground and a furnished 27-foot airstream outfitted with a queen bed, TV, equipped kitchen and a fire pit outside your door.
See & Do
Putney Mountain Winery The handsome winery pours award-winning fruit wines and liqueurs (think; fall faves like apples and ginger, grown locally.) Stop by the solar-powered and green certified winery/tasting room and stock up. Info: putneymountainwinery.com
Parish Hill Creamery A trip to Vermont wouldn’t be complete without cheese. This unique creamery produces seasonal cheeses using raw milk from sources within five miles of the creamery.
Saxtons River Distillery Here, you’ll tour, taste and celebrate Vermont’s maple trees with a sip of the distillery’s signature Sapling Maple Liqueur. Info: saxtonsdistillery.com
Walker Farm A farm visit is one of autumn’s simplest pleasures. Brattleboro’s community-supported agriculture (CSA) Walker Farm nurtures the community and local restaurants. You’ll want to swing by for organic fruits and veggies. Info: walkerfarm.com
Retreat Farm It spans 500 acres of farmland and trails and connecting people to nature and Carlos the Bull. This historic farm has had as many lives as a barn cat and has been saved and rescued many times (it opened in 1837 as an alternative hospital for mentally ill patients.) There’s a pay-as-you-can farm-stand for fruits, veggies, eggs and more. Info: retreatfarm.org. Bonus: The Dosa Food Truck is often planted at the farm—legendary chef and cookbook author, Leda Scheintaub has introduced South Indian soul food to soulful Brattleboro. And they line up for her dosas. Info: dosakitchen.com
Hermit Thrush Brewery Located downtown it brews exclusively IPA sours—using only pure wild yeast. Take a seat outside in the tasting area for a flight.
True North Granola You’ll crave the granola made here all year long—stop by The Cotton Mill to see the production facility and to load up on the granola (gluten-free ops, too)—it’s so good it’s even sold in Boston’s Eataly. Info: truenorthgranola.com
Tavernier Chocolates And before leaving the Cotton Mill, hit up this popular place for artisanal handcrafted chocolate. Info: tavernierchocolates.com
The Inn at Montpelier Here’s the 200-year-old, 19-room boutique hive for gin lovers visiting nearby Barr Hill Gin. Get social at Social, the inn’s lively restaurant bar, with a Bee’s Knees (Barr Hill Gin, lemon juice and raw honey)—and hang on the porch, too.
See & Do
Barr Hill Gin Montpelier is home to Barr Hill Gin, produced by Caledonia Spirits distillery, which has pioneered raw honey in the production process—from beehive to bottle under the direction of head distiller Ryan Christiansen. The distillery’s cocktail bar’s mixologist Sam Nelis builds his sips with house-made syrups and locally-sourced tinctures.
Stone Hill Inn will coordinate backpack picnics for woodsy hikes, and also arrange tours at the breweries and chef-owned field-to-table restaurants. But what sets this inn apart: the innkeepers will prepare AIP-friendly meals and meet any dietary restrictions—including Paleo, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian. Info: stonehillinn.com
See & Do
Stowe Cider It’s all about fresh press locally-sourced apples (think: honey crisp, Cortland Empire) that are fermented. Hang by a patio fire pit and check out the taproom and food trucks. Info: stowecider.com
The Wilburton Inn It’s a sprawling estate that debuts dramatically on a hilltop at the end of a winding driveway flanked by stone walls and glances of larger-than-life sculptures that dot the grounds. Stay in one of the whimsically-decorated cottages with Green Mountain views, especially theatrical in fall. Or check into the mansion—the gorgeous Joan Fontaine room was the actress’s summer hideout. Creativity is at the heart of Wilburton—the on-site Creative Museum debuts in October. And Jetson, the resident wellness pooch, is your muse. Info: wilburtoninn.com
See & Do
Earth Sky Time Community Farm and Hearth You must visit this no-frills three-generation-family-run certified organic farmstead, owned by the Levis family (they also own the Wilburton, located just up the road). It’s on the map for amazing bread that’s baked at the wood-fired bakery and for its throwback concert venue (think: Woodstock era, with dancing on the unkempt lawn to music played by local musicians.) Info: earthskytime.com