I've been researching Vermont's flagship stores as we get closer to the possibility of opening up one of our own at Vermont Woods Studios.
A few weeks ago Kendall and I drove up to see the brand new King Arthur Flour campus in Norwich, Vermont, just north of (White River Junction). It's a gorgeous facility with hundreds of baking ingredients, gadgets & classes, a cafe & deli and a baking education center where you can attend classes to become the best baker in your network.
But the best part of the new store is the wonderful smell of fresh baked bread that greets you when you enter.
If you love baking and you're traveling through central Vermont, I should think King Arthur would be a must-see. Try to visit on a nice day and you'll be able to enjoy lunch with freshly baked croissants (and cakes, breads, chiffons, mousse…) in a splendid courtyard in the middle of the campus.
As you know, when Hurricane Irene blew through Vermont, hundreds of our roads, bridges, homes and businesses were severely damaged or destroyed. Being on the banks (being THE banks, actually) of the Ottauquechee River, the Simon Pearce flagship store in Quechee Vermont suffered major flooding and sustained serious damage to its glassblowing, pottery and hydroelectric facilities.
Luckily their restaurant and retail store suffered much less damage and they recently re-opened.
We, at Vermont Woods Studios love to visit the Simon Pearce Mill and Restaurant, especially during these colorful weeks of Fall (that's Arn and Cathy in the restaurant– the picture was taken just before the hurricane). The Pearce family and their staff are an inspiration to us and a role model for sustainable operations and good corporate citizenship. Their business is a benchmark for the kind of destination we want to offer at our next location.
Check out the Simon Pearce website and Facebook to see the kind of principled company they have created. And definitely stop by for lunch or dinner at the Simon Pearce restuarant– one of the finest in the Northeast.
There are a few weeks of leaf peeping left in Vermont, so we hope you'll wander through our state this weekend or next. You'll find that almost all of our businesses have managed to dry out, dig out and clean-up in time for your visit. Your efforts will be greatly appreciated by all the Vermont business owners who are working around the clock to recover from the worst catastrophe the state has ever seen.
Enjoy your travels!
By Dennis Shanoff
Where did Spring go? It seems like suddenly it is summer! So have you planned your summer family vacation yet? Or are you still looking for vacation ideas?
Well if you haven’t planned your summer vacation you just might want to consider a Vermont Vacation. We might be a tad biased but we think Vermont is one of the best vacation spots. And if you like fresh air, rolling green hills, arts & crafts and artisan foods Vermont is absolutely one of the best places to vacation!
Where to stay? The choice is yours. Vermont accommodations range from quiet campgrounds and cozy cabins to luxury inns and classy resorts. You can make one area your base camp while you work the region or hop scotch the state on a theme vacation such as following a cheese, wine, or micro brewed beer trail.
What to do? Here are a few of our favorite Vermont vacation ideas and popular destinations:
It’s hard to beat the quaintness of Woodstock, a postcard picture perfect New England Village. Be sure to visit the Gillingham & Sons General Store. You will be amazed at the diversity of products they carry! Nearby Queeche Gorge offers great scenic opportunities, antiquing, and fine dining. You might consider lunch or dinner at the Simon Pearce restaurant where you will have the added treat of dining on a balcony overlooking a dramatic waterfall. Prefer your activities to be a little more strenuous? Try hiking or mountain biking in the Killington area.
Or visit our big city of Burlington where we don’t quite have skyscrapers but you might find a building more then a few stories tall. Burlington is not only a great pedestrian town, but very dog friendly. Take a Lake Champlain tour (Americas 6th largest lake) or wander about Church Street where outside dining and unique shops abound.
Need more ideas? When it comes to finding Vermont vacation attractions the official Vermont tourism website has a great search feature to help you discover fun and interesting things to do. And if your route brings you in the southeastern area of Vermont and you have an interest in seeing some of Vermont’s best wood furniture please stop by and visit our showroom in Vernon.
So this year take a Vermont family vacation! Oh, and bring an empty suitcase… you are going to find a lot of goodies you’ll want to bring back!
Photo courtesy of Vermont State Parks.