What to do on your Middlebury vacation

I know you’re asking yourself, “What kind of awesome excuse can I come up with so I can leave this crazy place and go to Vermont?” Here’s your answer. (Actually, I hope that you already know your own answer, but here are my suggestions.)

First, you can come visit. Then, you can move here. Too bold? Let’s try some baby steps.

When you come to visit, you can walk with me and my family to our back yard, then through the barn to the woods and we’ll explore how the most recent rain has reconfigured our quiet piece of shoreline on the Middlebury River. Ahhh. Isn’t that what you came here for?

For a little more excitement, I’ll take you to some of my favorite local shops like Vermont Soap Organics where you can buy organic soap by the pound, Maple Landmark Woodcraft where your kid (or inner kid) can play on the giant wooden train on the front lawn and then watch the woodworkers in their factory store, then maybe we’ll dash over to the Geiger of Austria factory and outlet store for some woolly Nordic fashion, since it’s right next door.

You might enjoy a stop at the independent Vermont Book Shop, perhaps to pick up a book by a famous local author. You need custom leather boots made? We have that. Locally produced specialty yarn? Yup. Gorgeous handcrafted pewter? You’re in the right place. I won’t even go into the fabulous things available in neighboring towns, though Bristol has a remarkable candle store and Ferrisburgh’s bakery is very satisfying, nor is this the right place to list the many talented furniture and cabinet makers in Addison County. I’d mention my favorite chocolate shop, but I’ve already done that in the previous post. The shopping could go on and on. Maybe that’s what you came here for, but maybe that’s not all.

Let’s talk about food. You’re going to get an … earful? … mouthful? … ahem, ready? At the risk of sounding pretentious, I can honestly say that Vermont produces truly excellent food. It’s easy to keep the steps between the farm and the table to a minimum here. Yes, you can buy farm fresh (unpasteurized or pasteurized) milk, really fresh eggs, homemade cheese and yogurt, garden produce, orchard fruit, gourmet bread, a variety of meats, and beaucoup de specialty items- from maple syrup to salsa to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream- all of which are truly local products. The Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op is a great place to find good food in all its varieties.






If you’re looking for a delicious New England meal, I’ll recommend the Waybury Inn, The Swift House Inn, or Morgan’s Tavern at the Middlebury Inn. Fire and Ice is also very popular with the locals. For superlative fare, you would head to the Storm Café down by Otter Creek. (That’s my favorite.) Another local institution is American Flatbread, where you can get a wicked good flatbread pizza Tuesday through Saturday nights. Jackson’s On The River makes a tasty, creative American meal or you can eat at one of our spicier restaurants: Taste of India and Magic Wok (no known relation to the mid-west chain.) Sama’s Middlebury Market and Café makes my favorite curried chicken salad and Ramunto’s makes the best Sicilian BBQ Chicken pizza in Vermont. If you need another lunch option, you can get a really great sandwich at Noonie’s Deli. Feeling retro? Go to the independently-owned A&W old fashioned drive-in. The waitresses no longer wear roller blades, but the food is still as good as you remember. (Open in the warmer seasons.) For breakfast, head to Rosie’s Restaurant or Steve’s Park Street Diner. Maybe you already have a favorite Middlebury food establishment? Do share. (Again, I’m leaving out some fabulous restaurants just outside of town.)

So now you’re feeling happy and you’re wondering what to do with all your extra calories- I mean energy. Is there snow outside? If so, you can get from my driveway to the lift at Middlebury’s Snow Bowl in 15 minutes. The college’s Rikert cross-country ski trails are a few minutes closer. If you’re not a skier or ice skater, I’ll refer you to the section below detailing events on the campus of Middlebury College. In non-winter months, we do other things: river swimming, playground hopping, leaf-peeping along scenic roads, and hiking in the Green Mountains or the Trail Around Middlebury (TAM). Perhaps you’d like to visit the Vermont Folklife Center’s gallery or shop or study up on Vermont history at the Henry Sheldon Museum.

We are part of a really great college town- a really great college and a really great town. Middlebury College produces champion athletic teams, interesting lectures, sophisticated and beautiful artistic events, and Quidditch. I’ve mentioned the sport before, however it bears noting that this year, the International Quidditch World Cup will not be held on Middlebury’s campus, but in a large park in Manhattan. (See the Wall Street Journal’s October 25 article here.) It seems the quirky game is growing.

There’s far more happening on campus than one can possibly hope to experience in one day, so bring your date book and a pair of running shoes and you just might be more successful at doing it all than I have been. You can view an official daily campus schedule here, and the town’s activities are at the Addison County Independent’s site here. This link is the town’s official site.

Just for a taste, I’ll list some of the activities that were happening in Middlebury on October 26th: figure skating, zumba, a time management workshop, Ancient Mediterranean/Early European Art exhibit, European and American Art exhibit, Friends Bearing Gifts art exhibit, Moving Images art exhibit, Poverty Symposium lecture (presumably this was an anti-poverty lecture), a behind-the-scenes lunch lecture on an upcoming college theatrical production, a Math seminar wherein mathematical models were used to analyze questions concerning vampires and zombies (is it Halloween yet?), hockey, yoga, an Emotional Intelligence lecture, a badminton game, a current US politics lecture, numerous film screenings, a meeting of the East Middlebury Historical Society, local soccer, and the Dungeons and Dragons club at the library, to name a few. There wasn’t anything playing at the Town Hall Theater that night, but there usually is.

Having left out a discussion of our rich sense of community, politics on a human scale, and earnest religious life here in Middlebury, I’ve given you only part of the story. The reasons to visit are already obvious. The reasons that bring you to unpack your moving truck and set up shop in Addison County are here. You just have to discover them.



Personal record for number of links in one post: 29.

8 thoughts on “What to do on your Middlebury vacation

  1. I’m sold! I’m moving there…oh wait I already did! You make it sound so good. I’ll have to send this blog post to all my friends I want to move here. 🙂

  2. I actually DID eat at Noonie’s last time I was there (I forget why I was alone, but I was) and can vouch for the goodness of their bread — home-made and fresh. Great!

  3. Emma: Winter is the same length as Cache Valley, just a little colder in January and February, and more snow. You can handle that. See this comparison link.
    Geary: I remember why- you were worn out after a day’s hard work and the rest of us were headed to a big picnic. Glad you enjoyed it- I’ve never been disappointed with their food.

  4. A move isn’t in the near future, but it sounds like a very enticing place to visit. Thanks for sharing all the delights of your town. You didn’t mention good places to stay…..

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