Sugar Shackin' it in Snowy Southern Vermont

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wanderingjew
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2010/11/05 20:23:35 (permalink)

Sugar Shackin' it in Snowy Southern Vermont

Previously mentioning that my roadfood trips will be far and few between, I never excluded short weekend or day trips by car.
 
I've wanted to go to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Rutland Vermont for quite some time. Some of those sugar houses where they actually serve pancakes have also peaked my curiosity. Last weekend was the perfect opportunity, although what surprised me the most was the weather that I encountered along the way....
 
Friday October 29
 
The company gave me a complimentary half day. Considering that I need to save my vacation days I took advantage of this.
Coming in to work early, I was on the road by 11AM. My first stop for lunch was a place I've mentioned several times on previous threads. Besides The Red Arrow Diner, my other favorite roadfood restaurant in Manchester NH is Chez Vachon.
 

 
It sounds fancier than it actually looks. A self described "French Canadian" family style restaurant
 

 
offering  really  "French" items on the menu  such as broasted chicken, salmon pie, meatloaf  and pork pie.
 

 

 
 
As you can see the restaurant is quite casual offering counter, booth and table service.

Chez Vachon is probably most famous for the French Canadian Specialty "Poutine". French Fries covered in cheese cuds, and chicken gravy. For a coupla bucks extra you can add your choice of topping including kielbasa, chicken tenders, hamburger or steak tips.
 

 
 
I ordered mine with steak tips. As you can see this is a meal that should not be taken lightly. Rich gravy, fresh cut fries and  squeaky curds is a meal that will invoke pleasure and delight and invite yourself to a possible visit to your cardiologist.  It's been 7 years since I last visited Chez Vachon and the meal was just as good as I remembered.
 

 
although the dessert board looked enticing-  it was out of the question- at least for now.
 
As I left the restaurant it began to rain. Funny, the weather forecast didn't indicate rain when I checked it the night before. In fact I had just left 3 straight days of nearly 80 degree weather here in Rhode Island. Either way it was obvious that the temperature was dropping.
 
I continued on my trip experiencing on and off rain and drizzle and just over an hour later arrived in Quechee VT.  My first stop being
 

 

 
Quechee Gorge  Village home of some really quaint antique shops, a Cabot Cheese outlet store, a toy museum and this really cool looking diner
 

 
Right next door to the diner was this place
 

 
Frozen Memories
 
Not only are they an ice cream shop serving local ice cream but they sell rare old toys and games going back several decades
 

 
If I wasn't in a hurry I could have spent at least a good hour or more here checking out all the toys and games going back to my childhood  in the 1970's.
 
But I was here to enjoy some local ice cream and the pumpkin ice cream captured my attention. I am in Vermont and it is that time of year. The  proprietor suggested I get sweet cream ice cream and I thought the waffle cone would be the perfect icing on the cake so to speak. Almost like a frozen pumpkin pie.
 

 
The pumpkin ice cream was fine, but the sweet cream actually tasted like "sweet creamy moo"
 
Leaving Quechee I encountered my first  Vemont Covered Bridge
 

 
Built in the 1840's I will once again encounter this bridge at the end of my trip.
 
My next stop was Sugar Bush Farms in Woodstock VT
 

 
An interactive farm where you can learn about making maple syrup and cheese and enjoy the results..
 

 
First I enjoyed various samples of cheese ranging from several months old to eight years old with varying degrees of sharpness. I then enjoyed various grades of maple syrup from light to dark and learned that depending on what time during the year the tree is tapped will depend on how dark or rich the maple syrup will be.
 
I then went on to the sugar house
 

 

 
passing this beauty
 

 
and this young gal
 

 
who kept mooing for attention.
 
As I left Sugarbush Farms, dinner time was approaching. I made my way up North to
 

 
The Roadfood Reviewed  P & H Truckstop in Wells River VT.
 
A truck stop with a restaurant and bakery. I was hoping that they would have the corn chowder described by the Sterns in their review.  Corn Chowder as  I understand is an inland Northern New England specialty . Well, they did have chowder on the menu but unfortunately it was fish, not corn. I thought about having pot roast but remembered per the review to stay away from the fake mashed potatoes. Well one of  the specialty of the day was creamed chicken over biscuits, so I was torn. I asked the waitress for her advice and she convinced me to go with the creamed chicken over biscuits.
 
I started out with a so so three bean salad
 

 
before my main course arrived..
 

 
I didn't find the meal to be anything special and wondered if the biscuits or gravy was actually homemade, but that didn't stop me from ordering dessert- and I'm glad I did.
 

 
Going with Maple Cream Pie was a decision I made without hesitation. Truly this piece de resistance was probably the best single item of the trip.
 
As I left P & H, I checked out some of their bakery items. Having enjoyed some regional breads when I was "Heartlanding through the Breadbasket" a few months back, the Maple Walnut bread really caught my attention. Since I had no appetite for anything more I didn't get any and although I regret it now, I wonder if it would have still been fresh if I brought it home with me to enjoy a few days later. Well at least it's close enough where I know I'll be back.
 
I headed to my final destination for the evening- Barre VT to check into my hotel. When I arrived it was actually "snowing" very lightly- but it was still snowing - in October! I checked into a local motel steps from downtown Barre and enjoyed a couple of local microbrews at the local pubs and tavers all walking distance.
 
As I was walking towards downtown. I passed this place
 

 
(taken the next morning on my cell phone)
 
Soup N' Greens. Curiousity got the best of me so I walked in . Offering a selection of three homemade soups n chowders daily, I hit pay dirt - Yes they had Corn Chowder!  I knew I wasn't going to order a whole meal - and it was before closing time, so I figured a cup of corn chowder and a beer will do...
 

 
and wow did they deliver- Thick, with substantial corn taste and a hint of bacon- this chowder delivered big time.

Now that I got my chowder fix I ended with a night cap of a Long Trail Ale at the Irish Pub across from my hotel and called it a night
 
More to come..
 
 
post edited by wanderingjew - 2010/11/05 20:31:40
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