The month of December FLEW by! With all of the holiday parties, family time and running around, we needed a vacation. We decided to escape up to Vermont for New Years weekend for some much needed R&R. We visited some of our old favorites as well as some new places. We ate and drank like kings for three days!
**See Vermont Part I HERE
The Green Mountain Inn was booked solid so we decided to stay at another favorite of ours, the Best Western in Waterbury. It is conveniently located, about a five minute walk from Hen of the Wood, and a short drive from downtown Waterbury. It is also a short drive over to Stowe. Really you could’t ask for a better spot. The hotel is clean, they offer free breakfast and they have a great bar that stocks all of the local brews.
Bag: Lo & Sons
Moss Glen Falls
On the drive up to Waterbury we stopped in Warren for sandwiches at the Warren Store (get the Pesto Palooza and the Godzilla). En route we drove by two beautiful waterfalls covered in snow. We HAD to stop and take a look. This was our first trip up to Vermont in the snow. It was GORGEOUS. My New Years resolution is to plan less and detour more. What a great detour to start off the year!
My kind of relaxation involves a massage. After doing some research, I found Stowe Village Massage, which is actually located right next door to the Green Mountain Inn. Their massages were reasonably affordable so I convinced E we needed to get couples massages. For a full hour we didn’t have a care in the world. When the massages were over we were surprised how quickly the time had passed. We walked out relaxed and refreshed. The massages were worth every penny.
Restaurants, Bars and Breweries
E and I are currently celebrating 6 years since our first date. Kind of crazy how fast time flies! We decided to celebrate by eating a fancy meal at Hen of the Wood. We were not disappointed. We ate a course for each year we have been together. We started with beer – Heady Topper on draft (a rarity) and Hill Farmstead Twilight of the Idols. Then we ordered a bunch of appetizers which included Yuzu Shishito Peppers, Sweet Potato Latkes with Crème Fraîche, an Heirloom Beet Salad with Ricotta and E ordered a Lobster Risotto with Butternut Squash. Every dish was better then the next and not a morsel went to waste. E ordered the Hanger Steak as his main while I ordered the Haddock over a bean salad. Again, there were no leftovers. We finished the meal with a cheese course as well as the Maple Bourbon house made ice cream. You basically had to roll me out of the restaurant when we finished. Everything we ordered was fresh, locally sourced, and out of this world delicious.
TRAVEL TIP: Make a reservation in advance!
Bag: Lo & Sons
Epic beer. And a BEAUTIFUL new taproom. The Hill now has a license for onsite consumption and they serve cheese and/or other eats! This is a HUGE difference then the last time we visited. The original building is now for bottle purchases, while the new building is for tastings, growler fills, and the chance to buy and drink rare and special HF beers that can’t be found anywhere else (but need to be consumed onsite). We tried two different variations of a great varied fruit sour beer, Flora – one with blueberries, black currants, and raspberries; the other with Satsuma mandarins.
We also were so lucky to have been able to see the Farmstead covered in snow. It was a winter wonderland. If you love beer and beautiful scenery you have to make the drive up!
Side By Side Taste Test
The last few times we have been up in Waterbury we ate dinner at Prohibition Pig. Over Memorial Day, our favorite bartender at Pro Pig, Kate, announced she was leaving to bartend and manage over at a new restaurant opening in Stowe called Doc Ponds. Doc Ponds is owned by the same people who own Hen of the Wood. We have been anxiously awaiting our opportunity to try it. When we arrived it was PACKED. We grabbed some recently vacated seats at the bar and instantly ordered a can of Focal Banger and Heady Topper. After our drinks we contemplated their menu. They had so many interesting things on it! Our first order included some Blue Balls (deep fried blue cheese balls drizzled with locally sourced honey) and marinated olives and mushrooms. E ordered a burger and some buffalo chicken wings and I ordered mac and cheese made with local Vermont cheddar. Everything was DELICIOUS. This is definitely one of our new favorite spots!
The Maple Glazed Sticky Bun Up Close and Personal
Every time we come up to Waterbury we say we are going to try Red Hen and every time we fail to do so. This time it was our second to last stop before heading back to New Jersey. All I have to say is Maple Glazed Sticky Bun. GO TRY ONE NOW!
New year, new pub. E and I are creatures of habit. We were comfortable always drinking and eating at Pro Pig across the street. We never felt the need to walk to Blackback Pub. This time we decided we wanted something different. And boy were we happy we did. Blackback is way more laid back than Pro Pig. They have many of the same beers as Pro Pig, but they also have other special offerings. Word is they have the best nachos on the block! We had just come from eating at Hen of the Wood, otherwise we would have definitely ordered some. While sitting at the bar, we were lucky enough to have met the owner of Blackback. He was super friendly and welcoming, and obviously very proud of his bar and the Waterbury community.
Fish Tacos and a Lawson’s Fayston Maple Imperial Stout
We saved a special place for last. We had been meaning to go to Mad Taco for a while now but, as I said earlier, we are creatures of habit. On our way out of Vermont we stopped in for some tacos and beer. E ordered the chicken tacos while I ordered the fish tacos. Both were packed with flavor! They also have some pretty special beers on draft that are hard to find anywhere else. The place definitely had a hipster vibe that I was not expecting. Good beer, good food. All in all a great last stop on the Vermont food train.
AND NOW THE DIET BEGINS…