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Father’s Restaurant (Westminster, VT)

As I mentioned in last Fall’s review of The Dinner Table in Swanzey, NH, we’re often traveling down I-91 to southern VT, western MA, or CT for some of our hiking. While a scenic drive, much of I-91 in Vermont isn’t that rich in dining options, especially around breakfast, but we’ve been trying to branch out a bit and try a few more places. A recent trip to hike Mount Holyoke in Hadley, MA led us to stopping off in Westminster, VT (a small town just south of the better-known Bellows Falls) to check out Father’s Restaurant.

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Haymaker Bun Co. (Middlebury, VT)

Several times a year, we end up traveling just north of Middlebury, VT to pick up wine from Lincoln Peak Vineyard. As I mentioned a while back in our review of The Cluckin’ Cafe, that gives us a nice excuse to check out a few of the sights and restaurants in Western VT. In this case, we had seen a lot of good online reviews for a bakery in downtown Middlebury next to the river: The Haymaker Bun Co.

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Whetstone Station (Brattleboro, VT)

As mentioned in the previous post, a few weekends ago I was hiking with my friend Alex on Wantastiquet Mountain, located in Hinsdale across the river from Brattleboro. After a pleasant hike, we went back across the river to revisit a SE Vermont favorite of mine, Whetstone Station.

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Oakes & Evelyn Re-Opening (Montpelier, VT)

Oakes & Evelyn in Montpelier has been my favorite Vermont restaurant for the last few years. They were our first “real” post-pandemic fine dining experience back in May of 2021 shortly after they opened, and we had several visits there in 2022 and 2023. It had basically become our go-to for special occasions, well-worth the hour and change drive from our house in Grantham, and we really got to enjoy Chef Justin Dain’s crudos, tartares, and roasted meats.

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Carlita’s Cantina (South Royalton, VT)

Back in mid ’22, Carol and I had a pleasant visit with friends in South Royalton, VT, stopping off at Carlita’s Cocina, which was a semi-permanent food truck in one of the large parking lots by Vermont Law School. Carlita’s was serving up a combination of burritos, tacos, and rice bowls that I’d primarily call “Asian-influenced Mexican fusion”. They were tasty, and we thought they’d be a good addition to the overall dining scene in SoRo. The food truck also burned down in an apparent accidental fire in May 2022, just weeks after my review posted. But this wasn’t the end for Carlita’s. They had already been considering a transition to a brick and mortar location, and 6 months later, they actually opened their new version of Carlita’s, the now-named Carlita’s Cantina, on nearby Chelsea Street across from the South Royalton Green. As I’m writing this review, they just passed their first anniversary in the new location.

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Shanty on the Shore (Burlington, VT)

One of the obligatory parts of living in New England is that you’ve occasionally got to give into the urge, and go find a seafood restaurant and get one of the hallmark dishes of New England summer, such as a lobster roll or fried clams. And while the options are better on the coast, you don’t necessarily need to travel that far. As we mentioned in our Wit & Grit review, several times this summer we headed up to Burlington, and on our last trip up there, we decided to visit Vermont’s “inland coast”, going to Shanty on the Shore, on the shores of Lake Champlain just south of downtown Burlington.

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Wit & Grit (Randolph, VT)

Mid-summer, we were meeting up with friends in Burlington, VT for one of the monthly Tiki events a Venetian Soda Lounge, and it gave us one of our relatively rare opportunities to grab breakfast on the way to Burlington. There’s been a lot of change in the dining scene in Randolph, Vermont in the last two years that I’ve been wanting to check out, including a new bagel place (Wee Bird), two restaurants merging (One Main Tap and Grill and Kuya Filipino became Kuya at One Main), and and old favorite, Black Krim, closed up shop and became Wit and Grit. Swinging through town, we decided we had time for a sit-down breakfast, so this time, we decided to check out Wit and Grit.

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Zoey’s Double Hex (Manchester Center, VT)

In June, before several of our planned hiking and backpacking trips, we decided to do a warmup hike up one of our favorites: Mt Equinox in Manchester, VT, which unlike the Green Mountains, is actually part of the more westerly Taconic Range. It has a nicely-maintained but steep trail, with just under 3000′ of vertical elevation, usually rewarded by panoramic view of the Green Mountains (Stratton and Bromley) to the East, and the rest of the Taconic Range to the South and West. Well, on most days, at least; our visit was a pleasant hike rewarded with half-mile visibility in moderate heavy clouds. After a hike back down involving more than a little of a scramble looking for a misplaced cell phone, we decided that it was time to call it a day and head out for an early dinner. Manchester has a lot of great dining opportunities, but most of them skew towards either high-end dining, which is not a great match with sweaty hikers. But just east of town, as you start to head up Route 9 towards Bromley, is one of my area favorites: Zoey’s Double Hex.

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Kingdom Table (St Johnsbury, VT)

A fairly recent trip up to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont had a passing through St Johnsbury a handful of times, and it gave us a good opportunity to check out a bunch of well-regarded places in town, including Kingdom Taproom, one of the area’s better-regarded beer bars with a very good selection of northern Vermont beers. But upstairs from Kingdom Taproom’s basement location is their sister establishment, Kingdom Table, which focuses on providing farm-to-table fine dining. Since we had a good amount of time before having to head back home, we decided to check out Kingdom Table for dinner.

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Bistro Midva (Windsor, VT)

(Closed) After quite a bit of international travel, late April had me arriving back home in the Upper Valley just in time for Carol’s birthday, and we used it as good excuse to try out a place that’s been on our hit list since it opened: Bistro Midva in Windsor, Vermont. Located on South Main Street in a location that’s been quite a few different restaurants over the year (I remember the spot as Shepherd’s Pie, Au Jus, and Red Head Bistro, just to name a few), and in September 2021 a new set of owners, Chad and Arlanda Eržen Lumbra, decided to reopen the oft-challenged spot with Bistro Midva. The name is Slovenian (basically means “Two of Us”), but I’d call the menu more “European Bistro” in nature; offering up a nice modern menu using fresh, local ingredients like pork belly, locally-raised meat, fresh made pasta, and a nice set of wine and cocktails.

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