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DSCF2965Leaf Peeping.  Its a strange turn of phrase to which I recently grew accustomed on a brief weekend visit to Woodstock, Vermont.  An idyllic small town tucked away between mountains covered in gold and crimson forests, Woodstock is known to many as the prime spot to stay during Vermont’s foliage season.

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When asked if I’d like to join my parents for a weekend away,

I broke out the cable knits and corduroys and happily got on my way to the land of maple syrup and cheese.

This was my third trip to Vermont.  Each time has been lovelier than the last and the food gets better and better.

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The Red Rooster

The Woodstock Inn is home to the Red Rooster, Richardson’s Tavern, the Woodstock Spa, and perhaps the most welcoming stone hearth and fire you’ll ever encounter.  We dined at the Red Rooster on our first night.  On special was a Pumpkin Apple Soup which was delightful – the natural sweet of the apple filled out the savory vegetable flavors of the pumpkin, topped with a gently spiced creme fraiche straight from the creamery.  I could have eaten a few more bowls!

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Simon Pearce Glassblowing

Simon Pearce brought his talent for glassblowing from Ireland to the US in 1989.  Quite literally over the river and through the woods from Woodstock rests Quechee.  Some might remember that Quechee had its picture-perfect covered bridge washed away by Hurricane Irene just two years ago.  Located next to the bridge, Simon Pearce’s glassblowing studio was entirely flooded. With much effort, the town and its landmark glassblowing business and restaurant have rebuilt and it looks like they haven’t skipped a beat.

DSCF3015 The restaurant juts out right above the dam and looks straight over to the falls a and new bridge.  The food is only outdone by this spectacular view – a soft and hazy sunset reflected on the serene water, framed by the colors of turning leaves in all their glory.  While some might think the breadbasket doesn’t stand a chance against this, my meal was something to behold.  Most of all, I appreciated the Savory Apple Bread Pudding – with sweet onion, chive, and nutmeg flavors – that was plated alongside my salmon.  I recreated this recipe at home, which you can check out here.

Trapdoor Cafe 

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If you are on your way to see the beautiful views at Quechee Gorge, stop by Trapdoor for breakfast.  This simple restaurant has surprisingly beautiful views from their patio and good food for a quick bite.  You can see they have no shortage of options.

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My favorite was the harvest bar: chocolate pumpkin graham crust with a cream cheese spread topped with roasted pepitas.

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I still don’t quite know what the special ingredient was, but just the name says it all – the goodness of a fall harvest with depth and warmth of flavor.

Barnard Inn

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Built in 1789, Barnard Inn is filled with history.  They pride themselves on a rich heritage with a progressive kitchen that sources organically and as much as possible from their own land.  While the whole meal was delicious, the fig and goat cheese tartelette appetizer stole the show.

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Mountain Creamery

Every vacation has a destination that looks unassuming and completely knocks your socks off.  For me, that was Mountain Creamery.  Looking for a refreshing change on our very last day from the fancy dining venues around town, we stumbled into the diner that looked like nothing more than a divey local’s spot.  What we found was the heart of true Woodstock and some great omelets and even pie (yes, mile high apple pie) to start off our day just right.

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While we waited, we got to know the staff well – 4 women who enjoy each other’s company so much that they are more like family.  Dining there felt like we had been invited into their home, and their chatter was enough to keep you entertained for hours!  I ordered the maple apple omelet and just about died and went to heaven:

DSCF3043Until next year, Vermont!

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