When you think of Vermont, what comes to mind: skiing in Stowe, visiting maple sugarhouses or hiking through foliage covered trails? Of course, all of these activities are popular with travelers, but here's one you might want to add to your itinerary the next time around: Kicking back with a brewskie.
With more than 20 breweries around the state, Vermont is also known as one of the premiere beer-crafting hot spots in the country. You can always make a pit stop at one of the brewing locations to see what all the fuss is about or sign up for an Official Passport and head out on the Vermont Brewery Challenge. It's a tour of all the breweries around the Green Mountain State where you can take a behind-the-scenes look at the beer-making process from "hops" to finish.
If you decide to take the Challenge, consider making it a full-fledged getaway by checking into a Vermont bed and breakfast in one of the towns along the tour. After spending the day popping into breweries and tasting craft beers, you can head back to the inn and relax on the veranda, walk through the gardens or take a dip in the Jacuzzi before calling it a night.
Formerly a tavern, stagecoach stop and private residence, the Old Stagecoach Inn located in Waterbury near The Alchemist brewery features 11 guest rooms dressed out in classic décor and antique furnishings. Take a short stroll to the local shops before returning to the inn and cozying up by the parlor fireplace. Located on nine acres on the slopes of the Green Mountains in Warren, Beaver Pond Farm will put you five minutes from famed ski resort, Sugarbush, and close to the Robert Trent Jones Sr. championship golf course. After throwing back a few beers at Lawson's Finest Liquids, head back to the inn for a dip in their fresh air hot tub.
Whether you're exploring the nearby covered bridges, the village waterfall or the acres of wooded green, the Eddington House Inn located in Bennington offers a quintessential New England escape. You can make your way over to Saratoga Springs or famed Stratton for the day before stopping by Madison Brewing for a cold one. Built in 1886, the casually elegant Heart of the Village Inn located in Shelburne near the Fiddlehead Brewing Company has close ties to the town. Each of the five guest rooms and four Carriage Barn rooms are individually appointed with period furnishings and named after historic figures from Shelburne including "Bostwick," "Marsett," "Harrington" and "Barstow."
In Brattleboro, you can either stop by the McNeil's Pub and Brewery or leave your Official Passport at the door of Forty Putney Road. The "beer geeks" at the inn offer more than 30 craft selections in their pub located on-site which you can sample during the Saturday night beer tastings. If spectacular views of the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain from your guest room are what you're looking for, check out the Willard Street Inn (pictured above). This 14-room Georgian and Queen Anne Burlington bed and breakfast boasts 1.5 acres of sprawling green and garden, a stunning cherry paneled foyer and a marble-floored solarium where breakfast is served. You can head to The Vermont Pub & Brewery for a tour and a taste before walking the waterfront along Lake Champlain.
There's more to Vermont than skiing, maple madness and foliage hikes. Next time you visit the Green Mountain State, try a brewery tour and grab a few sips, of course.
-- Mary White, Founder & CEO, BnBFinder.com