Vermont Country May-June 2024

Page 1

The Wonkaland of Garlic

From garlic hot sauce to garlic ice cream, a magical wonderland awaits in

downtown Bennington

Sip and savor

What’s your craving?

Places to drink and dine for all tastes

Mocktail hour Not drinking alcohol?

No need to sit out this round

Early Summer Adventures in Southern Vermont May-June 2024 MAY/JUNE 2024 CustomerComplimentary$4.99 Copy
Cannabis has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA ). For use by individuals 21 years of age and older or registered qualif ying patient only. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN AND PET S DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT OR BRE ASTFEEDING. Possession or use of cannabis may carr y significant legal penalties in some jurisdictions and under federal law It may not be transpor ted outside of the state of Vermont The effects of edible cannabis may be delayed by two hours or more. Cannabis may be habit forming and can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment Persons 25 years and younger may be more likely to experience harm to the developing brain It is against the law to drive or operate machiner y when under the influence of this product . National Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 257 M a rlbo ro Rd Su ite 1 01 Brattlebo ro, VT 05301 offering a curated spectrum of products including cannabis, CBD, and grow supplies. hey bud, stop by! vermont budbarn @ 12pm-4pm / sunday 10pm-8pm / FRI-SAT 10am-6pm / mon-THU vtbudbarn.com

BENNINGTON, V T DROP LOCATIONS

MANCHESTER, V T DROP

8. Silver Therapeutics 201 Nor thside Dr Bennington, VT 802-4 40-5170 9. The 421 Craft Bar and Kitchen 4 21 Main St , Bennington, VT 802-4 40-597 2 10. Jay s Ar t & Frame Galler y 115 South St Bennington, VT 802-4 4 7-2 34 2 11 Elm Street Market 251 Elm St , Bennington, VT 802-7 53-7 366 12 Bennington Bookshop 109 south St , Bennington, VT 0501 802-4 4 2-5059 13. Bennington Museum 7 5 Main St , Bennington, V T (802) 4 4 7-157 1 14 South Shire Inn 124 Elm Street , Bennington
1. Berkshire Roots 501 Dalton Avenue, Pitt sf ield MA 01201 413-553-93 3 3 PIT TSFIELD, MA & TROY, NY DROP LOCATIONS 1. Equinox Golf Resor t & Spa 3567 Main S treet , Manchester, V T 0525 4 802-362- 4 700 2. Kimpton Taconic Hotel 3835 Main S treet , Manchester, V T 0525 4 802-362-014 7 3. Manchester Business Assoc 4 826 Main S treet , Manchester Center, V T 05255 617-869-3591 4 Nor thshire Bookstore 4 869 Main S treet , Manchester Center, V T 05255 802-362-2 200 5. Reluc tant Panther 9W Road, Manchester, V T 802-362-2568 6. Casablanca Motel 592 7 Main S t , Manchester Center, V T 05255
1. Brattleboro Chamber of Commerce 180 Main S treet , Brattleboro, V T 05301 802-25 4 - 4565 2 . Hempicurean 257 Marlboro Road, Unit 102 , West Brattleboro, V T 05301 802-246- 4 367 3. Brattleboro Food Coop 2 Main S treet , Brattleboro, V T 05301 4. L atchis Hotel 50 Main S treet , Brattleboro, V T 05301 802-25 4 -6300 5. Vermont Countr y Deli 4 36 Western Avenue, Brattleboro, V T 05301 802-257-925 4 6. Vermont Market Place 580 Canal S treet , Brattleboro, V T 05301 802-25 4 -5861 7. Whetstone S tation 36 Birge S treet , Brattleboro, V T 05301 8. Vermont Welcome Center I-91 Nor th MM 5, 4, Guilford, V T 05301 9. Holiday Inn E xpress 100 Chickering Drive, Brattleboro, V T 05301 802-257-2400 BRAT TLEBORO, V T DROP LOCATIONS Pick up a courtesy copy at one of our Distributer Partner locations 1 5 2 36 4 BENNINGTON, V T DROP LOCATIONS MANCHESTER, V T DROP LOCATIONS 1 PIT TSFIELD, MA & TROY, NY DROP LOCATIONS TURNERS FALL S, MA DROP LOCATIONS BRAT TLEBORO, V T DROP LOCATIONS NORTH BENNINGTON, V T DROP LOCATIONS PUTNE Y, V T DROP LOCATIONS 10. Pu tney General S tore 4 K imball Hill, Putney, V T 053 46 11 Pu tney Diner 128 Main S t Putney, V T 802-387-5 4 3 3 12 . Pu tney Food Co - op 8 Carol Brown Way, Putney, V T 2 4 5 6 7 8 12 13 3 9 10 1 2 3 6 10 11 4 9 7 1 2 3 4 8 5 1. The Knott y Pine 130 Nor thside Dr, Bennington, V T • 802-4 4 2-5 487 2 . Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce 100 Veterans Memorial Drive, Bennington, V T 802-4 4 7-3 311 3. Better Bennington Corp. 215 South Street , Bennington, V T 05201 • 802-4 4 2-57 58 4. Madison’s 4 28 Main Street , Bennington, V T 05201 802-4 4 2-7 397 5. Bennington Welcome Center 100 V T-2 79 Bennington, V T 05201 6. Avocado Pit 201 South St , Bennington, V T 05201 7. Juniper L ane 4 45 Main St Bennington, V T 802-4 40-57 55 BENNINGTON, V T DROP LOCATIONS OTHER MA DROP LOCATIONS 1. 253 Farmacy 253 MIllers Falls Rd., Turners Falls, MA 413-863- 5765 1 NORTH BENNINGTON, V T DROP LOCATIONS 1. Park McCullough Historic Governors Mansion 1 Park St , Nor th Bennington, VT 802-4 4 2-5 4 41 2. Pangaea 3 Prospec t St . Nor th Bennington 802-4 4 2-4 466 3. Powers Market 9 Main St Nor th Bennington, VT 802-4 40-087 1 4. Prospec t Coffee House 1 Prospec t St , Nor th Bennington 802-7 53-784 7 Contac t us at info@vermontcountr y.com - $25 for 6 issues - Follow us @v tcomagazine on Facebook and Instagram 1 11 OTHER V T DROP LOCATIONS 1. Greater Falls Regional Chamber of Commerce 17 Depot Street , Bellows Falls, V T 802-463-4 280 2 . The Dorset Inn 8 Church Street , Dorset , V T 802-867-5500 3. Vermont Distillers 7 7 55 Route 9 East Marlboro V T 802-464-2003 4 The New fane Store 596 V T-30 New fane, V T • 802-365-7 7 7 5 5. Four Columns inn 21 West Street New fane, V T 802-365-7 7 13 6. Harmonyville Store 1412 V t-30 Townsend V T 802-365-9417 7. Riverbend Farm Market 625 V t-30 Townsend, V T 802-365-4600 8. HN Williams, Dorset 2 7 32 V T-30 Dorset , V T 802-867-5353 9. Willow Vermont 369 Dover Rd, South New fane, V T 05351 (802) 380-4939 10. Smitt y ’s Chester Market 526 Depot St Chester, V T 11 The Arlington Inn 3904 Vermont R te 7a, Arlington, V T 05250 (802) 3 7 5-6532 12 . Stone House Antique Center 557 - V T-103 Chester, V T 13. West River Lodge 1086 V T Route 30 New fane, V T 05345 802-365-5001 14 Vermont Antique Mall Route 4 Quechee, V T 15. Farm Road Estate 7 Cross Town Road, Dover, V T 05356 802-464-8131 16. Londonderr y Village Market 5700 V T-100 Londonderr y V T 05148 802-824-314 4 1 7. Communit y Bank 97 E Main Street Wilmington, V T 802-464-8688 18. Sugar Maple inn 145 Vermont R te 100, West Dover, V T 19. Trail 87 2 7 1 V T Route 100 West Dover, V T OTHER V T DROP LOCATIONS 3 1 3 9 10 17 16 12 7 2 8 4 6 5 11 13 15 14 18 19 vermontcountry.com | 1
LOCATIONS

JUNIPER LANE

Open 7 days a week

has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug

qualifying patient only KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN AND PETS.

may carry significant legal penalties in some jurisdictions and under federal law

of edible cannabis may be delayed by two hours or more. Cannabis may

Persons 25 years and younger may be more likely to experience harm to the

It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence

Bennington’s First Dispensary 445 Main Street Bennington, VT 05201 Cannabis
Administration (FDA). For use by individuals 21 years of age and older or registered
DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING. Possession or use of cannabis
It may not be transported outside of the state of Vermont. The effects
be habit forming and can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment.
developing brain.
product. National Poison Control Center 1-800-222-1222 PLEASE
RESPONSIBLY
of this
CONSUME
Sunday:
Monday-Saturday: 9-8 PM
10-6 PM
2 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024

14

Lake Paran a spot for summer recreation

6

18 Anglers find a quiet place to cast

Visit the Wonkaland of Garlic

Victorian elegance at the Park-McCullough mansion

Jennifer Brandt

Happy trails, vast skies at Kimberly Farms

By Anne Archer

Art meets Main Street at NBOSS

Drink and Dine

36

Downtown restaurants get new life

Springtime splendor at Taan

Caribbean warmth meets Vermont

Elm Street Market a sandwich destination

Soul 'N' Rico a vibrant addition at Bar 580

Mocktails: The fun without the mess

44

Local bees find sweet spots

Stay sharp, enjoy fresh asparagus

Sip and savor in Southern Vermont

Join birds on ambitious journeys

Cannabis and a climb

Films to whet your appetite for summer vacation

Vermont Country Homes

TABLE OF CONTENTS
8 12 16 21
22 26 30 32 34 40 42 46 50 52 53 18 vermontcountry.com | 3

On the cover

Get stinky with us at Garlic Town, USA! Vermont's largest family farmer's market returns Labor Day Weekend in Bennington. Join us on Aug. 31, 2024!

President and Publisher

Jordan Brechenser jbrechenser@reformer.com

Editor

Gen Louise Mangiaratti gmangiaratti@reformer.com

Windham County

Sales Manager

Lylah Wright lwright@reformer.com

Account Executives

Richard Lolatte rlolatte@reformer.com

Richard Battista rbattista@reformer.com

Karli Knapp kknapp@reformer.com

Bennington County

Sales Manager

Susan Plaisance splaisance @benningtonbanner.com

Account Executives

Ahmad Yassir ayassir @benningtonbanner.com

Gabriel Schatz gschatz @manchesterjournal.com

Vermont Country magazine is a publication of

Photo by Lauzon Photography
4 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024

MEALS TO GO

Sudays
802
RT 103 N., Chester Depot, V T A country market with all you need for a meal, the weekend or the ride. vermontcountry.com | 5
BUTCHER • DELI • WINE / BEER •
Open 7 days: Mon~Sat 8am to 7pm
9am to 6pm
875 4715

Garlic Town, USA!

The Wonkaland of Garlic

BENNINGTON — Garlic Town, USA, in Bennington, Vermont, can be likened to Willy Wonka's candy wonderland, but with a garlicky twist.

Picture this: Over 120 vendors, food trucks, craft producers, bands, kids' activities, and more, all dedicated to celebrating the divine allium and the harvest season. You can stroll around with a garlic margarita in hand, exploring booths offering an array of delights such as wild game sausage infused with garlic, garlic goat cheese, garlic jam, garlic hot sauce, black garlic, garlic pickles, and even garlic ice cream, among others.

For die-hard garlic lovers or simply curious to explore its myriad culinary possibilities, Garlic Town welcomes you with open

arms and a garlicky embrace.

Indulge your senses at Vermont's premier garlic fest: A celebration of agriculture and flavor

Held every Labor Day Weekend for almost 30 years, marking the transition from warmer months to harvest season, this annual garlic fest is a Vermont food festival calendar highlight. Known as Vermont's largest family farmers market, Garlic Town celebrates all things agriculture, orbiting around the mighty garlic bulb. Walking amongst the vendors, you'll be impressed by the variety and quality displayed in each booth culled from all over the Northeast. You can “try before you buy” with vendors giving out ample samples. Many grow garlic specifically for this event and can sell out of their most popular selections before the day ends! To say you could spend an entire day here would be an understatement.

Cross the garlic river: Explore two unique cloves at the heart of Vermont's festive garlic celebration

The festival is so large that it is divided into two sections, or “Cloves,” as the festival organizers have cleverly designated them. Dividing Clove A and Clove B is the Walloomsac River, and if you look closely, you may see garlic bulbs floating lazily down the river, adding even more atmosphere to the garlic world you are now inhabiting. There is no need to worry about crossing the river to either clove as a modern bridge and roadway connect the two. You can tell the true fans from the novice garlic lovers by the garlic hats adorning the die-hard’s heads. Each “Clove” features a wine/cocktail/beer garden with many garlic-themed beverages, live music performances to enjoy throughout the day, and a mix of food trucks and booth vendors to browse from. Clove B also hosts

Photos provided by Lauzon Photography   View of the historic Bennington Monument from Garlic Town’s “Clove B” in 2023.
6 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024 Sponsored Content

the popular demonstration tent, which offers interactive cooking demos (including garlic ice cream samples), kids’ activities and live magician performances, garlic trivia, and more, taking place all day long!

Savor the flavor: Garlic Town, USA, delights with global cuisine and local charm

While you soak up the last of the warm summer rays, scents reminiscent of a country fair waft through the air, albeit with a hint of the garlicky charm of the festival's namesake. The author can personally vouch for cuisine options from around the globe, including Jamaican Jerk chicken and oxtail, Polish sausage and pierogi, fried garlic cloves and pickles, falafels, Thai spring rolls, Maryland crab cakes, and Italian garlic butter-drenched bread bites to name just a few! All washed down with a necessary freshly squeezed lemonade, of course.

Craving more festival classics? Grab a snow cone, hot pretzel, maple fried dough, freshly popped kettle corn, or an ice cream sandwich. There is something for every taste bud at Garlic Town, USA!

From humble beginnings to garlic extravaganza: Celebrating 30 years of the garlic festival of Vermont

Since its inception in 1995, Garlic Town has attracted as many as 16,000 attendees during the two-day festival (originally known as the Southern Vermont Garlic and Herb Festival, or Garlic Fest for short). Over the past three decades, the Garlic Fest grew by an amazing 260%, making it a “magnet event” for the Southern region of Vermont.

As the COVID pandemic struck in 2020, the planning team at the Southwestern Vermont Chamber, the producers of the festival, restructured and rebranded the festival to what is now Garlic Town, USA, planting the festival in the heart of downtown Bennington. The fest is a massive undertaking, and recognizing all those who make the festival happen is essential. With over 125 volunteers, this festival is truly a labor of love from the town of Bennington to you, the mighty garlic lover!

Get garlic glam: festive merch, family fun, and friendly faces await

Among the stinky snackers, you will see attendees donning shirts from years past and present. The merch tent will have you strutting in style, selling signature Garlic Fest limited edition T-shirts and handmade garlic bulb hats, kids’ clothing, aprons with garlic puns, stickers, and more! The distinctive tie-dye T-shirts of the festival volunteers will guide you to friendly helpers who will answer questions and offer guidance. Several

“The beating heart of this festival is truly the amazing union of dedicated volunteers, longtime vendors, and loyal stinkin’ garlic fans who have believed in us through multiple transitions and improvements to our event that have taken place over the past few years,” remarked Mikaela Lewis, event manager for the SWVT Chamber and lead organizer of Garlic Town. “They all trust in the fact that we’re going to go above and beyond and continue providing a top-notch festival experience and beloved community tradition, and that’s really what fuels us!”

local businesses and nonprofits offer children's and family activities, garlic-themed demonstrations, and fun garlic trivia for the whole family during the festival.

Enter the garlic wonderland: A garlic lover's dream come true with handcrafted delights galore

The article's author is a massive garlic fan and was lucky enough to attend last year's festivities. While she obviously expected garlic, much less expected was the magical world created by the dedicated volunteers.

The festival is truly massive in size and the sheer breadth of products available. Beyond the abundant food choices, the festival also features a dizzying array of handcrafted goods, from handmade clothing, jewelry, woodworking, flowers, herbal skin and hair wellness products, local spirits, pet treats, and much much more.

From personal experience, here are some strategic tips for first-timers:

Get there early! With so many people attending, some creative, garlicky creations were gone before I arrived.

Organizers ask that patrons park in key parking lots on the outskirts of downtown to avoid congestion. Shuttles run every 15 minutes, and a tractor and hay wagon will take you from place to place once you are downtown. So leave the car and enjoy classic Vermont transportation!

Pace yourself. There are so many things to try, so do yourself a favor and don’t spend too much time at one booth or food cart so you can try a wide variety of treats.

Take a look at the entertainment schedules online before you go. With live perfor-

mances and demonstrations all day, you don’t want to show up and miss something you really wanted to see or hear (me and the garlic ice cream!).

Get ready for serious shopping with small business vendors offering everything from handmade pottery and kitchen wares to garden and home decor, jewelry and clothing, and much more. Wagons, strollers, and reusable bags are all allowed and encouraged!

Bring mints and gum to get rid of your garlic breath after spending the afternoon sampling so many delicious and unexpected treats (you wouldn’t want to make anyone jealous).

Purchase your tickets ahead of time to skip the lines, read up on all updated info, and view festival maps in advance at GarlicTownUSA.com.

Join the garlic community: Embrace the flavorful spirit of Garlic Town, USA

Ultimately, Garlic Town, USA, is more than just a festival; it's a celebration of community, agriculture, the harvest season, and the beloved garlic bulb that brings people together year after year. So whether you're a die-hard garlic lover or simply curious to explore its myriad culinary possibilities, Garlic Town welcomes you with open arms and a garlicky embrace!

Creating unforgettable memories every Labor Day weekend, one garlic-scented adventure at a time at Garlic Town, USA!

Sponsored Content vermontcountry.com | 7

Embracing history:

Exciting offerings at the Park-McCullough

Historic Governor's Mansion

NORTH BENNINGTON — The Park-McCullough Historic Governor's Mansion, nestled in the heart of New England, has long been a beacon of Victorian elegance and historical significance. Under the guidance of newly appointed museum director Polly Raine, the mansion is set to unveil exciting new

offerings that promise to enrich the visitor experience and deepen community engagement.

Polly Raine's journey with the Park-McCullough House Association Inc. began in June 2023, when she assumed the role of interim operations manager. Recognizing her exceptional contributions, the Board of Trustees proudly announced Polly's promotion to the position of museum director. As direc-

Photo provided by Park-McCullough House Association Pictured is the southeast corner of the Park-McCullough playhouse, with the playhouse roof in the foreground.
8 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024 Sponsored Content

tor, Polly will collaborate with the board to shape the organization's strategy for the next five years. Her responsibilities include overseeing the house museum and collections, developing educational offerings, crafting a comprehensive communications and marketing strategy, managing the membership program, and nurturing community relationships.

Completed in 1865 by attorney and entrepreneur Trenor Park with his wife Laura van der Spiegle Hall, the Park-McCullough Mansion is a testament to Victorian grandeur and architectural excellence. Over the years, the mansion has been home to Vermont governors and business magnates, welcoming distinguished guests, including a U.S. President. Today, it remains one of New England's finest examples of Second Empire-style architecture, meticulously preserved to honor its rich heritage.

The estate's history is deeply intertwined with the lives of the Park and McCullough families, who played pivotal roles in shaping the regional landscape. The family's influence and philanthropy helped to shape town infrastructure, rail service (local, national, and across borders), local and national politics, banking, law, higher education, the arts, and social services. From Trenor Park's ambitious endeavors in California to Lizzie McCullough's renovations in 1889 to 1890 to host President Benjamin Harrison, each chapter of the mansion's story reflects the enduring legacy of its occupants.

Under Polly Raine's leadership, the Park-McCullough Historic Governor's Mansion is set to unveil a series of new offerings and initiatives designed to engage visitors and foster a deeper appreciation for its rich history.

One of the exciting new offerings is a seasonal series program, allowing visitors to sign up for a whole season's worth of themed activities such as wine and cheese on the veranda, afternoon tea, or a mixed-medium memoir series. Additionally, the mansion will host special exhibitions focusing on remarkable individuals like Sister Mary Veronica (born Ella Sally McCullough), shedding light on the often-overlooked stories of women in history.

The mansion will also launch educational initiatives in collaboration with local schools, including a partnership with Southshire Community School to establish a kitchen garden in the greenhouse. This hands-on project will provide students valuable learning experiences while promoting sustainable practices and healthy living.

The mansion will also offer plenty of entertainment in the coming season. From movie nights to theater, nature walks and plein air painting to live music, and even a visit from Santa, the iconic gem will be a vibrant gathering place all year.

In addition to these new offerings, the mansion continues to rely on the support of volunteers and members to fulfill its mission. Volunteer opportunities abound, from assisting with afternoon teas to contributing to special events and exhibitions. Volunteers are rewarded with membership benefits, allowing them to immerse themselves in the mansion's history while making meaningful contributions to their community.

With membership levels tailored to suit every budget and interest, becoming a member is a rewarding way to engage with history and connect with fellow enthusiasts. For more information and to become a member, visit parkmccullough.org/ become-a-member-today.

Membership at the Park-McCullough House Association offers exclusive benefits, including access to special events, discounts on programs and merchandise, and the satisfaction of supporting a vital cultural institution.

The Park-McCullough, Historic Governor's Mansion, prepares to reopen its doors to the public on May 26 for Community Day, which will include free admission, a community lawn sale (reserve your spot to be a vendor!), food trucks, and lawn games. The community eagerly anticipates the return of cherished traditions and the unveiling of exciting new offerings. From tours of the opulent mansion to leisurely strolls through the beautiful gardens and scenic trails, there's something for everyone to enjoy at this beloved New England landmark.

So check out this year's Park-McCullough calendar, parkmccullough.org/ upcoming-events, gather your friends and family, and prepare to be enlightened, engaged, and inspired at the Park-McCullough Historic Governor's Mansion.

Photo provided by Park-McCullough House Association An interior doorway in the Park-McCullough Historic Governor's Mansion.
Sponsored Content vermontcountry.com | 9
Photo provided by Park-McCullough House Association People enjoy an event from the lawn at the Park-McCullough Historic Governor's Mansion.
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Plan your visit! Bennington’s Online Visitor Guide Theatre
Playgrounds
Museum Old First Church
Sunsets Fall Foliage Craft Breweries
Monument Park-McCullough Covered Bridges Walkable Downtown Unique Lodging PHOTO CREDIT: CRAFT BREWERIES BY GREG NESBIT, © M ARU LE Ó N DESIGN TheBankofBennington.com TM Your Money Stays Here, Works Here, and that Makes a Difference.TM Bennington 802-442-1640 Manchester 802-362-4760 Arlington 802-375-2319 Rutland 802-774-5085 Local businesses rock! Shop (and bank) local today. “This bank is great! They believed in our vision for rebuilding our pizza restaurant, and like us, they are passionate about community.” - Kim, Sammy, Jack and Sam Johnson Sam’s Wood Fired Pizza, Manchester Like Dough, We Rise Up vermontcountry.com | 11
Snow
Bennington
Snowy
Bennington

HAPPY T ILS, VAST SKIES

Kimberly Farms offers chance to get on horseback, stargaze

NORTH BENNINGTON — The sweet scent of hay warming in the sunlight. Infectious giggles of new friends riding horses. The spectacle of a summer night sky lit up by stars. These are just a few sights and sounds creating childhood memories at Kimberly Farms summer horse camp.

Kimberly Farms, in North Bennington, started 35 years ago when Valerie and Bob Shemeth moved to Vermont from New York. As they stood on their newly purchased property admiring the view, which includes three mountain ranges — the Berkshires, the Green Mountains, and the Taconics — in three states, they turned toward each other and said, “What a shame not to share this with other people.”

While the Shemeths never intended to start a business, it was the view from their rustic 1798 farm coupled with their hospitable spirit and love of horses that led them down the entrepreneurial trail.

Today, the 60 rolling acres of lush green grass and deciduous

If you go…

Kimberly Farms

1214 Cross Hill Road

North Bennington, VT

Phone: 802-442-5454

Website: Kimberlyfarms.org

For information regarding horse lessons, trail rides or retreats, call or visit the website.

forest host year-round trail rides and riding lessons, family and corporate retreats, and summer day camps and sleepaways popular with local residents, families from around the country, and participants of Gallop to Success, a nonprofit organization that serves at-risk children.

Photo provided by Craig Clemow of Arplais Imagery Horses graze at Kimberly Farms. Photo provided by Craig Clemow of Arplais Imagery Chief, the horse, lives at Kimberly Farms in North Bennington.
12 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024

During the 10 weeks of summer camp, two of which include girls-only sleepaways, kids spend their days learning to care for horses, enjoying nature walks, and making art from materials found on the farm.

Twice a day, campers ride horses on the trails or in the outdoor arena. Morning rides include saddles, but in the afternoon, the saddles are left in the tack room, giving campers a chance to challenge their balance by riding bareback.

Morgan Martin, a Kimberly Farms certified riding instructor who has been associated with the property for over 25 years, said riding bareback builds confidence by putting the rider more in-tune with the horse. To truly test their balance, Martin has campers do a 180-degree turn on the back of the horse before dismounting.

“Seeing the children progress and their confidence grow through the week is my favorite thing about summer camp,” Martin said in her playful voice that fills with joy every time a rider succeeds at a task.

“Seeing the children progress and their confidence grow through the week is my favorite thing about summer camp.”

Morgan Martin

During the two weeks of overnight camp, evenings bring games of flashlight tag, late-night cookouts, and sleeping in a green shuttered bunkhouse that sits on a dirt road up from the horse barn.

The bunkhouse can sleep up to 25 people, but during summer sleepaway camp, Kimberly Farms limits the number of girls to a maximum of 14 who can occupy the bunkbeds lining three walls of the bunkhouse.

“This place has a homey feel,” said Martin. “It’s laxed. You don’t have to wear your best riding gear.”

“We’re a pleasure barn,” added Valerie, emphasizing Kimberly Farms is available for anyone who wants to visit, no horse experience necessary. “Our purpose is to help kids make a connection to the

horses that is kind and humane. It’s a relationship.”

When campers aren’t riding horses, they are doing barn chores, learning how to groom and tack, or participating in horse clinics where they learn the anatomy of a horse, how to take a horse’s temperature, and how to listen to its stomach, lungs and heart.

“We are teaching them to be horse people,” Martin said.

To accommodate summer campers, the 18 permanent horses on the farm, many of them rescues from kill pens, share their pastures and fresh summer hay with six temporary horses.

While there is a variety of breeds and

sizes, according to Martin the most important trait of each horse is their ability to tolerate children and to be handled by different people. “They pick up on people’s energy,” Martin said, referring to the horses. “They have their core of who they are.”

Kimberly Farms is pastoral beauty swathed in an environment void of chaos. Yet, the fresh air and the pleasant scent of hay and horses stimulate all who come, especially the overnight campers who are tired by lights out — 9 p.m. — but perhaps too excited from a day of learning and playing on and off the horses to fall asleep. To help settle down, they can look to the stars in a Vermont summer night sky and start counting.

~
Photo provided by Kimberly Farms Girls hold hands while riding horses at Kimberly Farms.
vermontcountry.com | 13
Photo provided by Kimberly Farms Summer campers pose by a welcome sign at Kimberly Farms.

Lake Paran a natural destination for summer recreation

NORTH BENNINGTON — Where did you learn to swim?

For many locals and visitors to the area of North Bennington, the answer is Lake Paran.

“I get all the time, when I tell people that I’m the director here, that they learned to swim here,” said Camille Kauffman, who took helm of the nonprofit organization overseeing the lake in 2022. “Or, they tell me anecdotes about coming here with their family, and how the beach has changed or the landscapes have changed, but it’s still a cherished community place.”

14 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024
Photo provided by Camille Kauffman — Paran Recreations Youngsters enjoy a summer day at Lake Paran. Paran Recreations was established in 1960, by a group of North Bennington residents with the help of neighbors, but children have been learning to swim there since long before.

Paran Recreations was established in 1960. A group of North Bennington residents, with the help of the community, raised $10,000 to purchase 6 acres along the lake’s shoreline, according to lakeparanvt.org. The popular spot for outdoor recreation offers a small beach with lawn space, a sand volleyball court, charcoal grills, and a concessions stand with highly rated grilled cheeses. There is of course swimming, with lifeguards on duty, a floating raft, and canoe and kayak rentals.

Tom Paquin, of North Bennington, recalls learning to swim at Lake Paran at ages 5 and 6, when he went there every day with his friends during the summer. He is now 82.

He remembers a platform about halfway across the lake, that he and his friends would swim out to and jump off of. He had a brother who was in the Navy, and despite his prowess, one day, while getting into a boat, he fell into the water.

“I remember it was never hot. It was always cold,” he said with a laugh. Even getting to the lake and back was an adventure — Paquin recalls traveling by bicycle or even by horse.

“We had very little adult supervision. We could come and go as we pleased,” he recalls of the late 1940s.

Though times may have changed, the draw of Lake Paran hasn’t.

Alisa Del Tufo, chair of the organization’s board, is a daily swimmer at Lake Paran when the weather allows. When it’s too cold to swim, she “plunges” — when you briefly submerge in freezing water for health benefits. She said the lake was one of the reasons she moved here from a city 17 years ago.

“The lake is a really important gathering place for the people that live in this community, for swimming, but also, there are beautiful trails around the lake, and fishing and boating,” Del Tufo said. “And just sort of being a beautiful spot to be right out in nature, and it’s literally right in the middle of the village of North Bennington.”

Two summer highlights are the Our Village Camp and the annual “3rd of

July” fireworks.

The Our Village Camp, for which registration is now open, is a six-week summer day-camp for children ages 6 to 12. Activities take place around the village and incorporate nature, swimming, art, summer reading, and more. “It’s welcome for anyone to join. We have kids all the time come from New York City, or, you know, they’re visiting for the week, or for a few weeks in the summer with their grandparents,” Kauffman said, noting that children have come from as far as Georgia. “It’s for anyone to come and experience the

unique assets of the village.”

The annual warm-weather fireworks celebration includes food trucks, live music, snow cones, swimming, face-painting and more.

“We have up to 1,000 people here sitting on the hillside to watch the fireworks being projected on the ball fields across the lake. So it makes a beautiful reflection on the lake,” Kauffman said.

Fore more information about Lake Paran, and to register children for the Our Village Camp, visit lakeparanvt. org.

Photo provided by Camille Kauffman — Paran Recreations A view of fall foliage reflecting on Lake Paran. The lake is a resource to the community year-round. Board chair Alisa Del Tufo “plunges” in the water during months when it is too cold to swim.
vermontcountry.com | 15
Photo provided by David Morelos Zaragoza "The lake is a really important gathering place for the people that live in this community, for swimming, but also, there are beautiful trails around the lake, and fishing and boating," Paran Recreations chair Alisa Del Tufo said.

Art meets Main Street

Downtown organization partners with local artists, outdoor sculpture show

BENNINGTON — The Better Bennington Corporation (BBC), the designated downtown organization, with support from the Town of Bennington, is excited to announce its latest collaboration with the North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show (NBOSS VT).

Together, both organizations are proud to bring captivating sculptures to Downtown Bennington, enriching the local cultural scene and creating an engaging artistic environment for residents and visitors alike.

NBOSS has been the longest-running outdoor sculpture show in Southern Vermont. With this exciting partnership, NBOSS will now extend its reach to Downtown Bennington, primarily featuring installations around the Downtown RiverWalk.

Joe Chirchirillo will be curating this year’s show for the 12th consecutive

year, and Jamie Franklin, Bennington Museum curator, will be organizing NBOSS at the Museum for the fifth year of this partnership, and the Better Bennington Corporation Design Committee will be coordinating the first phase of public art projects getting installed around Downtown Bennington.

This expansion represents a significant milestone for the Better Bennington Corporation and the sculpture show because it reflects their commitment to fostering public engagement with art across diverse community spaces. The addition of Downtown Bennington as a site for sculpture installations opens new avenues for cultural exploration and reinforces the region's reputation as a hub for artistic expression.

Jeanne Mintrone, executive director of the Better Bennington Corporation,

expressed enthusiasm for the collaboration:

"We're thrilled to introduce public art to Downtown Bennington, enhancing its vibrancy and allure. This initiative underscores our dedication to celebrating the arts and further distinguishes Downtown Bennington as a destination for creativity and cultural enrichment."

The Better Bennington Corporation is now introducing its first phase of bringing public art to Downtown Bennington through 2D and 3D art, including “Barn Quilts” and sculptures. The community will be invited to participate in a few workshops that teach the history of the area’s folk art and barn quilts and involve community members in the painting aspect.

For more information about NBOSS, visit NbossVT.com/Artists.

Caroline Bonnivier Snyder — Vermont Country file photo Joe Chirchirillo and David Boyajian enlist the help of heavy equipment in order to get Boyajian’s fabricated steel sculpture, "Fiddlehead," in place in preparation for a past North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show.
16 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024
Gen Louise Mangiaratti Vermont Country file photo "Witness" by Kate Dodd in a previous North Bennington Outdoor Sculpture Show included CDs hanging from tree branches.

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MIDNIGHT

Finding a quiet place to cast

Anglers are always searching for the perfect fishing spot that connects them with wilderness.

Erin Scaggs, of Chesterfield, N.H., is an avid hiker and in the last two years, she has taken to fly fishing.

According to Rod and Tackle Unlimited, the difference between rod fishing and fly fishing is that coarse fish tend to be caught by bait, using bait fishing techniques. Fly fishing is a technique that uses an artificial fly to catch a freshwater game fish.

“I learned from a close friend who guides, and I loved it right away. Being in beautiful places, surrounded by nature, that’s the most grounded I feel in life. I love never knowing whether you’ll have any luck — it’s called fishing, not catching, as they say," said Scaggs. "It forces me to have patience, to not quantify success by the number of fish I catch. My first winter season, I went weeks without landing a fish, and instead I really dove into casting and learning about the water column, and tying knots. And I’ve grown to dearly love the fish themselves. They’re so beautiful, each with a unique pattern and colors. I admire them so much, and most anglers feel passionately about protecting the species and their habitats.”

When talking about fishing in Southern Vermont, Scaggs said some of the best fishing takes place in Bennington County. She named the Battenkill River, Walloomsac River,

the Deerfield River that goes into Massachusetts and parts of the Hoosic River that runs through Vermont.

“Southern Vermont is absolutely a destination for anglers. We have really well-known fisheries with devoted anglers who fish them year after year," said Scaggs. "Vermont has some beautiful and accessible rivers and streams even in town. I have definitely fished the Whetstone Brook right behind the Brattleboro Co-op. I am not at all above some urban-ish fishing.”

Scaggs said that when she was getting into the sport, people were very supportive in helping her get the knowl-

Photos by Kristopher Radder — Vermont Country Kate Banks, of Florence, Mass., and Casey Sawma, of Charlemont, Mass., get their fly fishing poles ready at the Walloomsac River in North Bennington.
18 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024
People go fly fishing on the Walloomsac River in North Bennington.

Erin Scaggs, of Chesterfield, N.H., casts her line out while fly fishing on the Walloomsac River in North Bennington.

Casey Sawma, of Charlemont, Mass., fly fishes at the Walloomsac River in North Bennington.

Kate Banks, of Florence, Mass., fly fishes at the Walloomsac River in North Bennington.

edge to be successful while fishing: from the type of casting needed to what flies to use.

“There are so many anglers out there. It’s always a treat to meet folks from varying walks of life who are anglers. Most of the time, they are incredibly interesting and universally, we all can’t stop talking about the sport," said Scaggs. "Meeting other wom en anglers is super special to me. We are for sure in the minority and so there’s an immediate bond because of that. We recognize that we are swimming against the stream in a way and so feel an instant connection."

Kate Banks, of Florence, Mass., joins in with Scaggs while they fish the Walloomsac River.

Kate Banks, of Florence, Mass., fly fishes at the Walloomsac River in North Bennington.

Erin Scaggs, of Chesterfield, N.H., casts her line out while fly fishing on the Walloomsac River in North Bennington.

“Where we are, the community is very welcoming to female anglers, and we have a growing community of female anglers, which is really nice,” said Banks. “Everybody has been very kind, very helpful, wanting to give you advice and tips.” Banks said there is no wrong time to start to learn how to fly fish.

“Don't hesitate. Get out and do it. I would start with a guide,” said Banks. “Just to get the basics under your belt before you go out by yourself because it is a dangerous sport. She also recommends for people new to the sport to try it at the Deerfield River for its accessibility.

Scaggs added that some people tie their own flies, and others purchase them. She mentioned that she goes to the Deerfield Fly Shop, because of the selection of flies and materials

“Fishing, in general, it's just about getting outside. Catching a fish makes it an adrenaline sport almost when you have a fish on the line,” said Banks. “It's also a very relaxing sport. You feel very connected to and grateful for where you live and for the nature around you. It's really just getting out there and reading the water, checking out the bugs, being observant and taking the time to not think about all the crazy things in life and just focus on what's in front of you.” ~

vermontcountry.com | 19

2024 Chamber Events

Annual Chamber Golf Tournament

June 17, at Mount Snow Golf Course, 95 Countr y Club Drive, West Dover, V T Held at the picturesque Mount Snow Golf Course, the Annual Chamber Golf Tournament brings together community members, businesses owners and visitors for a great day of golf, games and delicious food.

Independence Day Celebrat ion & Fireworks Display

July 5, 6:00 pm - 10:00 pm, at Baker Field, 1 School Street, Wilmington, V T Celebrate Independence Day and enjoy a spectacular fireworks display with family and friends in beautiful Wilmington, V T Food vendors, cotton candy, music and bouncy house fun begins at 6 p.m.

Vermont Blueberr y Fest ival

July 26 - August 4

We love our blueberries, so we give them 10 days of celebration! A parade and street fair kicks off the Fest, followed by blueberr y themed events and of course picking all week . Full schedule coming soon at vermont blueberr y fest ival.com

Vermont Wine & Har vest Fest ival

September 20 - 21, at Mount Snow Resor t, 39 Mount Snow Rd., West Dover, V T Set in the backdrop of our world-renowned Vermont fall foliage, attendees of the 15th Annual Vermont Wine & Har vest Festival will discover, savor & enjoy Vermont vintners, small specialty food producers, chefs, painters, publishers, cheese makers, potters, jewelers, photographers, & farmers. www.visitvermont.com

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Drink & Dine

Experience springtime splendor at Taan in Bennington, Vermont

At Taan in Bennington, Jariya outlines the five elements she keeps in mind when cultivating a guest's experience.

Stewart Cairns — Vermont Country file photos The decor at Taan in Bennington. There is Thai art woven into the elegant sitting room.
22 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024 Sponsored Content

Laab Gai, a Thai salad with minced chicken, shallots, mint leaves, and a lime dressing, at Taan in Bennington.

Choo Chi Pla is grilled salmon with a red curry sauce, at Taan in Bennington.

Situated in the heart of Bennington, Vermont's South Shire, Taan restaurant sets the standard for culinary excellence. Nestled within a luxurious Victorian-era inn, guests can immerse themselves in Thai splendor in an intimate setting. Inspired by the opulence of luxury hotels and founded on personalized service, Taan promises an unforgettable dining experience that resonates with the charm of yesteryears.

As the vibrant spring season unfolds, Taan unveils an array of new offerings and seasonal delights, inviting guests to embark on a journey of flavors and experiences like no other.

Indulge in culinary artistry:

Taan believes in tantalizing both the taste buds and the eyes. Spring brings forth nature's bounty, with fresh produce handpicked by the team to ensure peak seasonality from local farms, notably Clear Brook, Hill Top Farm, and Earth and Sea for seafood. Each dish is meticulously crafted to showcase the beauty and freshness of these seasonal ingredients, promising a feast for both the palate and the senses.

Supporting local communities:

Prioritizing sourcing ingredients from nearby farms and producers reflects Taan's dedication to sustainability and supporting local communities. Guests are invited to join a virtual journey to a local farm, witnessing firsthand the passion and dedication that goes into cultivating the ingredients gracing their plates.

Craft cocktails and more:

No springtime celebration is complete without expertly crafted cocktails and refreshing mimosas. Taan's mixologists have curated a menu of libations featuring fresh herbs, tropi-

cal fruits, and exotic spices, ensuring a drink experience like no other. So come in and enjoy cocktails in flavors you have never experienced before.

Join us for springtime soirees:

Marking calendars for monthly Sunday parties, guests gather around a long table to indulge in a culinary extravaganza fit for royalty. Each month introduces a new theme, from Victorian elegance to tropical paradise, ensuring every visit to Taan is a unique and unforgettable experience.

Embrace the spirit of spring:

Taan invites guests to embrace the spirit of spring and embark on a culinary journey celebrating freshness, flavor, and the joy of gathering with loved ones. Join Taan as they create enduring memories and inspire the desire to return one delectable dish at a time. Experience springtime splendor at this beautiful Thai restaurant within Vermont's South Shire in Bennington.

Taan, at 124 Elm St., Bennington, draws inspiration from diverse facets of Thai culture.

Kao Niew Mamuang is sweet coconut sticky rice with fresh mango and sesame, at Taan in Bennington.

Massamun Nua/Gai is curry with beef, fried onion and potato at Taan in Bennington.

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Island Flavor: of the Caribbean meets

"We wanted to create a space where people could come together, enjoy delicious food, and feel like they're on vacation," says Anique Gilpin.

In Bennington, Island Flavor isn't just a restaurant — it's an experience crafted with love and passion by the mother-daughter duo, Joan and Anique Gilpin. As the first Jamaican restaurant in Bennington, Island Flavor has carved out a niche for itself, drawing in locals and tourists alike with its unique offerings and inviting ambiance.

At Island Flavor, it's not just about the food — it's about the experience.

From the moment you step through the doors, you're greeted with the aroma of jerk chicken sizzling on the grill and the rhythmic beats of reggae music. The bright colors and laid-back island vibes take you to a tropical paradise, and for a moment, you might forget that you're in the heart of Vermont.

"We wanted to create a space where people could come together, enjoy delicious food, and feel like they're on vacation," says Anique Gilpin. "Island Flavor is more than just a restaurant — it's a celebration of Caribbean culture and community."

Since opening in September 2022, Island Flavor has been winning hearts with a mouthwatering menu and consistently excellent service. What started as a modest take-out and delivery service has evolved into a bustling eatery, attracting diners from near and far. And with the recent expansion at 1001 Main St. to include dine-in service and themed events, the excitement surrounding Island Flavor continues to grow.

"Our goal is to provide an authentic Caribbean dining experience right here in Vermont," explains Joan Gilpin. "From the

flavors of our dishes to the ambiance of our restaurant, we want every aspect of Island Flavor to reflect the rich cultural heritage of Jamaica."

Speaking of flavors, the menu at Island Flavor is a feast for the senses.

The menu features an array of traditional Jamaican dishes alongside creative fusion fare. From the signature jerk chicken and tender oxtail stew to the crispy fish fritters and various vegetarian options, each dish is crafted with care using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

"We take pride in our menu, which showcases the best of Jamaican cuisine," says Anique. "But we also love to put our own twist on classic dishes, so stay on the lookout for our specials!"

And let's not forget about dessert!

Island Flavor's sweet menu is delightfully

Photos by Danielle M. Crosier — Vermont Country
26 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024 Sponsored Content

where the warmth the charm of Vermont!

indulgent, featuring treats like Korean shaved ice cream, cakes, and refreshing smoothies. It's the perfect way to end your meal or to satisfy your sweet tooth any time of day.

What truly sets Island Flavor apart is its commitment to customer satisfaction and community engagement. From the moment you walk in, you'll be greeted with warm smiles and genuine hospitality that will have you feeling right at home. Whether you're a regular patron or a first-time visitor, the Gilpin family and their dedicated team go above and beyond to ensure that your dining experience is nothing short of exceptional.

"We want every

guest

to

leave Island Flavor

with

a smile on their face and a belly full of delicious food," says Joan.

"Our customers are like family to us, and we're grateful for the opportunity to share our passion for food and culture with them."
"We want every guest to leave Island Flavor with a smile on their face and a belly full of delicious food,. Our customers are like family to us, and we're grateful for the opportunity to share our passion for food and culture with them."

In addition to its culinary offerings, Island Flavor’s new location is debuting themed events, a produce section, and a souvenir shop; as if you needed even more reasons to visit!

So whether you're a local looking for a taste of the Caribbean or a tourist eager to experience the iconic cuisine of Jamaica, Island Flavor welcomes you with open arms and a plate full of deliciousness. Come and join us at Island Flavor — we can't wait to share our slice of paradise with you!

The bright colors and laid-back island vibes take you to a tropical paradise, and for a moment, you might forget that you're in the heart of Vermont.

Anique Gilpin and her mother Joan run Island Flavor, where the warmth of the Caribbean meets the charm of Vermont.
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Elm Street Market makes Vermont a sandwich destination

While most folks don’t come to Vermont for sandwiches, a trip to Elm Street Market (ESM) in Bennington might change that. ESM has been voted Bennington’s Best Deli multiple times, including the last three years in a row (Reader’s Choice, 2021, 2022, 2023) and it’s easy to see why!

With a robust menu of specialty sandwiches, daily specials, soups, and salads, ESM is a prime lunch location. It also has an espresso bar for specialty coffees and great breakfast options. Need to feed a crowd? ESM offers a variety of catering options from sandwich platters to salads to appetizer and dessert platters. You can also grab an ESM box lunch (a complete meal to go) and head to work, on a picnic, or off to one of the region's many hiking trails.

Using high-quality ingredients and Vermont products is part of what makes ESM so special. They serve Boar’s

signature flavor into aiolis, glazes, and dressings. The large variety of sandwiches, from shrimp salad to Reubens, and several vegetarian and gluten-free options, ensures that their menu has something for everyone. Or, you can pick up some freshly sliced Boar’s Head meat and cheese to take home and make your own.

ESM isn’t just for sandwiches either. Don’t miss their carefully selected array of gourmet food products, as well as beer and wine from Vermont and surrounding areas. Then grab some Green Mountain State swag from the great selection of T-shirts, beanies, ball caps, ornaments, stickers, and more — something for everyone!

Head Deli meats and cheeses in all their sandwiches and frequently use Vermont maple syrup to infuse the state’s

Owner and operator Ted Cutsumpas works alongside a dedicated team of sandwich pros to deliver excellent customer service, which has contributed greatly to ESM’s loyal following of regulars. Not only is the food prepared and delivered quickly, but the friendly staff is

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Photos provided by Ted Cutsumpas  One of the catering options at Elm Street Market is the sandwich platter, which includes a variety of the market’s most popular sandwiches and wraps.

One of Elm Street Market’s most popular sandwiches is the Mayor Mark, which is made with OvenGold roasted turkey, lacey swiss cheese, crispy bacon, shredded iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, smashed avocado, and mayonnaise on toasted white bread.

happy to offer any assistance they can — or just chat to pass the time during the short wait between ordering and digging in.

You can visit Elm Street Market Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 251 Elm St., in Bennington.

Gabriel Schatz is a Bennington native who visits Elm Street Market regularly. His favorite thing on the menu is the Wild Bill sandwich, but he always enjoys trying the specials.

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Soul 'N' Rico:

A vibrant addition to Bar 580 and Vermont Marketplace

BRATTLEBORO — Experience a culinary journey like no other as Soul 'N' Rico, Brattleboro’s pioneer of African American and Latino-inspired cuisine, joins forces with Bar 580, creating a partnership that promises to take Southern Vermont's dining scene to new heights.

This collaboration blossomed from a humble food truck venture, and set the date to unveil its grand opening extravaganza May 3 at Bar 580, 580 Canal St., Brattleboro.

Soul 'N' Rico: A Dream Realized

For Christopher Freeman-O'Dell, the mastermind behind Soul 'N' Rico, cooking isn't just a passion; it's a lifelong dream. Freeman-O'Dell's journey traces back to childhood memories of concocting delicious delights in the kitchen and culminated in the birth of Soul 'N' Rico. As he invites guests to experience his dream firsthand, Freeman-O'Dell promises an unforgettable culinary experience that celebrates diversity and tradition with every bite.

Bar 580: California cool meets Vermont vibes

Inside Vermont Marketplace, Bar 580 has become well-known for its unique blend of California flair and Vermont charm. Inspired by the laid-back vibes of Hinano Cafe in Venice Beach, owner Derek Soldenski has curated a space that transcends state boundaries, offering patrons an unforgettable experience that fuses relaxation with excitement.

From the sizzle of Empanadas to the soulful richness of Pernil, each dish at Soul 'N' Rico is a love letter to the diverse cuisine of Latin America, Africa, and the American South. Make sure you try the savory Cajun Chrom and revel in Mofungo, one of Puerto Rico’s favorite comfort foods. Indulge in crispy Tostones or savor the delicate flavors of Bacalatos, tantalizing fish fritters that conjure visions of sun-kissed shores. And for those craving more familiar comforts, Soul 'N' Rico presents an array of mouthwatering options, including BBQ, fried catfish, steak, fried pork chops, and more.

At Bar 580, you can enjoy the smooth notes of craft beers on tap and delight in the eclectic pub fare. With a full island bar, TVs, and pool tables, Bar 580 is more than a mere watering hole — it's a destination where memories are made and laughter echoes through the night.

A culinary symphony awaits

Soul 'N' Rico's grand opening at Bar 580 marks a new era for Southern Vermont's dining scene, where flavors converge and cultures collide. Join them at Bar 580, where the talented team at Soul 'N' Rico invites all to savor the flavors of Africa and Latin America, right here, off of exit 1 in Brattleboro.

Photo provided by Bar 580 Bar 580 gears up for the addition of Soul 'N' Rico. Photo provided by Christopher Freeman-O'Dell From a food truck to Bar 580, Soul 'N' Rico is ready to serve you African American- and Latino-inspired cuisine.
32 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024 Sponsored Content
Photo provided by Christopher Freeman-O'Dell The Soul 'N' Rico window at Bar 580.

Appetizers

Potato Balls (2 each)

Garlic mash potato puree, stuffed with ground beef, onion, roasted red bell pepper, and olives rolled in egg, wash-seasoned f lour dipped in egg wash then rolled in breadcrumbs

Beef & Cheese Empanada (each)

Buffalo Chicken & Cilantro Empanada (each)

Chicken breast sauteed in garlic butter and spanish seasoning f inished with buffalo sauce & fresh cilantro.

Lobster Mac n Swiss Cheese Empanada

House mac n cheese with lemon Alfredo sauce & garlic butter lobster

Mac & Cheese Bites

House-baked mac & cheese rolled in a house cheese sauce, seasoned f lour, dipped into an egg wash and rolled with breadcrumbs

6 Chicken Wings (each order)

Marinated in buttermilk then dredged in f lour & seasoning.

Dinners

Pernil

Slow-roasted marinated pork shoulder with a crisp skin.

BBQ Ribs

Pork ribs braised with beef stock seasoning and BBQ sauce until tender

Spicy BBQ Chicken

$20.50

Collard Greens

braised in chicken stock and smoked turkey legs with banana peppers and mirepoi x .

Baked Mac n’ Cheese

Baked four cheese cheesy heaven sharp robust cheddar and parmesan flavor

Baked Beans

Chef choice, packed with beef kielbasa, hamburg, and onion, this tangy sweet side dish is one of my favorites

Classic Rice & Beans

Bean pigeon peas sofrito, and Spanish seasoning.

Classic Rice & Chicken Sausage

Chicken sausage, sofrito sazon a right red flavor ful rice, and my personal favorite rice choice Cornbread

honey butter, brown sugar glazed cornbread.

Candied Yams

Beans baked then tossed with butter, maple syrup brown sugar salt and pepper

Mashed Potatoes

Red potoatoes, boiled in chicken bouillon, finished in butter ranch, and heavy cream.

Sweet Spicy BBQ Carrots

These carrots were cooked with the spicy BBQ chicken.

Braised Shor t Rib Italian Sausage L asagna

after layer of shor t rib, Italian sausage, Hamburger, ricotta, Parmesan béchamel, Roasted red pepper tomato sauce & moz zarella.

Cajun Chicken Alfredo Garlic & Cracked Black Pepper Cajun Alfredo Topped with Cajun Chicken

25

The chef s choice - sweet salt y, spicy f lavor ful pan braised chicken loaded with carrots, thyme, and f lavor

Sweet n Sour Corned Beef

Corned beef brisket cured in a salt brine, cooked in vinegar brown sugar and spices This dish will make your tastebuds say hello.

Fried Pork Chops (2 chops per order)

E x tra crispy per fec tly seasoned and fried to per fec tion.

Fried Chicken (3 Pieces)

Marinated in buttermilk sazon, sofrito red hot , and banana peppers and dredged in seasoned f lour

S teak & Pepper

Zest y Italian marinated chuck steak with peppers and onions braised in beef stock with Spanish seasoning until tender

Sour Onion Chicken

This chicken is roasted until tender, then braised in a sour onion house Velouté

Cajun Shrimp

Marinated in fresh squeezed lemon juice, Cajun seasoning, herbs and spices then seasoned f lour egg wash and panko.

Sweet Plantains

Ripened plantains rolled in powdered sugar then fried.

Tostones

Crisp f lattened golden green plantains ser ved with a garlic sauce

Shrimp Bacalaitos (3 with each order)

Flour-based batter loaded with shrimp, cilantro, oregano garlic onion, minced green onion, sofrito, and sazon and pan-fried.

Spicy BBQ Chicken Nachos

Topped with queso, BBQ sauce, banana peppers, corn, black beans, and ranch.

Loaded S teak & Cheese Nachos

Topped with caramelized onions and peppers, Jalapenos queso, bacon lettuce tomato, and sour cream.

Pulled BBQ Pork Slider

Sweet and Spicy pickles, coleslaw pulled pork , and BBQ sauce on a toasted Hawaiian roll.

$15. 7 5 $7 19 $7.85 $9. 25 $12 .95 $13.99
$2 3.50 $20.50 $21 99 $2 3.19 $19. 7 5 $19 50 $21.50
$14.50 $8.99 $7 99 $14 99 $14.50 $14 99 $13.99 Located in Bar 580 • (4 13) 813-1000 580 Canal S t , Brattleboro, V T $21.99 $20.95
Daily Specials
Layer
CALL OR STOP IN TO ORDER ! GRAND OPENING MAY 3RD! AND MORE! Sides
$6.35 Greens
$8.50
$7.
$6.99
$8.50
$6. 7 5
Sweet
$7.
7 5
$7.
7 5
$6.50
vermontcountry.com | 33

The rise of mocktails

Most — or even all — of the fun, none of the mess

Do you want a tasty beverage that won't make you sloppy?

Mocktails, or fancy drinks without alcohol, are rising in popularity, and can be found at bars and hangout spots around Southern Vermont.

I started experimenting with mocktails after I realized that often, what I am really after are sugar and having a sensory experience. Lowering my inhibitions is a bonus, but not a necessity, and often not worth the cost of lost mental clarity or alcohol-induced anxiety (I am, in fact, an

anxious person). Some people cannot safely consume alcohol or simply do not choose to, so they stick with mocktails and non-alcoholic beverages exclusively. Others, such as myself, enjoy mocktails as an opportunity to change things up. Whatever your reason: It's valid!

I own a metal cocktail shaker, and was very excited to use it. To make my own mocktail, I combined several things I like: tart cherry juice, maple syrup, lime juice, ice, and, as I would later regret, club soda. A science experiment ensued, and this is how I learned not to put anything carbonated in a cocktail shaker. Once that

was cleared up, my sweet, tart, slightly effervescent concoction looked nice in a martini glass.

If you'd rather leave it to the experts, your local bars have got you. At Bar 580, you can ask for the cocktail of your mood in a mocktail, or virgin, form. On a recent visit, bartender Camilla Evans prepared for me a virgin strawberry mojito. Side by side with my partner's regular strawberry mojito, we had a hard time aesthetically telling them apart. Even after sipping each, the difference was subtle.

My G-rated concoction was made with mint, simple syrup, lime slices, strawberry puree, and soda water. For

Photos by Gen Louise Mangiaratti Vermont Country A jalapeno cucumber margarita mocktail at The Good Spot in Brattleboro. A peppermint cacao creme mocktail at The Good Spot in Brattleboro.
34 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024

A virgin strawberry mojito, left, next to a regular mojito at Bar 580 in Brattleboro. Bartender Camilla Evans said fruit puree is a key ingredient in many of the bar's mocktails.

most mocktails at this bar, Evans noted, fruit puree adds taste and texture.

"We 100 percent support people who are non-alcohol," Evans said.

At Midnight's, a new bar in Brattleboro, I went in about a week after opening and asked Evangeline Rera, the owner, if she did mocktails. She made me a concoction of soda water, two splashes of pink lemonade and three splashes of cranberry, garnished with a maraschino cherry. She likened it to High Noon hard seltzers.

Since Midnight's doesn't serve drinks in cans or bottles — only drafts — she makes some patrons a similar concoction to what she made me, but with vodka.

I worked on my virgin High Noon with a friend who nursed a martini, and did not feel left out. At least in this situation, I found it was more about the sweet and fizzy sensory experience than the buzz.

Some places, like The Good Spot in Brattleboro, take the mocktail game to a new level, using health-conscious ingredients and "adaptogens," or plants and mushrooms used in herbal medicine to relieve stress.

"It just kind of all comes from that

The author makes her cat, Theodora, pose with a mocktail of tart cherry juice, maple syrup, lime juice and carbonated water.

perspective of healing yourself and learning how to do that in different ways," said Trish Naudon Thomas, an herbalist and co-owner of The Good Spot with her husband, Chris Thomas. "This is just one option of helping yourself." She gave the example of someone stopping by on the way to a stressful meeting and asking for a CBD beverage for calm.

Fitting the no-alcohol atmosphere, the space is family-friendly, with games and puzzles and a cozy corner for live music. The day I was there, Trish served a lemonade to a little girl, and told her that if it was too sour, she could adjust it.

The menu is diverse, with health-conscious, all-ages options for beverages and a few snacks. For those seeking the flavor of a favorite cocktail, there is a whole section of mocktails inspired by their alcohol-themed counterparts. The day my partner and I went in, I had a jalapeno cucumber margarita, and he had a peppermint cacao creme — obviously very different experiences.

Mine was made with, according to Trish: jalapeno and cucumber-flavored organic cane sugar, a shot of no-alcohol mezcal (the bar is equipped with an array of no-alcohol, botanical spirits, sometimes

A botanical spirit (no alcohol) at The Good Spot in Brattleboro.

labeled "functional spirits"), freshsqueezed lemon and lime, and soda water, with a house-made salt rim of jalapeno and rock salt. It was intense enough to nurse, like one would a cocktail; the botanical spirit blended with the jalapeno and citrus gave it a "bite."

As for the peppermint cacao creme, it was made with, Trish said: non-alcoholic whisky, peppermint cacao organic cane simple syrup, oat milk and cinnamon — more of a wintry experience, while mine was more like summer.

When asked what goes in to choosing the ingredients, Trish said, "They come organically."

"We're like, let's just get a bunch of stuff, and then I sit back here and mess around with them," she said.

I took a poll in a local Facebook group, and other places residents recommend to get mocktails include: Vegan A.F., A Vermont Table, Kipling's Tavern, Echo Restaurant & Lounge, and Tower Bar & Lounge — all in Brattleboro, and Fat Crow in Newfane. This is just Windham County, where I live, and I'm sure it's not an exhaustive list. So wherever you go, remember: It never hurts to ask.

~
vermontcountry.com | 35

New generation of Brattleboro bar, restaurant owners unite

BRATTLEBORO — A new generation of restaurant and bar owners has emerged in Brattleboro, with longtime industry pros taking the helm after the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It was kind of cool how it all happened in the time frame," said Nikki Peruzzi, co-owner of Vegan A.F.

Vegan A.F. will celebrate its two-year anniversary in July. Peruzzi said the restaurant experienced "a hurdle in the beginning, trying to get people to realize it's not just a carrots and bean sprouts kind of thing."

Although she doesn't regret the edgy name for marketing, some people might have been put off if they thought they had to be vegan or what she calls "super plant forward" to even step through the door.

Downtown
36 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024
Photos by Kristopher Radder — Vermont Country Bryan Gelke, co-owner of Kipling's on Elliot Street in Brattleboro, makes a Bee's Knees.

revival

Now, the spot has "racked up some really great reviews," she said.

Vegan A.F. has become a favorite for foodies regardless if they're vegan or not. It makes sense: The two owners are chefs with a ton of experience in local restaurants. They won the Winter Carnival chili cook-off with a vegan chili in a blind taste taste among seven competitors.

Their chili was sold at The Tower Bar & Lounge owned by Kate Barry, who recently purchased Mocha Joe's Cafe with her husband Bruce Hunt. Barry tended bar at Metropolis, which was in the space now occupied by The Tower and had been a favorite among the new restaurant and bar owners in Brattleboro.

Formerly, The Tower had been known as The Collective Bar & Lounge, when Barry owned it with other partners. She changed the name in the spring and conducted a makeover.

Barry is enthused about the new generation of business owners downtown.

"There's a lot going on," she said. "You can just go downtown and experience something new."

If businesses start working together, Barry said, they become more efficient and there isn't as much waste or loss.

"If you have that network of positive collaboration and everyone working together toward that common cause, there's no stopping us," she said. "There's so much momentum."

Maggie Bernhard and Brian Gelke bought Kipling's Tavern in August 2022 and opened the next month. The business is a few addresses away from Peter Havens Restaurant, where the couple worked together for nearly a decade.

"We all grew up and worked together for different business owners,"

Gelke, co-owner

Bee's Knees.

Peruzzi said. "It's kind of crazy how we all jumped out and did it in the same time frame."

Peruzzi and Vegan A.F. co-owner Eva Gwinn will go out to Kipling's, Peter Havens or The Tower after work. All the owners of these businesses used to hang out at Arkham or Metropolis.

Peruzzi recounted when Barry asked her for to-go containers after running out. Business owners also will call each other

to check in after a rash of break-ins or a bad group of customers in town.

"It's not as competitive as you would think," Peruzzi said. "It's actually the opposite."

Peruzzi and Gelke will recommend checking out brunch at Echo Restaurant & Lounge and the Oyster Bar at Peter Havens. If Kipling's is busy, Gelke will send people to Martocci's Restaurant next door.

Bryan Gelke and Maggie Bernhard, owners of Kipling's on Elliot Street in Brattleboro.
vermontcountry.com | 37
Bryan of Kipling's on Elliot Street in Brattleboro, makes a

Martocci's owners Shelby Brimmer and Paul Martocci, business and romantic partners who grew up in the local area, bought Hazel on Elliot Street and retained the staff, then they made the place their own. Brimmer is familiar with the lay of the land, having worked at Peter Havens and managed Four Columns Inn in Newfane.

Peruzzi said she's noticed that "either we're all busy or we're all not busy."

"I think timing and everything else just worked weirdly perfectly for everybody," she said of the new generation of restaurant and bar owners. "I think we were all ready."

Turnout at Kipling's is bigger than the owners expected, Bernhard said. More staffing than originally implemented was needed.

"We've been busy since day one," Gelke said. "It's been rocking and rolling, line out the door most nights."

Gelke believes in the old adage, "A rising tide lifts all boats." He said having Martocci's, Vegan A.F. and High Thai open post-COVID has "elevated Brattleboro and brought in more people from the surrounding area."

"We all do different things, is part of it," he said. "We all fill different niches. That takes away that competitive edge to it."

Bernhard will ask customers what kinds of experiences they're looking for in Brattleboro, then advise on potential stops.

"We all need visits," she said.  She anticipates this summer will be busy and feels like restaurants have more momentum now.

The owners of Kipling's and Vegan A.F. all expressed excitement about the opening of Midnight's in the former Mole's Eye Cafe location in the Brooks House.

Midnight's was visited by owners of other local businesses such as Bar 580, River Garden Marketplace and Vegan AF in its very first week of opening in late March. Owner Evangeline Rera described the response being very welcoming.

"It's just been very much a rising tide, lifts all boats there hasn't been any sense of competition from what I gather."

Evangeline Rera

"It's just been very much a rising tide, lifts all boats," she said. "There hasn't been any sense of competition from what I gather."

Rera said the community has "more than enough space for everyone. Everyone is offering something different. We don't want to get rowdy at Kip's. I will go get great food and company, then I'll come back here for those two extra beers so we don't bother Maggie and Brian too much."

"It's not necessarily a place for people to get drunk," Rera said of

Midnight's. "It's a home. ... I think everyone's happy to have a place to sit around."

At the time of the interview with Barry, Midnight's had just opened, and she said business at The Tower had increased because people wanted to bar hop around Brattleboro.

"It's an action now," she said. "It literally works."

Barry moved to Brattleboro to attend SIT, where she obtained her master's degree in sustainable community development.

"My passion has always been community development, small businesses, and when I'm thinking about having a small business downtown like the bar or Mocha Joe's, I think that we really need to lean on each other and give each other support, because no one is going to come to a downtown anywhere for one place."

When Barry reopened the bar during the pandemic, she said, "everything else was closed. We were the only one open. We did well for a while but we can't be sustained that way."

New customers need to account for at least 20 to 30 percent of business every year to be sustainable, Barry said. She stressed the need to collaborate and co-market with other businesses, calling Martocci's "a great example."

The Tower started selling "late night slices" from Martocci's, which helps food not go to waste and makes it affordable through wholesale buying. Such collaboration also allows for the two businesses to tout each other in the meantime.

Having a network of support for downtown businesses is "so vital to success," Barry said. She noted 80 to 90 percent of bars and restaurants fail within their first two years.

"That's because people don't know what they don't know and they can easily get in over their heads with this businesses," she said. "So we want everyone to succeed. It's a new way of thinking. When you start thinking about it, you're like, 'Of course it makes sense.'"  ~

Kristopher Radder — Vermont Country Peter Ginter, a barkeep at Midnight's in Brattleboro, pours a beer.
38 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024
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Mental moves

Katharine

This asparagus feta salad with roasted pistachios is full of brain-boosting ingredients and is a great way to use the seasonal crop.

Some ways to stay sharp ... and enjoy fresh asparagus

When thinking about health, most of us focus our efforts on moving our bodies and trying to steer clear of a poor diet. Even tiny efforts can make a world of difference physically, but what can we do to sponsor longevity when it comes to our minds? As we move into older age, are there things we might do to maintain our mental acuity and stave off dementia?

The sounds of shuffling playing cards and the slap as they were laid out on a table ring in my ears as vividly as other childhood memories like the sound of the ice cream truck.

My mom is an avid solitaire player and is always up for a game of Gin Rummy, Casino or even Go Fish.

While diet and exercise no doubt support our brain health and are pivotal in terms of aiming for longevity, cognitive exercises are just as important when it comes to staying

sharp. Most of us spend the majority of our adult lives working to build up enough cash reserves so we can retire. Brain power and memory build their own reserve, the volume of which is determined by several factors.

While I am no neurologist, brain health fascinates me. The hippocampus is an area of the brain that is often connected with signs of aging or the lack thereof. It is essential for forming new memories (for instance a recent conversation or what you had for dinner) and has been found to have shrunk in those who exhibit signs of dementia more than in those who do not.

Certain foods are attributed to brain health like berries, green leafy veggies, nuts, olive oil and fatty fish, but foods that contain resveratrol and anthocyanins are particularly good for memory. Foods that are red, blue or purple in color contain these polyphenols in high quantities (think blueberries, red grapes, purple cabbage, cocoa and even red wine) and help to build our hippocampus.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT WITH KAT
A. Jameson — Vermont Country correspondent
40 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024

Sometimes, it seems that the more information we get thrown at us, the less we know. One thing that has become clearer and clearer is the relation between brain health and nutrition.

Changes in diet were shown to have an effect on memory in as little as three months, but physical and mental exercise is pivotal for brain health as well.

Cognitive reserve (CR) is described as the brain’s ability to understand, process and improvise in order to accomplish tasks. It’s demonstrated in how our brains process and cope with challenges. This term came about in the 1980s when researchers conducted autopsies on people who had not demonstrated any symptoms of dementia during their lives and found their brains exhibited many traits that were found in Alzheimer’s patients. These patients were thought to have large cognitive reserves that helped them to offset the damage and function normally despite the physical damage.

While the measurement of cognitive reserve is based on self-report, it is thought to be enhanced by education, curiosity and experiences (both social and leisure). Through various mental exercises, it is thought that our CR can be boosted. The larger our CR, the more likely we are to be able to stave off dementia.

Try these mental exercises to boost your CR levels.

Grab a deck of cards

Playing cards and board games has been shown to stretch our minds. Since social interaction is important when it comes to cognitive reserve, playing a game with a group of people certainly isn’t a waste of time.

Play Memory (It’s not just for kids!)

I like to remember myself a Memory champion as a child. Remembering where things are is a challenge for the best of us at times (um, anyone else ever misplace their glasses only to find them on their head?).

There are grown-up versions of this classic card game, but you can find a young friend and challenge them to a

game. You can even use playing cards for this one!

Ditch the calculator

While my hubby makes fun of me for still balancing my checkbook, old-fashioned addition and subtraction isn’t just for first-graders. Putting aside the calculator can be a quick mind game of the healthiest kind.

Get your zzzs

Our brain literally cleans itself when we sleep. As we shed toxins whilst we snooze, those seven or eight hours are some of the most important of our lives.

Remember phone numbers

I used to dial a number once and remember it forever more. Sure, I was younger then, but even when I had my first cell phone that remembered phone numbers when I was in my 20s, I no longer knew anyone’s digits. Dig out your cell phone and play a memory game to see whose number you can remember by heart.

Learn a new hobby or language

Stretching ourselves mentally has never been easier with all the language apps and how-to YouTube videos. Picking up an instrument, finding a new hobby or finally learning a second language helps to fortify our cognitive reserve. Now to just find the time …

Defocus

Finding time to decompress and unplug is just as important as being productive. When we turn our “focus” off, our brain has a chance to retrieve memories, generate ideas and access its creativity.

According to an article published by Harvard Medical School, it makes us feel more self-connected as well, so don’t feel guilty about stealing a minute on the couch.

Puzzle it out

Crosswords, sudoku and puzzles are a great way to work out our cognitive ability. Not only are they entertaining, but they stretch our minds intellectually. ~

Katharine A. Jameson, a certified nutrition counselor who grew up in Williamsville and Townshend, writes about food and health for Vermont News & Media. Her columns appear every other week in the Brattleboro Reformer, Bennington Banner and Manchester Journal. For more tricks, tips and hacks, find her on Instagram: @foodforthoughtwithkat

Asparagus feta salad with roasted pistachios Ingredients

½ cup shelled pistachios, roasted & salted

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 bunch asparagus, cleaned and cut into thirds

1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup feta crumbles

Salt and pepper, to taste

½ lemon, juiced

1½ teaspoon sherry vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon seedy mustard

1 small shallot, finely minced

2 tablespoons flat parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F.

On a small cookie sheet, place pistachios.

Roast for 8 minutes or until crisp. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil.

Add asparagus and sauté for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes. Blister for 2 minutes more.

To a bowl, add the pistachios, asparagus, tomatoes and feta.

For the dressing:

Combine remaining olive oil, lemon, honey, mustard, shallot, salt and pepper in a small jar. Shake to emulsify.

Dress salad and toss, layering generously with parsley and dill.

Serve and share some with others, if you can.

vermontcountry.com | 41

Sip and Savor Destinations

All photos were provided by the businesses Reluctant Panther — The Reluctant Panther Cocktail, a sour made with Vermont-distilled vodka, and chambord.

Manchester

The Reluctant Panther

When dining at The Reluctant Panther Inn, visitors are treated to an elegant farm-to-table menu crafted with care by Chef Sigal Rocklin. The selection of dishes highlights the diverse culinary landscape of Vermont, utilizing farm-fresh local ingredients on every plate.

When it comes to appetizers and libations, The Reluctant Panther has options that will have you coming back time and time again to sample everything on offer. The award-winning Brie and Lobster Fondue (Taste of Vermont, 2017) is creamy and decadent, topped with crispy pancetta, and served with a fresh toasted baguette. While you savor every bite, sample a glass from the finely curated wine list, or delight your taste buds with The Reluctant Panther Signature cocktail, a deep red sour made with Vermont vodka and Chambord.

Bennington

Madison

Brewing Company

Stepping into Madison Brewing Company, you’ll be greeted with the familiar atmosphere of an old-world American restaurant and the hoppy aroma of freshly brewed beer. Voted Bennington’s Best Overall Restaurant (Reader’s Choice, 2023), Madison’s has been serving up mouth-watering bites and house-made brews since the early 1990s. With a focus on providing a wide selection of draft beers alongside classic pub fare and regular specials, it’s no

Madison Brewing Company — some of Madison’s famous brews ready for pick up at the bar.

wonder that this family-owned restaurant and brewery has captured the hearts (and stomachs) of locals and visitors alike.

While you’re there, indulge in a basket of truffle parmesan fries and try a bowl of Madison’s famous French onion soup topped with housemade croutons and smothered in molten Swiss cheese. The selection of beer pairings is extensive and ever-changing, so whether you prefer a rich chocolatey stout (the award-winning Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout is a must-try) or a bright and citrusy New England IPA (the Downstreet IPA is our favorite), Madison’s has you covered — and then some.

421 Craft Bar & Kitchen

The industrial aesthetic and large outdoor dining area right on Main Street in downtown Bennington immediately set 421 Craft Bar and Kitchen apart from other local eateries with a distinct big-city vibe. Locals and visitors flock to 421 for the full-service bar with 24 beers on tap and a seasonal cocktail menu that earned the Best Cocktails in Bennington (Reader’s Choice, 2023). The kitchen recently added weekly specials to the menu, so you can try something new each time you visit. Stop by every Thursday for special deals on drafts and cocktails, and every Wednesday for pizza night.

Among 421’s small bites is a pillowy soft Bavarian Pretzel, served with a tangy housemade mustard sauce. The mixed drink options at 421 are too plentiful to single out just one and too delightfully refreshing to stop after just one. Whether you’re quaffing a Peary Good Margarita or a maple-y Green Mountain Boy Smash, you’ll

421 Craft Bar & Kitchen — The Chicken Banger Sandwich at 421 Craft Bar & Kitchen, is served with hand-cut fries, housemade aioli, and a crispy pickle.

leave the bar feeling full and satisfied.

West Dover Trail 87

Just minutes from Mount Snow in West Dover, Trail 87 offers a unique menu of modern American cuisine. Under the leadership of local chef Tyler Haydon, the restaurant is perfecting culinary creativity in the Green Mountains, using fresh, locally sourced Vermont ingredients in every dish. The menu is a selection of global street fare with a local twist that balances modernity with familiarity to provide a unique dining experience.

Trail 87's cozy ambiance extends from its casual cafe lounge into an intimate dining room, welcoming bar, and outdoor patio, offering options for any season or occasion. Whether you're thawing out after a chilly day on the slopes or enjoying a summer evening on the patio following a day by the lake, Trail 87 is the place to be.

The beverage selection at Trail 87 is comprehensive and distinctive. Guests can choose from an array of craft cocktails, draft beers, artisanal canned brews, thoughtfully paired wines, and curated whiskeys. With libations that cater to every palate, the experience is rounded out by a menu that is built to be shared — from the beloved chicken shawarma to zesty Shishito peppers, Trail 87 is a Southern Vermont dining experience like no other.

Brattleboro

The Marina

With waterfront views of the West River and regular specials, the Marina in Brattleboro is a paradise for seafood lovers. The

42 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024 Sponsored Content

Sip and Savor Destinations

Hummus, falafel bowls, and kefta kebabs are included in some of the Central Asian inspired dishes at Trail 87.

comfortably casual dining atmosphere is a year-round staple — enjoy grilled salmon while watching the sunset over the river in the summer, or get cozy inside with a steaming bowl of loaded lobster bisque in the cooler months — there’s no bad time to visit the Marina.

If you’re searching for excellent starters, you’re in the right place. Try the steamed Prince Edward Island Mussels, served in a savory white wine sauce, or grab a bowl of clam chowder for a true New England experience. And don’t forget to stay hydrated with one of several local beers on tap, or a perfectly balanced margarita.

The Marina has inside and outside waterfront seating, a full bar, and the West River Hiking Trail starts at their door.

Peter Havens Restaurant

Since 1989, Peter Havens Restaurant has been serving refined New American cuisine to the Brattleboro community. Head chef Zachary Corbin puts his love of Vermont onto every plate, using local ingredients to create a menu of elevated comfort food and fresh takes on timeless dishes.

For a first course, diners can savor the fruits of the sea with the Ahi Tuna tartare, or try the smooth and creamy duck liver patê, served with whole grain mustard, red onion jam, and cornichons. Alongside your starter, be sure to try one of the house cocktails; the Lavender Dreams cocktail, made with silver tequila, honey-lavender syrup, fresh lemon, and sparkling water is remarkably refresh-

The Marina — The Prince Edward Island Mussels at the Marina are served in a savory white wine sauce. Several local beers are available on tap to enjoy with the dish.

ing, and the perfect drink for a summer evening.

Amaru

Amaru, in Brattleboro, is an upscale restaurant that gives diners the chance to experience exceptional Peruvian cuisine. Drawing inspiration from its owner’s culinary journey across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, Amaru has created a gourmet menu that blends diverse flavor profiles into an exquisite experience.

What sets Amaru apart is a special touch, "a pinch of love" that elevates each creation to a work of art. Amaru takes great pride in infusing passion and dedication into every dish, using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible. Amaru boasts a refined yet welcoming ambiance, enveloped in the rich, tantalizing aroma of Peruvian spices and herbs. The selection of dishes ranges from tangy ceviches to savory Lomo Saltado. Whether you're a seasoned aficionado of Peruvian fare or a bold explorer of new flavors, Amaru is guaranteed to delight your palate and transport you to the rainforests, mountains, deserts, and lively cities of Peru.

Williamstown, Mass.

CRUST

Williamstown

Pittsfield, Mass., locals have known for years that CRUST is serving up some of the best pizza in New England. Now, with the opening of a location at 46 Spring St. in Williamstown, Southern Vermonters can experience the famous pies for

Peter Havens Restaurant — Ahi Tuna Tartare, served with a ginger-soy vinaigrette, quick pickles, wasabi cream, and a rice chip.

themselves with just a quick hop over the border.

Owner Jim Cervone spent years fine-tuning his pizza recipe to ensure the crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings were of the highest quality and came together to create the perfect pie. Combining the best attributes of both Neapolitan and New York styles, Jim has pioneered a new kind of pizza: which he calls NEO-NY. Swing by CRUST Williamstown for a variety of specialty pies, including chicken bacon ranch, red mushroom, and Nick’s white garlic, or build your own pizza with an assortment of fresh toppings.

The pies at CRUST combine the best aspects of Neapolitan and New York-style pizzas, which Owner Jim Cervone calls NEO-NY.

Sponsored Content vermontcountry.com | 43

Local bees find sweet spots

BENNINGTON —

There is a time of year when this Vermont writer waits with great anticipation for a small package to quietly arrive on his porch in the early morning hours, free of charge and delivered anonymously. The result of an apparent labor of love, the coming of rich, homemade amber honey is a sure sign of the passion and purpose surrounding personal beekeeping throughout the region’s rural landscape.

Across the New York state line in Hoosick Falls, its delivery person, Amanda Haar, says she always supported local agriculture but never thought much about keeping bees until 2009, when she saw the chance to make a connection between the two.

At the time, a series of news stories detailed a sharp increase in the disappearance of honeybees elsewhere in the country because of what became known as “colony collapse disorder.”

Scientists haven’t been able to definitively explain this phenomenon, but several studies have found that a class of widely used insecticides known as neonicotinoids may interfere with bees’ natural homing abilities, possibly preventing them from finding their way back to their hives.

Still, there’s more than honey at stake in the loss of whole colonies of bees. Bees pollinate roughly 85 percent of the nation’s food crops, so without them, fruit trees, berry bushes and many vegetable plants would have much lower yields.

“I started beekeeping about 15 years ago in response to all the news about colony collapse,” Haar said. “We live in an agricultural community, and if you can, you should support farmers, and I saw keeping bees as a way of doing that.”

Haar said her family’s property, the former Hobby Hill Farm, includes many open fields and a good natural water source, so the decision to proceed was easy.

She said novice beekeepers should start simply, with a modest investment in equipment and bees, and with some hands-on education in advance.

“The first thing I did was read a few books on natural beekeeping,” Haar said. “I then took a one-day class in Manchester. That was extremely helpful, as it allowed me to ask all the questions I had. … There’s a lot of terminology associated with beekeeping that comes naturally to the experienced keeper but not so much to the novice. That’s important to know. The class clarified a lot for me.”

Haar then joined the Bennington Beekeepers Association. It meets seven times a year, typically in January, April, May, June, August, September and October. These meetings typically offer an educational topic of interest to beekeepers, often conducted by a variety of guest speakers. There is a nominal membership fee.

“As for other costs, the biggest cost is the hive itself,” Haar said. “You can buy them online or at a local beekeeping store, but either way they will set you back (several) hundred dollars. If you want to go the Williams-Sonoma route, that could approach $1,000.”

There are many components to a hive that aren’t apparent, but most of them are essential to successful beekeeping, she said. Basic requirements include a beekeeping hood and gloves, and possibly even a protective suit.

“Some old pros go gloveless, but I’m not that brave,” Haar said with a chuckle. “You also need some basic harvesting equipment plus whatever containers for bottling or storage. And, of course, you need bees.”

The cost for bees varies depending on whether a beginner procures them in a cage or a “nuke” or nucleus — a smaller honeybee colony created from a larger colony. That startup for the novice should always be undertaken with a good sense of seasonal timing.

“If you’re stocking your hive for the

Photo provided by Karen Trubitt A pollinator-friendly hedgerow planted at True Love Farm in Shaftsbury. Photo provided by Karen Trubitt
44 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024
A bee attracted to pollinator-friendly baby kale at True Love Farm.

first time, get your bees in the early spring,” Haar said. “If you do it through a local supplier, place your order early, as they often sell out. Start calling around Thanksgiving to find out when they’re starting their order list. You can also try sourcing locally through beekeeping clubs.”

Although Haar’s endeavor yields at best about 70 pounds of honey annually, which she consumes or gives away, other, larger family operations cross over into the commercial realm in a hybrid manner.

One such enterprise in Vermont’s Champlain Valley is Heavenly Honey Apiary in Monkton. Established in 2007, it’s an operation known as a “sideliner,” meaning it produces honey for sale as well as for personal consumption. Typically, operation of a sideliner isn’t the primary employment of the proprietor, and its sales are limited to individuals and small local markets.

“We started with one hive, garnering about 40 pounds of honey that year,” co-owner Scott Wilson said. “At peak, which is August, a healthy hive will contain about 60,000 to 80,000 honeybees. Our second year, we grew to three hives; our third year, eight hives. We were up to about 30 hives in seven years.”

Not all hives produce honey, as some are the nucleus hives created during mid-summer — the source of bees Haar mentioned.

Nucleus hives are smaller, denser hives created by the beekeeper from an existing “strong hive” to replace the standard hives that die off during the winter. Creating nucleus hives is a method of increasing an apiary’s size and allows a beekeeper to increase the number of hives without having to buy more bees.

Like Haar, Wilson stressed the theme of education and the importance of guidance from experienced beekeepers. “All new beekeepers should attend as many hands-on, in-person workshops as possible,” Wilson said. “There is nothing online or in books that can come close to the value of in-hive workshops. The feel of the tools, the sounds and smells of the hive, sweat

Meet your local beekeepers

pouring down your forehead into your eyes, stings on the hands — cannot be realized while sitting at a desk watching videos.”

There are other factors surrounding the bees themselves which don’t require being actively involved in beekeeping itself. At True Love Farm in Shaftsbury, co-owner Karen Trubitt said that, along with not using synthetic pesticides and herbicides, there are many positive actions available in Vermont’s rural settings to build and preserve habitat for pollinators.

“A wildflower pollinator border has been sown along the fence line abutting the farm’s growing area," Trubitt said. “It blooms across the season, beginning with poppies and flax, coreopsis, monarda, yarrow, echinacea, and allysum. We also have a hundred-footlong hedgerow running through the middle of our vegetable growing area, which is comprised of several varieties of perennial flowers.”

This hedgerow, Trubitt continued, provides a habitat for many beneficial creatures such as pollinators, but also spiders, snakes, and predatory insects that eat the insects which would otherwise damage crops. Bushy baptesia

plants anchor the hedgerow with yarrow, delphinium, rudbeckia, as well as plenty of solidago with some wringing of hands. There are also Globe Thistle, rudbeckia triloba, hirta, and Joe Pye Weed.

“All are examples of some of the most bee-friendly flowers of New England, and plentiful on our property,” Trubitt said. “We keep mowing to a minimum and I no longer fret as much when weeds flower. The bees need those flowers. Also, we never mow in the earlier half of the day when bees are more active, and try to keep all mowing after 4 p.m.”

Back running errands in Bennington, Haar was glad to hear of the widespread appreciation for her gracious deliveries and summed up the ethos surrounding beekeeping and pollinator habitat preservation.

“Like farming, beekeeping is largely an act of faith,” Haar said. “There are a lot of elements simply out of your control. At times, it can be very humbling but it can also be rewarding. Working with nature always reveals lessons, especially in the failures. If you’re a willing and patient learner, there’s plenty lessons and joy to be found.”

vermontcountry.com | 45
Photo provided by David Haar Amanda Haar on her family's property in Hoosick Falls, N.Y., (formerly Hobby Hill Farm), during a beehive installation day.

A Warbler wave can transform a part of the Vermont woods into an outdoor aviary with hundreds of neo-tropical bird species compressed into an area of only an acre or less.

Follow Vermont's birds Ride the

By ones or by twos, in groups or in flocks, migratory songbirds journey north into Vermont and the other New England states.

Starting with the winter thaw of March, they ride the coattails of blustery winds and traverse up along the Atlantic Coast. Navigating by genetic design, they negotiate countless lakes, streams and river valleys over distances of thousands of miles to make their way along the Appalachian Mountains, the Catskills and Adirondacks of New York, toward the twin axes of the Green and Taconic mountains of Vermont, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire and Maine.

The forests, fields and valleys of the Green Mountain State of Vermont, home to over 388 species of birds, is perhaps the most bird diverse state in New England, with 38 species of nesting warblers recorded. The state begins to fill up with these avian dynamos of color, sound and activity. They form a veritable feathered kaleidoscope of color swirling about in the unfolding tree top buds of oaks, maples, ash and birch, which animate and infuse the air of Vermont in a swirling storm of returning life, in the welcome arms of leafy branches and boughs.

It begins every spring, in the deep recesses of the Central and

South American tropical rainforests, the Caribbean Islands, the Gulf Coast States and southern Florida, with the annual northward migration of millions of neo-tropical songbirds along and across the Gulf of Mexico. They sojourn into their nesting grounds in the deciduous and evergreen forests and fields of the Northeast and Canada on the great Atlantic Flyway, which with the other migratory bird flyways (Central, West Coast, Rocky Mountain and Mississippi) crosses the continent in great waves of bird exultation.

By early April, many have reached their destination in New England and begin looking for nesting sites in the first greening forests and fields. By early May, the great springtime flood of the returning migrants has truly arrived. The Wood Warbler tribe (tiny brightly colored neo-tropical migrants) along with vireos, flycatchers, tanagers, kinglets, hummingbirds, grassland birds like meadowlarks and bobolinks, thrushes, shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors, orioles, blackbirds and other species are busily setting up breeding territory and begin nesting in Vermont’s greening land.

A colorful cornucopia of songbird opulence, the neo-tropical Parulidae or Wood Warblers include some 49 species including the Cape May Warbler, the Ovenbird, the Northern Parula, Yellow Warbler, the Black-Throated Blue and the American Redstart. The Redstart in particular is a vibrant little warbler

Photos provided by Metro Creative Connection
46 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024

Beginning every spring, in the deep recesses of the Central and South American tropical rainforests, the Caribbean Islands, the Gulf Coast States and southern Florida, is the annual northward migration of millions of neotropical songbirds along and across the Gulf of Mexico.

Warbler wave

on their ambitious journeys

also known as the Mariposa or “butterfly” in Spanish for its quick-flitting, butterfly-like movements and “Candelita” or Little Torch in the male because of his flaming red and black tail feathers and wings. Many others, like the Common Yellow Throat, Black and White Warbler, Blackpoll and the Blackburnian or the “firethroat,” (named for the male’s blazing orange chest) flock into the luxuriant Vermont highlands like a breath of warm spring air melting away our long interminable winter. All the warblers are sexually dimorphic, meaning it is only the male sporting bright breeding plumage, while the female is donned in more drab, muted colors that helps to hide her from predators while she is nesting.

A common neo-tropical warbler nesting in Vermont, the black and white striped Blackpoll has a strenuous overnight trans-oceanic flight from Venezuela’s rainforests across the 500-mile-wide Gulf of Mexico to the Louisiana and Texas coasts, defying the seemingly overwhelming odds of powerful storms, predators, reflective windows and increasing boreal forest loss. Flying at night to avoid predators and to take advantage of calm weather, the Blackpoll is accompanied by his fellow northbound migrating warblers, vireos, thrushes, flycatchers and hundreds of other songbird species who must hurry in order to find suitable nesting sites. They breed and fly south again to their tropical overwintering grounds at the end of the brief New England summer. Based on bird banding

evidence, the Blackpoll is a long-distance avian traveler making a round trip between South America and New England of over 12,400 miles.

The Blackpoll Warbler, by the way, like many birds migrating across the American Continent (and around the world) is in trouble. According to the USGS breeding bird survey estimates, the Blackpoll Warbler population is declining 2 to 4 percent a year due to deforestation, logging and habitat loss. The thin, insect-like song (“si-si-si”) of the Blackpoll is his territorial signature “heat song” of high summer, which proclaims his hidden presence in Vermont’s southern Green Mountains. It is barely heard in the thick, obscuring boreal forests of balsam, hemlock and spruce branches, hanging high overhead.

Try to walk outside your house at night sometime in early May or June and you can hear the bird migrants high overhead, cheeping, twittering and calling to each other as they wing their way bravely through the chilly north winds before landing at dawn and feeding on insects amidst the unfurling leaves and flowers exploding in the spring finery of our beautiful New England state.

Through the riotous opening blooms of Vermont, the tired, famished flocks of warblers, vireos, flycatchers, kinglets, thrushes and the rest of the neo-tropical migrants descend upon the swarming insects attracted to the drooping catkins

vermontcountry.com | 47

and opening leaves of the willows, alders, birches and oaks. Oaks, especially, as they are rightly called, are “the supermarket of the woods” because oaks supply acorn mast to dozens of wildlife species living in the Vermont forest and the flowering catkins that attract insects to them.

Darting, flitting, dancing, dangling and hopping about the unfurling uncurling green foliage, these warblers and other neo-tropicals act almost frenzied and single-minded with their ravenous appetite for the abundant insects flying about them.

They are also completely oblivious to our presence and our almost futile attempts to identify them all as we crane our eyes skyward through the leafy weave of branches, scanning with binoculars where they try to eat as much food as they can before launching upward and onward again into the gathering springtime dusk, food-fueled in their continuous, perilous, northward flight through the cold, dark New England night.

Then, if we are ever so lucky to experience it, comes that truly spectacular apex of Passeriformes exuberance in the springtime songbird migration — the once-in-a-lifetime viewing of the whirling tempest of neo-tropical wings resulting from the combination of both powerful blocking storms and local geographical bottlenecks known as the Warbler wave.

Trapped and pinned down by the overwhelming north winds onto protruding headlands on water, on mountaintop ridges or in deep forest enclaves with abundant insect food, these little migrating birds begin to accumulate in vast numbers on nearby bushes, trees and even on the ground, unable to fly further because of the strong prevailing winds.

Sheltering together by the hundreds and even many thousands, they huddle underneath protective branches or fly about in the trees in a desperate, hungry, feeding flock mob, searching for insect food or berries while they wait for the weather to break.

A Warbler wave can transform a part of the Vermont woods into an outdoor aviary with hundreds of neo-tropical bird species compressed into an area of only an acre or less. Eventually, the weather eases and the birds move on to calmer mountain woodlands of the state, leaving the stunned and astonished birder with an augmented life list of hundreds more bird species tallied.

The nocturnal migrants can be viewed at night, too. If you have a telescope, you can train it on the brilliant face of the full moon and watch their nocturnal passage in a dramatic illustration of bird migration across the moon’s ancient landscape of pitted craters and maria (seas) looking down on us from the cold night skies.

Among the wooded dells and dark moss-covered logs and fern-thick dripping wetlands and forested crannies in the Vermont mountain woodlands of spring, one can also hear the ethereal rising lyrical songs of the Wood Thrush and the Hermit Thrush. The Hermit Thrush, the State bird of Vermont since 1941, is called “The Nightingale of the

Woods” because it has one of the most beautiful songs of all the birds in North America. The Hermit Thrush song starts with a long introductory phrase and ends with varying tonal pitches. It is the only neo-tropical thrush species that overwinters in the southern United States.

Both thrush species, cousins of the Robin, sing their elusive and falling pan pipe melodies in the deep woods like echoing poems of eternal delight. Their delicate musical notes are bright, ecstatic statements of peace and tranquility, twirling up or spiraling down or just fading slowly away like woodland sighs beneath and between the evergreen treetops, lightly touched by the first ephemeral golden rays of the dawning sunrise in the eastern skies.

This is Vermont, brought to vivid life by the return of the songbird migrants reborn in the Vermont mountain spring awakening all around us. ~

Victor C. Capelli is a retired environmental educator, environmental analyst and nature illustrator.

48 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024
Photo provided by Metro Creative Connection By early May, the great springtime flood of the returning migrants, including hummingbirds, has truly arrived.

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The trail at Prospect Mountain in Woodford closely follows the chairlifts used for winter skiing. The trail is well-marked and offers some breathtaking side paths.

'Cannaventure'

Matterhorn Apothecary and an energized climb at Prospect Mountain

In the charming town of Wilmington, you'll stumble across a one-of-a-kind cannabis dispensary that emulates a camping lodge's cozy atmosphere. Matterhorn Apothecary, completely built from the ground up by the owner, Matt Horn, was my chosen stop on a trip through Southern Vermont.

The outside gives a clue to what lies within; they're currently building an

outside hot tub lounge near their large cannabis lawn chair along the side of the building. Upon stepping inside, a downto-earth ambiance heavily adorned with products beyond your usual cannabis offerings awaits you. From joint clips and rolling trays to various smoking apparatuses, the array was impressive.

What really caught my attention, though, was the budtender on duty, Shana, known affectionately as "The Weed Fairy." Her knowledge, coupled with

her warm demeanor, made the selection process a breeze. I settled on the strain "Diamond Daze," a sativa hybrid known for its mentally energizing effects, with a THC content of 17.3 percent and dominant Limonene terpene.

With its citrusy, dank, and fruity notes, "Diamond Daze" was an immediate hit as my friend and I enjoyed it the following morning. The taste was smooth, and the effects were instant, filling us with talkative energy — a perfect choice for

Photos by Jacques Greenleaf
50 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024

getting to know someone better.

What intrigued me most was how this strain reportedly helps with mental fatigue, anxiety and depression. On this day, it certainly played a role in uplifting our moods and energizing our minds. The king-size, slow-burning hemp cones — also purchased from Matterhorn Apothecary — were a great vehicle, allowing us to fit most of the 2 grams purchased.

Now, fully energized, we embarked on our hike at Prospect Mountain, just west of Wilmington in Woodford. It's a moderate trail, and I must stress: Do not follow the AllTrails app to the Greenwood Lodge and Campsite grounds. The real starting point is down the road, near the large Prospect Mountain sign along Route 9. The folks who run the campsite mentioned that they’ve had some trouble with people unknowingly parking on their property in the past, and I made the same mistake!

The trail offers a challenging incline straight up, closely following the chairlifts used for winter skiing. Be prepared for a steep climb, but the trail is

well-marked and offers some breathtaking side paths. We stumbled upon a fern-covered trail that looked prehistoric, and even found a beautiful stream in which my golden retriever couldn't resist going for a mid-hike dip to wet her belly.

Though the summit's view was blocked by tree cover, the journey to the top, made in just 40 minutes, was exhila-

rating. The "Diamond Daze" energized us mentally, motivating us to power through and enjoy every step of the scenery.

My visit to Matterhorn Apothecary and the hike up Prospect Mountain was a day filled with discoveries. Shana, “The Weed Fairy” of Wilmington, truly enchanted the dispensary experience for this first-timer, and the lodge-like feel added to its unique charm.

Prospect Mountain's trail may be steep, but it's a hike that offers rewards around every bend. The “Diamond Daze" strain was the perfect companion for this adventure, turning a regular hike into a lively mountain exploration.

Whether you're a hiking enthusiast or a cannabis explorer, Wilmington and Woodford offer experiences that are both challenging and delightful. Just remember to park at the right spot, be ready for the climb, and let the energy of Diamond Daze guide you to the summit.

This article previously ran in Green Mountain Cannabis News in September 2023.

~ SIGN UP NOW GreenMountainCannabisNews.com @GreenMountainVermont MUST BE +21 TO ENJOY OUR CONTENT your premier source for the latest in VT cannabis news! R E G I S T R A T I O N I S F R E E T H A N K S T O O U R S P O N S O R S award-winning newsletter delivered fresh to your inbox every Wed at 4:20pm Matterhorn Apothecary has a down-to-earth ambiance heavily adorned with products beyond your usual cannabis offerings. vermontcountry.com | 51

Get out of town!: 10 films that should (mostly) whet your appetite for summer vacation

With those heartbreaking days when masking up for a walk to the grocery store felt as good as a trip to Tahiti still in the rearview and the dregs of the pandemic lurking like an unwanted party guest, most of us have learned to savor the freedom to pack a suitcase and go ANYWHERE! Who doesn’t spend every waking moment of their non-vacation lives counting the

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983): We couldn’t rightly publish a vacation article without a visit from the eternally plagued Griswold family, whose maiden voyage involved a station wagon trip to their favorite west coast amusement park. The road to Wally World would be paved with car crashes, nervous breakdowns, dead aunts, and accidental animal torture. Endless yuks, four sequels, and one remake would follow.

Meatballs 2 (1984): Sure, the original film in this not-quite-beloved summer camp film series starred Bill Murray. But this sequel, clearly the product of a heavy 1980s drug psychosis, features bare knuckle boxing, an alcoholic, horse murdering chef, a young Pee-wee Herman, and a reefer toking alien. PG-rated fun for the whole family!

Stand by Me (1986): A wayward group of 1950s teenage boys embarks on the only type of vacation within their limited budget: taking a two-day hike in search of a dead body. Over a tidy 89 minutes, director Rob Reiner renders a coming-of-age classic that might just be the finest Stephen King adaptation in existence.

White Water Summer (1987): Kevin Bacon plays a psychotic outdoorsman inexplicably entrusted with

hours until they’re on vacation again?

Answer: probably quite a few of us. For some, it simply isn’t worth spending half a year’s salary to fly somewhere in a shoddily constructed germ tube. Last spring, we talked about the pros and cons of beach travel. This year, we’ll once again skip the security line and check out a few flicks where folks lit out for parts unknown to get a taste of the good life … or ended up stuffed in the carcass of a dead bear.

taking four teenage boys on a ridiculously treacherous hiking trip that includes very little white water rafting. Viewers looking to watch Bacon crush some rapids should skip straight to the 1994 vacation thriller “The River Wild.”

City Slickers (1991): A trio of longtime Manhattanite pals tries to shake off early-onset middle age malaise by heading to New Mexico for a cattle drive led by the legendary Jack Palance. There, they learned the meaning of life … and the rest of us learned that then-73-year-old Palance could still do one-handed push-ups when he won an Oscar for his performance early the following year.

Before Sunrise (1995): Richard Linklater’s landmark film, about a young vagabond (Ethan Hawke) who meets a Parisian student (Julie Delpy) on a train and convinces her to spend an enchanted day-into-night walking around Vienna, is truly a gift to cinema. Or as my high school girlfriend called it: “the single most boring movie that has ever existed.” Note: We are no longer together.

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003): In this white people vacation porno, the ageless Diane Lane plays a jilted writer who takes a trip to Italy, where she randomly decides to purchase a

Tuscan villa populated with handsome Polish construction workers. And everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.

Old Joy (2006): Plot-averse writer/ director Kelly Reichardt has built a critically acclaimed oeuvre out of spartan character studies that often feature minimal dialogue. In this surprisingly effective road movie, two old friends (one of whom is totally indie folk legend Bonnie “Prince” Billy) decide to spend a weekend hiking to a hot spring. And, well, that’s what they do! Scene.

Midsommar (2019): A profoundly grief-stricken young woman decides to accompany her boyfriend to a remote village in Sweden for a once-a-century midsummer festival in an attempt to rekindle their fledgling relationship. The gruesome events that follow make “Antichrist’’ look like “Roman Holiday.” That poor bear!

Leave the World Behind (2023): Ethan Hawke and Julia Roberts play a pair of mildly affluent yet mildly stressed New Yorkers who decide to pack up their kids for a spontaneous trip to Long Island where, horror of horrors, their Wi-Fi stops working! Is it a temporary glitch or has the world ended? “Mr. Robot” creator Sam Esmail directs with his typical penchant for extreme obfuscation.

52 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024
Photo provided by Brattleboro Area Realty
vermontcountry.com | 53
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GROWING YOUR ROOTS IN SOUTHWESTERN VERMONT

THE GROW PROGRAM IS HERE TO HELP

"The aging and shrinking demographic in Vermont is a significant challenge that requires proactive measures. Attracting a diverse and dynamic workforce is key to ensuring a vibrant and sustainable future for our state,” states Kevin Chu, executive director of the Vermont Futures Project.

previously undertook, reflecting the legislature's dedication to growing Vermont's population.

In response, Vermont is implementing programs to attract new residents and retain current ones. The Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce and Shires Young Professionals (SYP) launched the GROW program to rejuvenate the local economy and strengthen the community through relocation, recruitment, and retention. This program is funded by the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing (VDTM), which aims to attract new residents and support their seamless integration into the community.

Governor Phil Scott endorsed the program, stating, "Welcoming new Vermonters to our communities is a top priority for my administration, and this funding can help. Vermont needs more people and more workers, and GROW is an important tool in our toolbox."

Heather Pelham, Vermont Tourism and Marketing Commissioner, notes that "recruiting and retaining residents is important one-on-one work that takes time and commitment." She appreciates that the grants are supporting work that many volunteers

To spearhead the GROW program, the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce hired Luis Lascari as a relocation and retention specialist. Lascari's experience in community engagement and program development will help attract and retain young professionals, families, and individuals to Southwestern Vermont. Matt Harrington, Executive Director of the Southwestern Vermont Chamber of Commerce, states, "We are thrilled to welcome Luis to our team. His passion for community development and innovative outreach approach make him the ideal candidate to lead our GROW Program efforts." He explains that Lascari's role is akin to a dedicated concierge service, helping new Vermonters acclimate to the region and fostering a more vibrant community ethos.

Lascari brings a wealth of experience to his new position. He previously worked at the Laredo Economic Development Corporation in South Texas, where he was instrumental in fostering a thriving business ecosystem. His expertise is expected to catalyze Southwestern Vermont's economic development and community-building efforts. "It's really exciting to join this team at this critical time in our state's history," remarked Lascari. "This is a region worth promoting, and I look forward to collaborating with regional stakeholders to realize our shared vision of sustainable economic development."

Carolyn Gilbert, Chair of Shires Young Professionals Board of Directors, affirmed Lascari's appointment, stating, "Luis is the perfect person for this role, and I have no doubt that the work he and SYP will do together will be transformative for the region." This sentiment underscores the collaborative approach that will drive GROW's success.

Those interested in the GROW program or considering relocation can visit www.relocatetovermont.com for more information. With a comprehensive approach involving lead generation, collaboration, data tracking, and outreach, the GROW initiative aims to make Southwestern Vermont a destination of choice for a diverse and dynamic workforce, leading to a vibrant and resilient community.

Vermont Country Homes
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VISIT WWW.RELOCATETOVERMONT.COM FOR MORE INFORMATION. vermontcountry.com | 63
Luis Lascari, Relocation & Retention Specialist Pictures courtesy of Southwestern Vermont Chamber and Lorianna Weathers Photography!

326 VT 7A Shaftsbury, VT 05262

MLS # 4992218

HIGHLIGHTS:

52 7 acres

1929 Colonial Farmhouse, Barn, Farmstand. Fixer Upper with Incredible Possibilities!

List Price $749,000

ABOUT THIS PROPERTY:

Developers Wanted: Develop 52.7 acres on the southern edge of Shaftsbury village. Walking distance to local amenities including a school, park & trails, playgrounds, town hall, and country store Town water is nearby, and a new municipal sewer system is under study. Otherwise, private wastewater systems will be required.

Zoning allows for 1-acre plots, offering potential to build multiple homes to meet high demand. Site features a 5-bedroom Colonial Farmhouse in need of renovation, a classic red barn, and a former art/farm stand, perfect for a builder showroom. Land has open pastures, woods, and a small stream.

Don't miss this chance to create a housing development in a desirable location with strong growth potential. Let's explore this opportunity!

Vermont Country Homes Jenifer@HoffmanVTrealestate com 802-558-5911 www.HoffmanVTRealEstate.com
Listed!
Just
Real People. Real Heart. Real Experience.
64 | VERMONT COUNTRY MAGAZINE | MAY-JUNE 2024

You will find modern farmhouse elegance at this stunning residence with an exceptional layout. Nestled on 17 acres with views of Haystack, this home offers sophistication, charm, warmth, and a wow factor!

Chef’s kitchen with walk-in pantry, convection oven, double door fridge, island w/outlets & prep sink, 6-burner gas stove. Farmhouse dining table by large windows with wood-burning fireplace. Impressive climate controlled walk in wine “cellar”.

The great room features reclaimed beams, vaulted ceiling, full wall of windows framing the picturesque backyard, perfect for watching snowfall amidst your private pine forest as well as a sitting area by a 2nd fireplace for quiet relaxation. Main floor also includes a formal entryway and full guest suite with luxurious soaking tub.

Ascend to the second level to discover the epitome of a primary suite, w/vaulted ceiling, walk-in & sun deck w/mountain & sunset views! This room also features a large bath with a soaking tub surrounded by windows & a spacious glass shower. With its own wood-burning fireplace, this bedroom haven is sure to become your favorite retreat. This level hosts 3 more guest suites & two bathrooms connected by a third bathing room w/clawfoot tub, ensuring your guests’ comfort and convenience. 2 car attached garage, ski closet and more!! The end of the road connects to the picturesque Stowe Hill providing easy access to the lake, village and mountains. Come experience the timeless luxury and warm hospitality of this exceptional home atop Top of the Hill Road.

Vermont Country Homes 41 Top of The Hi l l, Wi lmi ng ton 4 bedrooms , 5 bathrooms , 17 05 Acres $979,0 0 0 278 VT Rt 100 West Dover, VT sovtrealtygroup.com 802-464-2585
Jacki Murano 802-380-37 14 jacki@sov trealt ygroup.com vermontcountry.com | 65

B e r k s h i r e R o o t s i s n o r m a l i z i n g t h e e l e v a t e d s i d e o f m o t h e r h o o d , w h e r e c a n n a b i s i s n o t j u s t a c h o i c e , b u t a s t a t e m e n t . S t e p i n t o s o p h i s t i c a t i o n w i t h o u r c u r a t e d s t r a i n s , d e s i g n e d t o c o m p l e m e n t y o u r s t y l e . B r e a k f r e e a n d e m b r a c e t h e c h i c s i d e o f c a n n a b i s c u l t u r e .

PLEASE CONSUME RESPONSIBLY IF YOU FEEL DIFFERENT, YOU DRIVE DIFFERENT This product has not been analyzed or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is limited information on the side effects of using this product, and there may be associated health risks. Marijuana use during pregnancy and breast-feeding may pose potential harms. It is against the law to drive or operate machinery when under the influence of this product. KEEP THIS PRODUCT AWAY FROM CHILDREN. There may be health risks associated with consumption of this product. Marijuana can impair concentration, coordination, and judgment. The impairment effects of Edibles may be delayed by two hours or more. In case of accidental ingestion, contact poison control hotline 1-800-222-1222 or 9-1-1. This product may be illegal outside of MA.
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