Cider, Ice Cream and Cheese Oh My!


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North America » United States » Vermont » Stowe
October 15th 2011
Published: July 7th 2017
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Geo: 44.4653, -72.685

Today seemed to be about food. I woke up all refreshed from a long
sleep in a comfy bed. For breakfast, I decided to have the Eggs
Benedict. The homemade hollandaise sauce was delicious. The breakfast
filled me up and I did not think I would need lunch.

It was pouring rain when I went to sleep and the sun finally came out
just as I was leaving the breakfast room. I was going to spend the day
touring the various food places and driving farther east and then north
to get back. I stopped at the visitor center in town and the lady there
suggested that today might be the better of the two days as there was
only a 50% chance of rain and Sunday was a 60% chance. So, with the sun
shining on the mountains, I decided to head for Mt. Mansfield. Mt.
Mansfield is the tallest point in Vermont at 4,393 feet, which is not
quite a mountain to those of us who have seen the Rockies, but it's
called one here. There are several ways to get most of the way to the
top. You can hike, take the toll road or take the gondola ride. Well, I
don't hike up mountains and the toll road costs $26 and is a dirt road
with tight turns and steep pitches. I don't do that either. So, I
decided to take the gondola ride even though I'm not fond of those
either. This one seemed to go on forever and it got windier as you got
farther up. But it was worth it because the views from the top were
pretty nice. It was pretty windy and pretty cold up at the top. I was
glad I had my gloves and my sweatshirt on. Pretty soon, the clouds
moved in and it started raining so I headed back down. The ride down
had a lot more swaying and was less pleasant than the ride up. I was
glad I had arrived right when they opened, got to the top before the
rain and was able to avoid the crowds that were arriving as I was
leaving.

I decided that it would be a food sampling day after all since the
drizzly weather had moved in. First stop was the Cold Hollow Cider
Mill. The parking lot was full so you knew this place was going to be
great. You can watch them pressing cider and have a sample all for
free. The store was filled with local jellies, mustards, various
pancake mixes and of course maple syrup products. They also had various
products open for sampling. For my "lunch" I got a fresh cider
doughnut and bottle of apple cider.

Next I stopped at the Ben & Jerry's factory for their tour. This
one was 30 minutes and had a huge fee of $3. I got a Cran-Pineapple
smoothie as the rest of my lunch while I waited for my tour to start.
First you watch a short video about how the company got started and then
walk along a hallway to view the production room. They don't make any
ice cream on the weekends so I wasn't able to see everything in motion.
The last stop is the sampling room. Today's sample was Triple Caramel
Chunk and it was delicious. You get a pretty large scoop for it being a
sample. Outside they have a flavor graveyard with the headstones of
some of their "dead" flavors. The tour guide said there are 7-10 new
flavors every year and that means 7-10 other flavors go away. I have
never really eaten Ben & Jerry's ice cream before since it's the
fancy expensive kind so this way I got to have some without paying a lot
of money.

My last food destination of the day was the Cabot Creamery. It was
about an hour drive from Stowe to Cabot. Along the way I passed through
Montpelier, which is the capital of Vermont. Montpelier is the
smallest capital city in the US and the House and Senate chambers are
the oldest legislative chambers in their original condition anywhere in
the US. I stopped for a tour, which was free, of the capitol building.
It was very interesting to learn about the building, which is the third
version of the state house and was built in 1859. Everything in the
building is original, from the light fixtures to the furniture.
Modifications have been made for electricity and technology, but the
carpeting and drapes are either original or replicated to look
original. The tour guide said this was odd for everything to remain,
especially with the modernism that happened in the '50s, but Vermonters
are frugal and that's why they never replaced anything! The legislators
are in session from January through May and are not considered
full-time. Only the governor and lieutenant governor work all year.
The legislators have other jobs and are only paid a small amount for
this job I guess. Another interesting thing was the chair in the
governor's chamber. It was made out of wood from the U.S.S.
Constitution, better known as Old Ironsides. This is the only piece of
furniture that you aren't allowed to climb all over! It's only used for
ceremonial pictures of the governor. I was very glad I stopped and got
to explore the building.

After another half hour later and I was finally at the Cabot Creamery. I
love cheese and this place was wonderful! Cabot is mostly famous for
their cheddar, but they make all kinds of dairy products from cheese to
butter to sour cream to yogurt. They even do Greek yogurt and
apparently quite well because they produce a lot of it for a pretty
reasonable price. There is a tour here as well for an even better fee
than Ben & Jerry's at $2. This tour also starts with a video about
the Cabot farming co-op and how the milk from the cows is turned into
cheese. After the video, a nice young man took us into the factory.
The Cabot plant makes the yogurts, dips, sour creams and flavored
cheddars. They don't usually make just plain cheese. There is another
plant that does just butter and another that does just cheddar. Lucky
for me, they were making stuff and we were able to see them making
Pepperjack cheese and yogurt. It was pretty cool. And of course there
were samples at the end. All kinds of their products were out to
taste. Dips, spreads and lots of different cheeses. I think my
favorite was the Seriously Sharp!

I was going to drive back to Stowe via a northerly route, but it was
already 4:00 when I was done eating cheese and I did not want to be
driving in the dark and run into a moose on the road! So I headed back
the way I came and got dinner at The Shed. This restaurant is just up
the road from my hotel and is apparently closing on Monday. I
shockingly ordered the fish n chips and it was pretty good, but nowhere
near as good as the stuff Renee and I had in Kaikoura. Nothing will top
that! But the fries were really good and I was served quickly even
with all the large groups that were there. It is raining again, but I
hope it will be clear again in the morning so I can do some walking.



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