Riding the D&H Rail Trail

After a long day of driving in the car and visiting breweries, we decided to go for a bike ride. We chose the northern end of the Delaware and Hudson Rail-Trail from Castelton to Poultney.   I find great trails to explore in whatever state I am in on Trailink.  It was nice to ride through the countryside without having to worry about cars.  For the most part it is a pretty flat ride with gradual grades but it is not a paved trail – instead a mix of stone and sometimes due to overgrown grass it becomes a single track dirt trail.  I believe it gets far more usage by snowmobiles in the winter!  We saw one other person on the trail.

There is not much to see besides fields and woodlands and cows. This is nice for the first few miles but then begins to get repetitious.  There are not any amazing water features or bridges or small towns to stop and take a break.  However we were determined to make it to Poutlney for our daughter was attending a camp at Green Mountain College and thought it would be nice to see the town.  This trail would be a good workout on a daily basis or for a family wanting to go a short distance – perhaps for a mile or two.

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Next Stop on Route 7: Otter Creek!

Otter Creek BrewingI’ve been a long time fan of Wolaver’s Wildflower Wheat – for me the perfect summer session beer in the middle of a humid afternoon – and so seeing where it is produced was a must stop on our Brewery tour. The Otter Creek Brewing Company is a great brew pub serving all three of their beers with big windows where you can look out at all the shiny tanks producing beer. Although we are familiar with both Otter Creek and Wolaver’s we had not had The Shed, a small Vermont Brewery acquired by Otter Creek. The Shed Mountain Ale was good. Also tried the Wolaver’s Brown Ale and jumped ahead to the fall season and had a Wolaver’s Pumpkin.
Sometime they even offer special test batch one day of the week (not the day we were there). Regardless – this is a great stop to enjoy a few beers low in ABV, have a nice chat with bartenders who know beer, and enjoy some good local food — but get there early. They shut down in the early evening so that the local bars get the spotlight and can make the money selling their beers.

Slow down the journey in Middlebury

Amazing Falls! What a great place to visit on our Central Vermont brewery tour. Otter Creek runs straight through the center of town and you can walk over a great bridge to see it. You can then read about the history of the town on signs posted on the path that runs next to the falls. We had a small bite to eat for lunch at Two Brothers Tavern- a classic neighborhood pub serving good beer and food. I could see this being my local go to spot if I lived here! Also there is plenty of neat shops to visit after eating and before continuing the journey north on our brewery tour. This is my second trip to Middlebury – the first being many years ago. There are a lot of neat things to do in the area so this would be a great place to stay for a few days.

Continue North on Route 7 to Drop-In Brewery

Deliciousness!!  Award for our most favorite beer on today’s brewery tour. And most unobtainable… they do not bottle and so the only option to take with you is to get a growler to go.  The Head Brewer’s main focus is teaching the craft of making beer. This would be a wonderful place to go if interested in learning to make your own beer – both beginner and advanced classes.  You would certainly be learning from someone who really knows how to make good beer!

What we tasted: Sunshine and Hoppiness / Red Dwarf/ Heart of Lothian / Hazard Belgian  / Honey Carry My Bag  (love the names)

What we brought to enjoy by the campfire later that evening: Hazard Belgian

Great Vase!

Brandon VT

So many wonderful small towns! I had no idea just how wonderful Vermont was. I caught a glimpse on historic route 7 but did not realize this keeps repeating all the way up in Vermont. Suburbia does not exist here … instead the roads take you to one small town after another. Each filled with their own historic charm, shops, restaurants, pretty walkways, old churches, and friendly people. Each has some historical presence. We came to visit Foley Brewing but ended up discovering this wonderful small town – my favorite was the thrift shop which proceeds go to scholarships for the local high school. Nicest woman working there. Great stop after visiting the Brewery.

Foley Brothers

This great new brewery (two years) is just off Route 7 in Brandon VT and was a perfect place to begin our Central Vermont Brew Tour.

Award for the best welcoming party at any brewery… Riley how did I miss getting a picture of you? Wonderful dog who greets you with hugs and kisses.

Award for the most scenic and relaxing brewery location.. enjoyed sipping our pint of Old Hob (an AltBier) outside on the property.

What we tried – a tasting of four beers (which comes with a beautiful beer glass):  Ginger Wheat / Native Brown / Old Hob / Fair Maiden

They sell either large bottles or growlers. We chose a large bottle of Native Brown (made with Maple Syrup) to bring home and enjoy at a later time.

Half Moon Pond State Park Campground.. many miles away from anything… but an amazing place to camp!

Due to bad luck with rain which seems to follow us whenever there is a tent in our car, we decided to go with a cabin on this trip. Well… this was no exception. The rain poured hard on our first night and we were thankful to be in a little cabin.

This campground is sure tucked away! After leaving Bennington we drove the scenic route through Manchester to Fair Haven to pick up groceries. A storm ripped through knocking out power and roads scattered with tree limbs. We did not believe Matilda (our GPS) when she told us to turn off an already quiet road to then follow down a dirt road (a sign would be helpful) but indeed three miles down was the campground. We were welcomed by a friendly Assistant Park Ranger who was very helpful for us a first time visitors… apparently a rare thing at this hidden treasure. I was very surprised just how nice the cabin was! (Note – This would be a great spot to take a first time camper or for a family wanting to try out camping). It would be our home for the next few days as we explored the wonderful towns and backroads of central Vermont.