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.

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.

First Brewery… Madison

Good local brewery serving decent beer and ok food. Buck’s Honey Wheat beer could have had a little more honey taste for my liking. My husband enjoyed the Witte. However favorite was another Vermont Brewer named Trapp. They had the Dunkel… Deliciousness. Wish I was visiting that brewery this trip…but not this journey…oh so many miles still to go..1406132633313

Bennington VT

What a great little town filled with so many neat things to do – there is something for everyone.  My favorite start  is at the visitor center and  this one did not dissapoint.  What a beautfiul place inside!  Free donuts and coffee were wonderful! The guide working knew so much about the local area and shared with us local occuring events that otherwise we would have missed -like seeing  the fun painted catamounts at the farm.   Bennington Pottery is a great place visit especially for those interested in making pottery.  There is a little self guided tour in the back where they make the pottery followed by the shop… just be careful for you can get caught up in the moment of  buying something made right there and pieces (even the seconds) add up quickly!  We then decided to go on the hunt for relics of Vermont at the Camelot Antique Center —  huge shop to roam and find unique items.  It is easy to loose time (and those you are shopping with) at this store. And though the Apple Barn may be seen to some as a tourist trap, prices were in line if not cheaper then at other places selling VT items and oh the bakery goods were delicious!    Head on over to Bennignton Monument afterwards but arrive before 5:00 so you can go up in it…. we missed that.  But there is only so much you can fit into one day… before the journey begins again with many miles still to go…