Have fun in Middlebury
Best Restaurants in Middlebury, Vermont
Dining in Middlebury: Casual, Family-Friendly Restaurants
For families and couples alike, American Flatbread, Middlebury Hearth is at the top of my list for a Vermonty dining experience that won’t leave you feeling ripped off (just don’t buy the bowl of salad for ~$30 with cheese). The recently renovated bar is easily the best in town with a great selection of local beers and perfectly made cocktails; Barr Hill Gin and tonics and Rye Manhattans are a must, depending on the season. The ambiance is super casual with red-and-white checkered table clothes and folding chairs, all positioned around the wood fire that bakes the thin-crusted deliciousness that is American Flatbread pizza. Pepperoni & Peppers, Cheese & Herb and the Revolution are my three standbys.
Dining in Middlebury: Special Occasion Restaurants
I’d opt for my friend’s at the Swift House Inn for a birthday or anniversary dinner. Although the decor is a tad dated, it’s a beautiful country Vermont inn with food that is always quite good (the duck entrée is the best in Vermont; the crab cakes and filet are another good choice). It’s also easy to get reservations at my friend’s, and the wine list is the most extensive in Addison County. For a woneful dinner, ask for a table in the library. If my friend’s isn’t an option,Tourterelle in New Haven and the Storm Cafe in downtown Middlebury are two other good options.
Best Breakfast in Middlebury
One thing Middlebury is missing in my mind is a good place for a sit-down breakfast.Middlebury Bagel & Deli has delicious donuts, and Otter Creek Bakery makes delicious baked goods and maple lattes, if you’re up for a breakfast on-the-go worth every one of the calories
Best Sandwiches in Middlebury
Costello’s Market, located in the Marbleworks, isn’t the most wallet-friendly option for lunch in Middlebury, but it is one of the tastiest. Owners Carolyn and John will always greet you—a local or not—with a big, genuine smile. Order some sandwiches (De Pasquale’s Favorite, the Blackened Salmon Sub, the Sicilian and the Scarface are my faves) and picnic overlooking the Otter Creek Falls.
MIDDLEBURY TASTING TRAIL
On the trail, north to south:
Open Wed-Fri 11-6; Sat-Sun 11-5
1321 Exchange StMiddlebury, VT 05753 (802) 388-0700 www.woodchuck.com
Open Thu-Fri 12-8; Sat 12-6; Sun 12-4
1197 Exchange St Middlebury, VT 05753 (802) 388-3000 www.stonecutterspirits.com
Open Daily 1-5
88 Mainelli Rd Middlebury, VT 05753 (802) 989-7362 www.appalachiangap.com
Mon-Wed 11-6; Thu-Sun 11-7
793 Exchange St Middlebury, VT 05753 (802) 388-0727 www.ottercreekbrewing.com
Thu-Sat 11:30-5:30; Sun 11:30-4:00
inside Danforth Pewter Workshop 52 Seymour St Middlebury, VT 05753(802) 897-7700
Open Mon-Wed 11-5; Thu-Sat 11-7; Sun 12-5
610 Route 7 South Middlebury, VT 05753 (802) 989-7414 www.dropinbrewing.com
Lodging Options in Middlebury
Whether you’re a fan of staying at motels, hotels, bed and breakfasts, inns or prviate homes through Airbnb, there’s a lodging option for you in Middlebury. If you’re on a budget, I’d recommend the history Middlebury Inn‘s Carriage House for lower rates; you can’t beat the location right on the town green. The Swift House Inn would be my choice if you’ve budgeted a bit more for your visit to Middlebury; try to stay in the Swift Room for a classic Middlebury experience.
Activities in Middlebury
The Middlebury Tasting Trail—a way to highlight the surging number of breweries, distilleries and cidery in town—is a must for those who like to imbibe. The trail consists of Otter Creek Brewing, Appalachian Gap Distillery, Drop-in Brewery, Woodchuck Cider, Stonecutter Spirits and Lincoln Peak Winery. Drop-in and Lincoln Peak are outliers, but the others are within a mile of each other on Exchange Street in town. Just make sure you have a designated driver; our friendly police officers in town mean business!
The Middlebury Farmers’ Market isn’t the biggest market in the state, but it is a good chance to fine some local products and get a feel for the community. From cheesemongers to jewelry-makers to local egg purveyors and maple syrup makers, each vendor at the Middlebury Farmers’ Market has a unique story and will want to share their passion with you. They also often samples for you to try. Don’t miss Good Companion Bakery for a wood-fired cinnamon bun or salted pretzel.
Walk down Main Street in Middlebury, over the falls and then wind your into Marbleworks and take the footbridge back into town. There are some beautiful photo opps of the Otter Creek Falls, and this short walking route will give you a chance to duck into some of the locally owned stores in town like Clementine (beautifully curated items from independent designers and artists from babygoods to home decor), Sweet Cecily (locally made art, jewelry and home goods) or Vermont’s Own Products (from local fudge to hot sauce to maple syrup and everything in between, all made in Vermont). You might want to stop for a creemee at Sama’s Cafe or, if the winter, a hot cocoa from Carol’s Hungry Mind Cafe.
If you’re up for hiking, there are two beautiful hikes not far from downtown Middlebury; both are relatively low mileage but have views at the top that make the up-hill climb worth every step. Snake Mountain boasts views looking towards the Adirondack Mountains and Lake Champlain and is less than five miles up and back. The Abbey Pond Trail (my neighborhood hiking spot!) is about two miles up, but steeper than Snake Mountain; you’ll be greeted by waterfalls along the way and Abbey Pond herself at the top. Both are good options if you plan on eating (or drinking) your way through Middlebury.
If spotting a covered bridge is on your Vermont to-do list, there are two in Middlebury: thePulp Mill Bridge, a two-way bridge that’s listed on the National Historic Registry) and theHalpin Covered Bridge, also known as the “High Bridge,” outside of town a few miles.
If you are hunting for locally made items, Danforth Pewter, Maple Landmark and Vermont Soap are all owned locally and are worth a visit.
Middlebury College Museum of Art
72 Porter Field Rd., Rte. 30, Middlebury, VT 05753, United States
Although small, Middlebury College in western Vermont maintains a sterling reputation, and its museum of art is no different. Heavily used by students, the thick-granite facility displays its diverse collection, ranging from Assyrian reliefs to Jasper Johns serigraphs, in four galleries across two floors. Highlights include an Early Renaissance triptych and Gilbert Stuart’s iconic portrait of George Washington. The museum also hosts half a dozen temporary exhibitions each year with equal variety. Reproductions of the work are available for purchase in the gift shop.
The Middlebury College Museum of Art is an integral educational and cultural component of Middlebury College whose mission is to enable visitors to understand more fully the artistic achievements represented by a diversity of cultures. Our collection of several thousand objects ranges from antiquities to contemporary art and includes distinguished collections of Asian art, photography, 19th-century European and American sculpture, and contemporary prints. Works from the permanent collection and special loan exhibitions are on display throughout the year, and we regularly sponsor lectures, gallery talks, films, school programs, and family workshops. The Museum also maintains the college’s collection of 20 works of public sculpture sited in various locations around the campus.
Middlebury Area Events
We’ve got all kinds of great things to do while you are here in Middlebury. Our friends at the Chamber of Commerce and Seven Days Vermont have put together some great calendars that include all sorts of events, from outdoor concerts and food festivals, to cozy indoor poetry readings and museum openings.
See the Chamber of Commerce Calendar here, and the Seven Days calendar here. As always, feel free to give us a call at 802.388.4105 or speak with our host/hostess upon your arrival about other events that may coincide with your stay in the area.
Henry Sheldon Museum
The Sheldon Museum offers an outstanding local history collection in a marble merchant’s house circa 1829. Exhibits are changing frequently and a museum shop is available for mementos. Each summer the Museum hosts an evening of wonderful music on the campus of Middlebury College. Plan your trip in late June to be part of this bit of Americana. The Sheldon Museum, the oldest community-based Museum in the country, has welcomed visitors and researchers since 1882. In 2015, the Sheldon Museum announced a two-year alliance with Historic New England. To learn more about Historic New England and the alliance, follow the links on the next page. Our mission is to serve the public by preserving the historic memory of Addison County and neighboring communities, heightening the awareness and enjoyment of our rich cultural legacy, and stimulating the study of connections between Vermont’s past and broader historical themes. We offer lively tours, exhibits, and programs to enrich the understanding of Vermont’s past in each of the three main areas of the Museum:
§ The Judd-Harris House, built in 1829, showcases a wealth of objects depicting small town life in nineteenth century Vermont
§ The Stewart-Swift Research Center houses one of the state’s premier archival collections, documenting the history of Middlebury, Addison County, and Vermont
§ The Walter Cerf Gallery hosts changing exhibits throughout the year
The Museum also has an Education Program offering on-site and outreach programs using reproductions of maps, documents, and artifacts from the Museum collections. Public programs at the Sheldon Museum include a popular Holiday Open House, an outdoor Pops Concert in the summer, and many other events throughout the year. View Programs & Eventsfor a full list of upcoming Museum programs.
Vermont Folklife Center
folk·life /ˈfōkˌlīf/ noun : The way of life of a community or group.
Vermont’s rich traditional folk arts, stories and ways of life are preserved in the Center’s galleries. Videotapes, workshops, special lectures and sound archives are available at their wonderful downtown location (next door to a favorite bakery and cafe, Otter Creek Bakery). The Center is open Monday through Friday 9am to 5pm and open Saturdays from June through October noon to 4pm. 802-388-4964.
UVM Morgan Horse Farm
Located in Middlebury, Vermont, a fascinating tour of the horse farm operated by the University of Vermont and dedicated to the Morgan Horse.
The UVM Morgan Horse Farm is dedicated to the preservation and improvement of the Morgan Horse through breeding and selection. Designated as a site on the National Register of Historic Places, the farm is also home to significant Morgan history and a variety of educational programs. For over 60 years, the farm has provided educational experiences and training for students and visitors while perpetuating the Battell, Government, and UVM bloodlines. UVM Morgans are prized as superb pleasure horses for recreational use and as foundation broodstock.
This is a working horse farm which has been in business since the 1870’s and has gained worldwide renown for maintaining the Morgan horse breed. There is an hourly educational tour which is both informative and entertaining, and their gift shop is a fitting finish to the tour. The farm is open May through October from 9am to 4pm. There is a small admission fee. 802-388-2011
Town Hall Theater
Middlebury’s beautifully renovated theater offers an incredible variety of performances; a recent favorite was “An Evening With FDR” played by Ed Asner. The theater is pure pleasure and offers a great insight into our community talent and energy.
All of Vermont, and certainly the Middlebury area, are blessed with diverse outdoor attractions. Many have been inspired by the natural beauty of our mountains and have written eloquently about the surroundings. Robert Frost, one of Vermont’s most well-known poets, (and a frequent guest at the Waybury Inn!) documented the landscape during his summers at Breadloaf, attesting to the peace one can find in these parts. Of course, there are many outdoor adventurers that are happy to leave the writing to others, and whose passion is taking advantage of nature in a more physical way. We have never been wild about “one size fits all” options, but in this case “one area can please all”– the Middlebury area has activities for the writers and the thrill-seekers alike. We hope that you will visit and take advantage of our great outdoors.
Picnic luncheons are always available at the Inn and can be tailored to your preferences, please let us know at the front desk if you would like to see our menu and place your order the night before or during breakfast the day of your adventure so it’s ready to go when you are.
See other exciting outdoor activities
Fly Fish in the Middlebury River, which is no more than 100 yards from the Inn’s front door. The river is stocked each spring with brook and brown trout that are elusive but caught every day. The area between the gorge and the Lower Plains Bridge is a productive fishing stretch within a short walk from the Inn. In our lobby we have a nice variety of locally tied flies, available for purchase, to enhance your fishing arsenal. If you want to learn this fascinating sport or obtain local knowledge we team up with a local guide service that can tailor their services with your needs and desires. The service is Stream and Brook and you can learn more at: www.streamandbrook.com
Hiking or Snow Shoeing
Hiking and/or Snowshoeing in the Green Mountains is a must! There are so many maintained trails it would be near impossible to list and describe them all, but we will mention some of our favorites:
· Robert Frost Interpretive Trail: Located three miles up the mountain and part of the National Forest, the trails are maintained and bridges allow easy passage over the steam that wanders through the field. Various poems by Frost are written on small kiosks throughout the walk.
· Spirit in Nature Trails: An extensive trail system takes one through the forest and is well marked so you can confidently hike without the worry of all trees beginning to look alike.
· The trail to Lana Falls and Silver Lake: The trail head starts at the back side of the lovely Lake Dunmore, about five miles from the Inn. The scenery is very nice and at the top there is a sweet reward: Silver Lake. This is a great spot to picnic, read, do a little fishing or just sit and admire the scenery.
· The Long Trail: The Green Mountain Club founded, built, and to this day maintains Vermont’s Long Trail. The first long-distance hiking trail in the United States and it spans the peaks from the Massachusetts state line for 270 miles to the Canadian border. A trailhead is located about 4 miles from the Inn and provides a great day’s hike. Find out more here.
Canoeing and Kayaking
There are two great lakes to canoe or kayak, which are Lake Dunmore and Lake Champlain. Lake Dunmore is five miles from the Inn and has many points of access, one of which isBranbury State Park, the park offers canoe, kayak and rowboat rentals. Lake Champlain is a much bigger lake and is approximately twenty five miles from the Inn. There are many coves that are lovely for small craft and we will be happy to point you toward our favorites.
Running, Jogging, and Walking
While you are visiting, your morning cardio work is important and there are three directions that we recommend. Lower Plains road is across the street and has limited traffic; a run to the end of the road is about 1.8 miles with a couple of small inclines to keep it interesting. If you like flat, turn to the west as you leave the Inn, stay on the sidewalk and a run to the post office will take you 1 mile and to Route 7 will be 2 miles. For more pain and gain turn east from the Inn and head up Rt. 125, it is straight up hill and at the 1.5 mark you will be at Upper Plains Road.
Road biking has become extremely popular in Vermont and, it seems to us, drivers are extremely polite and understanding. If you bring your bike we can direct you to some of the same routes that are used by the professional bicycle touring companies that we partner with during the summer. The Inn can also make arrangements for bicycle rental with some advance notice. Click here to find out more.
Nordic and Alpine. We are fortunate to have great ski areas for cross-country and downhill skiing. Rickert Cross Country is four miles up the hill and offers a cozy lodge, rentals and miles of groomed trails. It is part of Middlebury College and the location for the ski team’s competition. There is the opportunity for lessons and, of course, lots of local advise (requested or not). Snowbowl is relatively small but incredibly addictive. It has two major downhill runs that are lengthy and challenging and many more runs that are shorter but packed with good times. This is a hill that will make you feel great that you ski and give you a good feel for Middlebury residents and kids because this is “their hill”. Food is available at Snowbowl at very reasonable rates but no alcohol, but our Pub will fill that bill on your return just 10 minutes down the mountain.