Warren Vermont: An Unexpected Love

It was one week and two days from Labor Day, and I had no plans.  Planning a trip over a popular weekend on short notice seemed like an insurmountable achievement.  I wanted to think outside the box, so I decided to base my decision on one of the properties on the Relais and Chateaux website.  In searching North America east, I was on my last page of options when The Pitcher Inn was staring back at me from the computer screen.  It seemed perfect, and I booked it without much additional thought.  After booking, in the couple of days before the trip, I started to look at things to do in the area.  Here are some great options for exploring Warren and the immediate surrounding areas. 

It really is best to rent a car for your visit.  There is a lot to explore in the area immediately around Warren, but a car is necessary.  All of the places that I visited below are under an hour in driving distance.  I landed at the Burlington Airport on a Friday evening and drove the 50 plus minutes to the Pitcher Inn.  It is a relatively pleasant drive on mainly two lane roads.  You will pass through several towns on your way there, many with beautiful inns.  The number of places to stay is rather abundant. 

Whether you stay in Warren or the immediate area, consider some of the following during your visit. Many of the stops are relatively quick and easy. They can easily be accomplished over the course of a weekend. If you want to spend more time, there are plenty of hikes and small towns to explore.

The Warren Store, Art in the Village, and Forage and Finery.  These are all located on Main Street in Warren immediately across the street from The Pitcher Inn.  The Warren Store has food and coffee along with a clothing store upstairs.  Their sandwiches are a great option for lunch.  The Vermonter is a special grilled cheese with bacon, carmelized onions, and even maple syrup.  I highly recommend this to a grilled cheese lover.  They serve a more traditional grilled cheese as well.  There is also a soup of the day, which seemed to be rather popular.  I tried the brisket chili, and it had a nice smoky flavor.  My first day I tried a sandwich called the Family, which had many different Italian meats.  Personally, I didn’t love it.  It was just too much meat, and the flavors weren’t spectacular. My feelings were swayed in a much different direction the following day after trying the Vermonter and brisket chili. Both great!

If you walk outside the Warren Store, you will see the art gallery.  It is entertaining to walk through.  The paintings are rather pricey, so this is only for those wanting to splurge.  They do have some really beautiful pieces, and the art is all very colorful.  Finally, Forage and Finery has jewelry and home items downstairs with clothing upstairs.  The prices are expensive, but I did purchase some beautiful, one of a kind pieces here. 

Moss Glenn Falls.  There are a few waterfalls in the immediate area and the drive is relatively easy.  The furthest is Moss Glenn Falls.  This was far less crowded than Warren Falls, which certainly provided part of the appeal. Moss Glenn Falls is about 15 minutes from main street in Warren. Tracy at The Pitcher Inn recommended a visit here amongst others. I tried everything she recommended and loved her suggestions.

Warren Falls.  I have a couple of thoughts on visiting Warren Falls. Everything is centered around crowds. I tried to visit twice on a Saturday. The first time, there was no parking in the adjacent lot or on the street. When I returned later in the day, I found a parking space, but it was still rather crowded. Ultimately, I returned a third time Sunday morning around 8am. The falls were empty. I loved having the place to myself. If you love swimming or have children, there were many families doing just that. For those wanting photos, I recommend arriving early.

Sunset Ledge Hike. There are a number of hikes in the immediate area of Warren with varying lengths. I decided upon sunset ledge due to the length of the trail and views. This hike is about 2.2 miles roundtrip. The trail was rather muddy, so I recommend hiking boots or appropriate footwear. The views at the end were expansive. The hike wasn’t terribly difficult.

The Cabot Creamery. I love cheese, and Vermont is home to Cabot. That being said, they have much more than cheese for sale. There are a number of spreads, sauces, and even wine. Some of the products I purchased were Fat Toad Farm Caramel, a French Onion Spread to use on a cheese board, and Mike’s Hot Honey sauce.

The Farmers Market. The Pitcher Inn recommended the farmer’s market in Waitsfield. It was a very short drive and such a great stop! I want to mention some of the booths. Wolfpeach was very interesting. They sell many provisions like tonics, elixirs, and pantry items. I purchased the venus in fur and nectar of the gods elixirs. They can be used alone, to create a non-alcoholic beverage, or with a liquor like gin or mezcal. Two people walked up asking for their bitters (which were sold out) while I was shopping, so they must be a popular item. Another favorite was the honey I purchased from Sunshine Berry Farm. I tried and bought three varieties of their raw honey. In general, the booths have a lot of food and cheeses for sale. I tried a strawberry aqua fresca while walking around that was so tasty. Finally, I love pickled vegetables. Gizmo’s pickled plus had some really fun things like sunshine pickles with tumeric or their dilly beans. They allowed us to try some of their items before purchase, and I did not taste one bad thing. Gizmo’s also ships to out of state! I loved this farmers market.

Vermont Artisan Tea and Coffee. One of the things that I appreciated about the Pitcher Inn was their selection of local items. They had so many tea options in our room all from Vermont Artisan Tea and Coffee. After trying two, I decided to look up how far their storefront was from the hotel. If you want to make an afternoon of it, drive to the Cabot Creamery and Vermont Artisan Tea and Coffee. Other things in the area are Stowe (mentioned below) and Ben and Jerry’s factory and ice cream shop. The tea company has a large building with a small shop where you can purchase their coffee and teas. My favorite tea was hibiscus blossom.

Drive to Stowe. I drove to Vermont Artisan Tea and Coffee. During the drive, I realized that Stowe was not much further. I didn’t spend an exorbitant amount of time by any stretch, so I am not an expert. Parking on a Sunday was a little difficult. I drove around the block a few times before finding a spot within walking distance of the main stretch. They have a farmer’s market as well. I didn’t visit, but if it was anything like the one in Waitsfield, I would say it is worth checking out. The city was definitely “larger” than Warren. There were many cute stores on main street with a little bit of something for everyone.

Walk to the Warren Covered Bridge. Not far from the Pitcher Inn as you drive along main street you will see this wooden covered bridge. Construction ended on the bridge in 1880! It crosses the Mad River. You will find it on Covered Bridge Road. It was a fun place to walk for a couple of photos with some history behind them. Today, it is still fully functional and many cars passed through while I was taking photos.

The Sugarbush Hotel. This is a large, more commercial hotel located between Waitsfield and the Pitcher Inn. If you stay at the Pitcher Inn, you can utilize their gym amenities and tennis courts. I went in the morning to walk around the property. Families were outside playing games and having drinks. There is skiing in the winter and biking trails in the summer.

On the road to the hotel, I stopped at Paradise Provisions. Here I purchased a Maple Seltzer, which I’ve only seen in Vermont. Also, many of the stores sold Tost. This is a non alcoholic champagne like drink, which I have never tried before. For those that want a substitute for alcohol, this is a wonderful option.

I hate to make it sound like my expectations were low, but this was my first trip to Vermont, so I didn’t know quite what to expect. Vermont impressed me. The small town of Warren impressed me. All things considered, I don’t think this was my last visit to the Burlington Airport.

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