Article by Contributor Jean Solari
Winter in Vermont is exceptionally beautiful. Picturesque and cozy, a visit to the Mad River Valley is a must when planning a trip to the north country.
The area is home to some great down hill skiing. Sugarbush Resort is a quaint ski resort just minutes from the main road, Route 100. Fun for all ages, the conditions are fantastic as they provide state of the art snow making and groomed trails.
Further on up the road is Mad River Glen, which is described to be the perfect mountain for the serious skier. Its mantra is “Ski It If You Can.”
Looking to take in some cross country skiing? Blueberry Lake Cross Country Ski Center, located in Warren, is a beautiful area. Additionally, you can find cross skiing at Ole’s Cross Country Center, also in Warren.
After hitting the slopes, head to Waitsfield for fabulous shops and restaurants. Waitsfield is home to Lawson’s Finest Liquids, one of the top breweries in New England. Lawson’s boasts a terrific bar area, as well as a menu offering small bites. Visitors can come in and sit by the fire while enjoying a flight of various beers or a glass of your favorite.
If you are looking to sample more of the state’s fine craft beers and some local cheeses and other local foods, head on over to Mad River Taste. Here you can try it all, whether it’s gin from a local distillery or a local wine. Then ask to pair it with a compatible cheese. Their beer cooler is stocked with the best craft beers to take home with you.
Downtown Waitsfield has some fabulous shops operated by local artisans. Here you’ll never have a problem finding the perfect gift. It’s flanked by the Waitsfield Covered Bridge, which adds to this picture perfect little town center.
If you are looking to take in some of the scenery, drive beyond the main Route 100, cross the Waitsfield Covered Bridge and head southeast on East Warren Road. It’s a beautiful ride through the countryside with amazing views of Sugarbush Resort. At the end of the road, you’ll come to the quaint village of Warren.
Warren has to be one of the cutest towns in New England. Here you’ll find a covered bridge, a rushing stream, and one of the best country stores in the state. The Warren Store is quaint and welcoming. Its heat comes from a wood stove located at the center of the building. It has wonderful coffee, breakfast items and sandwiches. The second floor houses a wonderful gift shop that provides everything from clothing and jewelry to paintings and glass created by local artisans.
Are you looking to cozy up to a roaring fire? The Pitcher Inn, directly across from the store, is the place for you. The Inn offers rooms each eclectically decorated, as well as a fine dining restaurant with at least two fireplaces. However, when you head down the stairs from the lobby, you’ll find Tracks, a fabulous little New England style tavern with romantic and cozy vibes. The tavern offers wonderful seasonal cocktails, wine and local craft beer, as well as a pub style menu. The big fireplace sits adjacent to a couple of couches, where you can sit and relax after a long day of skiing.
My favorite go to cozy restaurant in the Mad River Valley is the American Flatbread at Lareau Farm. This is the original Flatbread restaurant, and it offers a casually elegant atmosphere. While waiting for your table, get a drink and head back outside to sit by the big fire pit. Something about this scene keeps you feeling toasty warm. The flatbreads and salads are made with local ingredients and are very delicious.
There aren’t any big malls here. You won’t find chain restaurants or towering hotels. What you will find is a peaceful part of New England that provides fun and relaxation. Mad River Valley provides the optimal winter getaway for everyone.
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