Although bananas don’t help Peter sleep, it seems that road trips do. Saturday night, after an exciting day of driving and cheese-tasting, Peter slept through the night for the first time in weeks.
On Saturday, we drove straight to Cabot, Vermont, stopping only for lunch and gas. We arrived just in time for the 3 p.m. tour of Cabot Creamery. I carried Peter in my Bjorn infant carrier so that he could take in the new sights. He was very attentive during the pre-tour movie, learning about how the Cabot Creamery Cooperative was founded in 1919 by local dairy farmers. In the beginning, the co-op made butter with the farmers’ extra milk. Today, they make all kinds of dairy products, and their cheddar cheeses and butters have won numerous national awards at the American Cheese Society’s annual competitions. I’m a fan of their sharp cheddars and selected flavored cheddars. (Cabot Tiki Masala Cheddar is very nice, but I wasn’t impressed by their new Wasabi Cheddar.) Son prefers milder flavors, so he bought a block of (kid-approved) mild cheddar. I also bought a small hunk of their clothbound cave aged cheddar. There were no samples of this particular variety available for tasting, but at $16.79/pound, the stuff had better be good!
The bed and breakfast we stayed at was near Cabot. It was a bit frightening driving up the bumpy, muddy dirt road to get to the old farm house, but we made it without getting stuck in the mud. Our hostess, Jude, was very welcoming, and her cats, sheep, and llama were also congenial. With 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a nice jacuzzi, living room, kitchen, and breakfast area, the bed and breakfast is well-suited for families of 5 or 6 visiting for multiple days. We went out for an informal dinner at a local restaurant and found the living room warmed by a fire in the wood stove when we returned.
I was worried that after the long naps Peter took during the day, he would want to play all night long. Happily, Peter fell right to sleep when we laid him down in the playpen provided by our hosts, and he did not stir until morning. It was such a relief to finally get a full night of sleep.
We had fruit salad, apple cider, tea, and waffles for breakfast. With chopped pecans and Vermont maple syrup, the farm animal-shaped waffles were delightful.
Next we visited the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory in Waterbury. I have to admit that I wasn’t as impressed by their tour as I was by Cabot Creamery’s. It was a more kid-friendly but less informational tour. (I was, however, interested to learn that Ben and Jerry’s employees receive 3 free pints of ice cream each day that they work. What would you do with that much free ice cream?) The ice cream we sampled on the tour was delicious, of course, but only one flavor was available for tasting. Also, they were not making ice cream while we were visiting, so it was difficult to imagine exactly what happens on a typical day at the factory.
Having made it all the way to Waterbury, I was determined to get some Lake Champlain Chocolates at the town’s chocolatier. Perhaps next time we visit Vermont, we’ll visit Burlington and go on a tour of the Lake Champlain Chocolates factory, but this time, we satisfied ourselves with the opportunity to buy some discounted factory seconds – dark chocolate lemon ginger truffles and dark chocolate cherry sensations. Yum!
Next stop: Montpelier. Son picked out a glass dish in an orange maple leaf pattern as a souvenir from a Vermont arts and crafts gallery, and we had grilled sandwiches for lunch at a cafe. Montpelier is a cute little city; I think it would be fun to spend a warm summer day walking around downtown.
We then headed south. We stopped at Sugarbush Farm in Woodstock, hoping that they would be boiling sap to make maple syrup. No such luck: temperatures had been so cold that the sap stopped flowing Friday night. However, we did get to sample the four grades of maple syrup, the farm’s cheese, and numerous jams and spreads. We saw a pair of horses, checked out the sugarhouse, and ventured a couple hundred yards down the maple trail before the snow and mud made us turn around. We bought some Fancy Vermont syrup (the lightest grade, not available in grocery stores) and a maple leaf-shaped glass bottle of Vermont Grade A Medium Amber syrup (Son’s favorite) to bring home.
On our way back to the highway, our GPS directed us over an old wooden covered bridge. Son thought it was funny that I got so excited about this bridge, but for me, it was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.
I did bring my camera, but I failed to use it. So I had to steal this photo of “my” bridge from Google images:
Isn’t it romantic!