We have been to Bristol and the surrounding towns (Vergennes, Lincoln,Middlebury, and Starksborough) three times over the last year. Exploring new places is always exciting, but I've loved getting to know this little town. It is so fun to begin to know our way around, and arrive looking forward to visiting favorite spots. So far, we've been twice in the fall (October '18 and last weekend) with Chris' parents, and then once over this past Memorial Day weekend for camping. It's beautiful and charming both times of year.
This time, we left in the morning on Saturday and met his parents at Oktoberfest at Mount Snow. It was wicked crowded, but this was my first Oktoberfest and I had a great time trying perogies and carrying around steins of local beer. Plus there was polka music and plenty of people dressed up, so even waiting in line for food felt like an activity.
Bristol is about 2.5 hours away from Mount Snow, so once we were done we loaded up again and headed to our Air BnB! I loved this place. The inside looked like a general store, the bedrooms were cozy and filled with books, and they had a woodstove in the living room! My parents have always heated the house with wood, but it was weirdly exciting to make and keep a fire going in a new-to-me-stove. Coupled with no service and slow internet, it made the whole weekend so refreshing. I could sit and stare at a fireplace for hours.
The Air BnB was also on Sentinel Farm, so we got to meet their horses. The cows weren't on the property, but they also raised their own beef, and had freezers in the back of our kitchen filled with their products! I will forever be interested in how small, full-time farmers make their businesses work, and it was very cool to how many different projects they had going.
It was pretty late on Saturday night by the time we headed out to dinner, so we went to Cubbers, which is an adorable little sandwich and pizza place on Bristol's main street. Super casual, but really good pizza, and the staff were very friendly.
After dinner, we walked across the street to our favorite Bristol spot: Hatch 31. Last October, Chris and I stumbled on this bar while waiting to meet his parents, and we have been in love with it ever since. They always have live music, we've had the same bartender all three times, the locals that go there are always high energy and super friendly. The first time we went there, there was a five or six person folk band all playing instruments and leaning in to sing around one microphone. Something about that set our hearts on fire, and we've looked forward to dropping in every visit since. Hatch 31 is a treasure.
After sleeping in Sunday morning, we stopped for breakfast at Bristol Cliffs Cafe. It's a fresh, bright breakfast and lunch spot, with lots of muffins, eggs, and sandwiches. We enjoyed noticing all the different salt & pepper shakers on the tables, our favorites being the potato shakers on the table next to us. I got an egg sandwich with lots of veggies and onions, and loved it. Sometimes eggs taste weird at restaurants, but these were obviously fresh and local. I also picked up a slice of carrot cake and a slice of cheesecake to have later that night. The carrot cake was amazing!! The cheese cake was a little gross. All in all though, I can't wait to go again.
After breakfast, we walked along some trails to enjoy the scenery. We weren't looking for a real hike, so we just did part of the Cooley Glen-Emily Proctor Trail. I know this isn't breaking news, but guys: fall in Vermont is beautiful. The sky and the leaves and the water: everything was perfect. And the farm houses! Every two feet I was shouting "that one! that one! how about that one?!". They were the kind of fields and houses that make you want to be a better person.
After our walk, we headed over to Middlebbury VT, a little bit to the south, to Happy Valley Orchard. They make incredible cider donuts and their own apple cider, so of course we got some. I also bought a really cute pumpkin called a 'sunburst pumpkin', which is small and perfectly round and yellow, with orange streaks. We also took a bunch of photos, because it was beautiful, but also because we took photos here last year, and who doesn't love a side by side?!
After that, we spent a little more time in the Air BnB and then Chris and I headed home! It was the perfect, quick weekend away, and a great excuse to take some time off work and soak in my favorite time of year.
In our year and a half together, Chris and I have managed to explore quite a few places. Our favorites, though, are always the spots that let you see them the way locals do. Nothing gimmicky or touristy, just friendly and unique and authentic. There is something really pleasant about going back to Bristol, and I hope this little tradition continues.
Other Bristol favorites: