We had two days to scour the Green Mountains for good food and good buys.
by zabelle on April 10, 2007
Nestled in the Green Mountains we had a clear view of the ski slopes at Pico from the balcony of our King Room. Now granted the price for that view was that we were on the parking lot side of the hotel instead of the mountain side but it was a price we didn’t mind paying.We have stayed here several times before so when we arrived in our room we were welcomed by a note from Innkeeper Ted Bridges, this was no surprise but the Vermont candies were. We also got a nice little bag with granola bars and several unusual toiletry items.Our room was located on the second floor, was non smoking, and had a king size bed. It also had a nice wooden dresser, two night stands with wicker lamps. There are two wingback chairs with a table between. The ice bucket and two glasses are on the table. The remote control TV has about 30 channels and there is a nice selection of books and magazines. The room has Wi-Fi but you must ask for the voucher ID and the password at the front desk. The bathroom is large and includes the usual amenities as well as a blow dryer. The closet is huge and has two suitcase holders, iron, and ironing board as well as extra blankets and pillows, one of them was down.The Cortina is more than just a hotel, it is a resort. You can enjoy the pool, the whirlpool, sauna, the health club, or get a massage. Take a ride on a sleigh in the winter or play tennis or enjoy their hiking trails in the warm weather. On the lower level there is a game room off of Theodore’s Tavern.There is a book room if you are looking for a computer or a book to read. The Centre Court at the Conference entrance has plenty of tables, chairs, and couches and is the location of the afternoon tea between 4:30pm and 5:30pm. If have your choice of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate as well as five or six types of cookies. Breakfast in Zola’s Restaurant is included in the room rate. It is a buffet with a chef who will make omelets or fried eggs. There are lots of other choices including make your own toast from four or five different types of bread, bagels, and English muffins. Belgian waffles, fruit salad, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, french toast fingers, oatmeal, and granola. Coffee and juice are delivered to your table. On Sunday you can upgrade to the Brunch which is served from 11am to 1:30pm for $6.95 each.The resort has two restaurants, Zola’s which offers an upscale American menu and Theodores which is a pub in the lower level and is a casual family restaurant. On Friday and Saturday evening they have an all you can eat pasta bar for $24 for 2.
I have read a lot of good things about this restaurant over a long period of time and finally the opportunity presented itself to stop there for lunch. It was a sunny Saturday in March and we had just spent the morning antiquing in Quechee. The parking lot was pretty full and we had to park a good distance from the restaurant. This is a beautiful brick former factory which now houses a Simon Pearce store and workshop as well as the restaurant.We walked in and this was the only time we ever had to wait more than a couple of minutes but shortly we were seated in the front dining room in the middle of the room. Sara was our waitress and she was very helpful not only with ordering but in making sure that I got a copy of the menu to take with me. There was a daily special menu as well as the regular lunch menu. The soups were Vermont Cheddar and Shiitake mushroom and leek. The entrées were asparagus, red pepper, black olive, rosemary, and garlic quiche and oven roasted flounder with red cabbage and pear slaw, Himalayan red rice and a spicy lemongrass cream sauce. There were even drink specials, Harpoon 100 Barrel series “English Style Ale”, Harpoon Draft style root beer and Tres Grand Margarita. It certainly gave us something to think about.While we were thinking we received water, my apricot iced tea and a plate with mini buttermilk biscuits and molasses brown bread. Food for thought indeed.I decided after looking the dessert menu over that I would have a warm brie and spinach salad. Al had a cup of cheddar soup and shepherd’s pie. The soup came first and it was delicious, thick, cheesy and I swear I tasted leeks in the soup. When my salad arrived it was love at first taste. The spinach was baby spinach, it was covered with a balsamic peppercorn dressing and there were sliced strawberries and sweet spiced nuts, almonds, pecan, and walnuts. They were so good that Al was picking them off my plate. It was also a very generous portion.Al’s shepherd’s pie was served in a little casserole and in addition to corn had peas and carrots in the vegetable layer. The meat had a red sauce that was spiced a little like catsup. There was nothing left in that little casserole when he was done.I decided to finish up with a cup of coffee and lemon semifreddo with a blueberry compote and a citrus shortbread. Not only was it amazingly delicious it was beautiful to look at, done as a cold little cone with the shortbread clinging to the side. Service was right on. Al drinks between 5 and 6 glasses of water per meal and he never had an empty glass. We didn’t have a view of the falls but the other two dining rooms have large windows and great views.
Cabot Cheese StoreRoute 4Quechee, VtThere is a whole lot more to this store than Cabot Cheese. Not that just Cabot Cheese would be a bad thing but man or woman cannot live by cheese alone. But before you decide be sure to try all the cheese they offer. Oh yes, you get to taste, there are little bowls filled with cubes of all the different cheeses. What got us the door however was popcorn topped with Cabot Cheese powder, oh my it makes the popcorn taste as good as that famous brand of cheese popcorn.I began on one side of the store and worked my way to the other picking up made in Vermont products. Jam from Farms for my mother, pancake and scone mix from King Arthur Flour for my girl friends, a pound of Green Mountain Coffee beans for me. Since I was spending all of Al’s money I didn’t get any maple syrup, any dip mix, any of the really cute tea shirts, the bottles of local wine or the nice selection of Vermont cookbooks.You can not only have a snack out here but so some serious shopping. I even got some Vermont made dog biscuits for Brie and Beau in the shape of a heart, very cute.Mesa Factory StoreRoute 4Quechee, VtThis is another one of the stores that I just love to browse though. Mesa offers some beautiful pottery, wrought iron wear, glasses and garden items made around the world and in a variety of styles and colors. They were having a buy one get one at half price sale but this is one place where I just looked and resisted the temptation to buy. All of Mesas pieces are individually designed and handcrafted. It’s a great place to get a special mug and not one that everyone else has. These have that hand thrown look so don’t expect to see Vermont, or special teacher or something like that. Do expect to find a wide selection in unique colors and combinations.Laro’s New England SpecialtiesRoute 4Quechee, VTNow having loaded up on Vermont products at Cabot Cheese you would have thought that I would not be in the market for anything else made in New England but you would be wrong. I was still not only looking, I was buying. Now the difference is that here all of New England is represented and since I am a big lover of Maine’s Stonewall Kitchen, I was in heaven. Again there were lots of choices including New England honey, spices, and mustard that include maple in their ingredient list, homemade fudge and lots more. You can also get yourself a cup of Green Mountain Coffee in one of their many flavors in a pod machine. They sell bags of the ground coffee and the whole beans as well. They have a nice selection of scone, pancake, and waffle and muffin mixes to go along with your coffee.
Shiretown Book Store 9 Central StWoodstock VtShiretownbooksI can never pass up a local independent bookstore and this was no exception. As we were passing through Woodstock I spied what was just about the only store open at 9am on a Saturday and we found a parking spot right in front. This is a small but very well stock store with a resident black cat named Sirius Black or Mister B who will be happy to make you welcome. When we arrived he was in the process of tearing up the window display but he soon joined me in the travel section to get his pet. The owner is very friendly and also very knowledgeable and was able to steer me in the direction of the lasted Tracey Chevalier novel which Al nicely offered to buy for me. I had already picked up a couple of interesting history books and was considering myself well satisfied. I want to point out that both the history and the travel section offered some wonderful choices and the owner even asked me to suggest some titles that they should be stocking. I suggested that the insider guides are among my favorites and she is going to give it consideration.Fat Hat 1 Main StQuechee VTThis is a very interesting store especially if you are in the market for a hat. I discovered it three or four years ago when I purchased a wonderful winter hat made of purple chenille which I wore all over Germany in my trip there in 2005. I wish I had thought to come up here to get my hat for the cruise. I tried on a couple there today and they have one straw one with a stretchy band inside that makes it fit tight to your head, that would have helped as I did my morning walk on the ship and had to hold my hat on with one hand.It isn’t all about woman either, they have a nice selection of men’s hats too. There are more than just hats here, they sell cloths both men and woman’s and also some candles and scents. A really fun stop.Antiques Collaborative4 Waterman PlaceQuechee, VtThis is three floors of very upscale antiques. I wasn’t going to find any of my aluminum ware here however I enjoy looking at things that I can’t necessarily have. They have a wide variety of offerings including Roseville, Rookwood and Weller pottery, lots of gold jewelry, some wonderful English and Scottish sterling silver. I was quite fascinated by an almost $3,000 tea set without tray. Not all the things are as pricey, there are some beautiful butter pats that run from $30 up and some small sterling butter knives and tea straining spoons. The walls are adorned with prints and paintings from a few hundred dollars to many thousands. On the third floor I loved a French early 20th century farm table for a cool $1,800 and also a magnificent 19th century trunk the likes of which I have never seen before for $5,000.This is a multi dealer shop and there are several book dealers and did I buy anything, well yes. I spent $4 on a passport book for my grandson Alex on learning French. Did I lust after lots of other things, you bet and I thoroughly enjoyed pretending that I could afford to buy them.There is an elevator that can take you to all three floors if stairs are an issue.
Antiques Mall At Quechee Gorge VillageQuechee VtThis is one of my very favorite antiques malls. It is huge. There are over 450 dealer booths located on two floors. This is the type of store that you need to visit regularly because the inventory is constantly changing. As you walk by the register go to the right and the first dealer on your right will be a print dealer. This dealer specializes in 19th century botanical prints and maps. Always a fascinating stop. I spent my first money here, this trip at the next booth which was a book dealer. I picked up a Rumford Cookbook and a book about Jane Austin both of which were very well priced.Some of the dealers were offering discounts on all the items in their booths ranging from 15% to 50%. Luckily the book dealer was one of them. Another thing that is always in abundance here are some very nice linens. I didn’t buy any but I saw a very pretty pink damask table cloth and matching napkins for $18, you can’t go wrong if it is your table size. There will be staff walking around and if you find something you like they will take it to the desk for you and give you a number for the cubby where it will be located when it is time to check out. While you are on the second floor you can take a detour to The Vermont Craft Center. This is a juried center where you can be sure to find some very find hand made items. Beyond the knitted, crocheted, and quilted items you will also find homemade soaps, candles, and lotions. I fell in love with some place mats and table runners but I resisted the temptation to buy. There are wooden children’s toys, music boxes, beaded name bracelets, sterling silver jewelry and a whole lot more. This is where I bought my favorite sterling ring, my mother and child, it always gets a lot of attention. As a matter of fact when I lost weight I came back and bought a smaller size, I like it that well, it is my signature ring. New on this trip were photographs. They were offered both framed and matted or only matted. Some done is color but many black and white. Muddy Duck Kids1 Main StQuechee VtHow could I resist a children’s store. This is not your typical store , you won’t find the same brands that you will at your local department store. Well at least in clothes you won’t . I did buy a musical gund to attach to a baby’s crib and of course gund is a name that everyone recognizes. I also bought a very cute coverall in blues and lime green with animals on it that is totally unique but in style reminds me of "hannah". There were also children’s toys for sale. There were sale racks with discounts of 40 and 50%. Northern Ski Works OutletRoute 4Bridgewater, VtAl has been wanting an updated pair of ski boots to go with his new skis. One option was to get a really good pair of used boots. Northern Ski Works Outlet is the place to do that. The pair that he bought have had a previous life as rental boots and now are making Al a very happy man. They cost him $70 and new they would have been over $300. Can’t go wrong. They also sell new ski clothes, new skis and new boots. This is the outlet but they have two other stores one in Ludlow and one at Killington. I think they best buys though will be had in Bridgewater.
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