A recent road trip through Vermont allowed me to soak up the lush, green, hazy soft vistas of the Vermont hills and mountains from the cool comfort of my car. Despite some sections of road construction on VT 89, 91, 100 and 7, it was a smooth ride on a hot summer day. Three (in theory, unplanned :-)) bakery pit-stops made the necessary trip that much better. A big feast for the eyes and a small treat for the soul, a full bakery case is a delight to behold.
In Brandon, a sharp curve on Rt 7 slows traffic enough to allow a driver to notice a little bakery tucked into the corner of town – and to quickly scan for a nearby parking spot. Gourmet Provence offers pastries and breads with a French twist. Though the breads are not always out of the oven early in the day, there are usually enough pastry choices to satisfy. This visit, the golden-brown, flaky croissants won out – plain, chocolate and almond. Yum!
Later that same day, the Red Hen beckoned from Rt 89. Known for their hearty breads and savory pastries, their easy on/off highway location made it a quick – and delicious – stop. Though their case had been almost emptied out (it was late in the day), there were still some freshly baked treats left. A hearty roll and local goat cheese from the cooler made for a perfect picnic dinner. A delectable and buttery little brioche was just right for a late afternoon, take-a-break-from-driving cup of tea.
The next day, a late lunch of freshly made gazpacho soup (cool and spicy – perfect on a hot day), iced latte, and a hearty peanut butter cookie at the Seasoned Books and Bakery Cafe saved the day. A friendly cafe/bakery located inside a used book store, makes for a fun stop when traveling through Rochester on Rt 100.
All three bakeries offered more than baked goods, and shared spaces with gifts, prepared food, wine, books, local cheeses and handcrafts, and while each had their own district flavor and appeal, each one was well worth a stop. Driving through Vermont means that one is (fortunately!) never far away from good, locally owned and sourced bakeries and friendly bakers.