Within a retro-style diner trimmed in neon, the chefs at The Farmer's Diner cull ingredients from more than a dozen local farms, bakeries, and smokehouses into all-day breakfast specials and hearty homestyle fare. After sliding into booths, guests peruse the menu, which tantalizes tongues with diner french toast made from local challah dipped in a farm-fresh egg wash ($6.95 for two pieces; $7.95 for three pieces), or the Vermonster hash breakfast of house-made corned-beef hash adorned with two poached eggs ($8.95). Country pancakes—lauded by Travel + Leisure as some of the nation's best—are crafted from King Arthur flour and come in buttermilk ($6.50 for two; $7.25 for three) or studded with blueberries, fresh bananas, or chocolate chips arranged into the silhouette of the patron's favorite dinosaur ($7.25 for two; $7.95 for three).
Wolfe City Brick Oven Pizza’s artisan chefs flip, top, and bake thin-crust masterpieces cloaked in a choice of six different cheeses. The multitudinous menu imparts the memoir of pizzas made from whole-wheat dough ($9.99), which features the recurring characters of fruits, meats, and veggies ($1.50 each traditional, $2.50 each gourmet) and conveys a delicious dénouement. Those who prefer pre-designed pies can sample expertly concocted combos such as the Two Men from Tuftonboro's italian sausage and pepperoni ($14.99) or the Wolfe City Nacho Pizza's bacon, veggies, and alfredo sauce ($14.99). Dessert pizzas assume the identities of classic post-dinner bites, including bananas foster ($12.99) and s'mores ($8.99), and beers, wines, and sodas slake artichoke-induced thirsts. Wolfe City's chefs can convert dough into gluten-free compositions quicker than Clark Kent's switch into Superman or Spiderman's transformation into Sir Edmund Hillary ($12.99).
Though he’s catered for Oprah and won Steven Tyler over with his meatballs, Lou Marzelli can still take the time to fill a family table. Dishes of lasagna, chicken parmesan, and penne in housemade marinara come to fruition out of recipes handed down through the Marzellis’ Italian-native family every day in their New York–style deli. A gleaming deli case brims with Boar's Head meats and cheeses ready to be sliced and stuffed into hearty wedge sandwiches. whereas pizzas proudly hold toppings such as genoa salami, fresh basil, or the crumbled remains of lesser pies. Breakfast selections are served all day alongside locally roasted espresso drinks, and 36 flavors of housemade gelato and sorbetto—such as stracciatella, strawberry, and tiramisu—put a sweet finish on Italian helpings.
The original owner of the picturesque two-story house—a daffodil-hued farmhouse with hunter-green shutters and a matching front door—invited guests into his makeshift tavern for a bowl of porridge and a nap at 12 cents a pop. More than 220 years later, the house in Bristol still entertains a revolving door of guests as The Homestead Restaurant. Inside, a brick fireplace radiates warmth across tables scattered with teriyaki-glazed steaks and alaskan king-crab legs dipped in drawn butter. The chefs also swaddle meatloaf wellington in a puff-pastry shell, and peppercorns burst sharply across sirloin with brandy and cream sauce. A dedicated gluten-free menu caters to diners with health issues or a tendency to remember the terrifying dinner-roll scene in Jaws.
A second location of The Homestead Restaurant in Merrimack is just as inviting inside with exposed wooden beams, an antlered chandelier, and a second-floor bar affording a perfect eagle’s-eye view of the tables below.
The Green Mountains, a branch of the ancient Appalachians stretching across Vermont, are named for the layers of stately evergreens that carpet their slopes. Deep in the verdant hillsides, the town of Chittenden is near the Green Mountain National Forest with infinite vistas for hiking, mountain biking, and game hunting. The Coolidge and Okemo State Forests are also about an hour away by car.For a taste of history, the nearby towns of Killington and Rutland boast charters dating to 1761, before the creation of Vermont itself. Throughout the warmer months, downtown Rutland’s weekly farmers' markets offer a place to shop for regional goods such as Vermont maple syrup and alpaca weavings. The area also hosts frequent outdoor concerts and other family-friendly events, many of them free.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
At Water Street Café, you can get your fill of fresh comfort food. Every home-style dish and side the cooks serve up is homemade, from the soups and chowders to the orange cranberry bread. During the early morning hours, guests can tuck into generous portions of fluffy pancakes, loaded omelets, and gourmet eggs benedict with thick, juicy slices of ham and grilled prime rib. Though breakfast is this modest café's bread-and-butter, the cooks also whip up an expansive lunch menu that conquers hunger with fried clams, meaty sandwiches, and a menu of flame-broiled, certified black Angus burgers crowned with pulled pork, sautéed mushrooms, and whiskey barbecue sauce. The eatery's full bar is manned at all hours of the day—staffers concoct mimosas and zesty bloody marys to spice up breakfast, and they serve up beer, wine, and cocktails during long afternoons.
Water Street Cafe is also open for dinner one day a week. Every Friday until 8 p.m., guests are invited to chow down on fried haddock, flame-broiled prime rib, and fried whole belly clams.
At Fratello’s, a wood-fired brick oven bakes bubbles into pizza dough as chefs sauté shrimp with fresh garlic, butter, and white wine. Aside from serving nine varietals of pizza, the 16,000-square-foot restaurant stays busy cooking up the hearty sandwiches, pasta dishes, and antipasto that fill their menu of casual Italian eats. Connected to the restaurant is an event facility, where Fratello’s caters events such as weddings, holiday parties, and baby’s-first-burp celebrations.