When snow falls in Vermont, our fields become home to the best cross country skiing - from indulging your inner racer with skate skiing to exploring with a back country trek. Here are some highlights that combine skiing, eating, and (sometimes) lodging in one.
A serious Nordic skier cannot visit (or live in) Vermont without a trip to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, home of some of the best racing trails in the country. Plan ahead for days when the Greensboro Shuttle runs to Highland Lodge to start a longer distance tour between the two. For the truly insane athlete, Craftsbury is also home to premier sculling waters and there's a gym with the latest in ergometer technology for an indoors workout off season.
This lodge in Greensboro offers cabins year round, a bar stocked with local favorites (open on weekends in winter), special events and, of course, connection to the ski trails.
A cross country skiing center with all the amenities, famous for its hut with hot soups at the top of the mountain and beer hall with cold brews at the bottom. Trapp Family Lodge is offers all sorts of skiing adventures, including backcountry. Snow shoeing, kids' activities, and an indoor fitness center and spa are also available.
The best maple creamies in Vermont wait your return from the 26 km of groomed trails at the Morse Farm ski center just 3 miles outside of downtown Montpelier. Check their site for the snow conditions - it may be only 3 miles from the capital but it's a whole different (snowier) microclimate.
It's Vermont, of course we have multiple ice cream themed Nordic ski centers - this began on the fields of Strafford Organic Creamery (a creator of hard scoop ice cream, not to be confused with the Morse Farm maple creamie, which is soft serve). Strafford is now its own Nordic center, offering classes, kids' activities, and fun events that include skiing + beer tastings. Be sure to check their websiteto find out what's next.
A romantic getaway with the finest gourmet food, the Pitcher Inn is perfect for a mini (or not so mini) vacation in the Mad River Valley. During winter the Pitcher Inn offers special deals on Sugarbush resort ski tickets for those inclined to Alpine skiing - nearby Ole's and Blueberry Hill (see below) offer beautiful Nordic adventures.
Blueberry Hill Inn is a Vermont B&B dedicated to enjoying the outdoor world in all four seasons. Its 50 km of ski trails bring you into the Moosalamoo National Recreation Area in the Green Mountain forest. If that isn't sufficient, 15 minutes away is Rikert ski area in Ripton, VT where snowmaking capabilities help this Nordic center offer the most skiable days in the state each year.
An elegant retreat in southern Vermont, the Grafton Inn offers plenty of options for enjoying the outdoors (including their own ski trails), good food, and small town life. While you're there, stop by MKT: Grafton to check out their collection of local specialty foods and artisan products, or pick up lunch from their Cafe.
Morse Farm Goes Beyond Maple
The Vermont Public Radio program "VPR Cafe" recently spoke to reporter Sally Pollack about value-added agriculture in Vermont, a discussion that...