Hikes and Bites: A Farm Fresh Food Tour in Vermont

Sierra Club Outings Trip # 14242A, Lodge


  • Enjoy locally grown and produced foods
  • Stay in well-appointed accommodations
  • Hike and bike on bike paths and easy trails


  • Most meals (four dinners are on your own)
  • Round-trip shuttle to the Burlington airport
  • Double accommodation in rooms with private bath (single accommodation is possible for an extra charge) 


DatesJul 27–Aug 2, 2014
StaffLinda Cooper
Photo: Orah Moore

Trip Overview

The Trip

Vermont is well known for its lovely Green Mountains, rolling farmland, and charming country inns. Geographically old, the Green Mountains offer beauty and unspoiled habitat for many northern plant and animal species. These mountains have provided inspiration for countless authors, artists, and, more recently, a culture of local food enthusiasts. “Localvores” know that each time they buy local food the benefits ripple into the larger community, keeping Vermont’s agricultural heritage vibrant and reducing the distance that food travels from farm to plate, thus sustaining local farmers and producers. This trip will introduce you to the farmers and producers of fruit, vegetables, maple syrup, various meats and specialty foods, cheeses, wines and beer while you enjoy daily easy-to-moderate hikes and one bike ride. Join us to actively enjoy the beauty of Vermont and the best it has to offer in local food and drink.

We will explore trails, farms, and producers in both Central and Northern VT, both hotbeds of local-food sentiment. By moving during the week, we will have the opportunity to enjoy different villages and inns as well as a variety of trails and food sources. Our two inns feature comfortable, well-decorated rooms with private baths and superb meals made by kitchens that vie for “best food” honors.

We will gather on the afternoon of day one for orientation and an opening dinner at our first inn, in Waitsfield, VT. The nearest large airport is in Burlington, about 40 miles away. Round–trip shuttle service is provided by the trip leaders.


Day 1: Arrive at the airport by 2 p.m. From there, we'll drive to Featherbed Inn and enjoy an orientation dinner (included). 

Day 2: We'll visit Cider Mill and Cabot’s, then walk the Stowe bike path. Afterward, we'll take a factory tour at Ben & Jerry's. In the evening, dinner will be on your own at Hen of the Woods. Overnight at Featherbed Inn.

Day 3: In the morning, we'll pack our vehicles to change inns. Lawson’s Finest will come to us, then we'll go on a Mad River naturalist walk. After eating lunch by a covered bridge, we'll drive to Burlington and check into Lang House. Afterward, we'll take a Burlington Historic Walking Tour. Dinner will be on your own tonight at Farm to Table. Overnight at Lang House.

Day 4: Today, we'll take a walk at Ethan Allen Homestead, where we'll meet the farmer, and then we'll go on an herb walk at Arathusa Farm. Lunch will be at City Market. In the afternoon, we'll take a cheese-making class with City Market. Dinner will be on your own at Misery Loves Company. Overnight at Lang House.

Day 5: We'll take a historic tour and walk at Shelburne Farms (home to prize-winning Farmstead Cheese and gardens that provide food for Inn and Farm Cart). After lunch at Farm Cart, we'll head to Shelburne Winery for a tour and winetasting. Dinner will be on your own tongiht at Summervale. Overnight at Lang House.

Day 6: After picking up our bicycles, we'll go on a 25-mile ride on Burlington bike path, including the bike ferry (with a creamie stand on the other side!). After returning our bikes, we'll visit Champlain Chocolate and Magic Hat Brewery -- or you can enjoy free time on your own. Dinner will be at Leunig’s Café (included). Overnight at Lang House.

Day 7: After breakfast, we'll load the vans to be ready for the airport. But first, we'll walk to the Burlington Farmers' Market and spend the rest of the morning there. We will depart for the airport from Lang House at 12:30 p.m. Please plan your flight home for after 2 p.m.



Getting There

A shuttle from the Burlington airport to our first inn and returning from our second inn is included in the price of your trip. Please plan to be at the airport no later than 2 p.m. on the first day. This will allow us to get to the inn in time for our orientation, dinner, and first night together. Airlines servicing Burlington are US Airways, United, Jet Blue, Delta, and Continental. If you plan to drive, directions will be sent to you after you are registered for the trip. Flights from some sections of the U.S. make it impossible to get to Burlington by 2 p.m. If this is the case for you, please plan to arrive a day early and stay in a hotel. 

Accommodations and Food

We will stay in two country inns, one in Central Vermont and one in Northern Vermont. Our first inn is in the town of Waitsfield and the second is in the city of Burlington, about an hour apart from each other. Both inns have well-decorated rooms with private bath and provide excellent meals. In fact, Vermont inns have been accused of competing with one another when it comes to cooking. A limited number of single rooms are available and may be arranged through the leader for an additional charge.

Trip Difficulty

You should be in good physical condition and accustomed to hiking several miles at a time. Our hikes will be easy to moderate, on bike paths, dirt roads, and meadow trails. Terrain may be uneven, but there will be very little elevation gain. We will have one 25-mile bicycle trip on a bike path. We will do some physical activity every day of the trip, interspersed with visits to farms and producers, including wineries, breweries, and Ben & Jerry’s.

Equipment and Clothing

You will need layers of clothing for protection from rain and the vagaries of mountain/lake weather. Bring broken-in hiking boots or sturdy walking shoes and a full rain-suit. Hiking poles, cameras, and binoculars are also recommended. Bring a day pack that will hold extra clothing, food, and your raingear; a personal first-aid kit (Band-aids, moleskin, aspirin etc.) and of course any regular medications. The trip leader will be happy to discuss clothing and equipment details with applicants and will provide a full list of items to bring closer to the date of the trip.


  • Cotler, Amy, The Localvore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food.
  • Medeiros, Tracey, The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook.
  • Dunbar, Bethany M., Kingdom’s Bounty, A Sustainable, Eclectic, Edible Guide to VT’s Northeast Kingdom.
  • Meeks, Howard, Time and Change in Vermont, a Human Geography.
  • Vermont Magazine: http://www.vermontlife.com
  • Vermont Tourism: http://www.vermontvacation.com
  • Edible Green Mountains (quarterly magazine and website): www.ediblecommunities.com


We will be hiking near the Green Mountain National Forest on state and private land. On one morning we will take a guided hike with a noted local naturalist to see wildlife. He will also provide us with information about forest-related issues. Anytime we are on trails or bike paths, we will follow Leave No Trace protocol.

In 2014 America celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The Sierra Club, various other organizations with a wilderness focus, and the four federal wilderness management agencies are vigorously planning this celebration. The goal of the effort is to assure that a broader public knows about the concept and benefits of wilderness. Sierra Club Outings is a vital part of the celebrations for wilderness.
While the Act was far in the future when our outings program started, we were already promoting the principle behind it: to forever set aside from human developments certain special places, by civic agreement. This is the basic principle on which the Sierra Club was founded. The wilderness anniversary gives us an opportunity to highlight our organization’s leading role—in publicizing this principle, in passing the 1964 Act, and in achieving more designated wilderness since then.



Linda Cooper has over 35 years experience as a counselor, social worker, university administrator and outdoor adventure guide. Certified in Wilderness First Aid and CPR, Linda is an environmentalist committed to inspiring others with the love and appreciation of our fragile world. She is now partially retired with more time to play in the outdoors and lead trips for Sierra Club. She moved to Vermont in 2007, fulfilling a lifelong dream.


Dr. Gail Tooker is a semi-retired professor of Science and Environmental Education at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland. She has been active in Sierra Club trips since 2003 and has served as assistant leader or leader for outings in Maine, Vermont, Oregon, Texas and upstate New York. Dr. Tooker received her advanced degrees from the University of Maine at Orono and lived in that state for nearly 20 years before moving to upstate New York in 1996 to work for SUNY. In her spare time, she likes to travel, both abroad and in the U.S., cross-country ski, go hiking and back packing, work in her gardens, and walk her dog.

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