What: Over 40 local cheese makers across the state of Vermont, collectively known as the Vermont Cheese Trail
Why: The fun of driving along winding country roads and across the state's picture-perfect covered bridges in quest of some of the country's best goat, sheep, and cow's milk cheeses to start. Along the way you'll also have plenty of chances to stop at roadside stands and shops for other treats like locally-made maple sugar ice cream and apple cider and donuts. It's fun for animal lovers and kids too, as many of the farmyards are open to the public.
How: The Vermont Cheese Council has created a handy map of all of the cheese producers open to visitors, and if you plan to visit several we recommend making a long weekend out of it so as not to feel rushed. Important note: since many of the farms are family-owned and operated, they'll need a heads up before you arrive so that they can be sure someone will be there to greet you (They're happy to. Just give them a call).
One of our favorite places along the way is Shelburne Farms. Cheese-wise you'll find excellent farmhouse cheddar, but the large grounds with beautiful walking trails, children's farmyard, and an Inn with a delicious Sunday brunch make it a spot you can spend several hours visiting. Wine enthusiasts should also plan on visiting the nearby Shelburne Vineyard for a glass overlooking the grape vines. Other picks include Fat Toad Farm in Brookfield for goat's milk caramels, smoked chève at Stowe's Sage Farm, and burratta, mozzarella, and ricotta at Maplebrook Farm in Bennington. Be sure to check the farms' websites before you go as visiting hours can vary by season.