By Highroad Cam and Georgie Jet:
After leaving one of the premiere resorts in all of Vermont, the Stowe Mountain Lodge, (Read more aboout our time in Stowe here.) Georgie Jet, Baci, (our Chocolate Labrador) and I headed south alongside the Green Mountain range about 45 minutes to our next destination – a classic and humble country inn on the Lareau Farm in Waitsfield, VT. It was quite a contrast to the new, plush, and mammoth Stowe lodge, but a welcome one.
The Inn at Lareau Farm is a quaint 13 room, dog-friendly, country inn nestled in the magical Mad River Valley that also houses the well-known American Flatbread restaurant. Our two cozy nights there were comfortable and restful. The Innkeeper, Lisabeth Magoun -“Liz”, made a delicious breakfast each morning, and always had home baked treats available throughout the day.
Staying in the inn did bump us up the waiting list at the ever popular American Flatbread so we took advantage. The meal was wonderful and consisted of locally grown vegetables and meats. The “evolution salad” has organically grown lettuces and veggies and an extraordinary ginger-tamari vinaigrette made with the “house” berry vinegar. Our pizza (flatbread) was cooked in the primitive wood-fired large clay oven that is a focal point to patrons. The master chefs with their long pizza paddles were fun to watch as we ate. Toppings included naturally raised Waitsfield pork, nitrate-free maple-fennel sausage, sun dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, handmade Vermont cheeses, and wood-fired cauldron organic tomato sauce. The flatbread itself is thin and made with 100% organically grown wheat, kosher salt, fresh yeast, and, of course, great Vermont water. Most of the ingredients used are from local farms.
That first night we slept soundly, despite being near the adjoining restaurant (the faint sounds of the American Flatbread seem to die down around 10:00 pm). The restaurant is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, so if you are in “The Valley” skiing Sugarbush, Sugarbush North, or Mad River Glen, try to make it there. If you have to wait, there is always a roaring fire pit outside where people gather, drink, stay warm, and talk.
The staff is able to pick their favorite wines and there is also a great selection of local Vermont craft beers, like Lawson’s finest and Burlington’s hoppy IPA -“Switchback.” The Inn at Lareau Farm is also a beautiful place for weddings with its lovely grounds and large satellite tent by the Mad River. It is also open year round.
In the morning we awoke to the aroma of coffee, eggs, and bacon and followed our noses to the kitchen. Liz whips up a variety of mean breakfasts, often customized, and delicious!
Of course the standards are always available in the typically country Vermont dining room – granola, yogurt, fruit, and a famous Liz cake. We had a blueberry cake that would have surely won “best of the Valley” that day. That, and the Vermont roasted coffee, would have been sufficient for me, but I managed to eat a tasty omelet of cheddar, peppers, and mushrooms too. While eating we watched through the window as Baci scrambled around with a new pal in the field behind the dining area.
The day ahead left us countless activities. There is so much to do in the Mad River Valley, that is, if you could tear yourself from a book and a fire in the inn-not a bad option also. This is the place for a sportsman, naturalist, music lover, or “foodie.” We tried to fit all four into our day – and succeeded! We snowshoed back-country trails at Mad River Glen (a Baci favorite), ate lunch at The Warren Store, and wrapped up the day watching the band “Phineas Gage” perform at “The Big Picture” theatre and restaurant where we ate our dinner.
This particular trip offered another perfect winter day in Vermont where life is really not taken for granted but held sacred. Keep this in mind as you make your winter travel plans.
By the way, do you know one of the best kept secrets – summer in Vermont! We love hiking the Long Trail, swimming in the Mad River, and soaking in the Vermont Festival of the Arts (where GeorgieJet displays her animal portraits) in August. Stay tuned for upcoming Johnnyjet stories on dog friendly and cat friendly Vermont inns!
Also – check out my sister Carol’s article on the Relais & Chateux Inn in Warren, Vermont.