Dinner and a Drive

There are some terrific restaurants in Woodstock, including Worthy Kitchen (farm to table casual dining and craft beer, less than two miles from the inn), Richardson’s Tavern, and Melaza Bistro. There are also two outstanding fine-dining restaurants within five miles: Simon Pearce in Quechee and Cloudland Farm in North Pomfret.

But of course, not all of the great restaurants in the area are in town. In fact, some are a bit of a drive—and really worth it. One of our favorites is a very pretty 20-minute drive north to Barnard, where you’ll find Max’s Tavern at the Barnard Inn. Chef Will Dodson is a master at elevating local food just the right amount. If the potato tots are on the menu, definitely get them.

Another favorite is 15 minutes to the east in White River Junction. Elixir has a great bar with super friendly bar staff (and lower drink prices than Woodstock restaurants), creative entrees featuring local ingredients, and the best truffled fries we’ve ever eaten. Really.

You can drive on back roads with gorgeous views from the inn all the way to Skunk Hollow Tavern (about 15 minutes) for an eclectic menu that includes Mexican dishes and modern New England fare. You may get to see live music downstairs (Wednesday night is open mic night) in the pub, but we recommend dinner upstairs first.

Homestyle Hostel is further afield, but if you’re willing to make the 40-minute drive to Ludlow, you’re in for a treat. We were there recently and were amazed by the quality of the food and delighted by the cocktails. This is the type of place where you can tell the bartender what flavors and liquor you enjoy, and they will whip up a custom drink for you. There’s a cocktail menu as well, from which we selected our new favorite drink: the Good Ol’ Boy with brown butter bourbon, Luxardo amaro, pear, lemon, bitters, and a spiced burnt orange slice. Don’t ask how many we had.

Most of the menu is made up of small plates, which diners are encouraged to share. Everything we ate was delicious, but we especially loved the parmesan polenta cake with summer vegetables and the roasted beet salad with whipped herb goat cheese, red wine vinaigrette, and toasted quinoa. We’ve had many beet salads, and none of them held a candle to this one.

We look forward to hearing about your eating adventures when you come down for breakfast, and we’ll keep bringing you reports on new and new-to-us area restaurants. Happy dining!

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