The Norwich Inn’s Guide to Exploring Rural Vermont: 3 Day Trips

The Norwich Inn’s Guide to Exploring Rural Vermont: 3 Day Trips

A couple on a Vermont day tripVermont is a land of rolling hills, rocky peaks, wooded trails, and craft beers. In short, Vermont is a mecca for adventure in the Northeast. Additionally, as one of the Thirteen Colonies, each town, county, and wilderness area is layered in a rich history tied to the birth of our nation. Near the prestigious Dartmouth College, The Norwich Inn stands as it has since 1797, as a mecca of hospitality and fine dining in a quaint town marked by its general store. While our delightful Vermont inn and small-town atmosphere draw visitors from all over the country, we’re also perfectly positioned for a variety of Vermont day trips. Continue below to read our three-part guide to exploring Vermont.

Strafford, Vermont 

If you’re visiting New England in search of a winter wonderland, Strafford should be on your shortlist of Vermont day trips. Just under half an hour on the road from The Norwich Inn, the Strafford Nordic Center provides locals and visitors with over 30 kilometers of groomed, skiable trails for skiers of all abilities.

The Hazen Trail

If you’re in Vermont during the fall, spring, or summer months, hit the trails and check out some of the area’s best hiking. The Hazen Trail is an ideal Vermont day trip for nature lovers. The hike takes you through heavily-forested areas along the Connecticut River and is a moderate hike that’s just over four miles point-to-point. Much of the trail is on the Montshire Museum of Science property and may require a pass.

Sugarbush Farm 

Vermont is known to many as the land of fall foliage and maple syrup, and Sugarbush Farm provides just that. Sugarbush Farm started as the first production site of cheese packaged in wax bars in 1945 and now boasts a plentiful production of cheese and maple products set amongst a charming hillside location. Tour the farm, sample the products, and enjoy this classic Vermont day trip. 

The Norwich Inn is home to an in-house brewery and one of the largest wine selections in the state. For more information on our charming inn or to learn more about Vermont, please read further.

Crisis Management 101 | Enhancements at The Norwich Inn

 

Crisis Management 101 | Enhancements at The Norwich Inn

“Never let a crisis go to waste” is a quote attributed to Winston Churchill as the world emerged from World War II. Sometimes a severe challenge such as COVID-19 can cause some to shift paradigms: how they view their world…even at a country inn. Maybe it’s getting around to things we always wanted to do; maybe it’s totally new.

Refinished Floors and a Restored Bar Top

In the former category, since our restaurant has had reduced hours and mandated capacity restrictions, we’ve been able to refinish the floors in a number of our dining venues while also restoring the bar top to its original luster. We are lucky to have Dale, our talented and versatile maintenance manager, put his skills to work. Everything looks like new. 

We’ve also instituted a Shuttle Service to area attractions: Dartmouth College, King Arthur Baking Company, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

The Newhart Room

Photo of The Newhart Room.In the latter category, we’ve re-imagined our original Dining Room into a multi-purpose space. Now our guests can eat, drink, work, meet, watch TV, or all of the above. We ran a contest to name the new space, and the winner was “The Newhart Room.” Where did that come from? Media sources have it that The Norwich Inn and the Town of Norwich were the inspiration behind the popular TV Show, “Newhart,” an eight-season, Golden Globe-nominated sitcom featuring Bob Newhart.

We’ve also incorporated “Whistle,” which is a premier customer service and communication platform for hotels. Whistle improves customer service through real-time engagement utilizing text and mobile message communication with our guests.

Enhanced Al Fresco Dining

The Norwich Inn has always had seasonal al fresco dining. While it had been popular, the surge in demand for the outdoors caused us to re-evaluate how to enhance and broaden the space. First, a sail cover was installed over our Patio, decorated with string lights. Second, we opened our Beer Garden to foodservice. Between the two venues, The Norwich Inn now has the most ample outdoor dining capacity in the area.

On tap for the 2021 season is a total redo and expansion of the Patio with upgraded coverage and new heaters.

While “COVID era” challenges have been daunting, it has caused us to rethink what we do to increase our relevance and enhance the guest experience.

To learn more about the historic Norwich Inn, please visit us online.

The 5 Prettiest Vermont Waterfalls

 

The 5 Prettiest Vermont Waterfalls

Photo of Moss Glen, One of the Prettiest Vermont WaterfallsIt’s no secret that Vermont boasts a gorgeous, biodiverse landscape. Thus, throughout summer and autumn, hundreds of thousands of nature enthusiasts flock into the Upper Valley to explore the region’s dense forestry in search of heart-stopping mountain overlooks, rolling countrysides, hidden covered bridges, and, of course, quintessential Vermont waterfalls. While it won’t be easy to pry yourself from Jasper Murdock’s Alehouse, Dartmouth College’s breathtaking campus, and nearby King Arthur Flour, we highly recommend embarking on a short journey to a couple of often overlooked Vermont waterfalls.

5 Vermont Waterfalls: A Self-Guided Journey to Serenity

Many of these picturesque, freefalling creeks, brooks, and rivers lie in Windsor County, as well as neighboring Orange and Rutland. In fact, the five prettiest Vermont waterfalls, according to our team of self-proclaimed experts, are within an hour of The Norwich Inn—established in 1797. Make sure to dress appropriately for the weather, bring a waterproof camera, and jot down detailed directions to each site.

Old City Falls, Strafford

The 16-mile drive through the heart of Vermont en route to Strafford’s Old City Falls is as peaceful and scenic as it gets. After enjoying a light picnic in the spacious pavilion area, hike down the short, steep path to the creek’s edge. While it’s not well marked, the creekside trail does lead to this dual waterfall. The top fall disappears behind a stack of rocks and eventually spills back into the creek.

Moss Glen Falls, Granville

The state boasts not one but two “Moss Glen Falls.” Today, we’ll only touch on the Granville fall, which, incidentally, remains one of the most oft-photographed natural sites in the state. Moss Glen is approximately an hour’s drive from The Norwich Inn, but this 35-foot marvel is well worth the trip. Adventurous types can get close enough to touch the rushing water as it spills below.

Photo of Thundering Brook, One of the Prettiest Vermont WaterfallsThundering Brook Falls, Killington

Thundering Brook Falls rests along the Appalachian Trail, a 2,200-mile network that spans from Maine down to North Georgia. Pictures don’t do Thundering Brook justice, as it’s hard to decipher the sheer magnitude of this slippery, 125-foot-tall waterfall via photograph. The easy, wheelchair-friendly boardwalk to the main plunge is a nice perk that you won’t find at many neighboring Vermont waterfalls.

Buttermilk Falls, Ludlow

During the summer months, thrillseekers flock to Buttermilk Falls to bathe in the shallow pools near the upper and middle falls. These classic swimming holes are what summertime dreams are made of, especially for those with a penchant for adventure. While the three midsized falls aren’t jaw-droppingly beautiful, the playful ambiance is unbeatable. 

Glen Falls, Fairlee

Fairlee’s Glen Falls is a short, 20-minute drive from the heart of Norwich. This 25-foot plunge remains an Upper Valley hidden gem. Even many locals don’t know if its existence. The short journey to the main plunge is only about half a mile upstream from the trailhead, and it features several picturesque cascades along the way.

Historic Hotels in Norwich, VT

After a full day of hiking near the very best waterfalls in Vermont, return to The Norwich Inn for a balanced, refreshing pint of Whistling Pig Red Ale and pan-seared Faroe Island salmon. As one of the oldest boutique hotels in Vermont, we offer an elegant, historic, and undeniably romantic alternative to a classic lodging experience. Our on-site brewery pairs perfectly with our sumptuous dining experience. And each of our guest rooms is a visual delight, especially for those with a special place in their heart for 19th-century decor. Please give us a call today at 802-649-1143 to book a long-overdue escape into the breathtaking Upper Valley, New England’s last remaining hidden gem.

An Enhanced Dining Experience at The Norwich Inn – New Dining Room, New Chef, New Menu

An Enhanced Dining Experience at The Norwich Inn – New Dining Room, New Chef, New Menu

New Dining Room

norwich restaurantsThe Norwich Inn, one of the oldest inns and breweries in Vermont, recently launched locally-inspired Dining Room renovations. The Inn received a complete restoration and redecoration last year. The Dining Room provides a quiet, polished, and romantic fine dining setting, and it’s one of the closest Norwich restaurants to Dartmouth College. You’ll notice the repurposed wood tables, hand-crafted hanging lights, and old-world art – a simplistic yet stylish ode to the Inn’s beginnings in 1797.

Not only do our guests have the opportunity to slumber in one of our historic guest rooms, savor award-winning, house-brewed Jasper Murdock Ales, and attend popular events, but you’ll now have the privilege to indulge in ever-changing New England fare. Our unique Inn is the only restaurant in the Upper Valley region to provide a newly-transformed menu and five unique dining spaces. We’re also only a short drive from Norwich’s King Arthur Flour and steps across the Connecticut River from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. Tourists know us as one of the oldest and best breweries in Vermont – now our revamped dining experience is bound to leave a long-lasting impression on hungry patrons.

New Chef

A quick look into the pedigree and philosophy of Scott Liberty, Executive Chef:

What is your background and experience in the culinary world?

norwich restaurantsI started in this industry when I was only 17 in 1990. Like most who aspire to be a Chef, I started in Burlington, Vermont, as a dishwasher/prep cook; first at the Ramada Inn, then at the  Sheraton hotel, and later at Burlington Country Club. Earlier in my life, I actually wanted to be an architect. But I found myself continually being drawn to the culinary arts. At 23, I moved to Arizona to further my interest. I first worked at T-Cooks at the Royal Palms, followed by Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn, Michaels at the Citadel, Rancho Pinot Grill, Nonni’s Kitchen, M Culinary Concepts, Houston’s Too, and Wild Land Fire Catering. I worked my way up the ranks in the kitchens until I felt I had the skills and experience to lead and teach employees what I have learned.

In 2011, I found my way back to Vermont as the Executive Chef for Bloods Catering and then, in 2013, opening Chef for the Worthy Kitchen in Woodstock. In late 2014, I took a break from restaurants and cooking for a time. But I really didn’t: I would help out with events for the Worthy Kitchen and the Norwich Inn. It was nice to be able to come in and get back to my roots of just cooking but the Chef in me could not. I had some unfinished business.

What inspires you today?

I guess it would have to be the challenge of the restaurant, the complexity of moving parts, the food, the team, and the guests.

What’s your culinary philosophy?

Don’t let “good enough” be good enough. Everything can be improved upon – plate presentation, timing, cooking technique, knife skills, etc.

What is your favorite dish?

I get asked that all the time. I don’t have a favorite. The culinary world is constantly changing; food is evolving. One day it could be one dish, the next day it could be another. A better question is: what do I like to eat? Put a board of cured meats, grilled baguettes, foie gras torchon, local cheeses, mostarda, house-made pickles, and a big glass of Bordeaux – now we are talking.

What do you like best about being a Chef?

The opportunity to teach cooks what I have learned over the years, to better prepare them for their next step in this industry. I like to build and grow a team that takes pride in delighting our guests.

Newly-Transformed Menu

If you’ve ever dined at The Norwich Inn, you’ll quickly notice a newly-transformed dinner menu, which is served after 5 p.m. every evening. Executive Chef Liberty has taken classic New England recipes, many with local ingredients, and re-introduced them as pleasing to the eye and the palate. The grilled grass-fed filet mignon is served on a bed of horseradish fingerling potatoes and sauteed baby carrots, smothered in red wine demi-glace, and topped with crispy tobacco onions. Those of you who love fresh-caught fish will fall in love with our grilled Faroe Island salmon fillet, which is served on top of a creamy vegetable chowder. The Inn has also featured many nightly specials, including Half-Price Wine Night, Prime Rib Night, and Flight Night (a sample of our own Jasper Murdock Ales).

norwich restaurantsFive Unique Dining Spaces in Norwich, VT

In addition to the Dining Room, which is quickly becoming the most talked-about space among Norwich restaurants, we have a seasonal outdoor patio, an exclusive Wine Room (for private dining), the bright, casual Terrace Room with expansive windows and a fireplace, and, of course, The Pub. For meetings and banquets, we feature the Wine Cellar and Library.

Premier Norwich Restaurants

There’s never an offseason for high-quality craft beer, inventive fine dining, and luxurious, historic accommodations. Start planning your next Vermont getaway to The Norwich Inn by dialing 1-802-649-1143 or visiting us online at NorwichInn.com.