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Farm-Fresh Vermont: The Culinary Wonders of the Green Mountain State

Program Number: 8934RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/21/2013 - 7/26/2013; 7/17/2016 - 7/22/2016; 8/7/2016 - 8/12/2016; 9/11/2016 - 9/16/2016;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Brandon, Vermont
Price starting at: $895.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Food & Wine; History & Culture
Meals: 15; 5 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Low Fat; Vegetarian; Low Salt    

Experience farm-fresh, artisan-crafted culinary delights on this sumptuous journey through New England’s agricultural belt of Vermont. Through expert cooking demonstrations and field trips, taste authentic New England foods including cheeses, maple products, smoked meats, cider, wine and distilled spirits — and learn how they are made. Meet with local chefs, small-scale cheese makers, maple tappers and entrepreneurs who demonstrate the quality and artistry of Vermont foods. Hear from local experts on how to cook with local, seasonal ingredients and enjoy a lecture on the history of the Champlain Valley.


• Learn how culinary artisans and growers produce some of Vermont’s favorite goodies, with plenty of samples to go around.
• See firsthand demonstrations of gourmet perfection by the Brandon Inn’s acclaimed Austrian chef.
• Get the inside scoop on how Vermonters developed a unique culture of sustainability, freshness and craftsmanship.

Activity Particulars

Minimal walking and standing; some stairs.

Date Specific Information

7-21-2013, 7-17-2016, 8-7-2016, 9-11-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


With its entire downtown recorded on the National Register of Historic Places and the town’s bucolic location among the rolling hills of central Vermont, Brandon is a unique, historic destination near the Green Mountains.

Historic Country Inn listed on the National Historic Register, on the town common; seasonal outdoor pool, located within walking distance to local galleries and historic homes.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Robert Barral

Robert Barral is the executive chef of the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt. He attended culinary school himself in another Montpellier, the city in the Languedoc region of France, then continued his training as a chef at some of the finest establishments in Europe. He crossed the ocean in 1976 and has cooked in Montreal, Edmonton, Chicago and Boston. A faculty member at the NECI since 1987, Chef Barral is known for being a great teacher of classic French techniques as well as for his award-winning Chocolate Bombe.
Louis Pattis

Louis Pattis is the innkeeper and chef of the historic Brandon Inn in Brandon, Vt. Since 1988 he and his wife Sarah have owned the inn, which was founded as a simple one-story tavern in 1786. Louis was born and raised in Austria, where he trained to become a chef before working at many top hotels throughout Europe and the U.S. The prestigious Taste of Vermont awards have honored Chef Pattis and the Brandon Inn for everything from entrees to desserts to butter sculptures.
Meals and Lodgings
   Brandon Inn
  Brandon, VT 5 nights
 Brandon Inn
Type: Inn
  Description: A historic country inn located in the heart of the Champlain Valley with many shops, galleries and historic homes within walking distance of the inn.
  Contact info: 20 Park Street (Route 7)
Brandon, VT 05733 USA
phone: 802-247-5766
  Room amenities: Air conditioned, phones in rooms.
  Facility amenities: An outdoor swimming pool (in season), hot tub, television rooms.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Some bathrooms have large clawfoot tubs and some have showers.
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Ask for the Road Scholar rate. Call the inn directly for availability and rates.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: Ask for the Road Scholar rate. Call the inn directly for availability and rates.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
3:00-5:00 PM - Brandon Inn Living Room You will be staying at Brandon Inn that night.
  End of Program:
11:00 AM Following the last class You will be staying at Brandon Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. None
  Parking availability:
No charges
To Start of Program
  Location:  Brandon, VT
  Nearest city or town:  Brandon
  Nearest highway: Route 7
  Nearest airport:  Rutland Airport, VT or Burlington, VT
  From End of Program
  Location: Brandon, VT
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details



From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Middlebury Transit
phone: 800-388-1002
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$75 - $100
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1.5 Hours 




53 miles


Call for reservations and schedules. They will try to group other riders together to keep your costs down.




From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
All Occasions
phone: 802-775-9563
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$45 - $50 per car
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 Hour 




34 miles


Cape Air comes into Rutland from Boston. Call All Occasions for transportation to the Brandon Inn.

Driving Directions
  Brandon, VT from Boston and Eastern Points Take Interstate 91 N, Interstate 89 North to Exit 1 in Vermont. Take US Route 4 West, you will travel through Woodstock, VT and Killington, into Rutland, VT to US Route 7, Take US Route 7 North, 12 miles and the Brandon Inn will be on the right.
  Brandon, VT/Albany Area, South, West Take Interstate 87N to Exit 20, take Route 9/149 towards Lake George/Whitehall, take Route 149 towards Whitehall/Fort Ann 12 miles, turn right onto US Rte 4 into Whitehall and stay on US Rte 4 crossing into VT, Take VT Exit 4 US 30, turn left onto Route 30, 15 miles to Route 73, turn right onto Route 73, 6 miles to Brandon, bear right onto Route 7 South, and less than 1 mile the inn will be on your left.
  North and South Motorists can reach Brandon via Interstate 91 and 87, which connects with U.S. Route 7. The Inn is on Route 7 in Brandon.
Elevation Note: None

Equipment Requirements: None
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival, Check-in, Registration
(Sunday, July 21)
 Afternoon: CHECK-IN: Please arrive at the hotel between 3:00-5:00pm. Check into your room at the front desk and then register with Road Scholar staff in the Main lobby. At this time you'll be given a welcome packet containing your name tag, up-to-date itinerary and other useful information.
 Dinner: A wonderful three course dinner is served in the Main Dining Room at the inn.
 Evening: ORIENTATION: After dinner we will have our Orientaion. This will provide you with information about the hotel, program itinerary, instructors, venues and on site staff.
Accommodations: Brandon Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Maple sugaring/Cooking demonstrations
(Monday, July 22)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is served this morning and includes both hot and cold selections, cereal, homemade granola, juice and coffee.
 Morning: PRESENTATION: This morning's session is to include the art of maple sugaring and maple candy making. You'll meet the staff of the New England Maple Museum. Maple sugaring has been an early Spring tradition in Vermont ever since the Eastern Woodland Indians discovered that maple sap cooked over an open fire produces a sweet sugar. To make their sugar, the Indians would cut a slash in the maple tree and collect the sap as it dripped out. Logs were then hollowed out, and filled with the fresh sap. White-hot field stones were then added to cause the sap to boil. When the first European settlers arrived, the Indians traded maple sugar with them and eventually taught the settlers the secrets of the maple sugaring process. The early settlers added their technologies to the process as seen in this antique photograph. Other Europeans added their own technologies to the process. They bored holes in the maple trunks and inserted wooden or metal spouts. They used wooden buckets to catch the sap, and then carried the sweet water on shoulder yokes to the metal boiling kettles. Early settlers, like the Native Americans, saved their maple as crystallized sugar. Maple sugar became the colonists own sweetener ending their dependence on foreign sugar. Also, it was never tinctured with the sweat of the southern slave as was cane sugar before the civil war. Early in Vermont’s history, each family made their own maple sugar for personal consumption. The sugar house was now their destination where the invention of the evaporator gave more control to the sugar maker's boiling process. Today, plastic tubing transports the sap from the trees to gathering tanks. From there it is transported to the sugar house where it is transferred to a central storage tank to feed the evaporator which boils off most of the water, leaving sweet, thick maple syrup.
 Morning: PRESENTATION: Our next presenter is a staff pastry chef from the Café Provence. Learn baking techniques using local ingredients that may include famous King Arthur Flour.
 Lunch: A delicious light lunch is served in the Garden Room at the inn. Lunch today is a chefs choice.
 Afternoon: PRESENTATION: Inn keeper and chef Louis Pattis gives a demonstration featuring local ingredients. Louis and Sarah Pattis acquired the Inn in February of 1988. Louis is Austrian with a strong hotel background including being an award winning Austrian-trained Chef. Sarah is from England, she worked as an Occupational therapist, both in the States and abroad before becoming an Innkeeper. (She says the two jobs have many similarities!) They have four children, Mark, Anna, Nickolaus and Rebecca. Mark is currently serving in the Military, Anna and Nick are attending University and Becca attends the local high school. Anna, Nick and Becca continue to work at the Inn
 Dinner: A three course dinner is served in the Main Dining Room featuring local ingredients.
 Evening: LECTURE: This evening enjoy a historical presentation given by James Dassatti. James serves as the President of the Vermont Living History Association and his talk this evening will focus of the history of the Lake Champlain Valley.
Accommodations: Brandon Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Dakin Farms, Champlain Chocolate, Shelburne Vineyard
(Tuesday, July 23)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is served this morning and includes both hot and cold selections, cereal, homemade granola, juice and coffee.
 Morning: FIRLD TRIP: Today we visit Dakin Farms, a producer of gourmet foods that include cob smoked hams, turkeys, cheeses and bacon. They also are a large producer of maple syrup and other Vermont products. Enjoy backstage access to their operation. Timothy Dakin settled developed his farm the beautiful rolling hills of the Champlain Valley in 1792. He'd be pleased to know that the same family has owned, operated and loved the farm for the past 40 years, and that they still perform many tasks in time-honored ways he might recognize -- slow smoking meats over smoldering corncobs, and collecting sweet maple sap just before spring arrives.
 Lunch: A wonderful lunch is served at the Ice House Restaurant overlooking Lake Champlain.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP:This afternoon we visit the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory. The growing team at Lake Champlain Chocolates continues with the highest standards of chocolate-making that Jim Lampman began with twenty years ago, and still uses only the freshest, natural ingredients. FILED TRIP: Later, we'll visit the Shelburne Vineyards for a presentation and tasting of their Vermont wines. From vine to glass, they strive to make the finest quality wine from Northern Varietal Grapes grown on their vineyards and regionally sourced from other Northern growers. With a lush Vermont landscape as its backdrop, their state of the art winery and tasting room sits nestled among the vines.
 Dinner: Another wonderful three course dinner is served at the inn this evening.
 Evening: EVENING PROGRAM: Enjoy movie night at the Inn.
Accommodations: Brandon Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Goat Product Demonstration, Chef Demonstration Lunch, Cooking with Chef Pattis.
(Wednesday, July 24)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is served this morning and includes both hot and cold selections, cereal, homemade granola, juice and coffee.
 Morning: PRESENTATIONS: Meet Wendy Cijka, her family and one of their goats. Together, they do a presentation on milking, cheese making and tasting of goats milk products. PRESENTATION: Also this morning, Inn keeper, & Chef Louis Pattis will demonstrate cooking with Vermont products.
 Lunch: PRESENTATION & LUNCH: Today we visit the Café Provence located directly behind the inn. Lunch will include a presentation by Chef Barrall in his demo kitchen.
 Afternoon: PRESENTATION: Meet Sheri Sullivan, a local caterer with flare. Sherri's demos may include appetizers, entree's and desserts. Sheri is a quick talker and likes to use local products in her preparing her foods.
 Dinner: A fabulous three course dinner is served in the Main Dining Room. You will have a choice of menu items each day.
 Evening: EVENING PROGRAM: Enjoy a game of BINGO for Vermont products.
Accommodations: Brandon Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Neighborly Farms Cheese Making, Cold Hollow Cider Mill and Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
(Thursday, July 25)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is served this morning and includes both hot and cold selections, cereal, homemade granola, juice and coffee.
 Morning: FIELD TRIP: We start our day with a visit to Neighborly Farms for a cheese making demonstration and farm visit. Established as an operating dairy farm more than 30 years ago, Rob and Linda Dimmick along with their three children Bobby, Bailey, and Billy are continuing the tradition on the family farm. FIELD TRIP: Next we travel to the Cold Hollow Cider Mill where we meet with Paul Brown and his staff. They will take us on a journey from the tree to bottle. The Cold Hollow Cider Mill is the largest year round producer of apple cider in New England.
 Lunch: Lunch is prepared for us today at the Cold Hollow Cider Mill. You will have the choice of salads or sandwiches served with their delicious apple cider and cider doughnuts.
 Afternoon: FIELD TRIP: We conclude our day with a visit to the Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury. This is a guided tour and film that will teach you about this wonderful ice cream and conclude with some delicious samples.
 Dinner: A farewell dinner is served this evening in the Main Dining Room.
 Evening: EVENING PROGRAM: Enjoy light music in the living room as you unwind from this fabulous week.
Accommodations: Brandon Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Food demonstration/Lunch and departure
(Friday, July 26)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is served this morning and includes both hot and cold selections, cereal, homemade granola, juice and coffee.
 Morning: FINAL PRESENTATION: Jelly making demonstration (or similar) with local producer followed by a Scone making demonstration with Chef Pattis and wife Sarah who will talk about English teas.
 Lunch: A picnic lunch is prepared for your departure. You may choose to eat prior or take along for your journey.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Brandon, VT Discover New England
An excellent web site for everything in New England For additional information, visit
  Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing
Vermont Dept. of Tourism and Marketing 6 Baldwin St., Drawer 33 Montpelier, VT 05633-1301 Phone: 802-828-3676 E-mail: If you would like to order a travel packet to help plan your next vacation to Vermont, use our on-line form To order your travel packet by phone, call our toll-free number: 1-800-VERMONT (US and Canada) For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

America's Founding Food: The Story of New England Cooking

Author: Keith Stavely, Kathleen Fitzgerald

Description: From baked beans to apple cider, from clam chowder to pumpkin pie, Keith Stavely and Kathleen Fitzgerald's culinary history reveals the complex and colorful origins of New England foods and cookery. Featuring hosts of stories and recipes derived from generations of New Englanders of diverse backgrounds, America's Founding Food chronicles the region's cuisine, from the English settlers' first encounter with Indian corn in the early seventeenth century to the nostalgic marketing of New England dishes in the first half of the twentieth century. Focusing on the traditional foods of the region--including beans, pumpkins, seafood, meats, baked goods, and beverages such as cider and rum--the authors show how New Englanders procured, preserved, and prepared their sustaining dishes. Placing the New England culinary experience in the broader context of British and American history and culture, Stavely and Fitzgerald demonstrate the importance of New England's foods to the formation of American identity, while dispelling some of the myths arising from patriotic sentiment. At once a sharp assessment and a savory recollection, America's Founding Food sets out the rich story of the American dinner table and provides a new way to appreciate American history.

Maple Sugarin' In Vermont: A Sweet History

Author: Betty Ann Lockhart

Description: Come along for a trip through maple time in Vermont, from the 1600s to the mid-twentieth century. Betty Ann Lockhart introduces the origins of the 'Flavor of Vermont', the tools of the sugaring trade and the personalities who launched maple sugar to world fame. The Abenakis were discoverers of the sweet sap that flowed from Vermont's trees, and Thomas Jefferson was an early promoter of it. During the Civil War, maple sugar was cheered as the moral alternative to cane sugar- the latter having been produced by slave labor- and in subsequent wars, it was shipped to U.S. troops around the world. Enriched with maple-inspired songs, recipes and legends, Maple Sugarin' in Vermont illuminates not just the industry, but also the culture of maple sugar in the Green Mountain State.

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