Bike, Eat, Explore, All In A Day: Grafton & Chester VT
Another day of same old, same old? Finally some time to explore? You’re at loose ends between entertaining (aka generously babysitting) your grandnephew and a trip to stay with old friends? Fishing is your adventure of choice, and they haven’t been biting lately? You haven’t seen anything but the walls of your apartment since, like, last week, and how could a self-respecting opinionated adventurer conceivably go that long without venturing SOMEWHERE?
Consider this a “fill-‘er-up” to freshen your brain, legs, and palate.
Today’s “active refreshment” transpires in Grafton and Chester VT. This All in a Day is within reasonable reach of the Upper (VT-NH) and Pioneer (MA) Valleys.
Righty-ho. If you’re feeling especially budget-pinched, you might want to load a picnic into your car, perhaps a thermos of coffee, and some water. There will be opportunities for budget-friendly lunches today, but Muddy Boots knows that even these can be a little too taxing when the purse strings are tight.
Your car is happily sated with gas, as always a good idea when off the interstate in Vermont? Check. Your sturdy footwear is on board? Check. Maybe a swimsuit? Check.
Oh, gosh, you forgot the map? If you can, stop off at an interstate rest area: the State of Vermont provides an excellent one for free. ‘Cos doing this without a map might have you driving in circles half the day.
Your interstate speed will slow to a backcountry dawdle around Bellows Falls somewhere. This is where a map comes in handy. Not for the last time today.
Locate Route 121. Aaaand,…
Drive to Grafton,
A well-cared for Vermont village with an impressive number of buildings on the Register of Historic Places. Once there, you could—with despatch—jump out of the car, grab a coffee, and do a little sightseeing, but that would only be deferring the inevitable, since Muddy Boots generally has exercise first on the agenda.
Mosey south of town on the Townshend road. You will come upon a recreation area called “Grafton Ponds”. Note, you have just passed the Grafton Village Cheese company, so you can anticipate that there will be taste-testing treats in your near future.
Pull into the Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center and rent a mountain bike if you don’t have your own. Bike rental costs are reasonable (as these things go). Do the necessaries to get yourself in to the recreation area (there’s a small fee, but remember, gasp, you’re a senior citizen) and check the trail map. There are routes for every level of mountain biker, including some very mellow rides. If you’ve never tried mountain biking before, Muddy Boots opines that it is way more fun than biking on a road.
Pedal into the woods….
When you’re through with biking, consider washing off the sweat with a dip in the eponymous pond, right there next to the parking lot.
Lick your lips
‘Cos you’re hightailing it over to Grafton Village Cheese. Aaaand…not only are you going to go in for samples (hours permitting), but if you haven’t had any exercise yet (or if you would love a little more), see how there’s a covered bridge off to one side of the parking lot? Stroll over and into the meadow along the well-graded pathway. Disabled-friendly.
Now that you’ve had your appetizer……
Get going into the village of Grafton
And have a little wander. There may be a café or two here that appeal to you, but Muddy Boots suggests going a little further…
To the main drag at Chester.
There, two of several budget-friendly options will jump out at you from the above illustration. Alternatively, wheel on over to the Country Girl Diner on the outskirts of town. You may need directions, and you’ll definitely want to check open times in advance.
You know the DCMB drill: mosey, linger, dawdle. After all, your exercise is done and self-satisfaction is coursing through your veins, right? Soon enough, you’ll get back in your veeehickle and truck down Route 103 to Rockingham, site—not least—of the world-famous frankly-commercial-but-who-gives-a-rip Vermont Country Store.
Muddy Boots leaves you to browse…..
Photo credits: Featured image, Chester Main Street: CC BY 2.0 by Bob P.B. via Flickr. Top: Grafton Tavern: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Doug Kerr via Flickr; White Church, Grafton: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Doug Kerr via Flickr. Yellow house, Grafton Grafton: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Doug Kerr via Flickr. Brick house with neo-classical front: CC BY-SA 2.0 by Doug Kerr via Flickr. All others, DustyCarMuddyBoots.com, All rights reserved.