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Top Ten Reasons the Mad River Valley in Vermont is a Vegan Paradise  

The Cubano Vegan Sandwich

The Mad River Valley encompasses the towns of Waitsfield, Warren and Moretown in north central Vermont. “The Valley” is  a popular tourist destination with spectacular scenery and a multitude of recreational opportunities. It also happens to be a paradise for vegan food lovers! Here are the top ten reasons vegans love visiting:

1) NOTE: Sadly, I report this wonderful cafe has closed. Sweet Pea Market Cafe is the first vegan market cafe in New England and the food is AMAZING! It is located in the heart of historic Waitsfield, a lovely spot with both indoor and outdoor seating.

 

Sweet Pea Natural Market

 

The market offers a variety of vegan staples and a wide selection of organic produce. And then there’s the prepared foods. Sweet Pea serves some of the yummiest vegan food I’ve ever eaten including dishes such as homemade moussaka, spanakopita, pizza, and burritos.

 

Vegan Pizza Vegan Burrito

 

Sweet Pea also offers outrageously inventive cold and hot pressed sandwiches made to order. My favorite is The Jamaican assembled with slow roasted seitan, cilantro pesto, jerk sauce, mango and red onion.

 

Jamaican Pressed Sandwich

 

My husband, Dan, is crazy about The Cubano layered with savory tofu, onions, pickles, house BBQ  and chipotle sauce and cheeze.

 

The Cubano Vegan Sandwich

 

Quench your thirst with one of their health promoting organic fresh pressed juices or smoothies.

2) The charming Mint Restaurant is located in the heart of old Waitsfield Village. On a warm summer evening, enjoy your meal with a glass of vegan wine on the outdoor patio.

 

Mint Restaurant, Waitsfield, Vermont

 

On our last visit, the vast majority of appetizers, entrees and desserts were vegan. Everything we tried was phenomenal.

 

Socca- Chickpea Pancake Butternut Squash Roast

 

3) American Flatbread, famous for pizza baked in a primitive wood-fired earthen oven, is located on the property of Lareau Farm nestled in the valley along the bank of the Mad River.

 

American Flatbread Oven

 

This is not a vegan or vegetarian restaurant, however, the kitchen is very accommodating. There is one appetizer on the menu, The Evolution Salad, and it does happen to be vegan. The ginger-tamari homemade fruit vinegar vinagerette is divine.  Specials change nightly depending on the availability of local produce.

 

Farm Produce Suppliers- American Flatbread

 

Select from the menu and the daily specials to create your own delicious plant-based pizza.

 

American Flatbread - Vegan Pizza

 

Another Valley restaurant that is neither vegetarian nor vegan, but that does have a few great vegan options is The Mad Taco.

 

The Mad Taco

 

Here are two possibilities:

Roasted Yam Tacos with black beans, slaw and cilantro

 

Mad Taco Roasted Yam Tacos

 

 

Bowl of Happiness with roasted yams, seitan, avocado, beans and rice

 

Bowl of Happiness- Mad Taco

 

The Bowl of Happiness is not on the menu but, if you  ask, they will make it up for you as a special.

4)  At the Farmer’s Market, located on the Mad River Green, you will find a variety of farm products, prepared foods and Vermont crafts. My favorite stands are Eastman Long and Sons for maple syrup, Mountain Flower Farm for beautiful, fresh cut floral bouquets, Vert Mont Perfumery for cruelty-free hand made fragrances and Tunbridge Hill Farm  and Hartshorn Farm for a diverse array of wonderful organic produce.

5)  Liz Lovely Cookies are delectable vegan cookies baked right in the heart of the valley.  They are sold locally at a variety of locations. Their best selling cookie is the Cowgirl, a chocolate-chip creation with chocolate drizzle. If you are a fan of ginger, don’t miss the Snapdragons. Not only are all of the cookies vegan, but they are also gluten-free, non-GMO and kosher parve.

 

Liz Lovely Ginger Snap

 

6)  In the winter, grab your warmest and coziest mountain gear and head to the slopes for some skiing and snowboarding. Both Sugarbush and Mad River Glen offer some of the most challenging downhill terrain in the East. Prefer cross-country skiing? Visit Blueberry Lake Cross Country or  Ole’s Cross Country Ski Centers for almost 50 miles of trails.

7)  Experience some breathtaking scenic views. Take a drive along East Warren Road any time of year but particularly during foliage season in early October.  Or stroll along Senor Road in Warren for stunning vistas across the valley.

 

Dog on Country Path- Warren, Vermont

 

Be sure to check out the covered bridges as you explore the historic villages of Warren and Waitsfield.

 

Warren, Vermont Covered Bridge

Path to Waterfall, Warren Village

Waitsfield Covered Bridge

 

If you are in the Valley for July 4th, visit the Warren parade! You are in for quite an experience.

 

July 4th, Warren, Vermont

 

There are many ways to enjoy the views. The hiking and walking opportunities are plentiful.  The Mad River Path offers lovely strolls along the valley floor or embark on more challenging hikes on the surrounding mountains. I’m told the biking is amongst the most challenging and picturesque in the North East.

 

Biking in the Mad River Valley

 

8) The Mad River and Blueberry Lake provide all sorts of refreshing and exciting swimmingcanoeing or kayaking opportunities.

 

Mad River

Kayaking on Blueberry Lake

 

9 ) The Vermont Festival of the Arts takes place in August through Labor Day and is hosted by the towns of the Mad River Valley. Its mission is to promote and encourage participation in the arts. The Vermont Festival of the Arts is honored as a “Top 10 Vermont Summer Event” year after year. 

10)  And finally, vegan cooking classes can be arranged upon request at Beantown Kitchen’s Cooking School in Warren. Contact me, Diana, for more information.

 

If you decide to explore the restaurants and attractions in the beautiful Mad River Valley, be sure to check out the websites for days/hours of operation. I hope your visit is wonderful!

 

With warmest wishes xoxo,

 

Diana

© 2015 Beantown Kitchen- Reprint only by permission of the author

 

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