Bonafide Farm

Middlebury, VT: Art and beer

October 20th, 2012 § 0

Thursday morning I picked up a goat cheese and watercress sandwich from the Otter Creek Bakery in downtown Middlebury, Vermont. I ate half of it while wandering the small downtown area, which included a neat bookstore, the independent-since-1949 Vermont Book Shop, as well as an establishment smelling heavily of patchouli and alpaca sweaters.

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I was in a great store featuring Vermont artists when I heard a loud roar outside. I thought it was some sort of mechanical equipment, but when I stepped on to the screened back porch I realized that the shop was actually cantilevered over a waterfall in the Middlebury River.

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After my downtown wandering, I drove to the Middlebury College Museum of Art. I got Tucker out for a quick walk on the grounds and it didn’t take me too long to realize we’d stumbled in to the middle of a high school photography class field trip. Tuck posed by a pond for several budding artists and it gave me a kick to think his picture may be hanging on the wall for next week’s critique. Been there, done that!

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The art museum, which has free admission, was showing a lovely little exhibit of original photos published in Alfred Steiglitz’s Camera Work. Camera Work, a magazine begun in 1903, was the most influential publication to elevate photography into the realm of fine art. To see images by Steiglitz, Paul Strand, Edward Steichen, and more felt like being among old friends, and it reminded me of how much I enjoy photography and how little of myself, over the past few years, I have devoted to something that used to be central to my identity. Perhaps this is a wake-up call.

From Middlebury I headed north out of town, still on Route 7. I hadn’t gotten very far until I came across Otter Creek Brewing. It was about eleven in the morning—certainly time for the first tasting flight of the day!photo(23)

I sampled a range of offerings, from the lightest ales to the darkest stouts, and I have to admit that none really stood out to me as remarkable…which is pretty¬† much the conclusion I’ve come to buying their beers off the shelf in Virginia. Some of the Wolaver’s Organic beers made their way in to my flight, and I found them particularly lacking. Who knew pesticides make the beer tasted good?! Nonetheless, it was a great start to my brewery tour of Vermont, and drinking at eleven in Vermont sure beats sitting at work logging in to the day’s flash sale Web sites!

I finished my breakfast sandwich while walking Tucker in the field behind the brewery, where he snuffled out some ground-dwelling creatures in the duff, and then we hit the road toward our next destination, the Shelburne Museum.

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