WINDSOR — Gourmands and outdoor enthusiasts rejoice: at the end of a winding driveway just off Route 5 in Windsor is a haven of Vermont businesses celebrating the delights of the palate and the great outdoors.
Artisan’s Park is a collection of eight small locally-owned grassroots businesses coming together to create a valley marketplace where visitors can eat, play, and spend the day sampling some of Vermont's finest wares.
Home to SILO Distillery, Artisan Eats, Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company, Great River Outfitters, The Path of Life Sculpture Garden, Harpoon Brewery and Simon Pearce, Artisan’s Park has blossomed into the ideal Vermont village market square, where visitors can find everything from gourmet cheeses, jams, pizza and ice cream to spirits, craft beer and wine. There are even outdoor rentals for your own personalized Vermont adventure, alone or with friends.
Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company Market
At the trough of the access road is Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company, a craft wine, cheese and Vermont products store with everything from cured salumi to cutting boards. The market offers samples of some of the best crackers (including the famous Castleton Crackers), spreads, honeys and cheeses in Vermont and the world, including washed and bloomy rind cheeses, cave and cellar aged options, and award-winning samples from Jasper Hill Cellars, Consider Bardwell, and Vermont Creamery.
Along with a wide variety of culinary delights, kitchen accessories and merchandise, in the warmer months you can find maple creemees and hand-thrown, wood fired pizza made to order. They also make cheese using locally-brewed beer, such as their Cheddy Topper, a collaboration with Alchemist Brewery using the brewery's Heady Topper American Double IPA that results in a creamy, hoppy cheddar with subtle notes of the bright pine of an IPA.
Don’t miss: Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company’s Lille (Coullumiers), a creamy, bloomy-rind style of cheese related to brie that pairs perfectly with a citrusy marmalade on toast.
A few steps from Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company’s side door and across the badminton court is Boston’s own Harpoon Brewery, which opened its second location here. In addition to their handcrafted beer selection, customers may take a tour of the brewery out back, stop into the gift shop for some merchandise or a refrigerated pack to go, or sit and stay awhile and sample a pint or a flight of brew paired with one of their signature taproom burgers, cinnamon-sugar pretzels, or even a BBQ Sundae complete with cherry on top.
Live music outside is common when the weather is warm, and Harpoon is known for hosting a variety of annual themed festivals inspired by local barbecue, a macaroni and cheese challenge, and their very own Oktoberfest.
Don’t miss: Their Big League IPA at 7.2% alcohol by volume (ABV), boasting big juicy citrusy notes and a refreshingly dry finish.
A local favorite lunch and snack spot, Artisan Eats food and catering is owned and operated by Jenny Williams and doles out homemade, market-inspired meals and snacks to Vermonters and out-of-staters alike.
Williams got her start prepping ingredients for her family’s business in New Hampshire, where she first developed her passion for food. Several years ago, after mastering the arts of wood-fired pizza, quiches, pastry and international foods over her professional career, Williams opened Artisan Eats, the final manifestation of her childhood dream.
Williams and her team masterfully cook up locally-sourced and locally-inspired dishes that change with the seasons, and are inspired by the people of Vermont. From gourmet bacon-wrapped radishes to artisan-crafted sandwiches with local cheese, homemade breads and grass-fed meats, Artisan Eats menus have a little something for everyone.
Great River Outfitters
Just next door, Great River Outfitters is ready to meet the adventure needs of all who come to witness Vermont’s natural treasures. Visitors can take advantage of their fat bikes, kayaks, paddle boards, canoes and tubing rentals, or traverse the Path of Life Sculpture Garden behind the rental facility on a year-round basis.
The Path of Life Garden leads visitors through 18 pieces of unique art and sculptures on 14 acres of land on the banks of the Connecticut River. Each sculpture is meant to represent an aspect of the human experience. The Path of Life Garden is also rented for occasions and events, including weddings, camping and retreats, and is a perfect picnic spot for anyone stopping next door, to Artisan Eats for a healthy and wholesome meal or snack to enjoy with nature.
When the whistle is in need of wetting, SILO Distillery has everyone covered, from the purist whiskey sipper to the dry cider lover. SILO sells and serves hand-crafted gins, whiskeys, vodkas and more, including their unique special offerings such as their Solstice spirit, distilled from Harpoon Brewery’s UFO White beer from right across the parking lot.
According to the distillery website, each of the grains and ingredients in SILO’s spirits are locally sourced and is distilled to create a variety of flavors including cucumber and cacao vodkas, classic and barrel-aged gins, bourbon, whiskey and maple whiskey. SILO also sells ready-to-drink cocktails available in bottles, so all the work of making a delicious drink is done for you including whiskey sours, a Lavender Cosmo, Blue-B-Trap and more.
Don’t miss: Their SILO Semi-Dry Cider, crisp and clean with bright citrus notes and light, with an ABV of 6.5%.
Blake Hill Preserves
Turning into the center of the small market complex is Blake Hill Preserves, the family-run English preserve company. According to the company website, they are taking three generations of cooking and canning experience and making the best of local Vermont ingredients to produce their innovative flavors of jams, marmalades, sauces, pickles and more.
From candied jalapenos, wild dandelion infused honey, apple-maple butter and “Naked Jams” with no added sugar, to their cheese pairing spreads featuring plum and fennel chutney, raspberry mostarda and orange marmalade with 10-year-old single malt whiskey. Blake Hill Preserves has made a name for itself by taking the best of what Vermont has to offer combined with classic English technique and a deep admiration for wholesome, good food.
Don’t miss: Their Spiced Plum with Port, which pairs exceedingly well on Stilton and Jasper Hill Cellars’ Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese.
Ever a revered name among artisans and craftspeople, Simon Pearce also makes Artisan’s Park one of its homes. Their website invites visitors to watch master glass blowers and craftsmen at work, as well as peruse a selection of “second-quality" pieces for sale along with their pristine finished products.
Elegant glassware and pottery ranging from vases and serving dishes to decanters, wine glasses, candle holders and holiday-themed glass decor grace the walls and showroom, alongside expertly crafted wooden bowls. You can even find glass cell phone holders and decanters here, too! Whether it's a pendant or a pitcher, for a gift or for you, chances are you’ll find the most refined craftsmanship at Simon Pearce, along with the opportunity to take a piece of Vermont-inspired art back home.