For all seasons
Dover, Vermont offers hiking, dining, scenery for weekend travelers
This town in the southern part of the state was largely spared the catastrophic damage from Tropical Storm Irene that many other places sufferered, and so was able to quickly put visitors on track to enjoy hiking, dining, and Green Mountain scenery.
Mount Snow is the big tourist draw here, and is where Olympic gold medal snowboarder (and Dover native) Kelly Clark trained.
West Dover village, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, draws shoppers, but those with other interests have no problem finding plenty to do and quaint inns at which to unwind at the end of a busy day.
DURING THE DAY
Hiking is huge in hilly Dover. A quickie is the mile-long, paved Dover Valley Trail (www.doververmont.com/valley-trail), which parallels Route 100 through town and is accessible anywhere along it. It is a work in progress that will eventually measure five miles and connect the village area to Mount Snow, which also has a myriad of free hiking trails. A more rigorous outing is the Crosstown trail system. Park on Handle Road, a mile south of Tannery Road, and do the loop through Friar Tuck, Sherwood Forest, Little John, and back to your car, a 5.35-mile, heart-healthy stroll. Check out First Trax Sports Shop (5 Mountain Park Plaza, 802-464-3464, www.firsttraxsportsshop.com), specializing in skiing and biking gear, where you can rent a bike for $35, or take a guided tour for $30. Those who prefer to get their exercise window shopping should head to West Dover village. In need of T-shirts, fleece wear, souvenirs, or moose-oriented gifts? Check out a log cabin store, the Great Moose (280 Route 100, 802-464-5103). Green Mountain Interiors (135 Route 100, 802-464-3007, www.greenmountaininteriors.com) is a popular spot for folks looking for furniture, mattresses, bedding, and window treatments. After all that exercise, get the kinks out at High Mountain Massage (127 Route 100, 802-464-1678, www.highmountainmassage.com, hour massage $70, with $15 off through mid-November) where owner and licensed massage therapist Patricia Sweeney makes her own line of herbal products.
Dot’s of Dover (1 Mountain Park Plaza, 802-464-6476, www.dotsofdovervt.com, breakfast from $3.95) is the place for morning coffee and hearty food, such as berry-berry pancakes and a Cajun skillet mix of hot sausage, peppers, onions, potatoes, and Cajun seasoning topped with eggs. A great call for lunch is West Dover Joes (271 Route 100, 802-464-2422, www.letseat.at/westdoverjoes, entrees from $6.95), a ramped-up deli run by Culinary Institute of America-trained chef Brett Sewing. Here you’ll find noshes like beer-battered onion rings with horseradish sauce or a smoked brisket sub. They do box lunches, too; call your order in by 8 p.m. the night before, pick it up at 7 a.m. the next day. The Last Chair (267 Route 100, 802-464-1133, www.lastchairvt.com, entrees from $14) offers great pub food, craft beers on tap, a huge game room, and a long bar. In the mood for fine country dining? Two Tannery Road Restaurant (2 Tannery Road, 802-464-2707, www.twotanneryroad.com, entrees from $25) serves up classics like roast Long Island duckling and steak au poivre and is located in a 17th-century home once owned by a son of Theodore Roosevelt. (Legend has it TR drank at the original bar that’s still here.)
Valley View Saloon (131 Route 100, 802-464-9422, www.valleyviewsaloon.com) is the kind of place where everybody knows your name - and will shout it out if you perform at one of the Wednesday open mike nights. Not a closet Jagger? Then kick back and shoot some pool or enjoy some pub food, beer, or cocktails while keeping up with the game on one of four high-definition TVs. The 1846 Tavern and Restaurant (108 Route 100, 802-464-5207, www.1846tavern.com) is an old stagecoach stop on the National Register of Historic Places, and in addition to upscale dining, offers live music Thursday-Saturday in the fall, ramping up to seven nights a week in winter. When the flakes fly, the Snow Barn at Mount Snow (39 Mountain Access Road, 802-464-1100, www.mountsnow.com/events/music-calendar), a former hay barn, is the place for music with local, regional, and national live acts every weekend.
Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.