Tuck into wholesome dishes in the River Garden Cafe (Rte. 114, East Burke, 802/626-3514, www.rivergardencafe.com , 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 5–9 p.m. Wed.–Sun.; 11 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun., $6–14 lunch, $18–25 dinner) for lunch or dinner, and look out to the restaurant’s lovingly tended gardens. Owners Bobby Baker and David Thomas started this relaxing spot in the early 1990s, and since then it’s become locally loved for specials like pepper-crusted lamb loin, fried ravioli, and warm artichoke dip.
Housed in the Wildflower Inn, the casual, crimson-walled Juniper’s Restaurant (2059 Darling Hill Rd., 800/627-8310, www.wildflowerinn.com , 5:30 p.m.–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat.; seasonal hours may vary, $9–24) uses all-natural ingredients (many from nearby farms and purveyors), including everything from hormone-free dairy products and free-range turkey to organic wines. There’s a full roster of Vermont-brewed beers, too.
The conversation’s as good as the eating and drinking at Trout River Brewing Company (Rte. 5, 1 mi. north of I 91, 802/626-9396, www.troutriverbrewing.com , 4–9 p.m.Fri.–Sat., $6–14). During the week, the microbrewery churns out ales and stouts, but on Friday and Saturday nights it opens its pub, where seemingly the entire town gathers to eat hand-tossed, gourmet pizzas, drink good ales, and gossip.