Get schooled on Calvin Coolidge and sample Vermont’s unique tastes and sounds along rambling Route 100A. Near Ludlow and Killington, the 7-mile rural road from Plymouth to Bridgewater Corners winds through dense forest ripe for hiking to a funky crossroad with US Route 4.
9:30 a.m. Breakfast
Ease over from Route 100 for breakfast at the well-preserved President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site in Plymouth Notch, birthplace of the former Massachusetts governor and 30th president (3780 Route 100A, Plymouth, 802-672-3773, www.historicsites.vermont.gov, open late May to mid-October, adults $7.50, ages 6-14 $2, under 6 free.
Once a circa 1830 tavern, the Wilder House Restaurant was the childhood home of Coolidge’s mother, Victoria (breakfast $2-$6.75, lunch $3.25-$6.95). Save room for savory cobbler.
10 a.m. Take a tour
Take a short guided tour and then explore the site where in 1923 Coolidge was sworn in while on vacation by his father, John, a notary public, following Warren Harding’s unexpected death. Pick up candy and old time Moxie at the Florence Cilley General Store. Play an old school game in the one-room schoolhouse and buy cheese at the Plymouth Cheese Factory (106 Messer Hill Road, Plymouth Notch, 802-672-3650, wwwww.plymouthartisancheese.com) with an upstairs museum. Move into the 21st century with an interactive exhibit in the visitors center.
Noon Hike Slack Hill
Hike this 2,174-foot hill in vast Coolidge State Park (855 Coolidge State Park Road, Plymouth, 802-672-3612, www.vtstateparks.com, Memorial Day-Columbus Day weekends, $8). The counter-clockwise 3.6-mile loop takes about two hours. Consider a picnic in the park’s renovated pavilion.
2:30 p.m. Late lunch
Olson’s Bridgewater Corners Country Store (5680 US Route 4, Bridgewater Corners, 802-672-6241, www.bridgewatercornerstore.com, sandwiches $6.19-$8.39) has been a meeting place for some 175 years and a store since about 1840. In 1889, thieves blew open the safe, took the money, and torched the building. A year later the owners were back in business. Try Vermont staples: cheese, maple syrup, wine, etc. Grab a turkey, ham, cheddar, lettuce, mayo, and mustard Cool Calvin or the Route 4, a hot sliced turkey, Swiss, roasted pepper, and Thousand Island dressing creation on grilled rye.
3:30 p.m. Soothe the soul
Cross the road to White Raven Drum Works (5713 US Route 4, Bridgewater Corners, 802-672-3055, www.whiteravendrums.com) and a world of unusual sound. Kai Mayberger creates instruments using wood from Vermont, Brazil, and Africa. Five- and six-foot-long low-rumbling didjeridus lean against a gallery wall. Mayberger plays a Native American courtship flute, an ashiko drum made with hides from moose, elk, and deer, and double-sided drums called boombas.
4 p.m. Suds
Wrap up at Long Trail Brewery (5520 US Route 4, Bridgewater Corners, 802-672-5011, www.longtrail.com, fare $6.50-
$12). Take the short self-guided tour, basically a contained walkway with placards detailing the operation turning water, yeast, hops, and malt into quenching beer like the potent Double Bag and robust Hibernator.
Order a sampler in the airy pub. Beer is in some of the sandwiches. There’s a gift shop too.Marty Basch can be reached at onetankaway.com.