Vermont’s Route 100A is ripe for exploring

A view from the Slack Hill Trail.
Marty Basch for The Boston Globe
A view from the Slack Hill Trail.

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,, 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.



Marty Basch for The Boston Globe
The Florence Cilley General Store at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site is attached to the home where he was born.

10 a.m. Take a tour

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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, 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,, 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.

Marty Basch for The Boston Globe
Bridgewater Corners Country Store has been in business since the 1800s.

2:30 p.m. Late lunch

Olson’s Bridgewater Corners Country Store (5680 US Route 4, Bridgewater Corners, 802-672-6241,, 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, 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,, 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