Published on June 1st, 2012 | by Sarah Galbraith0
Pedals and Pies | Five Road Rides That End With a Savory Reward
In Vermont, we are lucky for at least two reasons: We are surrounded by world-class road cycling, and we have access to many exceptionally delicious artisan pizza-makers. It turns out that these two go together quite nicely. So nicely, in fact, that it might be worth planning your next ride around pizza. Here are five suggested routes* around the state that begin and end at a pizza joint.
Heaven in the Champlain Valley
The Pizza: Pizza on Earth, Charlotte
1510 Hinesburg Rd.
This restaurant is a takeout joint, but the beautiful scenery and picnic tables invite you to enjoy your takeout on-site. And perhaps this is the best dining option for the sweaty biker! Importantly, this restaurant holds very limited hours and they accept cash and checks only, so plan ahead. In spring, hours are Fridays only from 4 to 7:30 p.m.; in mid-June through September, Thursdays and Fridays (same hours); and in the fall its back to Fridays only. Check the website for current hours when planning your trip. Reservations, particularly for larger groups, are recommended to avoid a long wait or missing out on dough―they do run out in the busy summer months. As for the pizza, the specials change weekly, one vegetarian and one with meat, plus there are delicious regular options; all are listed on the website. Many of the ingredients are sourced locally. Buy desserts and nonalcoholic drinks on-site or bring your own to go with your meal.
The Ride (28 mi): Riders in this neck of the woods can stick to the flats around Lake Champlain with views of the water and Adirondacks, or venture up some rather intense mountain climbs, such as the Mount Philo Road. I like to mix the two, so my favorite loop here heads first toward the lake, then back east to enjoy the pastoral scenery and more rolling terrain.
Directions: Turn left out the driveway of Pizza on Earth in Charlotte, and head west on Hinesburg Road (1 mi); turn right on to Mount Philo Road (3.8 mi); turn left on Marsett Road and cross US 7 (0.4 mi); continue on Bostwick Road (2.2 mi); turn right on to Orchard Road (1.6 mi); turn right on to Lake Road (1.7 mi); turn right on to Whalley Road (1.6 mi); turn right on to Ferry Road (0.7 mi); turn left on to Converse Bay Road (1.4 mi); turn right on to Lake Road (0.8 mi); turn right on to Thompson’s Point Road (2 mi); turn right on to North Shore Road (1 mi); turn right on to Deer Point Road (0.2 mi); turn left back on to Thompson’s Point Road (1.6 mi) and veer right on to East Thompson’s Point Road (1.2 mi); turn right on to US 7 (1.6 mi); turn left on to Old Hollow Road (0.3 mi); turn left on to Mount Philo Road (4 mi); turn right on to Hinesburg Road (1 mi); return to the restaurant on your right.
Pizza With Pizazz in Pawlet
Mach’s Wood-Fired Pizza, Pawlet
18 School St.
These all-organic pizzas, like many of the others included here, use local, fresh, and seasonal ingredients. The menu is continually changing depending on the availability of local produce and meats. Pie toppings can range from family-recipe sausage on a bed of chard to kale and roasted beets with feta to pureed pumpkin and gorgonzola. The unknown specialties are part of the adventure! The restaurant is open from Thursday through Sunday from 4:30 to 9 p.m.
The Ride (27 mi): The roads branching out from and around Pawlet have beautiful farms, fields, forests, and mountains. This ride loops through all of it for a scenic and winding tour. Directions: From Mach’s, turn left and take School Street (0.1 mi); turn right on to VT 30 South (6.2 mi); turn right on to VT 315/Rupert Mountain Road heading north (5.8 mi); turn right on to VT 153 heading north and follow 153 through West Pawlet (10.2 mi); turn right onto VT 30 heading south and continue back into Pawlet (4.4 mi); turn right on to School Street (0.1 mi); arrive back at Mach’s and your pizza supper.
Vermont Meets New York
1899 Mountain Rd.
Piecasso offers traditional New York–style pizza in a contemporary and vibrant atmosphere. With a full menu, including starters, salads, and soup, and a full bar, this is a great place to relax and refuel after a long bike ride. The atmosphere is casual and this spot is host to many tired (and slightly sweaty) adventurers. The specialty pies range from the heart-healthy Tree Hugger to the Heart Stopper (double everything: cheese, pepperoni, and sausage), or you can create your own. And be sure to pair your meal with one of the many local beers available or a refreshing drink from the full bar.
The Ride (61.5 mi): Stowe is home to miles and miles of scenic riding, plus the start of the well-known Smugglers’ Notch route, which includes many hundreds of feet of climbing over the mountain gap. Stowe is also known for its well-designed bike path, serving as a commuter route, fitness path, and scenic family ramble. The ride I recommend here heads east from Stowe and loops through Morrisville, Elmore Mountain and lake, Worcester, Montpelier, and Waterbury, encircling the beautiful C.C. Putnam State Forest. If you hit it right on the quiet stretches of VT 12, you just may see a moose!
Directions: From the restaurant, turn right out of the driveway and head back down VT 108/Mountain Road toward the intersection with Route 100 (2 mi); turn left on to VT 100 North and follow that through the village and north to Morrisville; stay straight through the intersection of Lower and Upper Main Street in Morrisville on to VT 12 South (8.8 mi); pass through the town of Elmore and the namesake mountain and lake on your right (4.4 mi); continue on past miles of state forest and through the town of Worcester (13.1 mi); come in to Montpelier on VT 12/Elm Street and turn right on to US 2 West/State Street (9.7 mi); go straight at the light, staying on Route 2 west; as you enter Waterbury, VT 100 joins from your left and US 2 and VT 100 are the same through downtown (11 mi); at the other end of Main Street, where US 2 and VT 100 diverge, turn right on to VT 100 North heading back toward Stowe (0.3 mi); turn left at the three-way stop intersection in Stowe village on to VT 108/Mountain Road (10 mi); and return to the restaurant, on your left (2 mi).
(Slightly) Hilly Ride, (Very) Flat Bread
American Flatbread, Waitsfield
46 Lareau Rd.
Try the specials. There are always two, changing from week to week: one is vegetarian, the other has meat, and both are always out of this world. You can even do a half-and-half on a single pie. Other longtime favorites are the Punctuated Equilibrium and the New Vermont Sausage. Be sure to get your local brew, bottle of wine, or other beverage of choice, and sit by the outdoor fire while you wait to be seated.
The Ride (32 mi): Riders in the Mad River Valley can stay low along the river or enjoy any of several nearby steep gap climbs leading west up and over the spine of the Green Mountains. My chosen route here stays in the valley along routes 100, 100B and 2, making a big lollipop-shaped loop starting from and returning to American Flatbread’s ample dirt parking lot. There are a few climbs, but overall the grade is mild.
Directions: Turn left out of the driveway and head north on VT 100 (6 mi); stay straight through the intersection to join VT 100B, winding along the Mad River (8 mi); turn left and head west on US Route 2 toward Waterbury (4.5 mi); turn left on to VT 100 South, heading back toward Waitsfield (7.5 mi); return to the intersection of VT 100 and VT 100B and turn right onto VT 100 South toward Waitsfield (6 mi); return to American Flatbread on your right.
The Parker Pie Company, West Glover
161 County Rd.
In a rustic barn setting with tons of charm and culture, this place is a destination in itself. The menu is chock-full of creative combinations from your typical veggie-lovers pizza to buffalo chicken to the less-than-typical Scott’s Revenge (a spicy combination of tomato sauce, spicy shrimp, roasted red peppers, and scallions). The menu includes salads, appetizers, and a full bar with many local beers on tap. And it’s all delicious!
The Ride (38.5 mi): One of my favorite views in this part of the state is of the dramatic cliffs of Mount Pisgah dropping down to the waters of Lake Willoughby. This ride takes a scenic tour past two of the glacial lakes in this region, Willoughby and Crystal.
Directions: Turn right from the driveway down County Road (0.1 mi); turn left onto Roaring Brook Road (2.7 mi); turn left onto VT 16 North (0.4 mi); in downtown Barton, take a right on to Water Street and then a left on to VT 16/US 5, then a right as VT 16 breaks east of US 5/Eastern Avenue (0.2 mi); follow VT 16 (Willoughby Lake Road) to Lake Willoughby and turn right onto US 5A (7 mi); after wrapping around the shores of the lake for several miles, veer away from the southern tip of the lake and follow 5A into West Burke and turn right onto US 5 (Lynburke Road) heading north again (11.4 mi); follow US 5/Lynburke Road to the shores of Crystal Lake and back into Barton (13.1 mi). From Barton, reverse the route you used to get here for your return to the restaurant (it’s a good climb, be prepared!).
*Please note, mileage is approximate; bring a map and friend for more fun.