Each year, we send out a survey to find the best in Vermont’s outdoors. The best ski areas, shops, bars, brews and restaurants and more. To see all the 2019 Black Diamond Award winners click here:
When you ask Vermonters “What’s the best place to… eat/sleep/drink?” there are some answers that come up year after year. Our readers love the Trapp Family Lodge, not just for the lodge itself but for its over 60 kilometers of trails for cross-country skiing and mountain biking, plus its beer hall. But increasingly, we’re seeing other new favorites pop to the top of the list. Woodstock Inn, recently completely revamped and the owner of Suicide Six, is a close second and new to the list, the Grunberg Haus in Waterbury, is a cozy and cool new spot that made it into the ranks of Edson Hill and Stoweflake, two Stowe stalwarts.
Favorite brews also so an upset. Lawson’s Finest, nearly always in the top three, took the top spot this year, displacing legendary breweries The Alchemist and Hill Farmstead. With its new taproom and expanded brewery, it’s become an instant favorite and a reason to make the pilgrimage to the Mad River Valley.
In Stowe, The Matterhorn is the go-to favorite but Doc Ponds has moved into a solid second and its newly-acquired sister, Prohibition Pig, is right in there too. Stowe’s Piecasso and American Flatbread — with three locations– also led in the Best Pizza category.
When our readers think of gyms, climbing gyms come to mind first and PetraCliffs and MetroRock both rocked their worlds. Last, your favorite parks? No surprise there that Little River State Park and Green River Reservoir still top this list.
Best Lodges or Hotels 1. Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe: 2. Woodstock Inn, Woodstock, 3. Edson Hill, Stowe, 4. Grunberg Haus, Waterbury, 5. Stoweflake, Stowe
Best Après Ski Bar: 1. Matterhorn, Stowe, 2. Doc Ponds, Stowe, 3. Prohibition Pig, Waterbury, 4. Black Line Tavern, Magic, 5. Grizzly’s, Stratton
Best Vermont Breweries: 1. Lawson’s Finest, Waitsfield, 2. Hill Farmstead, Greensboro 3. Long Trail, Bridgewater, 4. The Alchemist, Stowe, 5. Von Trapp Brewing, Stowe
Best Pizzas: 1. Piecasso, Stowe, 2. American Flatbread, Waitsfield/Middlebury/Burlington, 3. Folino’s, Shelburne 4. Bluestone, Waterbury & Waitsfield 5. Ramunto’s, Bridgewater
Best Gyms: 1. Petra Cliffs, Burlington, 2. MetroRock, Essex, 3. The Edge, Burlington, 4. Pico Sports Club, Pico 5. Vermont Sun, Middlebury
Best Camping Area/State Parks: 1. Little River State Park, 2. Green Mountain Reservoir 3. Moosalamoo National Recreation Area 4. Grand Isle State Park 5. Groton State Park
Featured photo: The new taproom for Lawson’s Finest Liquids. Courtesy photo.