As many of you know from my Facebook page, Ben and I recently took a trip to Vermont.  We had a truly wonderful time, and I have so much I want to share with you about our trip.  It’s way too much to fit into one post, so I have decided to do a series of posts about our travels with related giveaways, as well as recipes inspired by the foods we ate.  Though I generally prefer not to take photos in restaurants, I am still going to tell you about some of the places we ate because you need to know about them in case you ever visit…and I think you should.

This was our first vacation sans kids since having kids and it was a much needed break.  We  slept a lot, we ate a lot (without having to clean up the kitchen!) and we visited a bunch of fun places.  A lot of people seemed perplexed when I said we were vacationing in Vermont because, well, what is there to see?  Well, for a fall lover such as myself, New England in the fall seems like reason enough.  To be honest though, I’ve been wanting to visit Vermont since I was a little girl.  Before my mom passed away, my parents took a trip to Grafton and they always talked about how beautiful it was, how much fun they had, etc.  I saw lots of pictures and always knew it was someplace I wanted to see.  We stayed in nearby Chester and drove to Grafton a couple of times throughout our stay.

I’ve talked many times about the great friends I’ve made through blogging.  After being friends for nearly five years and emailing almost daily, I was finally able to meet my friend Tara of Smells Like Home in person.  She and her husband Kyle live in Connecticut and drove up to spend the day with us.  We had such a wonderful time with them, and it was more like picking right up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a while rather than meeting her for the first time.  I had an absolute blast getting to spend time with her.

Since our love of food is what brought us together, we thought exploring the Grafton Village Cheese Co. together would be a great idea.  The town of Grafton is very tiny and sleepy, so there wasn’t a ton for us to do there but we kept ourselves occupied.  I was practically giddy over all the different types of cheese available in this store.  And the samples…oh, the samples.  I was in heaven tasting all the different cheese, dips, spreads, etc.  There were more types of cheddar than I even knew existed, and I made sure to bring a few of them home to cook with.

I was also thrilled to see this Vermont cultured butter in the case.  I buy this at Whole Foods in Indiana, and have kind of a love affair going with this butter.  Give me this butter, a good baguette, and I’m pretty much set.

After finishing up at the cheese shop, we meandered over to the restaurant next door for lunch called Mack’s Place Eatery.  It is a casual place with eclectic decor and an impressive menu for its fairly small size.  I had an awesome ham panini with Vermont cheddar (of course), apple butter and apple slices as well as a cup of fantastic pumpkin soup.  That meal was one of my food highlights from the trip for sure, and the company could not have been any better.  I’m so glad I finally had the opportunity to meet Tara in person, and I’ll make sure it’s not five more years before we meet again :)

Tomorrow I’ll be sharing a recipe I created using one of the varieties of cheddar I brought home.  Before that though, I have a giveaway of some fun Vermont souvenirs to share with you.  Since I didn’t want to attempt shipping cheese to a reader, instead I chose a few other classic Vermont items.  This totally awesome cookbook Dishing Up Vermont, a Vermont maple syrup sampler, and of course, a piece of maple candy.

To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me what your very favorite type of cheese is.  (I know, I know, it’s almost impossible to pick one.  But if you had too…)

The Rules: One entry per person, U.S. residents only.  Commenting will close on Wednesday, November 9 at 11:00 pm EST.  Entries that do not meet the entry requirements will not be considered.  One winner will be selected at random and announced next week.

Full disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by yours truly.