Vermont is home to many good things, like the Ben & Jerry’s factory, beautiful mountains, and of course, cheese—cheddar, to be specific. That is why Grafton, Vermont is more than deserving of the today’s page in the 1000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day® calendar.
The town of Grafton was established in 1763 and is home to less than 700 people and Grafton Village Cheese, a company owned by the Windham Foundation. Here, cheese isn’t just something to melt atop chips or pizza dough. Grafton has been taking its cheese seriously since 1892, when local dairy farmers established a cooperative to use their extra milk to produce cheese, which has a longer shelf life.
After a fire destroyed the cooperative’s factory in 1912, the Windham Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote rural communities in Vermont, revitalized the operation in the mid-1960s.
Now, two factories—one in Grafton and another in nearby Brattleboro—produce some of the best cheese in the world and sell to visitors from on-site stores. All of the cheese is handmade from raw milk sourced from local family-owned farms. Aged cheddars are the cornerstones of the company, and wild palates will delight in the Maple Smoked and Smoked Chili varieties. Grafton also has a line of cave-aged cheeses that boast complex, nutty and earthy flavors.
With agri-tourism on the rise, Grafton offers stately and rustic accommodations to make your journey to the town all the more enjoyable. The historic Grafton Inn is a large stunning three-story white home with porches, columns and colonial shutters. Nestled amidst trees, it’s a fantastic place to spend the night on your tour de cheese.
As you plot your trip to this must-visit cheese lover’s destination, you can sample Grafton’s products at Whole Foods and select other stores and cheese shops nationwide. Trust us, your cheese plates will never be the same!
Grafton also offers recipe suggestions for its cheeses online. If you’re feeling the DIY spirit, you can try making your own cheeses from scratch with a little help from One-Hour Cheese. While the cheddars and specialty cheeses that Grafton makes require special equipment, there are many cheeses—like ricotta and mozzarella—that are simple to produce at home.
So go forth and eat, cook with and even make some cheese as you dream of the historic barns, idyllic pastures and phenomenal cheddars that await in Grafton.
Read on for more on 1000 Places to See Before You Die book and calendar line from Workman Publishing and Page-A-Day.