Brandon à la carte from July 31st to August 9th
We’re going to do the Vermont Tour the same as last year: a pick-your-own-dates drop-in tour. This flexible arrangement allowed more members last year to enjoy this unparalleled cycling destination. For more information, read my recap of last year’s tour here.
Brandon Inn on the town square of Brandon has proven to be a popular host for this tour every year since we discovered it in 2014. It’s a four-hour drive from Ottawa to this big, old, comfortable inn with the lowest prices in New England and the best, most varied cycling in the state.
You Book Your Stay with the Inn
Once again this year, you deal directly with the inn; book whatever nights you want. The organizer will be there to co-ordinate the rides with maps and route suggestions, but you pay the inn, not the club. We will ask that you notify the club office of the dates you are joining us, so we can include you in our plans.
Here are the rates in US dollars (including %10 tax) that Brandon is offering us:
Bed and Breakfast: $75 per person per night based on 3 night stay. $70.50 per person per night based on more than 3 night stay.
Bed and Breakfast: $108 per person per night based on 3 night stay. $102 per person per night based on more than 3 night stay.
Children 5 to 12 years old
Cost per night, including full breakfast, to share a room with 2 or more adults: $13.20.
There are several restaurants in the area worth a visit. The inn has a good dining room and will provide dinner for a group of 16 or more any night - 3 courses with 3 entrees, coffee and tea (including 10% tax and 18% tip) for $40.00 per person.
I always get skeptical queries about the riding in Vermont; lots of riders seem to doubt my claim that almost all our members can manage the terrain here. If you can enjoy a ride in the Gatineau park, I promise you that you will have no problem in Vermont.
We have more than a dozen rides from Brandon Inn, ranging from a child-friendly 36 km around the beautiful Lake Dunmore to a 140 km challenge with 1,837 m of climbing, one of the organizer’s favourite rides of all time. The roads in the Brandon area are in pretty good shape – and are generally quiet; the heavy traffic of the Burlington area is nowhere to be seen here. The terrain is gently rolling to mountainous; if you want long, steep climbs, they are waiting for you, but you can avoid them if you prefer. And there are no straight roads to be found; if you consider the outlying Ottawa countryside just the slightest bit on the boring side, you will be delighted with the cycling around Brandon.
If you plan to drop in for a day or two, we suggest contacting the organizer in advance to see if your ride of choice can be put on the schedule for that day.
What Is There Besides Cycling?
When we aren't riding, there are plenty of other attractions to keep us entertained. Brandon is not a big city, but it has a grocery store, a general store, a drug store, an ice cream shop, library, book store, gift and clothing shops, a hardware store, and two breweries within walking distance of the inn.
The breweries, wineries, and a cidery all offer tastings; the Middlebury Tasting Trail includes seven producers of beer, wine, cider, and spirits within a few kilometers.
There are a couple of churches, a museum, a music and arts centre, and a bakery/gourmet foods store.
There is a summer-long free concert series in Brandon on Wednesday evenings and last year we took in a lively jazz concert hosted by the Brandon Inn.
If you want to know more, check out the Brandon town website, http://www.brandon.org, that does a nice job of promoting the area.
The Land of Trump
Sadly, many of my friends tell me they won’t travel to the US while Donald Trump is president. That is your choice, but you should know that only Hawaii gave a smaller percentage of its votes to Trump in the 2016 election. Even California at 31.6% was more enthusiastic about the big red-head than Vermont with its 30.2%!
Bob Hicks, Vermont tour organizer