Route 100: Rochester and Granville Gulf
Route 100 runs north-south through the geographical and spiritual heart of Vermont, winding from curve to curve past cornfields and fat cows lazing in impossibly green pastures, alongside gurgling streams, up and down switchbacking passes, and generally setting the standard for what scenic roads ought to be. Route 100 runs right at the edge of the Green Mountains National Forest, parallel to Vermont’s beloved crestline Long Trail, and every so often passes by a picturesque gas station-cum-general store, selling everything you’ll need to keep you on the road, from gas to maple-syrup milk shakes. Up and down the whole state of Vermont, Route 100 is a wonderful drive, as are just about all of the roads that intersect it.
North of US-4, the first place you come to along Route 100 is Pittsfield, an all-in-white hamlet set in a pastoral valley and surrounded by hayfields and acres of corn. From here Route 100 edges east into the White River Valley, passing through Stockbridge, which centers on an ancient-looking Ford dealership, and a couple more places that seem to exist solely on maps. The next stop is Rochester, at the junction with Route 73, which heads west over scenic Brandon Gap. Rochester is a proper Vermont town, with a village green, a bandstand, and the excellent Rochester Café & Country Store (802/767-4302), serving breakfast and lunch (and bread pudding and milk shakes—yum).
Two miles south of Rochester, across the river and away from Route 100, the Liberty Hill Farm & Inn (802/767-3926, $120 and up per person) is a family-friendly farmstay B&B and has a working 261-acre dairy where you can hike, bike, fish, or help feed the cows (and the ducks and chickens and cats).
North of Rochester, Route 100 passes through a still-working landscape, with ski club cabins sharing the roadside scene with a few barns and remnants of historic sheep pens. The one don’t-miss highlight of this middle section of Route 100 is Granville Gulf State Reservation, about 30 beautiful miles north from US-4. The Green Mountains rise steeply to either side of the road, and just off the west side of the road, delicate Moss Glen Falls tumble down through craggy cliffs to a gurgling stream. A short boardwalk, built using recycled wood products and supermarket plastic bags, leads to the foot of the falls from a small parking turnout.