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Vermont Best Bargains 2010

Vermont Best Bargains 2010
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by in May 2010

Real Bistro Prices
TIP TOP CAFE, White River Junction
The word “bistro” has been so abused it might as well be dropped from the English language–except that every once in a while, a place comes along that epitomizes the concept, with simple but creative food (such as orange-infused salmon and ginger-and-pork meatloaf), candlelit table service, and reasonable weeknight date prices. Entrees: under $20, most under $15. 85 North Main St. 802-295-3312;

Country Living
OLD RED MILL INN, Wilmington
No frills at this former sawmill 10 minutes from Mount Snow; just clean, homey rooms, a spacious lobby with wraparound woodstove, and a cheery, attentive staff. Rates: from $70; continental breakfast included on weekends. Jct. Routes 9 & 100. 877-733-6455, 802-464-3700;

Low-Cost Comfort
The room names spell out this Mad River establishment’s philosophy: “Peace,” “Patience,” “Kindness,” “Joy.” They should all be named “Bargain,” for the comfy, quilt-covered beds, WiFi, and kids’ playroom. Rates: $85-$135, including full breakfast and afternoon treats. 48 Lareau Road. 802-496-4949;

At the Hop
A&W DRIVE-IN, Middlebury
You know it’s springtime in Middlebury when the cars line up along Route 7 in front of one of the last drive-in burger joints in the country. Carhops on roller skates and college kids flirting between cars make the scene as enjoyable as the meal. Entrees: from $3. 1557 Route 7. 802-388-2876;

$10 menu
The name may be pretentious, but nothing else here is. For just $10 a day, you get access to Vermont’s longest-running county fair and its down-home pleasures, including oxen pulls and “biggest pumpkin” contest, plus unique treats such as Civil War re-enactments and legendary apple crisp. Runs September 16-19 this year. 1 Fairground Lane (off Route 110). 802-889-5555,

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