At the Townshend Dam, which created the Townshend Lake, there are good hiking trails and a nice beach for swimming. There are beautiful spots for picnicking and large events (family reunions, weddings, etc.).
When you drive up to the Windham Hill Inn, you know immediately that you're in a special place. I can't even find the words to describe the grounds, but you can see them at www.windhamhillinn.com. The Inn itself is a showplace, brimming with elegant comfort. The menu changes seasonally and the specials change nightly. This is a place to go if you are a true "foodie" and dig things like truffles and foie gras. Many of the menu selections in the summer include produce from the Inn's kitchen garden, and the chefs pride themselves on making things from scratch (including pasta and bread.) The Inn has also won a Wine Spectator Award. Reservations are necessary, and as you can imagine, dinner is not cheap.
Favorite Dish: I love the chocolate peanut butter purses. Inside a pouch of phyllo dough is a chocolate brownie topped with sweetened peanut butter and chocolate ganache. The purse is heated (so everything gets all gooey and wonderful inside) and served with creme anglaise. It is HEAVENLY!!!
The Townshend Dam Diner is a one room eatery, furnished with 1950's kitchen tables and chairs. The desserts are amazing and the breakfasts are perfect. They also serve bison burgers, thanks to the Townshend Bison Farm, as well as other normal diner fare. But here, you order a Dam Sandwich or a Dam Burger. (Vermonters are corny.) Oh, and it's REALLY CHEAP!!!
Favorite Dish: The blueberry pancakes with real Vermont maple syrup are my favorite hangover cure, but for lunch, I like the Fishwich.
When you drive in Southern Vermont, know this: There are speed traps going through the villiages, and the cops just love to nail out-of-staters who are speeding! Also, don't think that a fancy four-wheel-drive SUV gives you license to drive like an *** in bad weather conditions. The cars that land in the ditches are almost always brand new Lexus or Mercedes SUV's with Connecticut or New Jersey plates.
The adage "never talk to strangers" never made it as far as the Green Mountain State. All of the people you meet are usually quite friendly. It's not uncommon to have conversations with anyone you meet. Try to enjoy this, even if you aren't used to such friendliness. Don't be brusque or try to rush through transactions, because here things are slower. Being impatient can cost you, whether it's recieving a lower quality product or being overcharged. So BE NICE.
BOOTS! You need them for the snow, then when the snow melts you need them for the mud. As far as clothes are concerned, the key to Vermont living is layers. Weather can change in the blink of an eye here. If you want to fit in, don't wear "fancy flatlander clothes". People in Vermont don't wear ties unless they're going to a funeral (if then!).
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Don't wear perfume or use scented shampoo if you want to avoid insects when you're outside. (The bugs in Vermont aren't nearly as bad as they are in Florida or Maine.)
Photo Equipment: Bring a camera! Beauty is everywhere.
No trip to Townshend is complete without eating at the Townshend Dam Diner on Rte. 30 (open 5 am-8 pm daily, closed Tuesdays in the winter).
Fondest memory: I live in Townshend, so I'd have to say that the thing I miss most when I'm away is my home, but I also find myself thinking about how friendly everyone is here, and what a relaxing place it is. I also miss the view from my living room (see picture).