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Introducing Grafton

The must-see village of Grafton is graceful, but it's not that way by accident. In the 1960s the private Windham Foundation established a restoration and preservation program for the entire village, and it has been eminently successful. The foundation's initiatives included burying all electrical and telephone lines, which helps accounts for Grafton's ultrapicturesque, lost-in-time appearance.

In the heart of the village, visit the brand-new retail shop of local success story Grafton Village Cheese Company. The shop offers free samples of Grafton's many mouthwatering, nose-tingling cheddar varieties, which you can also purchase here along with wine and beer. The maple-smoked and stone-house cheddars regularly win awards at international cheese festivals. Tours of the actual cheese-production facility, half a mile down the street at 533 Townshend Rd, are sometimes available; ask for a schedule at the shop.

Just south of the village, Grafton Ponds Outdoor Center offers year-round recreation on its network of mountain-biking, hiking and cross-country ski trails, along with canoeing, swimming, snow tubing and adventure camps for kids.

The Grafton Inn, whose double porch is Grafton's landmark, has played host to such notable guests as Rudyard Kipling, Theodore Roosevelt and Ralph Waldo Emerson. While the original brick inn is quite formal, many of the 45 guest rooms and suites – scattered around houses within the village – are less so. The inn has tennis courts, a sand-bottomed swimming pond and cross-country skiing trails. The dining room (mains $21 to $29) is New England formal, and the cuisine is refined New American with a seasonal menu. Its casual on-site pub, Phelps Barn, has live music every Saturday night and serves light pub food and a wide range of Vermont microbrews; or pop in for Flatbread Fridays, when it serves pizza cooked in 'Big Red,' its beloved pizza oven.

Grafton lies at the junction of VT 121 and VT 35, only about 15 miles north of Newfane.