Photo Credit: Vermont Tourism
How To Spend 24 Hours in Black-Owned Vermont
What would you do if you only had 24 hours to make the most of a beautiful place?
If you were looking for delicious eats, unique cultural adventures and a multisensory experience of flavors, sights, smells and more, where would you go? And what if you could do those things and get a deep dive into Black culture and history?
Would you be surprised to learn you could have all that and more in Vermont?
Okay, hear us out.
It’s true that Vermont is the second whitest state in the United States, but with a little planning, you can curate a weekend trip with some culture and bring back incredible memories. That’s why we’re highlighting Black-owned culture spots, eateries and hideouts to help you plan a quick, culture-filled getaway. And if you want to stay a bit longer? We’ve got you covered there too. There’s actually a wealth of Black-owned businesses to check out while planning your trip, so we’ve narrowed down the list to introduce you to some of our faves.
Now, how can you make the most of those 24 hours?
1. Sample some local wines at a Black-owned winery
While some might advise you against starting your day at a winery, we’re here to celebrate with you. Kick things by touring ZAFA winery and sampling the flavors harvested to create its special blends. Owner Krista Scruggs set out to create a lineup of wines that taste amazing and are all natural! And what’s even more impressive is the way Scruggs is breaking ground in a largely homogenous industry. Fun fact: zafa is reported to be a powerful counterspell against fukú, which is the intergenerational curse of colonization. And if we can’t raise a glass to that, then let’s just cancel all celebrations this year, fam.
2. Stroll the historic downtown districts
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: History never gets old. And with gorgeous downtown districts like Burlington, Middlebury and Waterbury, you’re spoiled for choice. Whether you’re looking to check out some artifacts firsthand or do a deep dive into the art scene, making your jump-off point in a picturesque downtown district is always a good move. With almost too many great options to choose from, this is a definite must on your list.
3. Shop African-owned goods
If you assume traveling up north meant leaving African flavors and Caribbean spices behind, think again. With shops like Mawuhi African Market operating in Burlington, you have the chance to take home one-of-a-kind hair products, cosmetics and delicious foods that are staples in cultural cuisine. Stock up on old and new favorites while you’re there, and if you have a chance, say hello to Patience Bannerman, the Ghanaian-born owner who’s serving up lots of love.
4. Enjoy the cuisine in some unexpected places
We’ve all got to eat, but the real dilemma here is what to choose! With locally sourced farm-fresh ingredients in abundance, you’re nearly guaranteed to find a place that suits your tastes. One of our faves is Burlington’s Cafe Mamajuana. Chef and owner Maria Laretta-Bregatta opened Cafe Mamajuana when she moved to Vermont from New Jersey. Her vision was to create a Dominican fusion menu that nods to the many cultures that make up her family. And the result is a blending of flavors you won’t forget.
5. Catch a theater production
If you don’t want your day to end after the ‘itis — and we can’t say we blame you! — your next move can take you straight into another world. Well, not literally, but taking in a show on stage is a fantastic way to round out the night and lose yourself to some brilliant storytelling. And the Black-owned JAG Theater company has been putting on productions for the last five years. Its plays often feature storytelling that speaks to the many facets of the African diaspora, and no matter what time of year you go, you’re bound to catch an unforgettable production.
You might be surprised to learn all that Vermont has to offer, and with the culture-rich experiences to be had, we understand if you want to stretch out your trip for just a bit longer. But if a weekend is all you have, then you absolutely have to make the most of it. This little state is filled with exciting things to do and has enough memories to last you a lifetime.
This editorial is brought to you in partnership with Vermont Tourism.