Places to live it up or wind down in the high country.
All He Wanted was a Maple Latte From J.J. Hapgood
All my brother-in-law wanted was a maple latte from J.J. Hapgood General Store and Eatery. It seemed like a simple request. I mean how hard could it be to get this poor guy a cup of coffee, especially when we were right down the road at Stratton Mountain. Apparently, it was impossible. He never did get that maple latte, held back by the differing opinions of family (it happens). I kind of did feel bad when I made my way over there a day after he left and got one of my own. I mean, I had to. Mike, having been there this past winter when visiting Bromley Mountain, had talked it up so much it would have been wrong of me to skip it. It was delicious (sorry, Mike). I don't feel too badly though. His elusive latte was ultimately my gain as it introduced me to the coolest general store I've ever seen, J.J. Hapgood. So much more than just a general store, J.J. Hapgood is cooking up some delicious food and pouring, hard to find, Vermont beers like Hill Farmstead all the while making them a go to spot for a quick bite, dinner and, of course, après ski.
Restoring Hapgood With a Twist
When Juliette Britton returned with her husband and children to Peru, Vermont, J.J. Hapgood general store had been shut down for three years. Growing up in the area, she remembers the location well, which was run as a general store dating all the way back to the 1970's and had ties to this store that, "ran deep." Seeing it closed down was disappointing and immediately the wheels started turning. The Brittons considered various business endeavors before deciding, "to go for it and (they) took on the challenge of restoring the community hub in the small village of Peru."
The notion of opening simply a general store in an area as off the beaten path as Peru seemed like a major risk and questions of its sustainability over the long term immediately surfaced for this husband and wife team. Could a general store withstand the test of modern times in this area? Hardly, which is why their business plan included the addition of a kitchen to the location and more recently a bar. The food and beverage concept is what is driving this business and turning Hapgood into a prime après ski location in southern Vermont. "The atmosphere at JJ Hapgood is very unique and comfortable! The back drop of a general store is very unique and seems to resonate with everyone. It is a perfect balance of nostalgia with a modern twist that just seems to work!," said Britton.
I could not agree more. When you walk in, you immediately realize that this is far from your grandfather's general store. The food offerings such as their charcuterie, cheese and sandwiches and are delicious and, like the rest of their menu, made with locally sourced ingredients. Their biscuits, a must try, have even been recognized nationally and are the ideal vessel for their breakfast sandwiches as well as the perfect compliment to their chicken and biscuits dish. As if this isn't enough, J.J. Hapgood has a series of taps pouring out a tremendous beer selection including the aforementioned Hill Farmstead, a brewer that you just cannot find anywhere else in the area. That alone makes it worth the visit...their beer is THAT good.
Après Ski and More at J.J. Hapgood
Through word of mouth and a highly active social media platform that keeps patrons up to date on the food and entertainment offerings, people are starting to take notice of, "this little piece of heaven on earth." It's hard to blame them. The place is great! Whether you are popping in for a quick breakfast sandwich or hanging a little too long at après, J.J. Hapgood is proving to be a general store that is far from general.
*Photo Credit: J.J. Hapgood General Store and Eatery