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Make the Most of your Spruce Peak Stay by Planning Ahead.

Ah, summer in the Green Mountain state! It calls to mind maple creemees by the sparkling Lake Champlain, hikes with breathtaking vistas, and juicy IPAs at an outdoor concert. But chances are, fantastic fish doesn’t make your top 10 list.

Sean Blomgren, executive chef at Spruce Peak, wants to change that. Growing up in Massachusetts, just-caught fish was abundantly available for Blomgren; but in landlocked Vermont, it’s a rarity. Enter Spruce’s newest restaurant, Tipsy Trout, a seafood- and cocktail-focused establishment that showcases fresh and sustainable fish, mainly from New England waters. “My hope is that it becomes a regional destination dining experience,” Blomgren says. “We’re going above and beyond to bring a unique concept to northern Vermont.”

A Breath of Fresh Air

That concept is a confluence of coastal New England eats and Vermont farmto- table fare. Tipsy Trout’s menu changes seasonally to represent the freshest seafood available, and Blomgren plates it up with the best produce Vermont farmers are growing. “Fish is almost as seasonable as fruits and vegetables,” Blomgren says. Based on breeding andmigratory behavior, it’s most abundant (and therefore most sustainable) at certain times of year. So the same way asparagus peaks in the spring and blueberries are bursting with sweetness in the summer, king salmon are swimming in the spring, while soft shell crabs are a summer staple.

Tipsy Trout reimagines classic dishes (think: fish and chips, seafood pasta, and fisherman’s stew), adding inventive elements inspired by worldwide travel. Playful appetizers—such as house crescent rolls with nori butter and crab pimento dip topped with candied jalapenos—encourage sharing among friends. Local beers, interesting wines, refreshing cocktails, and nostalgic desserts (like key lime pie and apple crumble) round out the menu. Even the littles will eat well: Children’s menu options include house-made fish sticks and a kid-approved salmon hotdog.

Stepping into the restaurant—especially after a day spent reveling in Vermont’s natural beauty—feels like entering the shady embrace of a decades-old maple. It’s hushed. The lighting is gentle; the design, soothing. The earth-tone color palette evokes mountain terrain: moss-covered stones beside a gurgling stream, perhaps, or the rugged alpine zones of Mansfield’s highest peaks.

The inviting dining room is bookended by architectural wooden structures that read more like art installations than walls; they give an intimate feel without weighing down the space. The furnishings skew mid-century modern, lending a fun and functional vibe to the room. One look out the expansive windows—to forested slopes bursting with vitality—and you’ll have no doubts about where the Green Mountains get their name.

Going Global

Anchored firmly as it is in Vermont—by the scenery, design, and emphasis on farm-fresh cuisine—Blomgren’s inspiration comes from his travels near and far. He credits a stint in Charleston, South Carolina, for instilling a deep appreciation for partnerships between farmers and restaurant purveyors—and for inspiring his BBQ shrimp. Mounted on an addictively delicious sauce of Worcestershire, garlic, lemon, and uni-infused butter, the result is wonderfully messy peel and eat shrimp with a piece of grilled local ciabatta to sop up all the drippings.

When possible, he pays homage to Japanese seafood masters with ingredients like yuzu and nori (which he combines in an unctuous uni bucatini for an unexpected riff on seafood pasta), as well as with beautiful, blue and white patterned tableware. Blomgren’s dishes showcase a range of fish preparations from coastal communities including France, Italy, and Maine.

Speaking of Maine, the melt-in-yourmouth lobster roll (made with gentlysteamed lobster direct from the coast) is Tipsy Trout’s best seller. Hovering somewhere between classic and gourmet, you can order it up hot with a lobster shellinfused butter or cold with lobster stockinfused mayonnaise. Both versions are then tucked into a toasted split-top bun and finished with a squeeze of lemon and a bunch of finely-sliced chives.

But the highlight of the restaurant might be the raw bar. “Everywhere I travel, I look for a raw bar,” says Blomgren. Not finding one to his taste in his home state, he decided to create the restaurant he wanted to eat at. Tipsy Trout’s offerings are everything they should be—briny, silky, and tender. Served on a bed of glistening ice, the oysters are accompanied by a trio of delectable toppings (horseradish, jalapeño-accented mignonette, and Barr Hill gin-spiked cocktail sauce). But don’t hesitate to try them unadorned—they’re excellent just as they are, especially when paired with a glass of something bubbly.

Special Sips

For every flavor-packed, sumptuous dish, there are plenty of drink choices that will pair flawlessly, thanks to sommelier and beverage manager Katie Thompson. She has curated an extensive wine list, favoring unusual varietals as well as familiar pours from unexpected regions.

Although many of the servers already have extensive wine knowledge, Thompson also leads the team through weekly tastings so they can aptly describe each bottle to guests. For a truly special treat, ask to see the Coravin menu, named for the preservation system that helps ensure rare and exclusive vintages stay at peak freshness. To pour the wine, a needle is inserted through the cork. As the wine streams out, it’s displaced with argon gas so the remaining liquid doesn’t oxidize. 

The cocktail list is equally inventive, organized by flavor profiles like “light and aromatic” or “boozy and bold.” Staying true to the local-first ethos,you’ll findmany a Vermont-made spirit, and garnishes such as mint, basil, and edible flowers are likely to have been plucked from Spruce Peak’s own gardens. The summer menu is refreshing and balanced, with an emphasis on citrus, which complements fish as naturally as squeezing a wedge of lemon over a grilled filet.

Of course, this being Vermont, we can’t forget about the craft beer, and the plentiful menu selections look no further than state lines. One to try: “Ten Bends Beer—located just over the mountain in Hyde Park—makes a balanced, citrusy IPA exclusively for Spruce Peak,” Thompson says.

Connecting Mountain and Sea

Sustainability is baked into Spruce Peak’s ethos (we are an Audubon International Sustainable Community for our commitment to environmentallyfriendly practices )—and that includes the thoughtfully assembled restaurant menus. “All of our fish is traceable, sometimes down to the boat that it’s caught on,” Blomgren says.

And sustainability goes hand-in-hand with quality—the “greenest” seafood is in abundant supply during a given season, so it's fresh off the boat and super tasty. The summer menu includes Maine hake, halibut, and bluefin tuna; shellfish from the Boston piers; and trout raised in a stateof- the-art ecological fish farm in New Hampshire. He’s also working to secure Vermont farm-raised organic shrimp, grown by Sweet Sound Aquaculture,part of the Earthkeep Farmcommon collaborative in Charlotte.

“Our suppliers take a lot of pride in healthy aquaculture, making sure fish stocks are where they need to be,” Blomgren says. “I can get a fish from a certain captain, on a certain boat, and the dish I make with it will tell that story,” he says. The stories Tipsy Trout is telling are waiting to be devoured.

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