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Woodstock Magazine

Sandy’s Books & Bakery: One of Vermont's Hidden Treasures

Jul 10, 2017 05:08PM ● Published by Victoria Pipas

You might not think to drive through Rochester, Vermont for its literary and culinary delights, and you may never have had a reason to pass through the small town unless you found yourself driving from the Upper Valley to Middlebury or the surrounding area. But if you haven’t stopped at Sandy's Books and Bakery, you’re missing out on one of Vermont’s hidden treasures.

You can’t miss the welcoming sign and flowerpots bursting with color at 30 North Main. Whether you have time to enjoy a leisurely lunch and bookstore browse or can only stop for a coffee, you’ll fall in love with this charming establishment and make it a routine stop on your journeys through Rochester.

First, there’s the food. Sandy’s is known for its incredible baked goods. Try the lemon-seed, strawberry jam thumbprint cookies, delicious and flaky maple bear claws, or chocolate-dipped coconut macaroons. If you’re up for something more savory early in the day, Sandy’s breakfast sandwiches are famous. Order one in a bagel or in a hot croissant. Be sure to buy a box of mixed treats to take home. From relatively healthy to definitely dessert, Sandy’s baked goods will delight everyone.

Pair your snack with a hot drink from the espresso bar when winter winds blow; nothing warms you up better than a hot cocoa from Sandy’s. Opt for the classic with whipped cream and powdered cocoa on top, or go for something more flavorful if you’re feeling adventuresome. 

Vanilla hot cocoa has white chocolate chunks and organic vanilla syrup, and Sandy’s even offers two more worldly flavors, the Aztec, which boasts cayenne and chipotle pepper, and the Ecuadorian, which is hot milk poured over a generous chunk of bittersweet chocolate and doused with hazelnut syrup. Can you say Nutella? 

Sandy’s also offers a vast array of chai and other teas and features hot spiced cider seasonally.

For lunch options, try the specials, which change daily. Popular items include the baked French onion soup, deep-dish vegetable quiche, fresh and crunchy salads served with home-baked bread, and a wide range of sandwich options from spicy fish cakes to homemade veggie burgers to creative chicken salads. 

Be sure to sample the amazing chicken apricot soup, and definitely get some homemade seed bread for dipping. In fact, you’ll probably want to select a loaf of sourdough, challah, rye, or any other flavor to take home for sharing. Every ingredient is carefully selected, and each item is prepared with love and attention to detail. You can count on having a hearty meal here, served to you by Vermonters who care about community and home.

You can even pick up gifts at Sandy’s. Choose from the selection of luxury foods and gift items, most of which are true to their Vermont source. Grab some maple syrup, beef jerky, spreads, jams, chocolate, and more.

Sandy’s ultimate charm comes from its dual identity as a café and bookstore. While you wait for your lunch to be prepared or as you sip your coffee, browse the wide variety of books in the downstairs and upstairs levels. You’ll discover literary classics, Vermont nature guidebooks, biographies, art coffee-table books, and everything in between. The combination of new and used books means that the collection is anything but run-of-the-mill, and you’re likely to turn up something unexpected. 

Sandy’s is the perfect place to find a heartfelt gift; nothing says, “I care about you” like a personally selected, well-loved book. You can even pick up a notecard made by a local artist to add to your gift. We dare you to browse Sandy’s book collection without leaving with a book to take home. If you don’t, it’s likely because you’ve enjoyed your time at Sandy’s so much that you have decided to stay the afternoon, reading in a nook by the window and supplementing with coffee refills.


Have you ever been to Sandy's Books and Bakery? Please comment below to share your favorite literary discovery there or the menu item that can’t be missed. 

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