Since I am more or less the worst blogger ever (I’m okay with it if you’re okay with it), maybe we should finish talking about the trip to Vermont that ended about a week ago…because I’m back in Chicago and will probably want to talk about that too! It’s okay, I’ve been busy and I’d rather be out doing things rather than sitting behind my computer. However, the end of the Vermont/New Hampshire/Maine trip was fabulous, and Burlington is a cute town, so I’d like to share some things we did in case anyone heads up that way!
Since it’s been awhile, let’s recap: Harpoon in Vermont and hiking/camping in New Hampshire. Followed by canoeing/camping on the beach in Maine.
Now you’re all caught up!
After breakfast back in New Hampshire, we started the drive to Burlington. The roads in New Hampshire and Vermont are ridiculously pretty, and I took advantage of the fact that James has much more experience driving than me and kicked my feet up. I’m an entertaining car driving buddy and managed some good car dancing. With only stop along the way, we ended up at our “secret tour destination,” and I had told James that I was going to be very upset if the secret tour wasn’t Ben & Jerry’s. Lucky for James, it was!
Hint for if you take the tour: Check in on four square and the tour is free! (Normally $4, buy yourself some ice cream with it!) The tour was pretty quick and ended with an ice cream sample, but of course we got some more from the shop.
After the tour and our ice cream, we headed to the Flavor Graveyard, which has all the retired ice cream flavors, some more interesting than others. Gatsby in particular thought the Fossil Fuel should be reinstated:
After filling our bellies with some delicious ice cream, we headed into Burlington to check into the hotel and (more importantly…) take a shower! Oh so nice especially after camping on the beach and spending the day in the car!
After scouring our options for dinner, we decided on American Flatbread, as it had gotten a crazy amount of good reviews. They also have beer from Zero Gravity brewing company, which is a cool name (and a perfect name for dining with someone who just got a PhD in aerospace engineering, don’t you think?).
For the record, the pizza was absolutely ridiculously amazing…we went half and half and my pizza of choice was the punctuated equilibrium, which was topped with kalamata olives, roasted sweet red peppers, goat cheese, rosemary, red onions, cheese, and herbs. SO GOOD. Also, coming to TriBeCa this fall, so you NYCers…we will be going there. I currently can’t think of another reason to go to TriBeCa, so now we’re in.
We had taken the bus into Burlington and ended up walking back from the restaurant to the hotel…a nice two-ish mile walk through the University of Vermont (go catamounts??), although it was dark and I wouldn’t have done it alone. But the campus looks pretty!
milking a cow and magic hat
I was more or less in power when it came to figuring out what to do in Burlington, so we started with a little run (hooray!) along Lake Champlain…James kept with me for five miles at a near nine minute pace. I was nervous that the hiking might have aggravated my back, but it felt great and the trail along the lake was really pretty! I hear the marathon isn’t too shabby there either, although being over Memorial Day weekend I could see how it can get hot.
Despite being a little sweaty, we headed to
breakfast brunch at Magnolia in downtown Burlington. For the record…I’m a bit of a breakfast snob. I worked at a breakfast/lunch place when I was in nursing school, and the food there is amazing. So it takes a lot to impress me, and Magnolia did not disappoint. We both got omelets with their specialty strawberry rhubarb and banana bread on the side. The strawberry rhubarb bread was amazing and I may have to try to replicate it. Easily the best breakfast we had all week. And they kept our coffee mugs filled, always a plus. Definitely check it out!
Before leaving for Vermont, I had mentioned to one of the nurses I work with that we would be heading up this way…she recommended heading to “a really pretty farm up there,” as it would be a nice time of year to be outside. James didn’t really care what we did as long as it was outside, so we headed to Shelburne Farms (about fifteen minutes south of Burlington) to check it out. Basically, it’s a working farm that is known for making cheese, and the land is beautiful. You can either walk the trails or take a little hay ride around the grounds, but we opted to use our feet and walked.
The grounds were definitely pretty, and as we approached the cheese making farm, I did the moose call that I’d been doing all week in hopes of seeing a famous New England moose:
We reached the cheese making area (that gigantic building pictured above…) and came across a little petting zoo with goats and cows….including a cow you could milk. Having never milked a cow before, I jumped right in:
We learned a lot about how cheese is made and figured they must have 600-ish cows on the land. However, we probably walked a fair amount of the land, and we didn’t see a single cow…so I really want to know where they’re hiding them! We did cow calls and everything, but only saw some sheep. I’m so confused. The land was pretty though, so we took lots of pictures:
I definitely think Shelburne Farms is worth the trip if you’re in Burlington…the grounds are pretty and you can walk around on the trails on a beautiful day. Especially good if you like cheese samples.
Fact: I’m not a huge Magic Hat fan. In fact, I think most of their beers are kind of weird (that’s the point, in case you were wondering), but it’s a huge brand and in Burlington, so we needed to check it out! The brewery and gift shop is a dark, crazy place…not unlike the beers that they serve! And you get to sample four beers just for showing up, free of charge! Win.
farmhouse tap and grill
Just when you thought we were finished…oh no no no! We headed to dinner at the Farmhouse Tap and Grill, which has a crazy beer selection. Although we both had burgers for dinner, we highly recommend the cheese plate…cheese made in Vermont with a variety of toppings and some mini toasts to eat them with. Oh so good.
until the sun goes down
By this part of vacation, we weren’t feeling like crazy party animals (not that we ever were…), and I conned James into heading down the the lake to watch the sunset. We had caught part of it in a previous night, but it sounded like a good idea to watch the entire thing since the sun sets over the lake. Basically, we sat on the rocks next to the water and took a million pictures while oo-ing and ahh-ing. This is also the point of the vacation where I learned what “contrail” is. Rocket scientists are handy to have around.
Now that’s some cheap, awesome entertainment. A vanilla soft serve ice cream cone to follow doesn’t hurt either!
let’s go to the beach
On Friday, we woke up with large intentions of eating some breakfast, running, and heading to the beach. Well…let’s just say that two out of three isn’t bad. We started with breakfast at the Skinny Pancake, which happens to be a crepe place. The birds wanted my banana and nutella crepe nearly as much as I did (I also had an apple and brie crepe!), as they kept flying on the table and attempting to eat our food! Brave little guys, that’s for sure. The crepes were good, but Magnolia was definitely better. They did have bands playing at night whenever we would walk by, so that was cute.
We stuffed ourselves with crepes and had brought running stuff in order to maybe run…but then we decided that maybe a day off was in store and perhaps we should just lay on the beach. With books and beach towels packed, we headed to North Beach on Lake Champlain and parked ourselves in the sun. (With sunscreen, of course.)
We alternated between reading and going into the water, which was a bit chilly, but you adjusted and it felt nice in the summer sun! The water stayed really shallow for a really long time, so you could walk out a fair amount and still only be in up to your knees. I wasn’t brave enough to go all the way under, although James did. Tons of people were on the beach, especially with kids, playing and just running around. They also have fields, BBQs, and camping right near the beach, so definitely a great place to spend an afternoon…or more! Basically, an awesome, relaxing day at the beach. Win and win.
After enough sun, we headed back to the hotel before decided on dinner. Since we’re a bit unoriginal and loved the pizza and beer at American Flatbread, James said something along the lines of, “It’s okay to repeat a restaurant, right?” Totally. We were seated within ten minutes, and our waitress looked at us and said, “You guys looked familiar…” Yes, we’re that predictable. I may or may not have gotten the exact same pizza…IT WAS THAT GOOD. Seriously, go here if you’re in Burlington. Or if you’re in NYC in the fall. They may give you a pizza-shaped buzzer while you’re waiting for a table:
The pizza and beer were just as good the second time around. Such a good idea. Post-dinner drinks took us to the Vermont Pub and Brewery, where we grabbed a couple beers and sat in the outside beer garden on a beautiful night in Burlington. We didn’t eat here, but they had plenty of beer on tap! We’re boring so we called it a night early and headed back to the hotel.
the end is near
After a jam-packed, exciting vacation, I wasn’t really looking forward to it ending, but we had some fun left in us! Well…fun according to some people. We both wanted to run, so we headed back to the lakefront path. James ran with me for a few minutes as his leg warmed up, then he shot ahead of me as I plodded along at my little 8:45-coming-back-from-injury pace. Before he left me in his dust, he told me something about being smart and “not going too far.” I told him I’d run for about six miles or something. Well…I decided that running for an hour would be a good idea, so I kept my pace along the flat trail and ended up running seven-ish miles in an hour. I’d be lying if I said I felt awesome because I don’t think I’m cardiovascularly fit yet, but my back felt fine so HIGH FIVES FOR THAT. A 5k/10k race was going on as we were running, and it made me think about how different races are in different parts of the country. Not too many people were running, especially not too many crazy fast people…which is definitely not what you get out of NYRR races! Maybe I need to head out of town more often…
Post-run, James yelled at me for going too long, and I yelled at him for running super fast. (It’s jealousy, let’s be honest.) However, thoughts of breakfast swirled in our heads, and we decided that heading back to Magnolia for breakfast would be the best thing ever. The strawberry rhubarb bread is what brought me back…and I even ordered the same exact omelet that I had last time. (The Vermont…with sausage, apples, and cheddar. So good.) Our waitress told us that the weather was too beautiful to spend inside a car, and although I wish that was all it took to keep us there, it was time to hit the road back to NYC.
It was nice, Burlington, and I hope to eat your food again soon! We made it back to New York/New Jersey in pretty good time, and James even trusted me enough to let me drive his two month old car despite the fact that I haven’t driven since Christmas. I am happy to report that James, me, the car, and Gatsby are all safe and sound. He dropped me off at the train station and I headed back into NYC…definitely a bit of a shock to go from the quiet mountains to a small city to massive NYC. I had a great week, but I was happy to be back in New York.
that’s a wrap
Okay, I think I’m a terrible blogger since that was a miserable recap. However, here’s all you need to know:
Eat at Magnolia and American Flatbread.
Do moose calls (hands in the form of antlers on your head, make a moose noise, whatever you think that might be) whenever you see “moose crossing” signs on the highway…or whenever you want to, really.
Watch the sunset over Lake Champlain while eating ice cream.
Beer. Lots of beer.
Beaaaaaach! Who needs Florida?
Overall, a wonderful vacation…I’d never been hiking, camping, or to Burlington, so it was a great week of new experiences and lots of fun! Let me know if you have any questions or if you need a travel buddy (to anywhere, really, I’m pretty open…)…I’m always up for new places!