I've wanted to visit Vermont not for the skiing, and not for the views. Really I just wanted to visit for the food-- specifically the syrup and the ice cream. And I got plenty of both during or three-day mini-vacation this past weekend.
We planned the trip in less than a week, although I'd long been contemplating a visit. Although the weather forecast predicted cold temperatures, the sky was supposed to be sunny. The trip was on.
Our destination was Burlington, but first on the itinerary was snow tubing in southern Vermont. Surprisingly to anyone who knows either of us, this was my idea. I'm not an outdoorsy girl, but I really thought that this sounded like fun. It was. I hate being cold, but I was well-protected: boots, three pairs of gloves, a hat, an old Carhartt and Paul's old snow pants that he used to wear skiing. I'm sure I was quite a sight.
The tube track was 600 feet long and winded around a man-made bank. Unfortunately, there was no lift up the hill, and I'm not very hardy. It was quite a hike up, dragging the tubes behind us. But Paul was a gentleman and dragged mine behind him more times than not.
After a couple of hours, we were back on the road to Burlington.
I may have wanted to visit Vermont for the food, but Paul was all about the microbreweries. We stopped at one not long after snow tubing and no less than four in Burlington. I had no doubt that everything would be cheaper in Burlington than in New York, but it was a nice surprise to see exactly *how* much cheaper. One bar had pints for $3.75. You can't even get 'em that cheap during happy hour here!
Another nice surprise: how nice everyone was. We joked that it made Ohioans seem as unfriendly as New Yorkers. Everyone went out of their way to be pleasant- from the guy who got up from my former seat at a restaurant bar to help me look for my lost scarf, to the bartender who found it, to the teens or 20-somethings in the hotel room next to ours whom Paul swears were stoned but still told us to let them know if they were too loud (never heard a peep). On Sunday morning Paul was looking at a parking meter to see if we needed to feed it when a local told us it was free on Sunday. In New York, the guy would've either ignored us or kicked us in the shins and stolen our wallet.
The temperature was in the mid-20s all weekend, but we managed to brave the weather. We took a short walk down the boardwalk along Lake Champlain. It was beautiful in the winter, so I can just imagine what it must be like when you can linger along the shore in the summer. I also like that the boardwalk was filled with more swings than benches.
Burlington also has a nice four-block pedestrian-only shopping area, so of course I dragged Paul into a few shops. He even dragged my into a one or two that caught his eye.
As for the food-- I made it a point to order pancakes with Vermont maple syrup for both of my Burlington brunches. We also took plenty of tours with free samples: Ben & Jerry's (ice cream), Cold Hollow Cider Mill (cider, plus a cider donut for all of 50 cents), and the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory (caramel-filled chocolate). The tours were both educational and yummy.
If nothing else, we returned home last night with full stomachs.