Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Vermont or Bust: Day 4

Apples.....Apples......and more apples. Today we went to Shelburne Orchards. It's a beautiful orchard that's been around since the 1950's. They harvest over 80 acres of apple trees, of which 10 acres are organic. Many of the trees are almost 100 years old. We both filled a 5 lb. bad of apples, the Gala variety, and bought some yummy apple cider donuts. Jules wanted some of their Ginger Jack, orchard bottled ginger apple nectar, but just our luck they weren't bottling it until the next day. :(

Next on our agenda, the Church Street Marketplace. This strip is in downtown Burlington. It's basically an entire street blocked off to cars. There are lots of shops and restaraunts and plenty of things to do. It's a lot like the 16th St. Mall in Denver if anyone has ever been there. We shopped and shopped and shopped. Mom and Brittany......we decided not to get you a thing. :) LOL. Just some highlights from this strip was Lake Champlain Chocolates, Danforth Pewters, Tradewinds jewelry store, Global Pathways jewelry and so on and so on.
Then the rain began, our first rain since we've been in Vermont, and boy did it rain. We ran to The Vermont Pub Brewery to have some lunch and escape the deluge. I had one of the best burgers i've ever had and Jules had the Pulled Pork Pie. This dish consisted of pulled pork on the bottom, with corn on top of that and then mashed potatoes to top it all off. Then it was sprinkled with cheese and baked. It might sound kind of gross, but it was really really good. Then we split a piece of cheesecake made with fresh Vermont cream and topped with a little drizzle of fresh caramel. Yummy.
After lunch we stopped into this store called Bennington Potters North. This was a very cool store that had lots of pottery and candles and unique gifts of all kinds.
Unfortunately they had rich folk prices.....translation.... no gifts for anyone from here.

We went down to the waterside and spent some time at the pier on Lake Champlain. It's beautiful there and the rain stopped and the sun was setting. It made for some great pictures and great place to wind down after the day.

After the sun went down we headed up the mountain for our night's stay in Jeffersonville. We stayed at the Smuggler's Notch Inn. This Inn has been around since 1790. It's a little 11 room place and if you get the chance to go one day we highly recommend it. They have a bakery downstairs and we can honestly say that the best breakfast we've had on our trip has been at that bakery.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vermont or Bust: Day 3

Today we had our first big day in Vermont. We had lots planned and got started fairly early. FYI- Red Roof Inn in Rutland, not the best choice.

One thing that's cool about our route is that on the way to Burlington we get to pass through a lot of fun little towns.

First was Brandon, which is cute and has a great little town square.
We went to the Maple View Farm which had a ton of Alpacas. What's an Alpaca you ask? See photos below. They were great. Ed and his wife Deb raise them and they invite tourists to see their animals. They have a lot of land and a beautiful house and farm area. This was a lot of fun.

Next we went to Middlebury and to the Exchange Street Stores. We thought it was going to be a strip of stores kind of like an outside mall but what we realized is that it's just a long road with individual shops or factories. We stopped at the Otter Creek Brewery and tried some free samples and bought 2 growlers filled with yummy goodness. If you don't know what a growler is, it's a big glass jug and it holds about 4 pints of beer. They have daily specials at this brewery and the Copper Ale was on sale today. 1 growler for $6. Now that's my kind of deal. So into the cooler it went.
We ventured further down the road and found the Vermont Country Soap Store. They sell a ton of soap online but do have a store on site. We watched as they made soap and then cut it into big chunks. As we walked around their store we took pictures of all the soap history they had collected. They had some pretty interesting stuff. We purchased a few bars of soap for a great price and we were off.

Next stop.....Vergennes (not pronounced Virgins). This was a small small little town, but we had read some really great things about a chocolate shop there. I think we're all in agreement that there can be nothing bad about chocolate. It's a cute store, below street level. (We almost missed it) They have different barks and truffles. We opted for the Mocha Macadamia Nut Bark, a Peppermint Pattie, a Pecan Turtle, and a Marshmellow Carmel truffle. The bark was yummy, and we are saving the rest for later.

We ended our day in Burlington. The home of my favorite beer, Magic Hat. The Artifactory, as they call it, is very awesome. We did a self guided tour and then spent some time at the bar, where we sampled every beer they had on tap. Our favorite......a new seasonal brew HOWL. Not available in stores yet, but look out for it cause it's coming soon. We took lots of pictures, bought several items and again got 2 growlers filled with beer.
Cooler count.....4 growlers and a 6 pack with room to expand.

Downtown Burlington is a happening little place. We had dinner at a hotspot that was recommended to us by a nice girl at the Magic Hat brewery. It's called American Flatbread. They serve some of the best pizza i've ever had. Jules and I split a large pizza. We got a half and half so that we could try 2 different kinds. One side we had the New Vermont Sausage and on the other we had the Tomato Salsa. The flat bread was great, the outdoor patio was nice and cool, and the overall place was very hip.

On wednesday we're off to explore more of Burlington and go pick some apples at an orchard.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Vermont or Bust: Day 2

We left Winchester, Va this morning heading towards Vermont. We still had a lot of driving to do, about 8-9 hours. Thankfully the skies were blue and the weather was nice. We passed through Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and finally ended our day in Rutland, Vermont. Along the way we had our fair share of things to write about.

First while going through Shippenburg, PA Jules decided to take a picture of all the corn fields and by opening the window let in the most awful smell imagineable. It was as if we picked up an order of cow manure and put it right in our backseat. The smell burned our eyes and noses and it took a long time to recover from that. We appropriately renamed that town Shittenburg!

We stopped for gas in Hershey, PA (sadly there is no more Hershey Factory) and we found shot glasses and t-shirts and coffee mugs that all said "I love (heart) Intercourse" and in small letters said PA. Apparently there is a town called Intercourse in Pennsylvania......I helped Jules resist the urge to buy everyone something for Christmas.

Then we got lost.....well maybe not lost but we were going the wrong way....for a while. We missed an exit and continued going north well beyond where we should have. (Just an FYI to Google Maps: Allentown, PA is not where you think it is.) After getting straightened out and back on track we were able to enjoy our ride.

Along the way we've seen lots signs for civil war battlefields and museums. We have passed many colleges and some really cool truck stops. We passed Woodstock (but Jules said I was driving too fast to take a picture).
And in Vermont you can see every star in the sky.

oh P.S. We got haircuts and also if you're a Family Guy fan you'll enjoy the picture we've included.

Vermont or Bust: Day 1

So Jules and I are going to Vermont on vacation. It's a two day car trip (19 hours) and we are planning on spending 3-4 days in Vermont. We wanted to start this blog so all our friends and family can follow along.

Onto Day 1.

Rain was the story of the day. It rained in Georgia. It rained in South Carolina. It rained until we hit midway into North Carolina. Finally we saw some relief and some blue sky. Not much to see on the drive until we hit the upper parts of North Carolina. The mountains started to show and we gained some elevation and some very nice scenery. Right across the border into Virginia (exit 8) we stopped for gas and ran across a little bar-b-que stand. Turns out it was pretty darn good and the guy that worked there was super friendly (he bought us a piece of pecan pie).
We stopped in Winchester, VA and this will be our halfway point.

On the agenda for day 2: Vermont or bust. Stay tuned.