August 28, 2011

Adventures in: Vermont

Over 3 years ago my best friend Alex moved to “The Green Mountain” state of Vermont. Being a Florida girl my entire life I could never imagine living in a place that experiences winter as much as I experience summer. I figured there was a solid 3 month window where I could visit Vermont and NOT freeze my Florida tush off. After several failed attempts at planning a trip, I knew that this was finally the year that I’d make it up to Vermont to see my friend.

Let me start off by saying that Alberto closed the night before our 7am flight. And in the restaurant industry that translates to “out at 3:30am – no sleep for you!” On the flip side, I was spun tighter than a drop spindle and was only able to squeeze in 1 hour of sleep. Who needs sleep when you’re hyped up on the Buzz of Burlington? After a hop skip and a jump from Miami to Philadelphia, we finally made it to VT.
In my head, I’d built up Burlington as the most beautiful place I’d ever see in my entire life. To which Alex replied, “probably not in your entire life… but it’s up there.” Burlington did not disappoint.
We took a stroll through downtown Burlington and grabbed lunch at the Penny Cluse Café.

1st impressions about Burlington:
  • If you’re there in the summer, be prepared to sweat! And it doesn’t matter if you sweat your butt off because there are vagabonds that haven’t bathed in weeks. No one is looking at you.
  • Everyone is super polite.
  • With a dead winter that lasts for months, they utilize their “growing” season in a big way. The entire city is draped with the most beautiful and vibrant flowers I’ve ever seen.
  • Every bit of food there is delicious. It’s true! I don’t think they could make something that ISN’T beyond tasty.
  • Boca Raton’s wild animals – gators, Godzilla lizards & iguanas; Burlington’s wild animals – chipmunts and rabbits. Way cuter!
I had the excitement of new adventures coursing through my veins… I was ready to go. I could go on and on about all the things we did but instead I’ll share a few highlights.
  • I picked and ate raspberries off a vine. May not seem like a highlight to you, but to a Florida girl that’s a big deal.
  • Although we have some amazing independent coffee shops in SoFla (I’m talking to YOU Underground Coffeehaus), they have this great place called Muddy Waters. I’m pretty sure I could live there.
  • There is a spectacular view no matter where you’re standing and everything deserves to have its picture taken.
  • I got to make spin art at the Ben & Jerry’s factory.
  • The local art scene is booming and very supportive.
  • Did I mention the food? No?
Any trip for me, big or small, is all about the food. I want to eat at places I can’t find in South Florida (chains need not apply) and I want to dream about my next trip back to enjoy THAT tasty treat*. Burtlington was no exception to this rule. Between the line up of restaurants on Church Street to the Open Market on Saturday mornings, from the Lake Champlain Chocolate Factory to the random maple creeme stand in the middle of nowhere, I got to try the best of what VT had to offer. Just looking at the photos makes me hungry.

That said, I must confess that the home made dinner I had at Alex’s folks’ house was the highlight of the trip. Everyone came together to contribute something to the meal (Berto juiced lemons while I crumbled Feta). I’ll never be able to order stuffed grape leaves again because Alex’s mom’s will trump them all! (no offense to South Florida Greek restaurants but take a page from her book!)

Alex and his family were amazing. They welcomed us into their home and made us feel so comfortable. I loved looking at their walls covered with family photos and analyzing each one to see who looked like whom in the family. I loved being a fly on the wall (or a photographer on the couch) and watching them interact. Listening to them talk to one another, you can hear their love for each other. I even enjoyed my time with his cat, Dexter (in case you don’t know, I am not a huge fan of the feline and am very allergic to them).

I missed my best friend but it was like we were never away from one another. I guess it’s like that with the bestest of best friends.

Needless to say, I had an amazing time. I could go on for days about all the things I love about Burlington and what an amazing city it is. For now, I’ll keep looking at my vacation photos and secretly plan my next trip up!
*Tampa, FL – Full Moon Roll at Ichiban & Oktoberfest Sausage Platter at Mr. Dunderbaks; Savannah, GA – Lemon Tart at Back in the Day Bakery; Key West, FL – Bloody Marys from this whole in the wall I found with my Mom; and Lancaster, PA – Whoopie Pies from ANYWHERE - they’re amazing!

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