The flight was great; Julian just nursed and played with us and he barely fussed at all. It was a cheaper flight up to VT by way of BWI so we drove up luckily during Julian's long nap of the day. By the time we got to the hotel (Hampton Inn Colchester) it was already late afternoon so we stopped at Shaw's to get supplies (read: popcorn and beer for the hotel room) and went on search for dinner.
I think it's honest to say that we truly did eat our way through Vermont. Our first night there we ate at Junior's. The pizza was EXCELLENT and because of the delayed dinner we got back to our hotel room with our large pizza and proceeded to demolish it within about 10 minutes. While we were waiting for our pizza we sat in the dining room and ended up talking with the couple next to us. They were a very nice couple; she was about 4 months pregnant (unexpectedly, they had to add) and we talked with them about life in Vermont, raising a baby there, and all the fun things there is to do in Vermont. We left the restaurant with excited for our visit...it was a great start.
In the morning we drove out to Essex to check out houses and neighborhoods and ate a fantastic lunch at Joyce's Noodle House. Our first observation about Vermont was that it is extremely baby-friendly. When we walked in with Julian we didn't get any bad looks. In fact, the waitress and the fellow diners all cooed and played with Julian. It was great. We wanted to see what the culture is like with children there and from the get-go all we got were positive vibes.
Later that day we drove out to the Ben & Jerry's factory as well as the Cold Hollow Cider Mill, both in Waterbury. We ate our fill of apple cider donuts, fresh apple cider, and ice cream. We rolled out of Waterbury pleasantly stuffed and on a sugar high. :)
For dinner we joined my friend, Liz, with whom I worked at the Little Beginnings Child Development Center. She and her husband, Deane, are from Vermont and they were living in DC while Deane was working on his Masters. She was very excited to show us her city and we were very excited to see the city with a local. We met up at the Church Street Marketplace and had dinner at Sweetwaters. They served this beer there- Switchback- that is made by a local brewer who only sells it in kegs out of his basement. It is an unfiltered beer that is DELICIOUS but unfortunately not sold commercially....too bad, as it would be a hit outside of Burlington!
On friday we first went to Essex to check out the new baby store. We thought if the baby store would be a good place to see what the culture is like for raising babies around Burlington. We were VERY excited to see this shop! The first thing we saw when we walked in were ponchos to wear while wearing your baby (very good sign). All the things they sold were in line with how we are raising Julian (organics, natural, attachment parenting) and they even had a whole room dedicated to cloth diapering!! They had a play/comfortable room for kids to play and moms to nurse and they even had a cute changing room complete with a table. The women were so helpful and nice and we got to meet a couple local doulas. Needless to say, I felt right at home. We got such a cozy feeling about the family culture in Vermont from this one store that we were seriously ready to just find a house and stay there! If you're ever in need of a baby shop in Burlington, check out Bebop Baby.
Then we went downtown to check out the Harbor area and had lunch at Cobblestone Deli right by the water. Despite the chilly weather we took a (brief) walk down by the Harbor, just long enough to see a naked 5-year old run by. Welcome to Vermont, right? Then we grabbed a coffee and crepe at the Skinny Pancake. We noticed that almost every business we visited had social and environmental missions. Everything they did lent to sustainable development, supporting local farmers/businesses, and growing long-term community wealth. Seriously, why can't more businesses be more socially conscious?! The market in town is a coop which supports all the local farms and if it isn't local, you can definitely bet on it being organic and from another small farm elsewhere. City Market (or "Shitty Market" as locals call it...not because it's bad but because they wanted it to have a fun name) was just perfect and everyone came in with their own bags (yay reusable bags!) and everything they carried was stuff you'd find at Whole Foods/Trader Joes/Wild Oats. Thad and I were so excited since we love to cook and a big question mark for us moving up there would be the availability of the foods we like to eat/prepare.
On friday afternoon we drove down to Rutland (not before Thad could take a stop at the Magic Hat Brewery for a taste test and a free growler....he talked death metal with the bartender and he gave him a free growler for talking music with him....sweet) to visit with a dear high school friend that I haven't seen in years. Katherine and I were super close in high school and after she moved to Albany after college it's been difficult to see each other so Rutland was midway for both of us for a quick visit.
On saturday before our flight home we met Liz and Deane for breakfast at Magnolia's in downtown Burlington. It was started by University of Vermont students and it is a totally green restaurant. It was a fantastic way to wrap up our vacation in Vermont. As we left there was a saturday morning farmer's market and they were playing live music....seriously, as if they needed to sell Burlington anymore to me, the acoustic live music on a sunny morning was the kicker. I was seriously ready to just set up shop forever in Burlington and send for the animals later.
All in all it was a definitely worthwhile trip and we can't wait to go back. Our next goal is to visit during the dead of winter to see if I could really handle how cold it gets. Everything else about Vermont was perfect so I won't let a little thing like below-zero weather and tons of snow slow me down! Enjoy our pics....it doesn't give our trip justice but it's just the beginning....I know there will be more pictures up of Vermont someday again soon!