Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Vermont The Green Mountain State

When we decided to move to the Northeast everyone just went on and on about how beautiful Connecticut is, I have to sometimes stop and wonder, have these people ever been here? Connecticut is probably one of the dumpiest states I have ever seen, I am still looking for the beauty everyone is talking about (sorry folks even the coastline is rocky, not like you are spending a day warm on the sand). I know, I know the leaves change in the fall, but come on a Kentucky fall is gorgeous! We see the leaves change just like they change here. Connecticut is old, industrial, cold, and just not all that attractive. Plus, to be honest I thought I was rule follower, these people take it to a whole new level (that is a whole post itself). Maybe I'll find the beauty one day, just haven't sent it yet, I've got my eyes peeled though. 

Today's post isn't to tell you how ugly Connecticut is, but to tell you how BEAUTIFUL Vermont is. We have decided to make sure that for however long God intends for us to live in the northeast we will try to take advantage of all that it has to offer. One thing it has to offer is that we literally can be to states, such as Vermont, in 3 hours. For those of you who know me, you know I am from a small town in Western KY. When I use to come home from the University of Kentucky it took me 3 hours and I never left the state. We plan to make adventures to all the New England states in the coming months. Our first adventure outside of Connecticut was a quick over night visit to Vermont.

Vermont is known as the Green Mountain State, one because Green Mountain coffee comes from Vermont, two because from top to bottom it is full of beautiful green mountains. Its most popular attraction is skiing, with the kids being so young it makes it rather difficult for the Mr. and I to partake in this attraction. We planned our trip to meet the dictator's needs, this included some of Vermont's finest: Ben and Jerry's Factory Tour, a Sugar House, a trip into Burlington, and some fine dining (aka, pizza, pancakes, and french fries.) 

We got up early Saturday morning and drove up to Waterbury, VT. Waterbury is known for the one and only Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory. Who doesn't love ice cream? Who doesn't love Ben and Jerry's? We had told Elin a few weeks ago that we were going to the ice cream factory. Every night for the past few weeks she has told us she was going to dream of the ice cream factory. We stopped first at a great little lunch spot in Waterbury called Prohibition Pig. It was small little restaurant with a huge brewery in the back. We waited maybe 20 minutes for a table and it was definitely worth the wait. The Mr. got a Brisket sandwich and I opted for the pimento cheese grilled cheese. Both delicious! The dictator had one thing on her mind "ice cream." We convinced her to eat the shoe string french fries. We ordered them as an appetizer and I am thankful I didn't order a side, because these were enough for all of us to eat. 

 Okay seriously how cute is the BBQ sauce bottle?

After lunch we headed over to the Ben and Jerry's Factory. I don't really know what I was expecting from the tour. We have been on factory tours, our favorite being the Coors Brewery in Golden, CO. This tour didn't quite meet my expectation. I definitely wouldn't make a trip to Vermont just to go on the Ben and Jerry's Factory tour. It lasted maybe 20 minutes, included a short film of how Ben and Jerry's got started, we went to a mezzanine that overlooked the factory, and then off to get 1 sample (the Coors brew gives you samples throughout the tour, and then 3 drink at the end). The sample was delicious though (maple ice cream with dark chocolate, but it left you wanting more of course). 

If you can't tell she was super excited to be at the ice cream factory, she has been dreaming about it for weeks!

I'm pretty sure he was is the most laid back kid I know, whatever people, I'm just along for the nap!

All the flavors that they have retired, or didn't last long!

Sampling some Ben and Jerry's

So what do they force you to do? Buy more of course! After the tour we had to try some other flavors. The Mr. opted for peanut butter chocolate, I picked salted Carmel Blondie (every ones favorite), and for whatever reason Elin just picked plain vanilla. The highlight of the ice cream factory for pretty much everyone was the great park they had outside by the Flavor Cemetery. Luckily we had time to kill before the tour and were able to partake in the park, otherwise we would have missed out afterward (rain, rain go away). So I can officially say we got the t-shirt, but probably won't be going back to Ben and Jerry's factory again.

After the tour ended we hopped back in the car for a 20 minute drive to Burlington. Burlington is Vermont's largest city and is located on Lake Champlain, is home to the University of Vermont, and is probably one of the prettiest cities I have been too. The Mr. and I are already talking about planning a trip back to Vermont just to go to Burlington and spend some time around the lake. I have a feeling it would be a great place to be during the summer months. It was however, a tiny bit cold for us to truly enjoy all that Burlington had to offer. We had to see most of it by car, which is okay, but definitely a place I see us returning and recommending to people to visit. If I were going to plan a trip to Vermont I would opt out of the Ben and Jerry's Factory tour and head straight to Burlington where you can visit the original Ben and Jerry's store and take in Burlington all at the same time. 

We did have another scrumptious meal while in Burlington. We thought to keep the dictator's spirits up we would take her out for pizza (her favorite.) The Food Channel Network had recommended a great little restaurant called American Flatbread. Had it just been the Mr. and I we would have waited the hour and half for a table in this trendy little hipster place, but with a toddler and 3 month old, patience is a virtue that they currently don't have. We ordered to go and ate our pizza at the hotel.

While waiting for our delicious pizza some exploration of Burlington occurred. There is an adorable little street lined with shops, bars, and restaurants called Church Street, looks like my kind of place in good weather. It was hustling and bustling though on a Saturday night. As mentioned previously Burlington sits next to Lake Champlain, so there were some pretty beautiful views of the lake and mountains. Hoping to go back in warm weather, that's how beautiful this place is. The pizza was awesome, we ordered pepperoni and peppers. They offer two size options, a large fed the dictator, the Mr. and myself. If you have more than three people sharing I definitely recommend ordering a couple. They had a whole menu of pizza to try, and it will definitely be a place we stop back by if we go to Burlington again. Thank heavens the hotel had a pool. With kids we weren't hitting the bar scene, although it looked they had one. Our fun night in Burlington consisted of pizza and the pool, instead of pizza and beer. Perfect day in Elin's world.

So what I am 3 months old and have already been to 3 states, however, this was my first night in a hotel, photo opt!

Probably her favorite part of the whole trip, sad, but true!

Vermont is know for their maple syrup. In fact another slogan for Vermont is bet you can't name two towns in Vermont? (Montpelier and Burlington) However, most people do know  that maple syrup is the prized procession of Vermont. What better way to eat maple syrup than with pancakes? Before heading back to Connecticut, we headed to downtown Burlington for probably the best breakfast I have had since moving north (for whatever reason Connecticut's idea of a breakfast joint it IHOP, no Wild Eggs, no First Watch, no wonderful brunch spots, only like one Cracker Barrel 30 minutes away).  

Penny Cluse is kind of similar to a Wild Eggs meets North End Cafe, if you are from Louisville (if you are not and plan to visit KY add these to your list of restaurants to go to for breakfast.) If I have convinced you to plan a Vermont vacation add Penny Cluse to your list. Go early though because it is in a small little house, not a lot of tables, and fills up quickly. Thank goodness for the reviewers on The Food Channel Network. We went at 8:30 and if we had walked in 15 minutes later we would have waited at least and hour for a table. The Mr. had a breakfast burrito (which I would probably get the next go around), Elin had pancakes (with Vermont Maple Syrup), and I had blueberry pancakes. Everything was delectable and probably my favorite meal we had (I am a breakfast lover though, sadly the Mr. is not.) 

I wanted to make sure we hit at least as many of the top things listed as things to do in Burlington. On that list the World's Tallest Filing Cabinet was listed. Let's just say with my Eagle Watching Train ride and this little adventure my family is questioning my thoughts right now, I am sure they will never let me forget these things. The World's Tallest Filing Cabinet was an art piece that now attracts tourist. It is old, it is rusty, it has graffiti all over it. It is quite possibly the funniest thing I have forced my family to see. No one was there to look at it, but us, and I definitely can see why. It is seriously just a bunch of filing cabinets stacked on top of one another in the middle of plot of land. 

I wish I could have truly captured Lake Champlain's beauty

Why of course I forced my family to go here? Let me tell you how thrilled they were!

I was hoping to redeem myself by taking my family to a sugar house on our trip back to Connecticut. Apparently it was Open House Weekend for the sugar houses associated with Vermont Maple Syrup Association. After taking several back road, and finding ourselves on a gravel road in Vermont I am pretty sure the Mr. really thought I had lost my mind. Upon arrival, he just shook his head. It was a small little cabin, two rooms max, and just the family that owned the sugar farm piled inside. It was so cold that you really couldn't go in the woods to see them tap the trees, and then the rest of the process was basically just in machines that you couldn't see what was going on. This particular sugar house was in its 3rd generation, and the newest generation is hoping to get Silloway Farm Maple Syrup on the map and known throughout the country. The family was super nice and reminded me so much of home where they are close knit group all living within just a few mile from each other. 

Overall the trip to Vermont was definitely a success and we have added it to our list of states checked off. As our introduction stated we love Jesus, sweet tea, and traveling! Vermont the Green Mountain State we hope to see you again soon! 

1 comment:

  1. Looks like your trip was so much fun!! And yes that bbq sauce bottle is precious!