Category Archives: Travels

Vermont Vacation Part III: Manchester

Adam and I had back-to-back weddings in Vermont and Connecticut this September, so we decided to take the week off in between and turn it into a weeklong vacation. It’s not the beach, but Vermont in late summer is pretty darn nice in its own right! We actually crammed a lot into 10 days – a weekend staying with college friends (plus spouses and children) in a house on Lake Champlain, a few days in Burlington, a few days in Manchester (including a day trip to visit our college), and a weekend with my in-laws (including my insanely adorable nephew and niece) in Connecticut – so I’m planning to do separate recaps for each segment. You can check out Parts I and II here and here.

* * * * *

We chose our second stop on our Vermont tour based on the bed and breakfast, the Inn at Manchester. It was just as gorgeous as the photos on their website depicted. We ended up with a sweet room… king sized bed, fireplace, sitting area, and a large bathroom. Seriously, I’ve rented apartments with less square footage. We had been hoping it might be warm enough to go swimming, but it ended up being in the 60s and 70s most of our stay.  (Although that didn’t keep some people from the pool!)

We actually spent our first day there taking a day trip to visit our old college stomping grounds. We stopped for lunch in Saratoga Springs and walked around the shops there for a while before heading to Union, where Adam’s cousin just started her freshman year.

It was one of those picture-perfect Union days.  There were a few new buildings, but they were tucked away, so things didn’t look all that different on the outside. Inside the main campus center was a different story. The old bar was replaced by an organic health food joint. The bookstore added a whole new section. There was a sushi bar, for goodness sake.

It felt different, too. Most of the fraternities were pushed off campus when all of their 99 year leases ended about a decade ago… Adam’s cousin couldn’t even believe that they used to live in these huge, nice houses. There weren’t smokers hanging outside everywhere (which was a good thing, of course), but oddly… there wasn’t anyone hanging outside anywhere. It was 4pm on a Wednesday, after classes were out for the afternoon, and it was a gorgeous day. Yet, no students were playing kickball or frisbee on the lawn. No groups were hanging outside the campus center or on the stairs of the Nott or in Jackson’s Garden. No students were studying in the shade. It was kind of missing it’s old personality, which was really sad.

At least they’re still keeping up the tradition of painting the Idol

After touring around campus (and buying myself a new Union sweatshirt), we met up with our friends Dan and Melissa and their baby boy for dinner a few towns away. (Unfortunately, we left the camera in the car, so didn’t get any photos with them and their little guy.) Coincidentally, the last time I’d been on Union’s campus was the weekend of Dan and Melissa’s wedding six and a half years ago. After dinner, we drove back to the B&B in Manchester.

The next day we decided to hike some trails near our B&B. I knew it was going to be an eight mile hike… just under a mile from where we were staying to the base of the mountain, then 3.1 miles to the summit.

Clueless as to what I’m about to get myself into.

But I did not quite understand that I was also going to be hiking UP 2,840 feet. As in, more than a half mile UP.

That small white building in the middle? That’s where we started.

Hot and tired. And we still need to go 3.1 miles back DOWN.

View of Mount Equinox from the grounds of the Inn at Manchester.

After that hike, we were totally exhausted and starving. We took showers, went to a burrito joint for dinner, and then picked up a pint of ice cream to split back in our room while playing Bananagrams. We took down that pint in an embarrassingly short amount of time.

The next morning, we went downtown to do some outlet shopping. I talked myself out of buying anything at Kate Spade (I wanted all the pretty things!), but I did pick up a few shirts and scarves from the J Crew outlet on major sale.  Then we headed down to Connecticut for the final weekend of our vacation.

Next up, our final stop… Connecticut!

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Vermont Vacation Part II: Burlington

Adam and I had back-to-back weddings in Vermont and Connecticut this September, so we decided to take the week off in between and turn it into a weeklong vacation. It’s not the beach, but Vermont in late summer is pretty darn nice in its own right! We actually crammed a lot into 10 days – a weekend staying with college friends (plus spouses and children) in a house on Lake Champlain, a few days in Burlington, a few days in Manchester (including a day trip to visit our college), and a weekend with my in-laws (including my insanely adorable nephew and niece) in Connecticut – so I’m planning to do separate recaps for each segment. You can check out Part I here.

* * * * *

After we dropped our friends off at the airport, Adam and I headed back to the bed and breakfast we were staying at in downtown Burlington. We’d pretty much lived on pizza, chips, cookies, ice cream and beer over the weekend, so we decided to try to find some place healthy to eat for dinner. We ended up at Duino Duende, where I was quite happy to order a GIANT plate of steamed kale and some cold sesame peanut noodles with lots of fresh veggies for dinner. The restaurant is attached to a coffee shop that has live music every night, and we were seated right next to the opening connecting the two, so we were able to enjoy listening to the funky little duo, Montana Skies, as we ate. They were seriously awesome – not something that I would have sought out on my own, but I really enjoyed their performance. After dinner, we walked home and headed to bed early, because we had a busy day planned for Monday.

As we’re in the midst of half marathon training, we really had to work in at least one long run during our vacation. So, we started off our Monday morning by running 10 miles along the bike path that goes by the Lake Champlain. We were able to pick up the path about a mile or so from our B&B. The weather was so great and the path was really pretty, so it made for a pretty good run. And we earned our trip to Ben & Jerry’s later in the day.

After breakfast, we drove out to take a little food tour. Our first stop was Cold Hollow Cider Mill, where we got a cup of hot cider and delicious fresh cider donuts. We browsed the store, which was chock full of all kinds of Vermont-made products, but didn’t end up buying anything.

Our next stop was the Cabot annex where were able to sample SO MANY kinds of cheeses (well, almost all cheddar, but tons of varieties), plus some other local treats. Apparently, Vermont really likes their”insert-your-face-into-this-cut-out” photos, because here’s yet another.

The Ben & Jerry tour was tops on my list of things to do Vermont. Ice cream is my favorite food (Adam says desserts don’t count as favorite foods, but I say they do!) and Ben & Jerry’s is just such a cool company, so I was really excited to check it out. Plus, giant free samples at the end of the tour!

Hallway displaying the top ten flavors – could only get 3-10 in the shot.

After the tour, we stopped in the shop to pick up some t-shirts and postcards, and then we walked around the factory to check out some of the exhibits and visit the Flavor Graveyard, where I took some photos with my favorite dearly departed flavors.

Entrance to the Flavor Graveyard.

Fun fact! The reason B&J had to stop making White Russian was because they were buying so much Kahlua, they drove up the international price of Kahlua and priced themselves right out of the market! Sadly, this meant no more From Russia With Buzz (a twisted duo of White Russian and Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz), my absolute favorite.

White Russian’s Tombstone:

A concoction so to-die-for
We were forever in its debt
As the liquor kicked the budget
We finally had to just say “nyet.”

Coffee Coffee BuzzBuzzBuzz Tombstone:

It’s heady buzz made us zoomzoomzoom!
Bounce off the walls like a rubber room.
Now this zippy flavor’s gone,
But caffeine headache goes on and on.

Then, we went back to the scoop shop for even MORE ice cream. If it hadn’t been chilly and windy and kind of rainy, I would have totally attempted a Mini Vermonster (next time!), but instead I settled for a scoop of Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz, which is apparently still available in their scoop shops even though it isn’t in pints (hence it’s appearance in the graveyard).

We then headed back to our B&B for a nap before walking down to Church Street and checking out some of the shops again. A few hours later we were hungry again, so we stopped into El Cortijo for an afternoon snack chips and guac, a small margarita, and a sweet potato and kale taco (which we made for dinner last night… so good!). I probably could have eaten three or four of those tacos (and another margarita!), but I had to save room for dinner, because we were meeting up with my Blathering roomie Emily and her husband! (Side note: I signed up for the Blathering about two weeks before my vacation. Emily and I both happened to be looking for a roommate, so we ended up together… and then I saw that she lived near Burlington and we’d be able to meet in person and avoid the total awkwardness of sharing a room with a complete stranger! Pretty nice how that all worked out.) I knew Emily and I would get along just fine as soon as she ordered a plate of cheese for the table.

The next morning, Adam and I went back to Church Street. The day before, I’d noticed there was an olive oil store and, well, Adam and I apparently have a bit of a thing for fancy oils and vinegars, as we have one entire shelf of a cabinet full of them. I didn’t want to taste them all before dinner and then carry our purchases around, so I made a mental note to go back the next morning before we headed out. After tasting a bunch, we ended up buying a butternut squash seed oil, a coconut white balsamic vinegar, and a Portuguese (I think?) olive oil. Yummm! We then stopped at a local coffee shop, grabbed ourselves some mochas, and headed back to the B&B to pick up our car and drive to our next destination.

Next up… Manchester!

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Vermont Vacation Part I: Wedding Weekend

Adam and I had back-to-back weddings in Vermont and Connecticut this September, so we decided to take the week off in between and turn it into a weeklong vacation. It’s not the beach, but Vermont in late summer is pretty darn nice in its own right! We actually crammed a lot into 10 days – a weekend staying with college friends (plus spouses and children) in a house on Lake Champlain, a few days in Burlington, a few days in Manchester (including a day trip to visit our college), and a weekend with my in-laws (including my insanely adorable nephew and niece) in Connecticut – so I’m planning to do separate recaps for each segment.

* * * * *

For the first part of our vacation, we spent the weekend at a lake house in Vermont with five of Adam’s college friends — along with three wives and two children (and one on the way) — to attend our friend Bret’s wedding. This weekend was actually the first time all seven guys were together in the same place since college!

Adam has a few different groups of college friends, and one of the guys in this group also happens to run in another one of his circles of friends. His wife, LD, and I commented how amazing this particular group is — they all have such different personalities and interests, yet they all ended up as friends in college and are still so close ten years after graduation. They work in information systems, with hedge funds, on the Hill, as an actor, as a stone mason, and for a university. They rent apartments in big cities, own houses in the suburbs, lease a farm, and are landlords themselves. They are vegans, and vegetarians, and meat-eaters who think there is no such thing as too much bacon. They play basketball, run half marathons, kayak, and fence. When I asked Adam what brought them all together, his answer was “video games.”


the guys

So, that’s the one thing they have in common.

Friday night was spent catching up. Adam and I were the only couple that didn’t have kids/wasn’t pregnant, so we shared a room with the groom (who stayed with us for the night) and the best man… who took his duty to get the groom to the ceremony on time very seriously. Despite being on West Coast time, the best man was up at 7:30 the next morning nagging Bret to get out of bed and get ready for the wedding. (They made it to the ceremony location a half hour too early, so they ended up going to get breakfast instead.)

The rest of us (minus the moms and napping kiddos) made it to the ceremony right on time, although Adam was a little worse for wear after having a few too many drinks the night before. Hanging out with college friends can have that effect sometimes. He still was able to perform his DJ’ing duties and start up the processional and recessional music right on cue.

Despite crazy wind and lots of bees, the wedding was lovely. Bret and Emily wanted a casual wedding where everyone could just hang out, catch up, and enjoy the park. There was a delicious meal, bocce, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and PIE! There was rain in the forecast all day, but it managed to hold off until the last hour, and then we headed back to the lake house.


exchanging rings

just married!

wedding bocce

We started off Sunday morning with a brunch at the house where Emily’s parents were staying. Our group then caravanned its way back up to Burlington, making several stops along the way.

Union grads!
(And a professor… the father of the bride.)

We looked oh-so-fashionable (and made several purchases) at the Vermont Flannel Company…


We took a tour and stuffed some bears at the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory…

showing off my teddy bear tour pin

visiting a patient at the teddy bear hospital, getting a honey IV

We stopped for lunch at the Fiddlehead Brewing Company (where I had a crazy good pizza with sweet potato and chard on it)…


mmm… pizza!

{we lost one couple after this stop}

We took a quick tour and tried some samples at the Magic Hat Artifactory…

touring the inner-workings of the Magic Hat factory

{we lost two more couples after this stop}

and then wandered downtown Burlington for a couple hours while waiting until it was time to take our last two friends to the airport.


And then there was two…

Next up… Burlington!

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Photo-a-day: February 4-7

February 4: a stranger (actually taken on 2/5)

“The Bean.” In the three times I’ve been to Chicago, I’ve never been to see The Bean. There were lots of strangers there!

 

February 5: 10am

Adam and I could not wear our Giants gear during the actual game (superstitious? us?), so I wore my t-shirt out to brunch (and then on the flight home the next day after the win… hurrah!).

February 6: dinner

We got back home Monday afternoon, then needed to head out to meet with our mortgage broker (yup), then went to the grocery store, so by the time we got home at almost 8 we had no desire to make real dinner, so microwavable mac n cheese it was. (This was probably the lamest night ever for this prompt – we actually eat some pretty interesting and healthy dinners around here!)

February 7: button

I ordered this custom notebook clutch from Etsy to hold three LobotoME notepads (Feed Me, Fit Me, Save Me).  It’s sort of our go-to household planner.

** I skipped February 3 (hands – just never got around to it), 8 (sun – it never came out!) and 9 (front door – our plain brown apartment door is completely uninteresting).

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