This Columbus Day, my boyfriend Pat and I spent an amazing weekend in Vermont hiking, sipping maple lattes, sampling cheese and beer and cider, and taking long drives through the lovely fall foliage. Here’s part one of my recap!
Since we dropped off Brooks at my parents’ house Thursday night, we had a bit of trouble waking up on time Friday morning. Brooks is a much better alarm clock than my phone.
After some pumpkin cold brews and breakfast burritos from Wawa, we were on the road. The farther north we got, the more colorful the trees were, and we could barely contain our excitement. Our first stop was in Holyoke, MA where we stopped for lunch and I had my first root beer float. Where has this magical concoction been my whole life?
When we crossed the state line into Vermont, we made a quick pit stop at a welcome center. The plan was to drive all the way to Cabot to take a tour of the Cabot Creamery, but it closed early and neither of us felt like rushing. We made a last minute decision to push Cabot off until Monday and take our time driving through Vermont. The decision to cancel our well-laid plans and just go with what we wanted in the moment really set the tone for our whole trip.
We stopped at a distillery, where I bought a bottle of maple liqueur for my brother and Pat bought some really nice gin. Then we drove to a general store, where we sampled many flavored maple syrups, bought a few souvenirs, and shared a delicious maple creemee at a picnic table. What is a maple creemee? I’m so glad you asked. It’s the marriage of soft-serve ice cream and maple syrup, a union which creates the ultimate velvety smooth treat.
Back on the road, we were amazed that it was rush hour on a Friday and there was little to no traffic! Color these city folk very impressed.
We stayed at this Airbnb in Waitsfield. It was clean, warm, secluded, and so cozy. The hosts have really thought of every accommodation. If you ever travel to the area, I can’t recommend this place enough.
When we arrived at our Airbnb, we quickly settled in and realized that our stomachs were definitely ready for dinner. We ate at Mad River Barn, just a quick drive away. The restaurant was everything I would expect from a Vermont establishment–friendly and cozy, with a local feel. The menu had a lot of variety and was full of warm comfort food. Each table had a basket with Trivial Pursuit cards. I am pretty terrible at Trivial Pursuit, but learned that Pat is really great at it! I was better at the BrainQuest cards that were probably set out for children 🙂
We fell asleep at around 10pm on Friday without setting an alarm for Saturday morning. We woke up at 9am. In the nearly 6 months of weekends we’ve spent together, I don’t think either of us have ever slept for nearly twelve hours in a night. I awoke to perfect quiet and a gorgeous view right outside the window. Our Airbnb seemed even more cozy in the late morning light.
Our hosts were super sweet and left us some coffee beans. After brewing some coffee, we headed out for our first hike, which was at Little River State Park. We hiked the Hedgehog trail, which was directly uphill for the first mile or so, but was pleasant the rest of the way. The trail is home to the remains of a few abandoned farms. We really wished we could’ve spent more time and hiked some more of the trails in the park, but because we slept in so late, it was already time to make our way to Burlington.
When we arrived in Burlington, we immediately headed over to the farmers market. We had heard rave reviews, and it did not disappoint. After petting a few dogs, trying local spirulina, sipping on some melted chocolate (yes, seriously), and snacking on different flavors of pop corn, we were very ready for some brunch.
Penny Cluse Cafe came highly recommended to us by a friend. There was a long wait, but it was totally worth it. We each had a coffee and a breakfast plate, and we also shared a bucket of spuds and some ginger pancakes. Needless to say, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, and we didn’t finish all of our food.
After brunch, we took an Uber over to the Magic Hat brewery, where we took a fun tour and sampled some beer. I found some beers that I really liked, including a limited edition one called Art Hop Ale. Then we visited a local coffee shop called Uncommon Grounds. Pat had a maple latte, and I had a dirty chai latte. I’m a bit of a coffee snob, but both our lattes were exceptional. We walked down to Lake Champlain and watched the sunset with our lattes before heading over to Citizen Cider to sample some hard ciders. All the ciders were good, but we both loved one called The Dirty Mayor. I ended up buying a few cans to have at home.
We were finally ready for dinner sometime after 8:00, but found out that downtown Burlington is pretty happening on a Saturday night! We had a hard time finding a place without an hour wait, but luckily a restaurant called Sweetwaters had room for us. We each started with a house salad because we had not been eating enough vegetables throughout the day. For our entrees, Pat had the pulled pork mac and cheese, and I had the steak frites. I don’t like to dole out relationship advice because I am hardly an expert. But I know this: You should find someone who thinks it’s adorable when you shovel french fries into your mouth like a gluttonous six year old. Anybody else isn’t worth your time. To finish off our meal, we shared a really delicious maple creme brûlée.
We both loved Burlington and, on the drive back to Waitsfield, we talked about returning one day, maybe with friends, to do some more hiking, tour the rest of the breweries and try a few more restaurants. I would come back just for more maple desserts. I had every intention of staying up to watch some Netflix when we got back to our Airbnb (we’ve been watching American Vandal, which I find hilarious), but all the excitement of the day caught up to me, and I was out as soon as my head hit the pillow.