BUMMING AROUND BURLINGTON

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I liked the historic feel of Burlington, which was quite different from where I grew up in Southern California.  Several of the downtown Burlington buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was great to see the care taken to preserve these old buildings.

Take the Capitol Theater, for example.  Dating back to 1937, the 700-seat theater had been closed since 1977; however, a foundation of passionate citizens was formed to raise the money needed to restore the theater back to its 1937 splendor– with some modern additions.  Such painstaking care was taken in the restoration that the new seats and carpet were reproduced to look like the originals, and a boatload of money was spent to restore the marquee to exactly as it looked in its heyday.

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We took a guided tour, one of the included attractions for the day.  I especially liked the art deco-style lighting throughout the theater, and the old projector was a classic!

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The hop on-hop off bus also made stops at the top of Heritage Hill, a beautiful neighborhood of lovely old homes and Snake Alley.

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Constructed in 1894, Snake Alley was once known as the crookedest alley in the world.  It was built to create a short cut from the top of the hill to the business district below.  Needing to accommodate horses, the mode of transportation at the time, the bricks were tilted higher on the upper edges, making it easier for the horse’s hooves to catch on the raised edge making the ascent easier and the descent a lot safer.

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We didn’t have access to a horse, so we hoofed the 275 feet of Snake Alley carefully on foot to the street below.

While bumming around Burlington, we had a quick look at St. Paul’s Catholic Church:

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In all, it was a pleasant little historic city of 25,000-26,000 people, and we enjoyed having a look around.

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It was another beautiful sail-away highlighted by an entertaining calliope concert!

 

 

 

 

 

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A typical river barge on the Mississippi River

 

Coming up next:  HANGIN’ IN HANNIBAL

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ROAD TRIP DAY 23: SAMPLING VERMONT

On a rainy day (and 20 degrees below normal temperature for June 1), what better way to spend the day than staying dry indoors sampling Vermont’s foodie favorites?

We actually did get a fair bit of walking in outdoors before the rain settled in for the afternoon. Burlington is a nice, walkable city in the historic downtown center. The 4-block long outdoor pedestrian street is lined with historic buildings on each side with shops and restaurants. “Homeport” was our favorite store– 4 levels of EVERYTHING you could possibly want for your home all loaded in a historic building. At the end of the year, it must be an inventory nightmare for them, because they have such a huge selection. From sink strainers to interesting decorative wall hooks, they had dozens to choose from. It was a very cool store.

Working up an appetite from our walk along Church St. and along Waterfront Park and back, it was time to sample Vermont.

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While walking along Church St. we came across this 124-foot mural entitled, “Everyone Loves a Parade!”  It was custom-designed by renowned Canadian muralist, Pierre Hardy, wide-known for his inventive and meticulously-detailed, large-scale pieces.  Grand Master Samuel de Champlain leads the charge as the scene depicts an evolution in time along Church St.  Notable and everyday Bulingtonians, downtown businesses, and iconic images of the past 400 years are distinguished through overflowing illustrations.

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Follow this panorama photo, and the next three photos from left to right.

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First up for sampling: Lake Champlain Chocolates. Unfortunately, there were no tours today (or tomorrow) because of new flooring being installed, but we went anyway to check out the factory and hunt for factory seconds to purchase. (Hey, they’re just going to be eaten anyway, so why purchase at full price?)

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Our next stop: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. Photos weren’t allowed on the factory tour, but I did get a few shots where cameras were allowed.

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New flavors- YUM!

Bruce and I felt right at home at the factory, because Ben and Jerry’s hearts are in the right place as far we are concerned. Their company philosophy is spot-on, and they value social justice and the environment. They even had free hook-up stations in the parking lot for electric vehicles to get juiced while they’re owners get a fill of ice cream!

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AMEN to this!

Recycling is also huge there and everywhere here in Vermont. The state’s goal is to reach a 40% recycle rate, and the businesses we have encountered are enthusiastically in support of that goal. Our motel is on board as was the restaurant we ate at this evening.

This is my kind of place; such a cool vibe. Georgia (and most of the rest of the world), GET WITH THE PROGRAM if you have any hope of leaving Planet Earth habitable for future generations!

The sampling portion of our day concluded with a stop at Cabot Cheeses where they had samples out of every variety of cheese they make as well as selections of maple syrup, dips, and other delicious foods. Fabulous!

While there we picked up a small bottle of Mannaz Mead from Groennfell Meadery, and just popped it open to sip as I type. Strange. It’s made with 100% single-source honey, something we have never tasted (or heard of) before. I think it’s an acquired taste, and I’m not sure I want to acquire it.

Earlier, after all the sampling in Burlington and Waterbuy, we made our way north on one of Vermont’s most scenic byways to Stowe. The Stowe Motel and Snowdrift is ourTrip Advisor-recommended home for a couple of nights, and it’s a beautiful, spacious property with large expanses of grass in between the buildings.

Upon arrival, we were greated by “Remy”, the owner’s gorgeous German Short-haired Pointer. We were also upgraded to a larger room without even asking! NICE!

Dinner in town was at a casual little 5-table place, “Bender’s Burritos.” Check this out: A sweet potato and black bean burrito with Spanish rice, minced ginger, mild cheddar cheese, chipotle mayo, and salsa verde. De-LISH, all one pound of it!

ROAD TRIP DAY 22: WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES!

Yesterday, the temperature was 86 degrees, we were wearing shorts, and sipping on cold water to stay cool. Today, it was rainy and a cold 46 degrees when we started out towards Vermont.

Although it was a dreary day, the drive east was beautiful. We passed through small villages and towns on back country roads, enjoying the lush scenery. At various times along the way, we also passed three Amish families in their buggies being pulled along the shoulder of the road the old-fashioned way: by horse.

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Scarlett (our Toyota Prius) had her first ferry ride as we crossed the state border at Lake Champlain into Vermont. Due to the rainy weather, we passed on outdoor activities upon our arrival in Burlington and opted for a brewery tour at Magic Hat Brewery. What a trip. This brewery definitely had a vibe like no other.

On the tour, the question was asked by our guide, “Who knows how our brew ‘#9’ got its name?” I shouted out, “From the song, ‘Love Potion #9!’ ” Although I won a large “Magic Hat Brewery” glass for answering the question, the guide confessed he didn’t know if that was the correct answer. Nobody seems to know how that beer got its name!

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We enjoyed our free beer samples (especially “Circus Boy”) and were on our merry way.

As there isn’t much else to report on this transit day, I will add a few comments about two observations we made in New York State that warmed our hearts.
First, along one of the highways, we saw this sign:

IT CAN WAIT
TEXT STOP 6 MILES

Do I hear a round of applause? There were many other “TEXT STOP” signs along the highways, and I applaud New York for reminding drivers to put their damn phones down when they are behind the wheel!

Our second obervation was the extremely high price for a pack of cigarettes ($10!!!) which we assume included a huge amount of taxes piled on to the pack price. AMEN! Perhaps a price like that will prevent kids from taking up the nasty and unhealthful habit of smoking. We wish Georgia would do the same thing.

OK, I’ll get off my soap box now. Cheers!