Moving to Massachusetts offered both Jack and I the opportunity to travel to a whole slew of new places that would be within driving distance in the New England area. One place that I had a hankering to go see since I was a little bit younger was Burlington VT- home of hipsters, great beer, and most importantly, close to Ben & Jerry’s and Cabot Creamery.
We figured that no time was like the present, you know, a weekend that began late as I had to work long hours, a lovely car ride that turned into a nightmare because of lake traffic, and oh yeah, Jack nearly missing hitting a cop car on I-89. Yeah it a weekend in VT started like that. We decided to rent a camp site in a state park called Mt. Philo, which is about 10 miles south of Burlington. It was our first time camping together, and it certainly started off poorly, what with the traffic and all, and of course no real place to put a tent, and the inability to start a campfire.
Nevertheless, Saturday morning started off much better than Friday night ended up. We began our morning with a cup of coffee at a local shop in Shelburne, VT, followed by a visit to the local farmer’s market for some breakfast (which was in addition to the lovely blueberry muffins I made). Surprisingly enough, they can sell wine at farmer’s markets in Vermont! We did a little wine tasting, then began our day long tour of Cabot, Ben & Jerry’s and Magic Hat.
Cabot Creamery was incredible, mostly because I am a cheese lover, and probably because they had unlimited samples of about 20 kinds of cheese. My cholesterol took a turn for the worse after that visit. Cabot allowed us to try their new flavors for the year- Wasabi Cheddar and Chipotle Chedder. Delicious, especially the Wasabi variety. The Co-Op is owned by all dairy farmers, and includes about 35% of all dairy farmers in VT. It’s a great little company with terrific cheese. Try their Private Stock cheddar- simply amazing!
After Cabot, we were recommended to visit a little winery off a 10 mile dirt road that offered local wines that were a little non-traditional. Instead of grapes, they used local fruits to ferment their wine. Grapes do not grow very well in VT because of the climate, but that did not stop this winery from producing. My favorite was a Cranberry wine and a Raspberry Apple Wine.
Next up- Ben & Jerry’s, after a small detour to Waterbury VT for lunch and a little summer Arts festival. I had been to Ben & Jerry’s before, but Jack had not, so it was a whole new experience for him. The place was packed which made for a rather crappy tour, but the ice cream was good, and that’s all that mattered. We sampled one of their newer flavors, Milk and Cookies, which is pretty good. It’s no half baked or S’mores though. And most certainly no Goodbye Yellow Brickle Road.
I digress. Anyway, last on our food touring agenda was Magic Hat Brewery. The tour was ehhh, but a video they played during the tour was great. It spoke about the history of beer, and more importantly, Craft Beer. Craft Beer is making quite a name for itself these days because it is made with all good intentions in mind- without desire to sell to the masses, rather to sell good quality beer to those who desire it. The tasting was fabulous- unlimited and full of non-traditional and well known brews. My favorite was one that involved some Ginger. Look for it in Magic Hat’s variety packs.
Overall, the trip to Vermont was a grand success. I am pretty sure I am destined to live there. I love the laid back culture with its emphasis on good food, good beers and wine, good treatment of the environment and farmers and most importantly, good people. I am sure you will be hearing aobut another adventure where I drag Jack there again- this time for Moose witnessing and chocolate factory touring!