On Saturday morning, we drove up to Brattleboro, which is just 3 hours from our hometown and right near the Massachusetts border. When we arrived, we grabbed a quick breakfast (I got a maple steamer, of course) at Amy's Bakery, and then wandered around town for a bit. We stopped at Twice Upon a Time, which had some fantastic antiques, and I bought a sugar dish and creamer. Now we can really have some tea parties.
We also walked along this bridge, and explored their coop, which was nice, but still far inferior to the Park Slope Food Coop. Will we ever find a food coop as good? Unlikely.
After that, we took a nice long drive up Route 30, checking out some of the smaller towns along the way, and stopping at a swimming hole on the West River and a covered bridge. It was so idyllic. We stopped in Newfane, Townshend, and couldn't help ourselves when we saw The Vermont Country Store in Weston. I think I tried every single dip in the store! It made for a pretty good lunch. Almost every town we stopped in had at least one (and often more!) independent bookstore and yarn store. I'm in love, guys.
My favorite stop was Woodstock, which was just gorgeous and had a lovely little thrift store and beautiful houses. We stopped at the Billings Farm and Museum, but ended up just petting some cows from the parking lot, because it was closing in 45 minutes, and it didn't seem worth it to pay for admission if we wouldn't have much time there. It's a shame, because they were having a dairy festival, and it would have been fun to check that out. But, we enjoyed our time with the cows a lot. Hopefully we'll be back soon!
That evening, we ate dinner at Roots, a really delicious spot in Rutland. If you go on the earlier side, make reservations! We'd read that you had to make them, and didn't (of course) believe it, but it's true. We waited about 20 minutes to get a seat at the bar, and the food was completely delicious and well worth the wait. I had the pulled pork sandwich and Roger enjoyed one of their specials, a fish dish. By the time we left (around 8:15pm), it had cleared out a bit. We noticed this with a few places we tried for dinner, that they were very crowded until around 8pm, so if you don't want to make reservations in Vermont, it's best to go on the later side.
After dinner, we headed to Montpelier, where we got to spend the night at James and Emily's wonderful house, and meet James's cousin, who was very friendly, and staying with them for a few weeks while he interns in Burlington.
On Sunday, we walked around Montpelier a bit, and grabbed coffee at Capital Grounds. I spent a lot of time during this trip being a little emotional (I know, shocking, huh?), and so this church sign was a nice reminder:
Despite the (completely true) warnings we received that Burlington would be packed because of the Vermont City Marathon, we braved the crowds and met Trisha for a super tasty brunch at The Spinning Pinwheel. The three of us checked out an independent bookstore, and then Trisha dropped us off at Burlington City Arts, so we could see the three shows they had open there. Outside, we found a phone, and Trisha called "Mom" in it, so she could get a hold of the owner. She suggested it might have fallen out of someone's cargo shorts, since those pockets are a little different than the pockets on most men's pants. As it turns out, on our way out of the gallery, we saw the phone's owner coming to claim it, and he was indeed wearing cargo shorts!
The three exhibits that BCA had up were all very interesting, and I especially liked Cal Lane's work, which was in the main floor of the gallery. As it turns out, the artist actually lives not too far from where I grew up! One thing I loved about BCA was how friendly the staff there was, and how willing they were to chat with us about the art. It really made the show come to life.
We made a quick stop at Crow Books, and then headed to the Shelburne Museum, which was the highlight of the trip for me.
Oh my god, it was the coolest! It's a little village of historic houses, each of which contains a different collection. There was a lot of information about the museum's founder, Electra Havemeyer Webb. Ya'll know I am a huge fan of museum origin stories (I'm looking at you, Dumbarton Oaks and Dyckman Farmhouse Museum), and this one was woven throughout the exhibits in a really charming way. All of the visitor guides were incredible, throughout every exhibit we saw. They were so willing to chat with us about anything that came to mind, and we spent an especially long time talking to the guides in the quilt exhibit, which of course I loved.
It's honestly one of the very best museum experiences I've had, and so it's no surprise we spent most of the afternoon there, jumping from building to building even once it started to really pour. After the museum closed, we drove to Waterbury, where we enjoyed a really excellent dinner at our third-choice restaurant, The Reservoir. We had originally hoped to go to Hen of the Wood, which was closed on Sundays, and then tried to get into Prohibition Pig, which was packed and had an hour-long wait. The Reservoir was pretty crowded too, though like our earlier experience, it thinned out around 8:30pm. I'm so glad we ended up there, though, because the Firehouse Burger, with its layers of fried pickles and jalapeños, was seriously one of the best burgers I've ever had. And, I got to try Sip of Sunshine, one of the trendier beers around and a great match for the burger.
On Monday, we woke up early and left James and Emily's to do some reading before meeting our friends Sarah and Jessie at Down Home for a delicious breakfast and some great conversation about life in Vermont, careers, and goals in general. I wish we could have gone back to Jessie's house afterward, because the conversation was so wonderful and it would have been awesome to continue it, but we had to hit the road to get to Ballston Lake for Roger's first time meeting this sweetheart:
It was so nice to see Violet again, and she's so much bigger than she was the first time I met her! We could only spend a few hours at Shelby and Mike's before we had to get back to real life, but sitting on their deck and catching up was excellent. I'm so glad I get to be a part of this little girl's life!
We made pretty good time back down to my parents' house, and took the train from Peekskill in time to see the beautiful sunset. A beautiful way to end the weekend.