Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Vermonster

My first visit to Burlington, Vermont was in the fall of 1999.  My Sister was visiting her good friend, Jay, who was going to college in the Green Mountain State, and I tagged along. As we drove up Route 89N, I questioned why anyone would want to live so far up north, in the middle of nowhere.  

I can’t recall the details of that weekend, but we must have had fun.   I left convinced that that was where I should spend the next four years of my life.

Immediately upon returning home from that weekend trip, I filled out the early-decision application for Saint Michael’s College, in Colchester, just a few minutes east of Burlington and less than four hours north of Hartford, CT.   

I loved Burlington right away. I loved the small size (pop 38,000), the nearby ski mountains, Lake Champlain, the restaurants and shops on Church Street. The city was mellow and manageable and the people were friendly and interesting.   

Much to my surprise, college didn’t turn out to be the best time of my life.  Collegiate swimming was anything but fun, and friends were hard to make. Mostly, I was broke, lonely and insecure.  But, even then, I still loved Burlington.

I’ve been meaning to go back and visit ever since I graduated in December 2003 and finally after 8 years, this weekend, that’s just what I did. 

The Jet Blue flight from JFK to Burlington International Airport is about 50 minutes, just enough time for them to offer their limited snack and beverage service (cookies or cashews only….uh, no Munchies) and barely enough time for me make a dent in my book.

I don't look it,
but I'm so excited to be drinking N/A wine!
When we arrived on Saturday we checked into our hotel, then hopped in our sweet Chevy Cruze rental car (um, yeah, bucket seats and pregnant ladies should never meet) and I gave Jeff a quick tour of Colchester, Winooski, and St. Mike’s before we made our way downtown for lunch at Leunig’s Bistro.

That night we took a stroll by the Winooksi River and had dinner at Our House, a spot new to me, in Winooski.  I ordered the open-faced turkey sandwich, the closest match to my favorite sandwich ever – the Vermonster!  We would have eaten at Waterworks Restaurant, my employer back in the day, so that I could have said sandwich, but unfortunately, they went out of business several years ago.

We decided to pass on the
home gym for Little Rigs
The next day we got up early and met up with Jay (he never left town), his lovely wife Maegan, and their friends to watch the Vermont City Marathon pass by thier house.   After that, Jeff and I checked out the Magic Hat Brewery and went on a unsuccessful hunt for some nursery furniture.

On Monday, while I got an awesome, 60-minute prenatal massage, Jeff sampled pretty much every beer at The Farm House.  I left my appointment relaxed and happy, but when I saddled up to the bar next to Jeff, I could tell right away, he had me beat.  He wasn’t ready to leave, so I ordered a Clausthaler and we split a killer cheese and pate platter (pasteurized, of course).   The trip concluded with some ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s.

The Farm House 

I still love Burlington, Vermont. And, I’m happy to say, I think that this is the best time in my life.

And for those of you interested in trying a Vermonster:

 2 slices toasted sourdough bread
½ thinly sliced Granny Smith apple
2 slices deli turkey
2 slices sharp cheddar cheese
2 tbsp of cranberry mayonnaise  (just mix canned cranberry sauce with a little mayo)


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