Do you know when you just need to experience a change of scenery? That was me this past weekend. I had a job interview scheduled in Vermont so I took advantage of the opportunity to explore the area. Lately, I’ve heard a decent amount of good reviews about living in the state so I knew this could be my chance to immerse myself back into my field of work as well as live in an area that prioritizes things such as spending time outdoors, taking care of the environment, producing quality food, and brewing craft beer. Plus, rumor has it that Vermonters know how to host a fabulous Farmer’s Market.
My first stop was in northwestern Vermont, just 45 miles South of the Canadian border and along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain, in Vermont’s most populated city, Burlington. It’s worth mentioning that this city is also only 94 miles from Montreal, Quebec. This wasn’t my first time in the state, as I grew up vacationing in Vermont for all of our family ski trips, but I never made it to this particular city. The people you see wandering around vary between college students, transplants, born-and-bred Vermonters, and tourists. I opted to stay at an Airbnb as it was inexpensive and I really enjoy meeting locals to hear their recommendations and opinion of an area. I stayed on Main Street, which was the perfect walking distance to downtown Burlington and the famous Church Street.
Before a morning of interviewing, I enjoyed a delicious breakfast at Penny Cluse Cafe, where intricate hand art decorated the walls of the restaurant. A few hours later, I walked out of the interview feeling confident. Only time will tell if an opportunity will present itself, but I was happy with how I performed. Suffice it to say, it felt like a good start to the weekend.
I decided to first explore Lake Champlain’s Waterfront, which to my surprise was frozen over for the first time in four years. Numerous families were venturing out on the thick ice to see Burlington from a difference perspective. I decided to join in and I certainly did not regret it. I could see the partially snow-covered Adirondack Mountains sitting miles across the lake, and the small city behind me. It was cold and quiet, with only the sound of the wind whipping across the ice. I visualized myself one day taking the ferry over to the mountains and a smile lingered on my face.
Burlington has a variety of breweries, so I made a list of the ones I wanted to check out with my limited time in the city. It didn’t take long to realize that Foam Brewers was a popular spot on a Friday afternoon. I discovered a really great sour, and tried a few IPAs for good measure. My enjoyment of the beer and atmosphere was shared by a flight attendant with whom I chatted with for some time. We got along well so her and I decided to venture to a local pizza spot, Manhattan Pizza & Pub, per the bartender’s recommendation, and we weren’t disappointed by the pizza. It had this sort of relaxed, college type of vibe, and a decent selection of craft beers. We were also lucky enough to catch a beautiful sunset over the lake.
The remainder of my night was spent at two local bars, Red Square and Lincolns. Red Square happened to have a live band so I couldn’t refuse, and soon after I caught word of a speakeasy down the adjacent alley. Of course it took me some time to find the door, and I can only imagine there was at least one person being entertained by my confusion. I did eventually enter Lincolns, and was excited to learn that all drinks were a flat fee of five dollars. I then ended the night back at Red Square as good music and dancing will forever be my weakness. I wasn’t disappointed though. I made new friends who invited me to meet them at one of the mountains in a few days and I couldn’t help but have a flashback to my first favorite movie, Out Cold, where locals and others alike flock to the snow-covered mountains for the winter weekends.
The rest of my weekend was spent a few hours South of Burlington, and included a day on the mountain, a night in a hostel, the best meal I’ve had years, and awesome new friends. But, more on that story later…