Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Road Trip!

Church Street Marketplace

Each year we head to Burlington, Vermont for Justin's Birthday- this year was extra special as he turned the big 3-0!  We ate and drank ourselves silly and enjoyed a beautiful suite at the Essex Culinary Resort & Spa.

It never fails when driving to Burlington we hit some type of freak snow storm en route, this year was no different. We could see the storm before it even opened up, dark clouds filled the sky with a little fogginess. Before we knew it , we were smack dab in the middle of a storm, no fun while travelling 80mph on I-89. Just as quickly as it made its appearance it was practically over (although it did not feel this way as it was happening) All I could think about as we passed the cars that elegantly slide into median like it was some kind of new sport was "oh god, I really need to pee and if we crash I am going to pee my pants and some hunky EMT will have to come rescue me and find me with wet pants". Which first of all Justin is a very skilled and careful driver and the likeliness of crashing was slim to none and secondly we were in Vermont, I highly doubt (if they are anything like our volunteer EMT) I would be the one to end up with a hunky EMT (but one never knows), and please do not take that statement the wrong way, I am very grateful for the services they provide and the skill that it takes to be a volunteer firefighter or EMT, however 9 times out of 10 they are simply lacking in the hunky department.

A must when visiting Burlington is the Church Street Marketplace, it is the heart of Burlington. The one shop that I HAVE to visit no matter what is Lake Champlain Chocolates. They have the best Hot Chocolate and Hand Made Chocolates in New England - a sweet and spicy experience, my current favorite is the Chai & Mighty:

We are certainly creatures of habit, so we attempt something new each visit to Burlington. Last March (our trip was a bit delayed last year) we ventured down past Church Street to the City Hall Common, which is quite beautiful and noticed the Vermont Brewery, it was determined that our next trip this was would be the "switching things up" stop. After we made our way through the Chocolate Shop, Frog Hollow and Full Tank we dropped our goods off to the car and headed to the Brewery. The plan was to actually stop at the Magic Hat Brewery first and then The Vermont Brewery, however the previously mentioned snow storm changed those plans a bit and since we had already been to Magic Hat we decided to spend more time sampling the Vermont Brews- which by the way was so worth it.

We arrived at the Pub and realizing after the fact that I was standing next to a HUGE sign that said "Please Seat Yourself"  I asked the nice server if we should wait to be seated, he then so nicely pointed out the sign. The Pub itself is pretty cozy,  after I changed my mind a half dozen times which table would be the perfect seat for our Beer tasting extravaganza Justin decided on a table for 2. The Menus that were brought over by our Server replicated an old time newspaper, history of the Brewery and the current Brew masters, retail items and general info. Inside was the actual menu, since we were planning on having dinner at the Inn we ordered a basket of Beer Battered Hand cut Fries to share, a Flight of 6 for Justin and a Flight of 4 for me. You ask what a Flight is? let me tell you, a Flight is a sampling of 3oz Brews. I sampled the following:

  • Forbidden Fruit: 2006 Great International Beer Festival Silver Medal Winner

    Light, refreshing strong biere! Over 500 lbs. of raspberries, sour mashed and oak aged - My Favorite of the 4
  • Little Dog

    A British Session Ale (3.9% ABV) Brewed with 100% British Malts and Hops. Malty sweet with earthy hop flavors and aromas
  • Tulach Leis

    A Flemish style Vermont sour red ale fermented with Brettanomyces yeast providing slight tartness with barnyard aromas and flavors.
  • Dogbite Bitter

    Well-balanced ESB brewed with traditional East Kent Golding and Fuggles hops.

 After enjoying our Fries and Beer, we headed off to the Inn armed with a Growler of Vermont Beer. I am a bit challenged at at giving or following directions, I am a much better driver with Justin as the Navigator- Justin once drove around continuously in the same circle even though he knew where we were going to see if I could get us where we needed to be with the directions I was following/reading/giving, needless to say he ended up dizzy and I ended up frustrated so he got us to our destination without my awesome navigating skills.

Once we checked into our room we were surprised with an upgrade to a suite that featured a  fireplace, infinity jacuzzi along with Champagne and Beer on ice! Double bonus, we were given Vegan Dark Chocolate at check in prepared by the Culinary Students of the Inn. After playing with the fireplace, oohing & aahing over the jacuzzi and jumping on the bed like a couple of little kids we headed down to The Tavern where we noshed on:

A Flight of 3- Old World Whites
Pineapple Martini

Nachos with Roasted Veggies, Guacamole, Pico di Gallo
(sans cheese of course!)

The Black Bean Burger - Justin

Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash 
vegan sausage & mushroom risotto, squash purée, arugula

Overall dinner was excellent, service good and we left full and relaxed. 

The following morning we ordered room service for breakfast (which left much to be desired after our great dinner), lounged in the room until 11am and headed home.

Justin had a great weekend as did I Celebrating his 30th, it is hard to believe that 7 years has come and gone since our first birthday celebration together.



  1. Hey Heath, Uncle Jim and I have been looking into staying at that same place and taking the cooking class while we are there. Have you ever done the cooking class? Aunt Jude

  2. We have not done the cooking class but I am sure it would be a blast- we love the Inn during the Winter and Church Street is a must , only about a 5 minute drive!

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  12. Nice pictures! Your two look great )) I can see you've spent some time considering the route, though. Have you met someone new there? Maybe you could use mSpy to decide on your next trip :)

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