On the third day of our honeymoon, we decided it would be a good day to spend in Burlington, the largest city in VT. There were a few things we wanted to do there, so we headed in. Upon arrival, we decided to walk around downtown for a little while. Little did we know there was an outdoor shopping area, Church Street Marketplace, that was full of people on a random Wednesday morning. It was full of shops that were open and little restaurants and cafes that were putting out their outdoor dining for the day. It was clean and beautiful. It’s what Westminster Street in Providence should be, but doesn’t even come close to (there are still signs for the Westminster Mall, which doesn’t exist anymore).
After wandering around for a little while, we wanted lunch. There were a couple places recommended to me for beer – American Flatbread, Three Needs, and Vermont Pub & Brewery. We wanted pizza for dinner, so we skipped American Flatbread. Three Needs wasn’t open, so we ended up at VT Pub & Brewery. I ordered their Flemish Sour Red. I was immediately impressed. It was perfect. Susan got their Smoked Stout, which was both on cask and regular draft. She got a sample of each to do a little side by side comparison. That was also an awesome beer. For lunch I had the Ploughman’s Lunch, a small loaf of fresh bread, a hunk of VT cheddar and a hunk of smoked cheddar, an apple chutney and a honey mustard. The food was amazing.
Following lunch, we headed to Lake Champlain Chocolates to get a little tour and some chocolate. The chocolate was amazing. We ended up buying a ton of it, but mostly their “seconds” – chocolate not perfect enough to be called “Lake Champlain Chocolate” (mainly because it doesn’t look right, but the quality is the same). The cool thing about the company is it was started by a restaurant owner. Basically, the story is that he had a very popular Sunday brunch, but the cooks were bored with the chocolates he served. He told them to make something better. The cook made a truffle that everyone absolutely loved. People started coming only for the truffles. Lake Champlain Chocolates was born.
After leaving there, we headed to Magic Hat, which supposedly still had self-guided tours. Unfortunately, that wasn’t true. They had a small store area open with a tasting bar. I tried most of their stuff, but was impressed only by their Odd Notion wild ale brewed with grapefruit and Lucky Kat, an IPA with Amarillo hops. Their other beers were pretty mediocre (Hocus Pocus, Circus Boy, #9). They also had their organic Orlio Common Ale, a steam beer, which was pretty good, but nothing special. I wish they had a touring area, but with all the construction, I could understand why they didn’t.
We then wanted to make a boat tour of the lake and headed to the waterfront. The lake is absolutely beautiful. On one side are the Adirondack Mountains of New York. On the other side are the Green Mountains of Vermont. There was a nice history of the lake and the area playing as we cruised around. The views were just fantastic.
After the cruise we wandered around the Church Street shops and their mall, which actually opens up to the Church Street Marketplace, to build up our appetite. Once hungry, we headed to American Flatbread. After a brief wait when one of the employees brought me over a copy of Beer Advocate magazine because I was wearing my BA shirt, we were seated. We ordered a couple samples and then I got their IPA (which was awesome). The samples I tried were their Gruit and a Bock, which was not what I expected. It was strong and very pale, but still tasty. The Gruit was also very tasty.
After dinner we decided to take a little walk on the waterfront. Along the boardwalk, they have a series of porch-style swings. It’s really cute and we just sat there and watched the sunset. It was absolutely beautiful. It was a perfect end to a perfect day in a perfect city. After that day, we both said to each other, “I could live here”. If we ever move out of Providence, it’ll likely be Burlington. It’s close to all the stuff we love… good beer, an awesome lake, and great skiing. To top it all off, the city is full of awesome people who are friendly and know how to drive (there’s nothing like seeing a 4 way stop move like clockwork). The city is one of the cleanest I have seen in the Northeast. There’s a pretty extensive bus system and a free shuttle that runs up and down College Street (the central artery between the waterfront and the University of Vermont, going through downtown).
That concluded the third day of our honeymoon. I’ll continue with Day 4 tomorrow.