Sometimes, it takes the eye of an outsider to appreciate your surroundings.
This past August, I had just such a chance when some old friends from Delaware came for a visit. Although we definitely wanted to hang out and catch up, I knew they’d also want to see what makes Vermont great and planned a few jam-packed days, including the usual “three-town tour” I give everyone: Montpelier, Waterbury, and Burlington. But with decent weather and my own wish to see a few new things myself, we all became tourists on that long weekend.
In Montpelier, we all tried Down Home Kitchen for the first time, but only after visiting the Capital City Farmers Market…also for the first time. At the market, we discovered a few great local wines, and quite embarrassingly, bought maple syrup from a local sugar house for the very first time! The day also included a first visit to two great local bookstores and a few other local shops. With perfect weather and perfect crowds, we all got to see Montpelier for the great town it is.
For the day in Burlington, we actually started out in Shelburne, at the tasting room of another local winery—another first. Vermont wines are different by necessity, since only certain grapes can grow in this climate. So as expected, some were quite unique, while others were as expected (I rarely meet a red wine I like). After we had our share of sipping and made our purchases, we headed to the usual spots: Church Street and the waterfront. Even there, I finally made it to a few shops for the first time…including another great local bookstore!
As usual, a day was left for the Waterbury area. Although I live and work in Waterbury, there were a few shops I had never visited in four years! This included a treasure of a bookstore for such a small town, Bridgeside Books, and a few other boutiques one might find in a much bigger town. Waterbury really is a neat little hub of activity for its size.
As if the three-town tour weren’t enough, there was a bonus day for this visit: Stowe, where we visited a few of shops and took in the mountain views on the drive above and below Stowe. (Next time, we’ll drive into Smugglers notch, but it didn’t seem advisable in the rented bus (Dodge Caravan).
Although I’m back to being an adopted local, I intend to keep one eye of a tourist. Vermont warrants that if any place does!