Stowe Pinnacle View
With all the commotion over Becky's departure, I totally haven't focused on my own departure Saturday to Vermont! Chris has really stepped up and done a bunch of planning (in regards to hikes and bike rides) for this trip, and having this as our second time to the area, makes it easier too because we know what to expect (and where we want to eat out).
We're doing a couple of things different this year. One, since we're not going while the girls are at encampment, we can leave on Saturday morning and take advantage of the Stowe Farmer's market on Sunday to stock the cabin. Two, since we don't have to leave in the afternoon, and can hit the road early, we're going to make some stops along the way. Three, we're extending our visit by one day going Saturday - to Sunday as opposed to Saturday to Saturday.
First, let me talk about the Vermont Brewery's Challenge Passport Program because it's a major force behind the planning Chris did for this trip. You see, you get a passport, and each time you visit a brewery in Vermont, you get your passport stamped. Visit four breweries, you get a Vermont brewery bottle opener. Visit ten breweries, you get a "Drink Vermont Beer" t-shirt. Visit all of them, you get a "Collector's set of Vermont Beer Gear."
We received our first passports last year (and visited two breweries) but mine went through the wash when we returned home, so I'm down two. Anyway, Chris still has his and I think on this trip, we're going for the t-shirt.
With that in mind, our first stop on our drive up will be at the Long Trail Brewery. Now when I get directions to Stowe via Mapquest, it takes me up through CT, MA and into Vermont, but when I plug in directions to the Long Trail Brewery, it takes me via NY on the thruway towards Albany. We've decided to use this alternate route for a change of pace.
We'll probably have lunch at Long Trail (and get our passport punched), then head over to a mecca for me, King Arthur's Flour Flagship Store. I'm hoping to pick up a couple of breads for the house (maybe some to stick in the freezer) plus some of those hard to find baking items. It's a bit out of the way for us (like 40 minutes or so) but Chris is humoring me.
On the way from King Arthur's though, towards Stowe, Chris realized we can visit Stonecutters Brew House for a quick pint (and a stamp - now Chris will have four) before we hit the road again, heading towards Stowe. We'll have to make a decision here as to whether we want to visit the Alchemist Pub and Brewery in Waterbury now or save it and maybe have lunch there one day during the week. Oops, just noticed that they're only open for dinner, so maybe a late afternoon snack or just for drinks during the week (as we're only going to eat dinner out three times this week and this ain't one of them).
Finally, we'll arrive at our cabin, Goldilocks sometime in the late afternoon.
Now, as it turns out, this weekend is the Stoweflake Balloon Festival. At this point, I'm not sure we'll go (advance reservations were recommended and we didn't make them, plus I don't like crowds) but you never know. Launch is at 6:30 and I figure even if we don't go, we'll be able to see the balloons flying through the air. I'm thinking drinks on our deck (at this point, after that beer, it will probably be Pellegrino for me), as we rewind.
Saturday night, Chris wants to return to Mr. Pickwick's, a tradition for our first night in Stowe.
This morning is the Stowe farmers market. We couldn't really take advantage of it last year as we were leaving the next day but this year I hope to make more use of it, stocking up on produce, meats and other items for the house.
Afterwards, we'll grab some sandwiches and head for a hike on Mount Hunger.
We're repeating our Monday ride from last summer. I'm hoping I'll have an easier time of it this year or at the very least, don't get as frustrated.
Afterwards, it will be lunch at Pie in the Sky - can't wait, I can taste the pizza now.
May this afternoon we'll head down to Waterbury to hit the Alchemist Pub and Brewery for a beer and to get Chris's 5th stamp and my third.
I'm thinking dinner home this evening.
There's some discussion on what will do this day. I think Chris wants to do the six hour Mount Mansfield hike but I'm not too crazy about two long hikes so close to each other.
The other option we talked about is the Ferry to Ferry ride. This ride sounds pretty cool, you start in Burlington Vermont, ride south, cross a ferry into New York, ride through the foot hills of the Adirondacks, north, then cross another ferry to return to Burlington. We were supposed to do it last year but I chickend out.
But depending how I'm feeling at this point, I might opt for a different ride though I'm having trouble finding one at this time.
So let's assume we head into Burlington to do the Ferry to Ferry ride Tuesday morning. Do you know what that means? Breweries! Yes, there are four breweries in Burlington and two in South Burlington:
- American Flatbread Burlington Hearth/Zero Gravity Brewery (lunch 11:30 - 2:30)
- Vermont Pub & Brewery (can't find hours on their website but I bet they're open for lunch)
- Three Needs (can't find hours - need to call)
- Switchback Brewery (they do tours on Saturday but can't find if we can get in any other day)
- Magic Hat Brewing Co (under construction but website says you can still stop by for free samples)
- Orlio Organic Beer - crappy website, no contact information
Well, no matter, I'm figuring we'll be able to get two maybe more breweries on Tuesday, bringing Chris to seven and me to five (at least).
I have no idea what we're doing today. Maybe we can head up to Morrisville though at some point because I'd like to visit Rock Art and get back the stamp I lost from last summer (bringing me to six). Actually, I think this may be the day that Chris is doing his Covered Bridges from Hell ride (it includes Smuggler's Notch so there's no way I'm doing it). Maybe, I'll go for a shorter ride to Morrisville and back or something.
This is when I'd like to do the Mount Mansfield hike - Chris found it in a book; it's six hours (longer than I'd like to hike but he's into it).
Also tonight is Open Gallery night in Stowe (11 art galleries stay open until 9:00). Maybe it would be a good night to hit Blue Moon Cafe for dinner and check out the galleries. We didn't get to Blue Moon last time, they're shtick (other thank looking like a beautiful restaurant) is their menu changes weekly according to what's fresh and in season; I love that. They're also right down the hill from us. Yes, it means a climb home after dinner but we'll probably walk this one.
No idea what we're doing this morning. I know Chris mentioned something about a water and wine tour in the afternoon (we kayak down a river to a winery and then they drive us home, which sounds pretty good to me).
Well, believe our timing or not, but today is the Vermont Brewer's Festival in Burlington! We've already gotten our tickets and I'm hoping to attend the class on pairing food and beer. Yum.
Well, our last day but not completely without activities (at least for Chris anyway). He's going to do the Stowe 8 Miler, an 8 mile run around the hills (aka mountains) of Stowe. Afterwards, we'll hit the road to return to NJ.