Kenny and I have been meaning to get to Burlington, VT for ages, probably as long as we have been known each other, which is just about 27 years. It was interesting how this weekend's plans came about, all I wanted to do was go to Saratoga to visit my mom, watch Susie and Larry's horse run, go gallery hoping with Susie, and mountain biking with Kenny (and maybe Alison and Rich too). I could see in Kenny's face, that while he would be happy to oblige, we needed to have time for ourselves. (I think his head spins sometimes at my dizzying pace and the above plans were packed full of stuff). So I started to think about how to do all of the above, and still have our OWN time and asked him if camping in Moreau State Park would be help?
Somehow, in all the thoughts of my plans, Kenny decided that we should go camping for the weekend, but not in Saratoga but someplace that we had not been, like Burlington. So we made plans. We found a place to camp in Shelburne, VT, four miles south of Burlington. We found something to do during the day, mountain biking at Catamount Outdoor Center, and we found farmers market to peruse and a bunch of places to "try", etc...
We headed out on Friday, stopping along the way at Curtis's BBQ, in Putney VT. Kenny and I read about Curtis's school bus BBQ in the New York Times Food and Dining section shortly after we got married and have wanted to get by there at some point. Honestly, we tried several times but something always got in the way. When Kenny and I got married, we used to clip recipes and destinations from the NYT and the Daily News and put them in a photo book. We are talking 1987, pre-tech. I have spent my morning looking through that book to see if there is anything else I should remember. Why we both remembered that place without looking it up is beyond me, maybe it was all the missed chances at stops. IT WAS WELL WORTH THE STOP! In other words GO HERE!!! (Often!)
In some senses the whole weekend seemed like a date. Despite both of us going to VT prior to getting married, we came to the conclusion that we have spent some of our best "times" away from home in Vermont since and it didn't matter where it was. I think we just like to pace of the place. I saw a sticker this weekend "keep VT weird" which upon further investigation is an organization that is interested in keeping Vermont sustainable so that it continues to embody what Vermont is to everyone that lives there and wants to live there. I think Kenny and I are in that "want to" category.
So we arrive in Shelburne, set up camp, go out and get the things we forgot (pillows, a pot to boil water in) as well as some basics, like ice and beer and we head back to the campsite and cook dinner, make a fire and just hang out. In that time Kenny witnesses a guy shaving his forearms, which can only mean one thing, there is a triathlon he is getting ready for. Its the only way to get a wet suit on and off quickly without it PULLING at the hair. A quick check on the internet finds that USA Tri is having their age group nationals in Burlington...heck that wasn't even on Burlington's chamber calendar...it was somewhere buried deep... HMMMM this is why I love this place (a very LARGE event in a very SMALL city and the TOWN didn't stop giving to the rest of the tourist trade to host it? we are talking zero impact to us other people not participating).
When I make the comment zero impact I do so because Saturday morning we awoke at 8AM after a long night of thinking we had a bear in camp. I mean Kenny even woke up thinking that at 2AM, so it wasn't just my fear getting the better of me. We realized that we took care of cleaning all of our camp up except...the most important task...the garbage. CRAP!!! Were we the cause of this critter in camp? So we got up, we both had to pee now (nerves) and we decided we would take care of our trash bag on the way. What we discovered it the guy in the pop-up across the way snores the way a BEAR SNORTS. You may be laughing, go ahead, but the next night we had new neighbors, and at about 3 AM the guy got up because he realized he too left STUFF out and started cleaning his campsite up...it woke me up and guess what? The guy in the pop- up sounded even more convincing the second night.
Back to Saturday morning. After dining on linguica and eggs for breakfast we headed to the farmer's market for several reasons, we like checking out what other markets look like and I needed to stop by and talk to Christine at BIKERECYCLEDESIGNS, which is an organization that recycles bikes for low-income people who need transportation. They also sell jewelry and other artwork created from bike parts to help fund the project. I had planned on volunteering for an hour in the morning at the shop, but they were closed because it was market day. I had promised Christine that I would come by to see what their ware looked like and to meet her and Ron. It was an incredible meeting. I left there hoping a few of my former students, who go to school in Burlington, would consider volunteering for them. (HINT, HINT, HINT!!!!) Now, how to get something like that started here in a place where most of the low income in need of transportation people are immigrants and seen as a blight. (no judgement and no comment, I will just leave it hanging out there)
After the market we headed on to our next adventure, shredding up the trails at Catamount. It was Kenny's first off road experience so I picked a place that had a good mix of single and double track so that there would be something to ride, always. Well, after about 20 minutes of easy double track we were in the woods on a tight single track and spent the next 3 hours going back and forth between tight, moderately technical riding and double track of varying difficulty. We lunched in a meadow with lots of wildflowers and rode along a ravine with drop offs and banked turns. We left there feeling like we rode hard and had fun but stayed within our ability to keep it enjoyable. I think we impressed the kid at the front desk who was sure we would only last an hour, especially since it was Kenny's first time out. (thanks Jon for letting us borrow the bike)
We added to our day's adventure by heading to North Beach and swam for a bit before heading back to shower and get ready for dinner. We had an apertif at the Farmhouse which consisted of VT beer. Hey we are in VT and I am with my husband who is a BEER ...ok, lets just say he doesn't drink yellow piss in a can unless its the occasional PBR and bottles are always LOCAL FARE never corporate conglomerates. So our cocktail hour followed suit. We then took a long walk along the Church Street Mall and found two really cool things, one was this great LOCAL bookstore (Crow Books) that was across the mall from a mega store going out of business (Borders) and YES they hung on and seemed to be busier than the chain's going out of business sale was (YAY- hang in there, its almost over) and the Outdoor Gear Exchange which is dedicated to promoting the outdoors and all it holds by selling both new and used outdoor gear. After our walk we were famished and headed to American Flatbread for dinner and of course some more local beer. (think wine tasting not redneck party hound)
We finally headed back for our last night in camp and burned the rest of our wood, cleaned up, had another restless night of sleep thanks to bear man across the way and got up to another fabulous breakfast before catching the ferry back to NY. This ferry experience was not a bad one, thank God. We stopped quickly in 'Toga to see my mom had lunch, did some back to school shopping and headed home. We arrived home to an intact house and Chris making us some curry for dinner. Our weekend was fantastic! The perfect end to a summer of adventure that seemed to go all too quickly. Tonight is a school night for me, which does not seem possible, not yet.