Yesterday, I took a road trip to Vermont with L3. We hit up Burlington every couple of months to do some shopping, and to get away from the humdrum that is our lives. We left later than usual, and since the infamous Champlain Bridge only had one lane open (infamous for its constant repairs), we decided to take the Victoria Bridge. I’ve never taken this bridge before and soon discovered why. It’s definitely the longer way! We eventually made it to Burlington after following a series of very slow-driving Quebecers, and almost being mowed down by a very anxious Vermonter in a souped-up pick-up truck.
My favorite spot in Burlington proper, is the Church Street area, where we typically go to shop. It’s a lovely area that is closed off to cars for a few blocks, so it’s a lot less stressful then shopping in Montreal. If you plan to check it out, don’t expect to find miles of shopping though. The main shopping mall is the Burlington Town Center, where you’ll find shops like Macy’s, GAP, Pac Sun, Bath & Body Works, Old Navy and Victoria’s Secret, to name a few. I don’t typically spend too much time in the mall, as I prefer walking about outside so I can admire the cows. Yes, you heard me – the cows! The Cows Come Home is a public art project that brings together local businesses, artists, community, and painted cows – this exhibit is presented by Citizens Bank and runs from May to October, 2010. You can check out the Facebook page for more information, but in the meantime, here are a few photos of these lovely ladies (note: I did not take these – you may refer back to their FB page using the link above, to see who did).
Now back to the shops. Lululemon has a showroom there, but the store is very small and has limited selection and sizes. You will also find Banana Republic and Urban Outfitters, among other local shops. If you’re looking for something more unique, check out Danforth Pewter – they sell handcrafted pewter such as jewelery, photo frames, necklaces etc., and it’s a fantastic place to find gifts for someone back home. I picked this up on my last trip. For a full list of shops on Church street, click here. If you’re more of a mall rat, you can also visit University Mall located on Dorset Street. On this same strip, you will find a Barnes & Noble and a few other shops as well. My favorite place to stop in at is Healthy Living Market – it’s a natural foods shop that has an incredible amount of variety, and is very reasonably priced. I usually make this my last stop before hitting the road, and stock up on all the stuff that I can’t get at home, or that I can get, but is cheaper there. This is the only place that I’ve been able to find bottled kefir (not to mention, kefir that doesn’t taste like yogurt mixed with ginger ale!).
No road trip is complete without a few good restaurants, so let me name two that you must check out immediately. If you’re looking for a hearty breakfast or lunch with all the trimmings (and more!), I highly recommend Penny Cluse. They have a very diverse menu that caters to pretty much everyone, and most of their stuff is homemade. If you go on a weekend though, be prepared to wait in line – it’s very popular with the locals!. You can find them at 169 Cherry Street – just walk up Church Street and take a right on Cherry. They are located across from the Rite-Aid.
You should also check out Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup because it’s the most amazing vegetarian and vegan cuisine that I’ve ever had. Don’t let the terms ‘vegetarian’ and ‘vegan’ fool you either – you don’t have to be either to love this food. Stone Soup has a hot and cold food bar that changes daily, and everything is made in their kitchen(you can see them at work, as the restaurant is more like a community kitchen). If you’re not up for the food bar, try one of their sandwiches (made with their own freshly baked bread), homemade soups or pizzas. Their dessert section alone is to die for! I have yet to eat something there that didn’t appeal to every single one of my senses. It is fabulosity in motion people. They don’t have a web site, but you can check them out here for a fairly accurate description. They’re located at 211 College Street, just a block off the Church Street marketplace.
I really love Burlington. It’s a beautiful place, and the pace of life there is so much calmer then it is in Montreal. People are much more relaxed and friendly, and everyone has a dog (just thought I’d throw that in there). Despite the fact that you are in the ‘city,’ you are surrounded by green space, and mountains. It’s a great place. I can see myself living there if for no other reason then Stone Soup and Green Mountain coffee!
What are some of your favorite getaway spots?