Burlington Roadtrip:  Farmhouse Tap & Grill, Lake Champlain Chocolate, Heady Topper, Ben & Jerrys

Since there was no skiable snow around the holidays – we took a day trip to Burlington VT – only a short 90 min trip up I-91 from Quechee!  Burlington is the unofficial capital (Montpelier is the actual, but all the action is further north), home to Lake Champlain, Burton, UVM (never understood why it wasn’t UVT), Green Mountain Coffee and numerous awesome foodie and craft beer establishments…

It’s probably been over 10 years since I was last in Burlington – but that time was ridiculously cold – negative 20 with wind chill… But even this time around we chose a rough day weather wise since it was 15 degrees with 20 mph winds!  You kind of have to expect that when it’s winter and you’re close to Canada!

Burlington represent everything I love about Vermont – outdoorsy, lots of artisan crafts, small businesses, fresh food and inventive drink.  Despite the weather we still had a great time – with things for kids and adults…

Church Street Marketplace

This is a great outdoor marketplace and the heart of the action where all the shops and bars / restaurants are.  We sprinted from shop to shop, buying some books from an awesome book store, a few clothes for the kids from a unique Canadian retailer, and then some extra warm socks for the kiddos.  Given the weather, we couldn’t spend much time there but will definitely be back in the summer / spring!

Farmhouse Tap & Grill

Farmhouse was highly recommended by some friends and it did not disappoint (except for being out of Heady Topper!).  I had to settle for Lawson’s which is hardly a concession.  A short wait for a table as the place does bustling business but partook in yummy sandwiches that paired brilliantly with my hoppy beer!

Lake Champlain Chocolates
Ben & Jerrys Factory
Search for Heady Topper

The actual Alchemist Brewery is in nearby Waterbury – they used to sell cases at the brewery, but the crowds became untenable so they now only distribute in Northern VT – you literally cannot find a packy that carries 4-packs of Heady Topper in Quechee (or Boston for that matter!).  Why?  It’s a damn tasty (if you like hoppy double IPAs) beer – so tasty that it was the #1 beer on BeerAdvocate for quite some time – currently, it’s #5 on BA.  Speaking of which, if “the hunt” isn’t your thing… Lawson’s Finest Liquids has #19 & #24 on the list and are MUCH more readily available in Quechee / Woodstock (including at Quechee Club and Worthy Kitchen).

The link above shows you places that receive deliveries of Heady Topper on specific days… it’s not that useful, since it’s hard to find places near where you are without having to Google every single one… but it appears “the hunt” is part of the mystique for Heady Topper.

Winter 2016 – VERY different, but still great for beginner skiers!

So 2016 has been a little different from last winter… We spent Xmas week without any snow which was a bit of a bummer… But we finally got the chance to ski in early Feb – and despite the mountain looking pretty pathetic, the snow was actually in great shape.  And it was like balmy spring skiing at 36 degrees!  We finally got Owen up on skis – at 2 yrs 9 months, he was definitely on the early side but he’s always been uber coordinated… Too bad he was too young for group lessons… We paid $100 for a private lesson with Amy, but he did great and he loved it!  Only time he cried was because he couldn’t ride the chair lift to the top of the mountain!

Pro tip:  you don’t need a lift ticket for kids under 7… And adults don’t need a lift ticket for the rope tow – perfect for newcomers when you have no idea if / whether they’ll take to the sport!!!

And little Maya is now a veritable expert – she gets on the rope tow all by herself and basically goes up and down solo. Couldn’t be more proud of these kids!  We love Quechee in the winter… Even though we probably only go up about 10 days a season, the kids totally love it there in winter.

At least 2 more weekends for us this winter – I can’t wait to go top to bottom with both kids – which I’m pretty certain will happen this year!  We’re booked through mid March – get your requests in for late March if you want to get in one last ski trip!