A Winter Wonderland: Vermont in January

by Matthew Burfeind

Matthew and Jennifer, Middlebury

It's a month later, but here are the photos from our brief excursion to Vermont in January. Our friend, Marisa, was visiting, and we decided it was the perfect opportunity to get out of the city.

We left on Friday morning, the 28th of January, giving ourselves a full day to get to Burlington. Now, Burlington is normally a four-hour drive from Boston, but not when you shop like we did. First stop, Nashua, New Hampshire, home of a tax-free Costco. Marisa has a membership, so we picked up Waterford Crystal at an alarmingly low price, along with a five-million pack of Kleenex. Next stop, the Dexter Shoe Outlet, the first of many we would see and visit. Jenn got the boots she was looking for, and I began what I hope will be a succesful experiment in two-toned shoes. I've never owned Oxfords before, and I'm starting out with a pretty tame pair.

The next major stop off of I-89 was, of course, Quechee, Vermont, home of Quechee Gorge and Scotland by the Yard, the best place in the world to buy scarves, funny-looking hats, and other wool items of various patterns. I bought the Harris tweed jacket I've been dreaming about since I saw it last summer and couldn't justify buying a wool jacket while it was a hundred degrees and more humid than Louisiana.

Gazebo, Quechee

Other hidden gems of Quechee included this lovely gazebo, which we discovered after an aborted attempt to eat at a deli in "downtown" Quechee. It screamed "picturesque", so Marisa had to stop and take a picture of it. We saw it on the map (the deli, I mean), but when we got there, all we found was what looked like the set to "This Old House". Oh, well. Instead we took a chance at the Farina Family Restaurant and Diner, located in the tacky, touristy, Quechee Village strip mall. The diner itself was great, a restored Worcester piece from the 1940's, and I was able to get the requisite grilled cheese sandwich, with white bread with American cheese. Yum! The real treat, however, came when we ventured towards the restrooms, and had to walk through the "restaurant" portion of the FFR&D: a ceiling that was plastered with lunchboxes, and a wall that was covered with old radios. Everywhere was kitsch aplenty.

Lunchbox ceiling at the Farina Family Restaurant, Quechee Lunchbox ceiling at the Farina Family Restaurant, Quechee Lunchbox ceiling at the Farina Family Restaurant, Quechee
John, Amy, Marisa, Matthew and Jennifer

When we finally got to Burlington, we settled into our room at the Comfort Inn, then had dinner with my cousin, Amy and her boyfriend, John Alexander. We went to a local place, the Windjammer, home of big icicles and the snowiest parking lot I've ever seen. It was at the Windjammer that we discovered and commented on, at length, Marisa's conspicuous lack of plaid. Note how cold she looks, lacking the warming elements of a patterned fabric!

Matthew and Marisa in Burlington

The next morning, we explored downtown Burlington for a little while. The shops were a little disappointing, not because they were the same ones we see in Boston (although many of them were), but because it was winter and it was cold. It just wasn't particularly active, although I'm sure if we came back in the summer, we'd love it. We did walk down to the water, to see the lake and look over to New York. There's a great building on the water, permanently docked at the base of College street, where we hung out for a little while. The view was fantastic, with views of the mountains in New York. The lake wasn't frozen solid, so we couldn't have walked there, but it was pretty impressive.

Lake Champlain, Jennifer and Marisa Lake Champlain Pilings, Lake Champlain Pilings, Lake Champlain Pilings, Lake Champlain
Jennifer, Lake Champlain Shadows on the deck Shadows on the deck Jennifer and Marisa, Lake Champlain Jennifer and Matthew, Lake Champlain Lake Champlain
Lake Champlain Lake Champlain Lake Champlain Lake Champlain Lake Champlain

The snow wasn't really up to our waists, but Marisa had us stage this shot to impress the folks back home. We took the picture on both cameras, just to make sure we'd get the shot!

Marisa, Burlington Marisa, Burlington

After Burlington, we drove down Route 7 to Middlebury. Sadly, Calvi's ice cream parlor is no more, but we had lunch in a great place I'd never seen before, called The Storm Cafe. Mmmm. I'm getting hungry just thinking about their sandwiches. After lunch, we walked around town for a little while, checking out Otter Creek before we moved on.

Otter Creek Otter Creek from the Iron Bridge Waterfall, Otter Creek Bridge over Otter Creek Matthew and Jennifer, Middlebury Trees, Otter Creek

After Middlebury, we stopped by Lake Dunmore, where I used to spend a week every summer. Lake Dunmore is a very different place in the winter. For one thing, you can walk on water, something you rarely get to do in California. We were a little wary at first, but then we saw the ice fishing huts. Then we saw the snowmobiles. Then we saw the automobile. We figured the lake could support three more people.

Cottage, Lake Dunmore Lake Dunmore Lake Dunmore House across Lake Dunmore Lake Dunmore with Automobile Dock in Snow, Lake Dunmore Matthew and Jennifer on Lake Dunmore Jennifer and Marisa on Lake Dunmore Jennifer and Marisa on Lake Dunmore Jennifer on Lake Dunmore

After leaving Lake Dunmore, we stopped in Bennington. First, of course, was the requisite visit to the Dexter Shoe Outlet, this one with the famous bargain basement. Alas, there were no exciting bargains to be had, at least none we couldn't live without. Then it was on to my Aunt Linda's house, where she was preparing a wonderful dinner, and an even more wonderful pie. Her pie is the stuff of legend, even though it comes right out of a cookbook. It's all in how she prepares it.

It was an all too brief visit with Linda, but we wanted to get back to Boston that evening. Marisa was leaving early Monday morning, and we wanted to have a day to relax before she left. So, off we went, back to the city, looking forward to the next visit, whenever it may be.

© 2000 Matthew S. Burfeind
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Last revised Wednesday, March 01, 2000
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