Burlington, Vermont City Guide

Views in Burlington.

Views in Burlington.

Welcome to Memorial Day weekend, also known as Marathon Weekend in Burlington, VT. It’s the unofficial start of summer (though we have been saying summer for weeks now – as we must take advantage of the too-short season in Vermont), and it’s one of the biggest events for Burlington, home to the Vermont City Marathon + Relay. My love of Burlington runs deep, so when a Twitter friend, @CaitAmirault, asked what to see, do, and eat in Burlington, it inspired me to make a list of my favorite places.

Top of Church Street.

TO SEE & DO

  • Church Street Marketplace is a must and where you’ll find most everyone. Stroll the pedestrian mall for food, shopping, people watching, and the unmistakable giddiness of this time of year in Vermont.
  • Head down to the Burlington Waterfront & bike path, where the marathon will end. You can watch the finish. And when the crowd clears, you’ll be able to see the renovated boardwalk (looks great), as well as the gorgeous Adirondack Mountains set in the background of Lake Champlain. If you’re adventurous, rent bicycles and head down the Island Line bike path, the old railroad line.
  • If you’d like to see some mixed-use areas of Burlington, stroll down Pine Street to the South End Arts District. It’s a mix of artist studios and small shops and restaurants – definitely the fastest growing area in the city. Walk up Marble Street or Howard Street into the Five Sisters neighborhood for walking among adorable bungalows and early 20th century homes.
  • In the mood for more high style architecture? Walk up to South Union and South Willard Street. Champlain College and UVM have beautiful campuses, too.

Arts Riot Truck Stop.

To Eat & Drink

  • Here for the marathon weekend on Friday? Head to Pine Street for the Arts Riot Truck Stop for delicious food and a great crowd. Get there early or wait in long lines! Actually, the long lines are fine. Just eat in courses.
  • Need breakfast? Myers Bagels on Pine Street for Montreal style bagels approved by this New Yorker.
  • Coffee? Also on Pine Street: Speeder & Earls for locally roasted coffee and a good place to get work done or catch up with a friend.
  • Or, August First for more coffee and fresh food and baked goods. It’s a screen free café and it’s located in a rehabilitated service garage.
  • Brunch is a local favorite at Penny Cluse. The scrambled egg tacos are my current meal of choice.
  • The best views in Burlington can be found at the Burlington Bay Market & Café. Grab some ice cream or a beer and enjoy gazing at the lake.
  • And for dinner, go to El Cortijo. Hands down, you’ll find the best margaritas in all of BTV, and the freshest, most local tacos you can eat. Worth the wait, and it’s located in a renovated diner.

Church Street, just before a storm passed by.

Really, there is no shortage of good places to eat and drink in Burlington. It’s what we do best. I could go on and on, but those are just a few places to get you started.

I love Burlington, and I’m excited for marathon watching this weekend (this is one race I prefer to watch, not run). Happy Memorial Day. Cheers! Good luck runners! And visitors, welcome. Have a great time. xo!

Summer Keeps Going!

It’s a busy summer, filled with travels an adventures. Posts are piling up, ideas forming and stored for the cooler months. So for now, enjoy the photo-based travel posts and share your adventures.

Start with Frosty’s Donuts in Freeport, Maine. Have a glazed twist and a cup of coffee. Delicious! More to come.

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A unique use of the barn; not a bad commercial adaptive reuse as it reads as a barn still. And yes, those girls are my sisters enjoying the donuts.

Roadside Summer: Donnelly’s Ice Cream

If you’re in the Adirondacks near Saranac Lake, NY make sure to stop by Donnelly’s Ice Cream on Route 86. A small white building on the side of the road has been making soft serve ice cream since 1953 (with the same ice cream maker!). You line up in and out of the building to order, but only choose your size as their is one flavor per day. Homemade, locally made and a local favorite – what more could you want from ice cream in the summer? There’s plenty of parking and a great view and it’s delicious ice cream. Enjoy!

The front of Donnelly's.

The front of Donnelly’s.

The Registry of Very Special Places (Please do not confuse with the National Register of Historic Places).

The Register of Very Special Places (Please do not confuse with the National Register of Historic Places).

This is much appreciated for those of us who are indecisive.

This is much appreciated for those of us who are indecisive.

The smallest size.

The smallest size.

Adjacent to the ice cream shack.

Adjacent to the ice cream shack.

View while eating ice cream.

View while eating ice cream.

Donnelly's (and Annie O'Shea, USA Skeleton athlete).

Donnelly’s (and Annie O’Shea, USA Skeleton athlete).

The rear of the building.

The rear of the building.

Busy on a Sunday afternoon.

Busy on a Sunday afternoon.

A Preservationist’s Confession: I Get Overwhelmed at Farmers’ Markets

It’s true. I love the idea of farmers’ markets: local food, local folks, supporting the local economy, community gatherings, live music, mingling, sunshine, open air, chatting, fresh food, baked goods, use of town green space or something similar. They embody some strong preservation and community ideals.

What could possibly be wrong with a farmers’ market? 

I’ll let you in on a secret because, let’s face it, no one is perfect, preservationist or not. As the post title tells: I get overwhelmed at farmers’ markets, and I always have.

How is that possible, you ask? You live in Vermont, that’s ridiculous, you say. You’re a preservationist who is always talking about local economy, you say.

I know, I know!*

Here’s how. As I am not much of a cook, or at least an organized cook who is capable of planning meals, I tend to wander around a farmers’ market and wind up the full circle later, having no idea what to buy. I can smile and chat with the artists, admire their work, hold a cup of coffee, eat prepared food, enjoy the live music, be neighborly, but produce, meat and other stands? Unless I want berries or just a few tomatoes, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I don’t even know what some of the vegetables are, and I’m a healthy eater. And unless it’s  produce that I know, I’m skeptical of prices. Despite what we think and hope, not everything is less expensive at a farmers’ market (add that to my list of pet peeves).

After wandering around for some time, I end up frazzled and heading home with very little produce. Let’s not even talk about buying meat. That’s many steps ahead, despite the fact that local meat is important to me. And then I feel guilty for not doing more very local shopping! But I don’t know how to improve. So it’s really just the same cycle over and over.

There is where you might tease me mercilessly, or offer some helpful advice. I can handle both.

Of course, there are probably simple solutions, like talking to the farmers, etc. And there are more complicated solutions like learning to plan meals. Bring on the solutions.

My point in sharing this is to a) share a weakness I have as a preservationist and b) to tell you that by the end of the summer I will successfully shop at a farmers’ market for a week’s worth of produce & meat, rather than the grocery store. At least, I’ll do my very best. Expect it to take all summer. I’ll report back to you.

And now it’s your turn to offer your own confession, whether you are a preservationist or not.

*P.S. I live in Vermont and I’ve never once been skiing. How’s that to confuse you?!

Local Business: Grunhaus

Preservationists love local businesses, and Preservation in Pink is happy to play a part in supporting them since local businesses improve our communities and quality of life. So if you’re cruising the streets of Montpelier, Vermont, swing by the Grunhaus (Nordic Street Eats). A lovely couple run this cart (looks like a castle, yes?) and the food is delicious. If you’re new there, they are happy to explain the choices and they’ll chat with you while they prepare your food. It takes only a few minutes. Bring cash, not plastic. The cart is normally parked near the intersection of State & Elm Streets. And yes, they are there all winter!

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Enjoy!

(Note: Preservation in Pink is voluntarily reviewing this business and is not compensated for this review. The point is to spread good news about good local businesses.) 

The Scent of Historic Houses

Today in Vermont it’s below freezing (as in currently 15 below zero), and while the snow-covered branches are beautiful and glistening, it is just not warm anywhere. The only way I can think of to be warm today is to heat up the house by cooking. Considering cooking is not my domestic forte, this gives some inclination as to how desperate I am for a warmer house.  And I started thinking about what would have been prepared on the antique Hardwick stove in my kitchen. Care to explore food of a historic house with me?

Do you associate certain foods with different eras in history? Do you ever think that your ca. 1910 house would have different meals prepared and served than your ca. 1850 or ca. 1940 house (that is, until they existed together)? What we think about most is probably how different regions have unique culinary traditions.

In the same way that appearance and noise are important to historically accurate interpretations of settings, scents and smells can play a significant role as well. Scents have the power to transport people back in time, usually in a good, nostalgic way, and can help people recall distant memories and scenes. For example, when we think of fall, we think apples, hay, pumpkin, leaves — the smells of fall. Winter smells like pine and cinnamon or snow and bitter cold. It is amazing how we can assign a smell to an event.

Now think to your favorite residential building, someplace with a kitchen where you could or can gather over meals. It doesn’t have to be a prominent historic site like a house museum. When was that house built? What do you think it would have smelled like then? What does it smell like now? Each period of history has signature foods. What do you think they will be in the early 20th century? Will it be a split of health fanatic households v. convenience food households? Perhaps a house from 2012 will only smell of coffee in the morning, nothing in the middle of the day, and a good, family meal some nights of the week? (This is of course a generalization, as each family has its own routine.)

Food has changed because of technology and because our lifestyles have changed. This article, “Dining Through the Decades: 100 Years of American Cuisine,” offers an entertaining overview of such facts. The website, Food Timeline gives a summary of food throughout time, years of product invention and food introduction, as well as summaries of food throughout the 20th century decades. In the 1920s segment of the food timeline, for example, foods are discussed as the Great Gatsby dining or speakeasy dining and cocktails, which may not necessarily reflect farmers in rural American. However, technology innovations are included, too. Combining the knowledge of which food were available and what technology existed, go a long way in deciphering what people may have eaten (aside from first hand accounts).

And lastly, do you think it is important – for house museums and historic sites, not necessarily your own residential house – to smell historically accurate? Beyond that, when should foods be prepared as they would have been historically? Many historical recipes have been adapted for modern ingredients and modern kitchens. Is preserving the methods of food preparation just as important as preserving the smells of historical foods?