Friday, April 17, 2015

My Weekend In Vermont - Part Three

So I missed yesterday, but I have a good excuse.  I was at a concert.  I got to see Home Free live!

You know them.  They're the guys who won The Sing-Off that one year and do that absolutely amazing cover of that one classic song.

What?  No, I- never mind.  Anyway, a full review of the show next week.  But for now, back to Vermont, and I'm just going to itemize a list of a few points I thought about during my drive.

  • I had no idea the city of Burlington was so huge.  I expected it to be a city devoted to a particular company of Coat Factories, not a college town.
  • I had dinner at a place called Duino Duende, a small restaurant/bar that serves international street food.  Check out the menu on their site.  There was a cover band performing classics from the 60s and 70s, and I have to admit I was surprised how many young people there knew so many Beatles songs by heart.
  • I have also never felt so old in my life than when I was sitting at a table to eat with a large table next to me filled with young college kids.  It was a constantly rotating group of young adults, with just a few regulars sticking around each time people showed up or left.
  • My conversation with the waitress there went as such:  "You know what?  I'm on a road trip, and I like trying new things.  How about this, you pick an appetizer and an entree, and I'll eat them."  Now, maybe it's that the restaurant is just really proud of this one particular dish, but I'm not sure how I should have reacted to the fact that I was served one beef tip skewer with a Chimichuri sauce...and chicken and waffles.  Granted, they were really good chicken and waffles, but I'll admit I was expecting something a bit more..."international."
  • Travelodge.  Someone please explain to me when having sheets that fit around a mattress became something too expensive for motels to deal with?  I shift a bit in my sleep, and it was rather unsettling to wake up now and again and realize that the sheet I was originally sleeping on was rolled underneath me and balled up.  I think "do your sheets actually fit the bed" is going to be a regular question I ask places I think about staying at.
  • Driving from northern Vermont to southern Vermont, I think I found the embodiment of that classic phrase "you can't get there from here."  The fact I had to go into New York for a while to get somewhere in the SAME STATE shows just how poorly planned these roads are.  It was pretty disconcerting when my GPS was insisting that I was headed to Dorset but "Welcome To New York" was in big letters in front of me.
  • It did get me there, though.  So I can't give it too much grief.
  • How did the tiny town of Dorset get such a neat theater house?  The place looks small enough to be fine for an out of the way setting, but is constructed in such a way that I was really, really impressed.
  • Driving back from Dorset, I encountered a problem that I thought was left behind by the time we got into the 201X years.  There were times where my cell phone signal was just gone.  It wasn't just gone for a moment, it was gone and trying to find its way back blindly, which usually took it several minutes.  That isn't something you want to happen when you're relying on a GPS to take you through back roads to civilization.
  • Why don't more schools properly teach the story of the Monitor and the Merrimack?  For one thing, the boat wasn't actually named the Merrimack during the war.  It was The Virginian.  Before that, it was the Merrimack, but it was scuttled and dropped to the sea/lake/river floor.  It was later dredged, had some iron plates slapped onto it, and was renamed.  I mean, why would the South name a ship after a river that goes through New Hampshire and Massachusetts?  
  • I was sorely tempted to stop at the Teddy Bear Factory in Burlington.  I didn't have the time.
  • For the record, Vermont, there are these great inventions down south and west you might want to look into.  They're called "tunnels."  It might help people get around easier.
  • Vermont did feel like a nice place to drive through, though.  There were many small shops in Burlington that caught my eye and left me wishing I had the time to poke my nose in.  Used book stores, for example, are a good way to grab my attention.
  • However, I think a good sign I'm more "urban" than "country" is the fact that I felt flabbergasted at two signs in front of churches in Vermont.  One said "Dinner And Turkey Shoot."  The other said "Dinner And Skeet Shooting."
  • Three things I underestimated: how long it would take my leg to get sore from driving, how much fog would be in the hills of Vermont as all the snow melted and evaporated, and how many tolls there are on the highways.  You're welcome, highways.
  • I have a strong distrust of "antique shops" that are attached to peoples farmhouses and barns.  I somehow suspect those are actually "continuously running garage sales."  I was particularly suspicious of a place that had a sign out front that read "used books" and a small "parking" area next to what looked like a large, converted chicken coop.  With a partially collapsed roof.  I would not be surprised to find out that many travelers just mysteriously "vanished" in the area, and their last thoughts were "ooh, used books!
  • Somehow I went to Vermont and didn't have any Ben & Jerry's ice cream.  Shame on me.

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