We have a Burlington in New Jersey.
In my experience, whenever I mention this city to those from out-of-state, I either get a blank stare or a casual, “In Vermont, right?”
The same occurs when I mention my hometown of Columbus. I have learned that I have to add the words New Jersey onto my description, otherwise people instantly think I grew up in Ohio.
And dear Lord, no. No. No. No.*
*Nothing against Ohio. I’m sure if I spent time there with a proper tour guide I could grow to love it. However, any time I have spent there without an Ohio native has been nothing short of boring.
On a whim, we decided to leave Stowe during our Valentine’s weekend and see just what this Burlington was all about. Bear in mind, it was 2 degrees in the morning with a real feel of negative fourteen.
We weren’t going to let a little cold steal our enthusiasm for Burlington. We hopped in the car and drove the thirty-ish minute drive to this city that was much more of a city than our Burlington at home.
Despite the weather, people were still out an about, leaving few available parking spots. Since this was an off-plan stop in our trip, we needed to quickly decide on lunch. Bove’s was on Lance’s list of places to visit after having seen that they beat Bobby Flay on his show, Beat Bobby Flay.
We pulled up to a convenient spot in front of the restaurant, paid for parking despite the unusual darkness about the place, and then faced a locked door. Our craving for their winning lasagna and homemade pasta sauce wouldn’t be fulfilled.*
*Fortunately, despite learning they are permanently closed, while shopping in a local shop near our hotel, we discovered Bove’s jarred sauce and bought some to enjoy at home.
The next restaurant we attempted to go to had a line to the door, a forty-five minute wait, and a sign demanding no cell phones be used in the restaurant. The sign was what did it for me. While I’m the first to say that cell phones are replacing human interaction in a terrifying way, I also do not like my freedom to maturely choose the appropriate places to use my cell phone being taken away. As it was presented, it was a policy placard rather than a gentle suggestion. Had it been a suggestion, my opinion may have been different.
We found our way to Farmhouse Tap and Grill where the line was identical to the previous restaurant. After putting our name in for a table, we decided to do a little shopping in the Church Street Marketplace. The area put me in mind of the Washington Street Mall in Cape May that we visit often during the summer season. Both are open air shopping filled with independent retailers, stores that you can’t find in an ordinary shopping plaza.
At first, the cold was bearable. It was cold, but by the time I started to not be able to feel my thighs, we were inside a store and warm. Once warm, off came the sunglasses, the gloves, the hoods, and we attempted to shop. But such a continued amount of motions gets rather wearing, as did the bitter cold that was only growing colder by the minute. We began stepping into stores we would never ordinarily frequent just to be warm. For once in my life, and I pray the only time ever, shopping was painful. While heading for one of our last stores before our table would be ready we passed a man with a full beard and twirling mustache triple the size of Lance’s and, friends, I do not exaggerate when I tell you that it had ice in it!
As in, there was ice, chunks of ice, in his mustache and beard.
Such a sight I have only seen in movies where the main character is traveling in the frozen tundra with a pack of huskies.
That did it for me. Despite how much I wanted to shop the other adorable shops on the strip, after lunch I admitted defeat and made the executive decision to head back to Stowe where a visit to the Ben and Jerry’s Factory awaited.*
*More to come on this later.**
**Yes, Ben and Jerry’s, as in ice cream, as in a frozen cold treat typically enjoyed on a hot, summer day.
We passed a lovely view of Lake Champlain, which looks over to New York. Despite its beauty and luring view that I knew would be magical if captured on my camera, I didn’t give getting out of the car again a second thought.
It was that horribly, unfortunately, and bitterly cold that day.