This blog is essentially defunct, so my many readers might not be aware that for the past two years I’ve lived in Burlington, Vermont. It was never our intention to stay here forever and in a week Walt and I are moving on to bigger and better (my parents’ house). While the Green Mountain State is not destined to be my home, there are a few things here I really love.
This list is not exhaustive.
1. Having a front porch
There may be a time in my distant future where I once again have a front porch, but definitely not this year. The porch I’ve enjoyed in Vermont is massive. Even better, weirdos pass by and leave trash and mugs on it! During our first summer here while I was unemployed and Walt hadn’t started school, we spent hours outside playing cards and being spoken to by strangers. The porch lost some of its value throughout the winter but has been a huge privilege during lockdown.
2. Having a large kitchen
Similar to the previous point, wherever we end up after West Caldwell will not be ideal for cooking. On Elmwood Ave, the kitchen is a solid third of our apartment. There are plants on the counter right next to my Vitamix, and sometimes Walter sits on Blue Crate as I fiddle around. It’s a place to hang out in, not just make breakfast.
3. Gas stations with really good food
Admittedly I haven’t gotten a lot of gas station food in other states, but VT gas stations are the best. They have fresh baked goods, great beer selections (see #11), and all the junk you could want. My favorite spot, Frey’s Deli and Convenience in Milton, serves the largest sandwiches on the planet. I don’t even own a car and I love these gas stations!
4. Creemee culture
The word creemee is dumb, but a state which champions dessert is not. It’s almost unfair that Vermont is known for its creemees (soft-serve ice cream) because the firmer options are just as notable. At the Village Scoop you can order the “tot” size and end up with a baby-sized cone full of the best ice cream you’ve ever had. They shut down operations after Labor Day, otherwise I would be headed there right now.
5. The cemetery across the street from my house
The graves are from the 1800s and the lack of homes means less competition over parking spots. As a guy who lives in our building once said, “All our neighbors are dead.”
6. Extremely large amounts of snow and a reason not to go out
Even in Vermont where they are properly prepared for the weather, we sometimes have snow days. At one point it was very exciting to work from my living room or watch a movie instead of trudging through the cold to get a drink. Now that I’ve been stuck inside for five months the excitement has faded, but I still want to give a shout out to snow.
I wouldn’t call a place magical unless I truly meant it. Montreal is magical. During one weekend visit we ended up at a tiny bar that only accepted cash. As my friend went out to find an ATM, this random dude brought us over some beers. Then a band started playing – and he was the drummer! They played until 2 am after which I talked to this 70-year-old woman who was a hospice caregiver and loved to party into the early morning hours.
8. Summers that aren’t too hot (except sometimes)
Even without air conditioning, we’ve been fairly comfortable for the past few months. There were a few sweaty nights, but with the proper technique (using fans to air out the house from sunset to sunrise) our house has stayed relatively cool most of the summer.
12. Everything being a fifteen-minute walk away or a forty-five minute drive away
Why is that?
9. Non-intimidating baristas
This might be a me thing, but I’m regularly scared to order coffee. Not in Vermont. Even baristas with the coolest tattoos and largest nose rings are kind and caring. They are definitely nicer than the general populace. (And many of them are out of work right now so consider donating to your local mutual aid group.)
10. The Roxy movie theater
Getting drunk at the movies is my favorite thing to do, and the Roxy is just a (fifteen minute) walk from my house. For my birthday we saw Shazam. I don’t remember much about it, but I sure had fun.
11. Beer snobbery
This sounds like a negative but I’ve really grown accustomed to the obsession with beer. It’s nice to have options when you go to a bar and, even if I chose Allagash White every time, I’ve enjoyed learning about the different brands, types, etc. IPAs are bad though.
13. The dang lake
14. The dang mountains
15. Pho Hong
A convenient (fifteen-minute) walk from my house, Pho Hong is one of my favorite restaurants of all time. I have never even ordered the Pho there. I’m all about #25 and #26, Thai-style curries. The people who work there are so nice too <3
16. Hippy dippy vegan shit
Oat milk! Community gardens! Composting! Bulk sections at the grocery store! Plastic bag bans! Communist folk bands! Vegan options! A lot of this stuff I really like. Some of it’s a front for neoliberalism, but we don’t have to get into that.
17. My friend Charlie’s lake house
I’ve only been there three times but they were all very fun times. He’ll probably let me come back.
18. An unnecessary amount of maple-themed things
This is something that would show up on a Buzzfeed list, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true. Vermont is super proud of its maple production. I mean, what else do they have going on? There are maple creemees, maple on breakfast sandwiches, maple cookies, maple beer, and I went to a maple-themed 5k. That’s right, I ran a 5k!
19. People wanting to visit me
My mom and sister made it very clear that, although Vermont isn’t my favorite place to live, it’s their favorite place to visit and thus I should stay here forever. I’m not going to do that, but I have really enjoyed people volunteering to come see me.
20. My heated blanket
My boyfriend was gifted a heated blanket even though he is the hottest person I’ve ever met. I found it, still unopened, and immediately realized I had discovered the key to Vermont winters. I moved it from living room to bedroom as needed, staying toasty and close to electrical sockets. I’m not getting rid of it, but the heated blanket won’t provide the same service in whatever less-frigid city we end up.
21. The rock in the Winooski River where I used to spend my lunch breaks
We changed offices in November, but for a solid year I came out to the Winooski River whenever the weather allowed. This photo shows the view I had from the massive rock I would sit on. Sometimes people would fish in the river, and I would stare down at them silently. So creepy, so peaceful.
There are some things about Vermont that I won’t miss, but I’ve decided to keep this list completely positive. And, obviously, what I will miss most of all are the cool people I met up here. I wish they could move with me to my parents’ house.
I’ve been especially lucky living here at the beginning of the pandemic. There were two months where I didn’t leave my house once, but now that things are a bit safer I have plenty of room to go on long walks around my neighborhood, the Old North End, and look at all the sunflowers. It’s a really beautiful place.