We spent the night in Bangor camped in the parking lot of a Restaurant called Season’s; Lindsey and I had met the owner of the place while we were visiting Allagash Brewery back in Portland. He invited us to park there for the night, and we didn’t turn him down. After watching the great fireworks show on the river we ran through the rain back to the bus, where we listened to the rain come down on the metal roof all night.
The morning light woke us up early, and we drove on through the rain with our sights on Burlington. Crossing in New Hampshire again we were really enjoying the beautiful scenery and winding roads. It didn’t take long to cross the narrow part of New Hampshire and enter Vermont. Driving toward Burlington we saw signs for Cabot Creamery, we couldn’t pass that up! Cabot makes some of the best Cheddar, besides Tillamook of course. We had a nice time looking around their factory and sampling many different cheeses. We couldn’t leave without buying a little block of some delicious aged Alpine Cheddar. We also tried to visit a maple sugarhouse, but they were not open for business that day.
Continuing on we drove through many small farm towns, each with their own interesting buildings and character.We finally reached our destination, Sam Mazza’s Farm Market, just outside Burlington. The staff pointed out an area around back by the cornfield and apple orchard for us to park and we set up camp for the night. Sam Mazza’s was an awesome market, full of fresh produce, jam, honey, and fresh baked bread. After getting setup for the night and having a quick dinner we jumped on the motorcycle and headed down the road into downtown. Since it was Saturday evening there was a lot going on, live music at several places, and lots of people out enjoying the night. We wandered up and down Church Street looking at all the nice restaurants, and listening to some music. Eventually we found our way to the Vermont Pub and Brewery, which we had heard was excellent. The place was packed full of loud college kids, we waited around for a while at couple different areas but didn’t have luck getting the attention of the staff, so we decided to head down the street to another brewery that sounded more promising. We found Zero Gravity Brewing inside a restaurant called Flatbread, and immediately had a seat at the bar. Their beer selection was great, and we enjoyed sampling a few different offerings. We even tried a Gruit there, which is an interesting medieval style ale brewed without hops. My favorite was the Conehead Wheat IPA, a delicious hazy golden IPA with a great balance of hops and citrus flavors. Not the typical mega-hop NW style IPA!
Heading back out to the bus we enjoyed a peaceful night, as only being parked on a farm can bring. The next morning Lindsey really wanted some fresh berries so we walked across the road to the U-Pick area and got a nice big quart of juicy strawberries. After we picked up a couple more items from the farm store we set off on the bike again. Back in Burlington we enjoyed exploring the city in the daytime, but were sad that quite a few places seemed to be closed on Sunday. Walking down to the ferry dock we were greeted with an amazing view out across Lake Champlain. It was such a beautiful sight, and a perfect sunny morning to be out. We sat on a bench in the park and basked in the sun while we watched sailboats cruise in and out of the harbor. After a while we walked back up the hill into town and found Citizen Cider, a craft cider house serving up some great flavor combinations we had never tried before. We enjoyed a sample flight there in the fun tasting room. By then it was well past lunchtime for us, and our stomachs rumbled. We headed back out to the farm and loaded up the motorcycle. Sitting in the grass next to the bus enjoying a sandwich in the sun was a great way to end our Vermont visit.
On our way out of town we stopped by Magic Hat Brewing, one of the biggest names in Vermont. We learned about Magic Hat while living in Florida, and wanted to see it in person. We parked the bus in the back and walked into the “Artifactory” where we entered a bizarre carnival-like zone of merchandise. As we looked around at all the cheesy branded items we were disappointed. This was a far cry from the craft breweries we were used to, where there is a lot more emphasis on the beer and brewing process. It was nice of them to offer free samples to guests, but after having so many outstanding beers in the last few weeks we were a little jaded. At least we can say we have seen it in person!
Lindsey and I were sad that we didn’t have a few more days to spend camping and exploring Vermont, since there is so much to see and do there. Every bend in the road reveals a new hiking trail or campsite by a gorgeous river. Our goodbye was bittersweet; sad to leave but excited to keep working our way toward Michigan, where our good friend Allison and her family awaited us. As we cruised across the bridge into New York state Lindsey and I vowed to each other to return to the NE sometime soon and spend some more time exploring this beautiful part of our country.