I have the great honor of sharing my birthday with Canada... and I've also tragically not ever really been to Canada (unless you count when I was 2). For years now, I've been talking about taking a trip to Canada on my birthday so that Canada and I could celebrate together. And so in late June Prince Michael and I loaded up the luxury automobile and set off for the great north (cough, cough) Montreal. The plan was to spend a couple of nights in the Hudson Valley, 4 nights or so in Canada so that we could be there for my birthday and, then drive back through my very favorite state of Vermont on our way home. I would say it was a great plan but it failed tot take into account the frozen tundra that was Montreal in late June.
It was so terribly, unbearably hot in D.C. in the lead up to this trip that I eagerly looking forward to some cooler temps. And then of course what would happen is what did happen: the temperatures dropped dramatically everywhere on the east coast that week so that it was perfect in D.C. but tres cold and rainy in Montreal. mwap mwap. SO I did make it to Canada but we didn't stay for my birthday because the cold and rain was just too much. I hope Canada will forgive me and perhaps we can celebrate together another year. Below is a little rundown of the trip.
I feel like I've been reading about the Hudson Valley on blogs for years so I was so excited to check out a little bit of the region ourselves. From DC we drove up to Beacon where we stopped for lunch and a little walk around. After popping into some of the darling antique shops in town we took off for Hyde Park to see the Roosevelt's house which delighted our nerdy little hearts. I will say that the house was so small and generally non-impressive that it's a little hard to imagine that it was a big deal back in the day. I did not get to see Eleanor's house (single tear) so that will have to be for another day. From Hyde Park we cruised on up to Hudson where we stayed in a great airbnb for the night. In the morning we had an amazing breakfast here before starting the journey to Burlington.
This was our second visit to Burlington (first one here) and I think I would say I have mixed feelings about the city. I love the size and the food (!!) but church street is a little tacky touristy so I think it's a bummer that it's the center of the things in the city. On a friend's recommendation we checked out Bluebird BBQ which I liked (even without eating meat) and Mike loved. It's a little outside the city and we sat on the porch and enjoyed the woodsy feel of the place. Also enjoyable in Burlington is bike riding. We rented bikes and did a similar bike ride to our last trip with the small adjustment that Mike somehow made us bike up a mountain. I'm sure it was a mountain. For dinner we made the bold decision to do 2 dinners because one dinner in Burlington just didn't seem like enough. So we first checked out Farmhouse and then went back to my favorite place American Flatbread for second dinner and dessert. Also of note, we were told to try Heady Topper which is apparently dominating the beer scene. Mike liked it so we thought we would swing by the store and pick up a 6 pack to take home with us. When we told the store clerk what we were looking for she actually did laugh in our faces while she explained how hard it is to track down heady topper to take home. Apparently people form lines prior to the delivery times of heady topper to grocery stores and they sell out in 10 minutes. So if you're not at the store at say 10 am on a Wednesday then you are screwed.
The thing that really blew me away about Montreal is how quickly you go from driving through pristine farmland into the heart of the city. It made me a touch sad about the sprawl surrounding DC. ho hum. Unfortunately our first day in the city was super rainy and very cold (mid 50s) so we didn't do much except cosy up in restaurants for extended meals. The next day it was only a little rainy, so we bundled up and rented bikes and explored the city. Montreal is such a bike friendly city with bike lanes everywhere and so many people cycling that it was really a joy to bike around (minus the cold temps). We biked to the Mount Royal which is definitely a small hill and not a mountain and enjoyed the great views out over the city. For lunch we obviously had poutine (vegetarian for me) which I don't really get the point of. I think gravy goes better on mashed potatoes and ketchup goes better on fries but who am I to judge. The next morning on our way out of town we stopped at the Atwater market which I loved. After loading up on some canadian baked goods and strawberries we heading south back into Vermont.
I was a tiny bit worried that Woodstock wouldn't live up to my memories of it from my last trip... but that was silly because damn that little town is just as charming as ever. It rained almost the whole time we were there but I still loved being there. We bought some local beers and checked into the Shire Inn where we relaxed on their awesome porch while discussing dinner options. We ended up going for some pub fair at the Woodstock Inn and then watching the US ladies soccer team dominate at Bentley's restaurant. Clearly I also took myself back to Mountain Creamery. Luckily this time I managed to keep it in my clutches so I didn't need to eat it off the ground. I hope to check out Woodstock in the fall or winter at some point so I can see how quaint it is in those seasons.