Monday, May 30, 2011

From Portland, ME to Burlington, VT

On Sunday, I went to church at the First Unitarian Church in Portland. The topic was "Heart in Place", a very relevant topic to me in my search for a new place to call home. The woman speaking spoke of places that feel like home sometimes a place you visit repeatedly and sometimes a place you have visited once. Being in Vermont again today, in Burlington, is making me realize how at home I feel in Vermont. Either in the hills of rural southern Vermont or in the town of Burlington. I love it here! The talk also reminded me of how I felt when I went to Amsterdam the first time, like I was home. I also felt that way about Brooklyn the first time I got out of the G train stop at Clinton-Washington. I did Brooklyn, maybe Vermont is next and then Amsterdam?

So on Sunday afternoon my friend Ashley flew to Maine to join me for part of my trip. Our first stop was to go to Duck Fat for what had been claimed at "the best fries". They were perfect fries- the ones that were long anyway. my complaint was that there were too many shorties! They also have an interesting selection of dipping sauces, we tried three: Truffle ketchup, sweet & spicy mustard and horseradish mayo. They were served in a paper cone, as is the fashion for Belgian fries (I'm pretty sure...).
Duck Fat fries and dipping sauces in Portland, Maine

After Duck Fat we stopped for ice cream at Beals, a local favorite that wasn't too crowded at first then the line went out the door. The ice cream was all right, the serving sizes generous :) After saying goodbye to Allison, my lovely host who I know from Oregon and hadn't seen in more than 10 years! we headed to Cape Elizabeth to go to the popular Lobster Shack. It was the epitome of the Maine experience. Rocky coast, park benches next to the water, long line, lots of Jersey license plates :P We got a clam cake and a lobster roll to split. I can now say I've had lobster, for sure (I wasn't 100% sure before) and it was ok... I think it needed some butter! (That dollop on top is mayo.)

The Lobster Shack Cape Elizabeth, Maine

After we had our Maine seafood experience, we headed to Burlington. We left at about 8pm, oops! The drive was about 5 hours and we pretty much drove straight through and fell asleep the moment we arrived at Ashley's friends' place.

We woke up this morning around 7:30, and slowly woke up enough by 8:30 to realize were were massively hungry (and Ashley was in desperate need of coffee) so we headed out to a place suggested by our hosts, only to find they weren't open! The next place was also closed so we ended up walking south into downtown and put our names on the 1 hour wait list for Penny Cluse Café. While we waited we wandered down the pedestrian mall of Church street and stopped at Bluebird Coffee Shop, a small freestanding building on Church Street. This guy knew his coffee, and Ashley was impressed enough to trust him to make her coffee. After our coffee we wandered back to the restaurant and finally ate. It was delicious and totally worth the wait! After we ate and walked around a bit we headed back to our hosts' place where the packaging of baked goods was in progress! Feeling that it would have been rude to just sit there and watch as Abby packaged her gluten-free (and super tasty) baked goods, we offered to help. I can now add a little bakery experience, for From the Ground Up Bakery, (though just packaging) to my list of experiences gained on this trip!
Freshly baked and beautifully packaged gluten-free English muffins

After all the items were packaged, labeled and placed in their respective bins for delivery we began to ponder dinner. We all headed over to City Market where I was drooling over the large bulk section and bought lots of food to fill my cooler and have snacks for the trip. We also bought some veggies to grill! We came back home, prepped the veggies then headed to Leddy Park and grilled up a wholelotta veggies. We also had some lentils and quinoa with us which made for a delicious meal. Mmm fire! After we left the park, where the water was so high that the wide swath of beach that is normally there was completely obscured by water, we headed to The Intervale.
(Hard to see but these signs are talking about the beach... that isn't there at the moment!)

The Intervale is a really interesting place and I don't want to botch the history of it by trying to explain it so I will just give you a link... The Intervale!

Now we are winding down to spend the night in Burlington and tomorrow we will head to Montreal, a mere 2 hours away from Burlington!

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