Where we ate
A quick stop at McDonalds for lunch (yes I know, terribly bad, but we were on the road!)
We went to Chili’s for dinner, and I’ve since discovered this is another thing we don’t have in the UK (used to, but I think it went under). The waitress we had was ADORABLE. She loved our accent and my purse, and was so incredibly cheery. I loved her. Anyway, I had a Quesadilla Explosion Salad (soooo much chicken and cheese!) and Husband had a Bacon Ranch Quesadilla. We were stuffed and had to waddle back to our hotel across the parking lot. WADDLE!
I was just looking through my photos from today, and I really didn’t take that many. Again, it was a “we need to stop halfway” type of day, as our ultimate goal was Connecticut. Anyway, it was quite busy in the breakfast room again, and I only felt like a banana so we didn’t spend that long before setting off. We parked at Burlington Mall and walked straight down to Lake Champlain. I’d hoped for a boat trip but once again, we’d missed the season, so we just walked along the waterfront for a bit.
Back up into town after a wander, we stopped at Starbucks for a quick coffee and then walked down the pedestrianised Church Street. Modelled on Copenhagen’s Strøget, the street was dotted with shops, restaurants and ski lift benches (so cute!) and really felt like the heart of Burlington. I was very excited to find the University of Vermont shop and bought lots of merchandise to take home, so I can pretend that I work at a fancy American university instead of an ordinary British one. We considered going up the hill to visit the University, and I’m regretting not doing so now but that just means I’ll have to go back!
This was our first experience of a being in a college town, and on our drive to Route 7 after a couple of hours in town, it was so weird so see all the big fraternity and sorority houses dotted along the road. They have some great houses – our courts/halls really don’t compare.
So we were back on the road, and it felt like a long drive. We drove through cute little towns, like Brandon, VT, slightly bigger towns like Rutland, VT, and then we were back in the mountains – the Green Mountains this time. Once again America, you win with your mountains – so so beautiful that at times it looked faked! We saw a sign for Emerald Lake State Park but, yes, you guessed it – out of season. Never mind!
We did a very odd route at this point. Normal people might look at our route and probably think we’d gone a bit insane, which I suppose we had just from being in the car for a couple of hours. We are a bad influence on each other. We came off Route 7 and drove through Manchester, VT – another town filled with outlet shops, but these were fancy shops. No Old Navy here! It was really cute though. It wasn’t a big mall or retail park – all of the shops are just along Main Street so it gave the outlets a very down to earth, yet quite exclusive feel. There was a McDonalds here too of course, so we had a late lunch here.
When I wasn’t concentrating on where we were supposed to be going, I read the Lonely Planet guidebook to try and find places to stop along the way. I was scanning the Vermont pages, and read something about a Historic Route 7A. What made it historic? Who knows! (As it turns out, it’s to distinguish it from Route 7 – not that historic really). Not knowing any better, we thought “Hey! We should do the historic thing!” so despite having already gone passed the exit, we turned back. We kept expecting history to jump out at us, but all we got were ‘turning circles’ lurking around the corner.
We got into Bennington and checked into the Hampton Inn – they’ve made the lobby look super fancy! The room was nice as well, but I was mainly using it to carry on reading Allegiant. We did a quick Google search to see what food was in the area, and the Chili’s was in walking distance. Not having to drive was an added bonus, so Husband could have a sneaky beer or two. I haven’t been to a Chili’s before, and we stuffed our faces with really nice food. We received such great service – despite being a big chain place, we had a really good time.
We dragged ourselves back to the hotel and I settled in to finish my book. Yes, there were tears at the end. I had a shower (UGH!) and we fell into the very comfortable bed for a well deserved sleep.