I wrote a few weeks ago about my grandmother’s passing on my father’s side. Because my Babcie lived in Warsaw, Poland, it was quite a struggle for my whole family to get there on short notice. In the end, my father went to represent our family, and my brothers and I planned a special trip up to spend time with him when he got back; we are also planning separate trips to Poland later in the year, when we’ll have more time to spend with all of our family there. And to truly make the time with my dad a special getaway rather than a regular visit, my brothers and I planned a ski weekend in Vermont. My brother Erik couldn’t make the trip at the last minute due to childcare issues, but my brother Lars and I piled into the Jeep with my dad and a ton of gear on Friday afternoon. Vermont, here we come! Our first stop was Burlington, where we had planned a low-key night out on the town.
Burlington always has a special place in my heart as the city where I ran my very first marathon. I’ve now run the Vermont City Marathon four times, and every single time I’ve stayed at the Sheraton Burlington. Recently, though, I’ve been staying at Hilton hotels, and so I chose the Doubletree Burlington for our night there. Well, surprise – it turns out that the Sheraton Burlington property had been sold to Hilton and was now rechristened as the Doubletree Burlington! So I felt right at home.
Since I’ve been trying to maintain a two mile run streak, I headed for the gym the second we checked in (more on that here). But after the quick run and a quick shower, we were ready to take the shuttle to the downtown mall and start exploring.
We started our night at American Flatbread, an amazing pizza restaurant that I’ve made it a point to visit every single time I go to Burlington. They have a great beer list and incredible pizza, and we lucked out in getting seats by the fire to enjoy some brews while we waited for a table. I’ve never been nearly as close with my dad / brothers as I am with my mom, since I hadn’t spent as much time with them growing up, but this fireside chat made it clear that it’s never too late to build stronger relationships.
After dinner, we walked out of American Flatbread into… a winter wonderland! It was snowing as we headed over to Church Street, which made for a beautiful scene amidst the shining street lamps.
Lars spotted a bar that he knew was a Burlington institution, so we headed to Sweetwaters to continue our night with more drinks as we watched the Olympics Opening Ceremonies.
After a few drinks (and an extra Doubletree cookie each when we got back to the hotel!), we all got a great night’s sleep, and enjoyed the luxury of sleeping as late as we wanted without an alarm. (Especially Lars, whose sons are 3 and 5 and therefore are never letting him sleep!) I woke up first, and snuck down to the gym to get my 2 miles in, which made me feel really accomplished. Finally, around 9am, we dragged Lars out of bed and down to breakfast so we wouldn’t waste the whole day sleeping 🙂
From Burlington, it was about a 45 minute drive to Stowe, Vermont, where we planned to spend the next two days. We stopped at a ski rental place for me, then headed to the mountain to grab lift tickets for everyone. And then, up the mountain we went! I was so excited to be skiing with my dad and brother – I hadn’t gotten to do that since I was about 10 years old.
Unfortunately, I had the same issue with my boot that plagued me my first day at Beaver Creek a few weeks ago – my left foot was getting the circulation cut off, and it wasn’t long before I couldn’t feel it at all. As soon as I got to the top of the first lift, I took my boot completely off and stretched my foot and calf, in hopes that would help – but midway down the first run, my foot was totally numb. Argh!
I cannot for the life of me figure out why this is happening, especially since I have been wearing different boots both times. (And the boots I was wearing at Beaver Creek are the ones I own and have used for years with no problems.) Anyone have tips on what could be going wrong, or what to do? The only thing I can come up with is maybe certain combos of leggings and socks are causing a pressure point on my calf that’s cutting off circulation. I’m planning on trying capris next time I ski to see if that solves the issue.
In the meantime, though, I convinced my family to take the gondola for our next run so that I could take my boot off on the way up. When we got to the top, I was tickled to see a sign indicating that the elevation at the top was just over 3,000 feet. Now that I live at 5,500 feet, and the mountains out here go up to 14,000 feet, 3,000 feet doesn’t impress me much! Haha 😉
In general, though, I found Stowe to be a little bit disappointing. I had never skied it before, and always wanted to check it out. (And I may still have to go back, as I’m eager to see the Trapp Family Lodge and we didn’t do that this trip.) But I had gotten the impression it was a much bigger mountain than it turned out to be, and was also a little disappointed with the slow lift speed / small and outdated lodges. I have definitely been spoiled by Breckenridge and Beaver Creek, my two favorite mountains in Colorado!
We ended up calling it a day early, and my dad also decided he didn’t want to ski again on Sunday, so on our way back from the mountain, we dropped my rental equipment back off, and then headed to our bed and breakfast. There was a lot of craziness on the hotel front, as our originally booked hotel, the Golden Eagle Resort, canceled our reservation four days before we arrived because they overbooked. Unfortunately, with small local properties, there’s basically no recourse for that, so I had to scramble to find another place for us to stay (in a nearly fully booked town), so we ended up at the Stowe Inn, an old-fashioned but centrally-located bed and breakfast. It was simple, but clean, and upon arriving we all took quick showers to get ourselves clean too before heading for a night on the town.
First stop: the Idletyme Brewing Company. This was one of my favorite places we went on the whole trip! My brother Lars had been here a lot when he was younger, and told us that it was a really popular dive bar – but now it’s been rebranded and totally remodeled, and it was a truly awesome mountain brewery. The decor was a great combo of rustic and trendy, with cowhide banquettes, antler chandeliers, and an awesome vibe. The elevated bar food was delicious… and all three of us loved the shotskis that allowed us to try all the different brews!
From Idletyme, my dad went back to the Stowe Inn for a little while while Lars and I checked out another spot – Tap 25. This brewhouse just opened recently, and while the inside was a little sterile at first as a result, the pub soon filled up with locals and live music. And of course, 25 beers on tap meant something for everyone!
My dad picked us up from Tap 25 for all of us to head to The Bistro at Ten Acres – our last stop of the night. Lars’ childhood friend was bartending, and we had a great time chatting with him and other patrons at the bar while enjoying the delicious craft cocktails. I had a Manhattan that was made with Vermont maple syrup and loved every bit of it! I was sorry we didn’t get to have dinner at the Bistro at Ten Acres, but there’s always next time.
Finally, we headed back to the lobby at the Stowe Inn – where I took a spin playing piano (how fun that they had one in the lobby!), and then the three of us settled in for Cards Against Humanity. My dad had never played before, but he ended up loving it! We laughed a lot and it was the perfect cozy way to end the night in Stowe.
Sunday morning, we took our time sleeping in and watching some of the Olympics, then headed out for a quick brunch at the Whip before hitting the road. Even though we had a lazy morning, I still found myself falling asleep for half the drive – oops, sorry I wasn’t better company! You would think that would have given me tons of energy when I got back to my brother’s, but I was still tuckered out – probably from lots of stress going on at work that reared its head Sunday morning too.
Fortunately, I was still able to enjoy a great Sunday night supper with Lars, his wife Andie, and my two nephews. I made homemade meatballs for all of us, and then after we put the boys to bed, Andie and I settled in to watch the latest episode of the Bachelor – a guilty pleasure for both of us 🙂
Even though we only skied a little bit, I was so happy that I was able to get away for this family trip. My family has never been very close, but in the last few years, that’s been changing a lot, and it makes me so happy. Funny that it took me moving across the country for that to happen, huh?
I love that going to upstate New York now feels relaxing instead of stressful, even when, like Sunday night, we don’t have much planned – and I credit a lot of that to my awesome sister-in-law. Every time I leave her house, I always wish I could stay longer and hang out with her, my brother, and the boys more regularly! Maybe someday I can convince them to move out to Colorado. After all, the boys are already totally intrigued that Aunt Laura lives in the mountains, and were asking me about coming to visit. I think I know my entry point to this discussion 😉