Visting Marla in Vermont

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Saturday and Sunday, 08 & 09 March, 2014

My roommate Marla moved up to Vermont about six months ago, and for one reason or another neither of us were able to make the trip to go out and visit.  Well, thankfully this weekend was different, and the stars of “getting the hell out of Cambridge” were aligned just enough for me to pack the car up and tear my way up I-89 into Vermont.

My Saturday started out quite well – I actually woke up nearly as early as I wanted to, for once, and headed out on my bike to grab some breakfast at a diner on the other side of Davis Square.  Kelly’s Diner is the name, and Mike, Chirag and I used to go there on a fairly regular basis after we had been hanging out at Mike’s place the night before.  It’s a solid old-school diner – in a rail-car style building, with semi-surly waitresses and strong coffee.  I love it, there’s no better “wake up and go!” breakfast in the whole area as far as I’m concerned.

From a good breakfast and a nice bike ride, I was ready for the drive up to Vermont.  Car packed, top down, jacket on the seat beside me, I headed out of the city and into the North.

Saturday, 08 March, 2014

  • Breakfast at Kellys, before finishing up the packing of the car and driving up to Vermont.  It was nearly 55 Deg.F out in Cambridge, though the temps dropped quite quickly once I got into Vermont
  • Arrived at Marla’s place right around 2:30, and we fairly quickly headed out to do a bike of hiking along Lake Champlain
    • We started out on one main trail, but after it turned very icey very quickly, we turned back and took a slightly different start.  A bit less scenic, but much less treacherous… which was key, since neither of us had spikes or crampons on, and Marla was still getting over a broken ankle.
    • As we left the cover of the woods we saw a couple of cars way out on the iced over lake, near a small island.  Well… if the cars can drive on it, we sure as hell can walk on it.  So out we go!
    • The lake was gorgeous, and the ice looked like it went down forever – for all we knew, it may have actually been completely solid.  We stuck to the snow patches for traction, but every so often we slid over patched of nearly perfectly clear ice, where we could see the cracks traveling down out of sight.
    • Made it to the island, and did a bit of photography and exploring.  Minor (Marla’s dog, who came along) found a toy fish on the island, and had a blast throwing it around and chasing it.  Mind you, we didn’t throw it – he did.
    • Instead of taking the path back to the car, we followed the coast on the ice.  It was amazing, getting to see the ice formations where the water had splashed up against the cliffs on the shore.
    • Total distance: Not far, maybe 4 or 5 miles?
    • Back to the car, and moving along toward…. dinner!
  • We had a light snack at home, then headed into Burlington to meet up with Marla’s boyfriend Bear (yeah, that’s his name) and get a bite to eat
  • Dinner was at a place called Duino Duende – an interesting hip music spot, serving tons of specialty beers and “street food” from around the world.  There was stuff from the south (Chicken and waffles), from South America (spicy wraps and rice), and even some fries from Hawaii.  I had a special burger, which was rather small but amazingly delicious.  There was even a few folk singers serenading us with all the feelings that they felt… It was fun.
  • We moved on after eating a light dessert, bought some beers at the local coop, and then hung out at Bears place.
    • Note: As soon as he unlocked the door, he turned around and said (completely straight-faced), “Welcome to the Bear Den”.  I like this guy.
    • We played a game of Forbidden Island, and even managed to win after getting a horrible start to the game
    • Turns out that Archer’s fourth season is on Netflix… so we watched an episode and drank a few beers before heading back to Marla’s place to sleep
  • Sleep.  Yawn.

Sunday, 09 March, 2014

  • I woke up when Marla got back from walking Minor – we made a quick breakfast and then started into the first goal of the day: Making Hamentashen!
  • Hamentashen are a Jewish cookie that resembles a tri-corner hat, traditional for the celebration of Purim.  They are delicious, and we made a quite excellent batch.
  • After successfully baking and having a quick quesadilla for lunch, we headed out to take another hike – this time a bit more “Hiking” and a bit less “walking on the ice”
    • The hike we went on took us around a medium-sized peninsula that jutted out into Champlain – not super long, but a lot more angled than the previous days adventure.  We found ourselves bushwacking deep into the woods more than once, trying to avoid the thick ice above a cliff face.
    • A few places of note: Marla showed me one gorgeous campsite on a smaller peninsula, with short cliffs on one side and a nice little beach on the other.  I’m thinking that a Kayaking / Canoe trip will have to happen this summer.  And two, we found an interesting campfire (see pictures below) that was ringed with some short walls, made out of fallen branches.  The sun came through the trees just at the right angle to give the whole scene a very mystical feel.  A mystical… and slightly sinister feel.
    • In total, we walked maybe 2 miles through the woods
  • Home again home again, to drop minor off
  • A quick stop at the climbing gym in town found Marla and I watching someone lead an amazing roof route, which consisted of the lead clips being attached to the ceiling, and the holds being bolted onto planks of wood lashed to the ceiling supports.  Hell.  Yes.
  • Burritos for dinner!  Wait, no… they’re closed.  Ok, sandwiches!  Wait, no… they’re closed too.  Damn!
  • Finally settle on a quick bite of pizza, before Bear comes to give Marla a ride home, and I start my way back toward Boston.

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