This summer we drove to Vermont to drop my daughter off for a 10-day summer wilderness retreat at the Sky Meadow Retreat in Greensboro. My wife thought it would be a great way for her to learn relaxation and stress reduction techniques while taking a break from technology. No bacon, no wi-fi, and no reading. Argh!

iPhone-6_20160717_2714.jpg, burlington
Sky Meadow Retreat

Sky Meadow is located at the northern end of Vermont, not far from the Canadian border. The iPhone mapping app indicated that it would take about seven hours to drive from New Jersey. We decided it was best to drive up the day before and stay overnight in a hotel before dropping Kiran off and leaving on our return trip the next day.

Day One in Burlington

Her drop off time was the next day was in the afternoon so we spent the evening of the first day and the morning of the next day sightseeing in Burlington.

Church Street Marketplace
Church Street Marketplace

The first night we drove into Burlington and parked near the Church Street Marketplace.  On the way into Burlington, we stopped at a beer retailer in Winooski and bought some six packs to take back in the cooler we brought with us. We bought Sip of Sunshine by Lawson's Finest Liquids, Heady Topper, and Switchback Ale by Switchback Brewing Company.

Some time ago, a long section of Church Street was closed to vehicular traffic and converted to an outdoor shopping mall. Restaurants, bookstores, and shoppes lined both sides of the street.  We arrived early so we walked around the centre of Church Street observing people walking around or dining outdoors.

Church Street Marketplace
Church Street Marketplace

We had dinner at Pascolo Ristorante.  Bhavana and I sampled some of the Vermont ales from the menu including Fiddlehead IPA and The Alchemist ‘Heady Topper’. I finally got to try Heady Topper!  Heady was good but I think the hype over this ale affected my enjoyment.  I may have expected an earth moving experience.

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Zero Gravity Brewing, Burlington, Vermont

After dinner went drove a few blocks away to Zero Gravity Craft Brewery on Pine Street. I don't remember where I had read it but I wanted to visit Zero Gravity because I had ready an online article about how they were making beer in the traditional method that did not involve hops.  Apparently, before the discovery of hops and German beer purity laws, beer was "seasoned" with a wide variety of herbs. I was excited to try the Zero Gravity Summer Gruit. Zero Gravity uses organic Sweet Gale, Yarrow, Stinging Nettles, and Mugwort from Hallow Herb Farm, as well as Labrador Tea. The gruit was slightly sweet but quite enjoyable.

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Zero Gravity Brewing, Burlington, Vermont

Bhavana and I also sampled Conehead, C.S.A IPA, Bernie Weisse, Cote de Champlain and Little Wolf. I really like the Cone Head. Bhavana and I think it's better than Heady Topper. Zero Gravity may be underrated. We had fun chatting with a couple visiting from Massachusetts who were originally from Hamilton, New Jersey. Talk about a small world. We bought a four-pack of Cone Head and a 750ml bottle of Cote de Champlain to take back with us to New Jersey.

The Church Street Marketplace in within proximity to several other Vermont micro-breweries but alas we had time to visit only one that night.

Day Two

diner, seats, counter
Athens Diner, Winooski/Colchester, Vermont is a retro mom & pop diner featuring standard diner fare with a Greek twist.

Kiran's drop off time was 3PM so we had the whole morning to explore. Shaan and I were up before Bhavna and Kiran.  We went for a 30-minute walk around the area near the hotel before making our way across the street to the Athens Diner. The diner was moved from its original location in New York.

Later we drove to the Lake Champlain Waterfront. Bhavana was excited to see the sailboats as well as the rowing crew practising. We had lunch at Splash At the Boathouse before heading off to drop Kiran off. It was a quick stop. After signing some paperwork we said bye to our daughter and headed home.

Waterfront Park, Burlington, Vermont. Taken on a recent trip. I only had one day so scouting was done via the Internet and I didn't have time to shoot during the day or night.
Waterfront Park, Burlington, Vermont. Taken on a recent trip. I only had one day so scouting was done via the Internet and I didn't have time to shoot during the day or night.

Waterfront Park, Burlington, Vermont. Taken on a recent trip. I only had one day so scouting was done via the Internet and I didn't have time to shoot during the day or night.
Waterfront Park, Burlington, Vermont. Taken on a recent trip. I only had one day so scouting was done via the Internet and I didn't have time to shoot during the day or night.
  • Aperture—ƒ/8
  • Camera—NIKON D5100
  • Taken—17 July, 2016
  • Copyright—© Khürt L. Williams
  • Focal length—35mm
  • ISO—100
  • Shutter speed—1/250s

beer, ales, glass, can, craftd, zero gravity, cone head

My wife and I were in Vermont last weekend dropping our daughter off to a summer retreat. The drive to Greensboro was almost 7 hours. We decided that doing the trip in one day would be too tiring so booked a room in Winooski and drove up the day before. Since check-in was at 3PM we took the opportunity to visit downtown, Burlington. But not before I dropped in at a Winooski beer retailer and picked up beer from local brewers including the famous Heady Topper. We were only allowed to purchase one four-pack.

We had dinner at Pascolo Ristorante in Burlington and then dropped in at Zero Gravity to try a flight. Why Zero Gravity? I wanted to try the Summer Gruit Ale which I found by looking at the nearby tab in Untappd. A long time ago before the discovery of hops and German beer purity laws, beer was made with an herbal mixture as a flavouring.

After sampling Cone Head, Little Wolf, C.S.A. IPA, Bernie Weisse and Choice Make Good -- we met a wonderful couple from New Hampshire who were originally from New Jersey --- I have to say I don't get the enthusiasm for Heady Topper.

Yes, Heady Topper is great. We enjoyed the can we had at Pascolo Ristorante. But from my perspective, Zero Gravity Cone Head is better. And it also more available. No need to line up outside some package store waiting in the heat for the “hope” of buying a single case.

We bought a six pack of Cone Head to bring back with us to New Jersey. We would have bought more but we did not have any more space in the cooler.

Vermont has excellent breweries and excellent beer. Try them all.

So there I said it. I think Heady Topper is all hype.