Greetings from Vergennes, VT, a small town in the middle of the state with ~2500 people and some gorgeous scenery. We’re spending a few quiet days with one of the husband’s high school besties and his family, getting some work done, and recouping a bit from all of the miles of walking and hours in the car.
But how did we get to Vergennes? By way of Maine!
On the way to Portland
After Boston, we drove north stopping in Salem (witches!), Kennebunk (clams!), and ended up in Portland, ME for a home exchange.
Salem, the setting for one of my childhood favorites Hocus Pocus, is adorable. It is exactly what you expect Salem to look and feel like. We walked around the town, checking out the sites, avoiding the tourist traps, and had delicious food at Turner Seafood at Lyceum Hall (the location of Alexander Graham Bell’s first public demonstration of a long distance phone call). All in all, a very productive and enjoyable two-hour detour. 🙂
Kennebunkport got added to our detour list because a couple of our co-workers listed it as their dream vacation, and because some Facebook friends insisted we had to go to the Clam shack. So we did! Kennebunk is tiny. I’m not sure I’d want to stay in this town for more than a night, especially when Portland is just an hour up the road and offers so much more to see .and do, but it definitely offers a quiet seaside respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life.
We made one more quick stop on our drive at a small locals beach in Saco, Maine. The view was great, the water was blue, and the water was FRIGID. I dont know what all of those crazy northerners were doing splashing around in their swimsuits! Get me a jacket!
Portland is a charming, walkable port town. Hillier than we expected, there are some beautiful views. It was also freezing and I did not adequately pack for this voyage, so I layered up with multiple tank tops, cardigans, and used a sarong as a scarf. We loved walking around, and everyone we met was very friendly. We even got to meet a local children book author!
So far, we both agree that the best food of the trip has been in Portland. This is a foodie town, and you really can’t go wrong with any restaurant choice. Even the mediocre is still better than what mediocre is back home. The food at Street & Co was fantastic, maybe our favorite meal in Portland, but the food at J’s Oyster was also great (lobster scampi ftw). I tried one of the famous potato donuts from the Holy Donut and omg so good. Izakaya Minoto had unique small plates of Japanese food that were great if a tad pricey. We absolutely fell in love with Urban Farms Fermentory: ciders, beers, kombuchas, and jun. We did a few flights, and had a couple fire cider shots. I wish we had a fermentory in Nashville! As for cocktails, we went to a couple distilleries (that were okay), and we went twice to both Blythe & Burrows (which also had delicious small plates!) and Vena’s Fizz House (which caters to all ages and features tons of non-alcoholic options). On our final night, we ended up at Arcadia National bar, an arcade joint near our home exchange, and it was SO MUCH FUN (and also had decent drinks and good fries). Highly recommend!
And now we’re in Vergennes, a small town in the middle of Vermont, about an hour south of Burlington, that reminds me of Gilmore Girls. We’re staying with a high school friend of my husband and his family, in their beautiful home; they’re actually kind of the reason for this trip in the first place. Justin and his friend, M, who both grew up in Sioux Falls, SD, were joking about how their families can’t often come visit them. “Well we could come visit you,” Justin says. “Okay,” says M. And thus this trip was born.
The surrounding scenery of Vergennes is just beautiful, idyllic. The food options here are actually pretty varied, with a focus on fresh and local, which we love. People have been friendly, and everything is nearby and easy to get to. I get why people live here, and it’s been a nice reprieve from the city life. The best part has been hanging out with Justin’s friend — well, now I can say OUR friends since I’ve officially met M and his amazing wife H and their two incredibly awesome children.
On our last night in town, M and H took us into the nearby ‘city’ Burlington for an adult night out. Burlington reminded me a lot of Portland, actually, in its walkability and aesthetics. The view of Lake Champlain, though, was superior in my opinion. But I’m a sucker for water surrounded by mountains. So peaceful and inviting.
We had $1 oysters, delicious rolls and good affordable drinks at the Hen of the Wood, and then enjoyed walking around Church street amongst the Friday evening crowds (Jazz Fest!) and having cocktails at The Red Square and finally dinner down on the water at The Spot on the Dock. Despite the less than impressive service, the food and drinks were decent and the company was fantastic.
We’ve been on the road for over two weeks now, living out of suitcases (and packing cubes!), staying with friends, doing home exchanges, or renting AirBNBs in all of these locations. It’s been fun so far, and even though we’ve had a few tense moments (and maybe a few tiny mini arguments), it’s all been pretty smooth sailing thus far. (Knock on wood.)
Have you been to the Northeast USA? Which states are your favorite? Which towns have you visited? Where would you like to visit next?