Foodie Friday: Magic Hat Brewery

I consider beer to be as important to happiness in life as food which is why I will be covering craft beer in my Foodie Friday posts. Both my husband and I love craft beer and we seek out new brews and breweries every place we go.

There is a well-established craft beer scene in Vermont. There are many great breweries to check out as well; we chose to tour the Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington.  This brewery  came in second in USA Today’s poll for Best Brewery Tour.  That is a big deal when you consider it was up against hundreds of other breweries throughout the United States. You can check out the top ten and read more about the poll here.

Its one of those places you just have to “see”. In other words it is hard to describe. I feel like this brewery is what Willy Wonk’s dark and mysterious brother would have opened (if he had existed).  Has a definite steampunk vibe to it.

The entrance to what they call "the Artifactory".

The entrance to what they call “the Artifactory”.

When you arrive you enter into their retail area. There was a nice person at the front desk to answer our questions about taking a tour. In the retail area they have glassware, bottle openers, tee shirts; the typical promotional stuff.

Some of their merchandise is pretty cool. Makes great gifts for a beer lover!

Some of their merchandise is pretty cool. Makes great gifts for a beer lover!

Towards the back of this area is their Growler bar. Its a pretty impressive sight. 48 taps! You can grab your allotted free samples there or purchase a growler and fill it with your favorite beer. Of course we had already had some of their beer at home but it was fun to try some of their seasonal brews as well as some of the harder to find ones. The bartenders were very knowledgeable about the different beers which was appreciated because I didn’t want to use up a sample on something I might not like.  Some of their best loved beers are the Dream Machine IPL and the #9. I went out on a limb and tried the limited edition Feast of Fools Raspberry Stout. I am not a fan of stouts normally but I do like raspberry based beers. It was delicious. Perfect for sipping after a filling Christmas dinner.

The Growler bar. This by itself is worth the visit.

The Growler bar. This by itself is worth the visit.

We were there around 4pm on a Thursday so it wasn’t very busy. We even got our own private tour! The tour itself is pretty short but it is interesting and informative.  They have a video which walks you through the basics of how beer is made which is great for those who are just getting their feet wet in the world of craft beer. Our guide was full of information and answers to all of our questions. It was a fun, memorable visit; I would highly recommend it to anyone who likes Magic Hat beer or who is simply interested in craft beer.

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Bottles coming down the line to be labeled and filled. Every time they want to bottle a different beer they have to stop and clean EVERYTHING.

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They have machines that fold the boxes! What will they think of next?

I like to drink beer from the breweries I have been to whenever I can. I like the connection to the process. Sadly now that we are back in the KC area Magic Hat beer is hard to find. In fact, many of the wonderful brews we had in Vermont are simply not available here. However, we have several great breweries close by so be looking for future posts about the craft beer here in Kansas City.

Have a great weekend!

-Christy

Wooly Wednesday: LYS in Review

I love their mascot.

I love their mascot.

LYS in Review: Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop

126 Quincy St.

Port Townsend, WA 98368

(360)379-9273

www.bazaargirls.com

When we started on this “traveling RN adventure” our first stop was near Seattle. We had an amazing time exploring all of the Pacific Northwest. One of our favourite towns we discovered was Port Townsend.

Port Townsend is located on the Olympic Peninsula. It has a rugged beauty with Victorian houses and a vibrant downtown. One of my best discoveries there is the Bazaar Girls Yarn Shop and Fiber Emporium.

Who doesn't like a wall of yarn?!

Who doesn’t like a wall of yarn?!

The shop is well stocked with a variety of yarn, most of which I would classify as higher-end. Be Sweet, Sublime, and Debbie Bliss are just a few that come to mind. They also carried locally made yarn and gorgeous fiber for spinning. If you need to brush up on your skills they have an extensive class schedule and everyone in the shop was very welcoming and friendly.

Beautiful sock weight yarn. Love the colors.

Beautiful sock weight yarn. Love the colors.

For those traveling with non knitters they do have other locally made items such as jewelry, buttons, etc. If nothing else, they can sit outside and look out on the beautiful view from the shop’s seating area. I very much wanted to come back and knit there but sadly I was only able to make it to the shop once.

Imagine this being your view while knitting.

Imagine this being your view while knitting.

Even if you aren’t into yarn Port Townsend is worth the drive. There are beautiful beaches, hand crafted beer, a history museum, and live music. It is a fun stop.

Local beer.

Local beer.

Have any of you been to this shop? What Christmas gifts are you working on right now?

-Christy

 

Cyber Monday = FREE SHIPPING

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Warm, soft goodies at the Etsy shop.

As some of you many have noticed I do have an Etsy shop where my handmade items are available for purchase. And you also probably know tomorrow is “cyber Monday”. To get you in the shopping mood I am offering FREE SHIPPING on all orders from now until 12/10.

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One of my new favorites, the Vermont Cold Weather Cowl.

 

Sadly we will be leaving Vermont soon so my Etsy shop will be CLOSED after 12/10. I plan on being back up and running in the new year with great new finished items and PATTERNS!!

So head on over to my Etsy shop, and use the code “MERRY100” when checking out.  And don’t forget; today is the LAST DAY to enter the Wooly Wednesday contest. Information on that HERE.

Happy Shopping!!

-Christy

Favorite Five: Breakfast in Burlington, Vermont

I love breakfast foods. Blueberry pancakes, maple-cured bacon, gooey cinnamon rolls….but who wants all that work and mess first thing in the morning? Not me! Which is why, for me, going out for breakfast is one of life’s little joys.

Fortunately, we just happen to be living within 20mins of the Burlington, VT area which boasts an amazing variety of highly rated breakfast and brunch spots. My husband and I have been impressed with the high quality ingredients and the selection we have found. I’ve decided to share with you some of our favorite spots.

The list below is in no particular order and keep in mind- there are many great places we just haven’t gotten to yet. Hopefully this list will help narrow down your decision of where to eat this weekend!

 

penny cluse cafe

1. Penny Cluse Café

This place is outstanding and it seems like everyone in Burlington knows it. Prepare for a bit of a wait even during the week. Our favorite part of the Penny Cluse experience is the variety on their menu. There is a great selection of traditional breakfast items as well as dishes with an authentic Mexican flavor.

We have eaten here several times; Wyatt goes for the Mexican items, I tend to pick the more traditional. Everything has always been excellent. The standouts are the home fries which definitely are NOT from the freezer, and the corn bread muffins, which are so soft and moist you wish you knew how to replicate them at home.

Penny Cluse is located at 169 Cherry Street in downtown Burlington. They are open Monday-Friday 6:45am-3pm, Weekends 8am-3pm. They have a sister restaurant next door called Lucky that we are planning to try in the future.

Dining area at Leunig's.

Dining area at Leunig’s.

2.Leunig’s Bistro & Café

This place, without question, is the most beautiful I have ever eaten in. It is one of the oldest restautrants in downtown Burlington and feels like it is brimming with history. Everywhere you look there is something beautiful to rest your eyes upon.

Of course no amount of interior decorating can make a restaurant last if the food is not also exceptional. And it is. We have only eaten there for brunch but the food was so good I am sure their lunch and dinner entrees would not disappoint. I ordered the chicken friend steak poutine. The chicken was perfectly fried and juicy and the gravy was delicious and flavorful. My husband had the eggs benedict and he declared it was the best he had ever had!

Leunig’s is open Monday-Thursday 11am-10pm, Friday 11am-11pm. Weekends, when they serve brunch, they open at 9am. They are located at 115 Church Street right in the middle of historic Church Street. Plan ahead, it get very busy.

3. Bayside Bakery & Coffee Bar

This place is so off the beaten path it doesn’t even have a website so I have linked to its page on Yelp. Doesn’t look like much on the outside, nothing fancy in the inside but the food is GOOD. Everything tastes like it is made from scratch and comes out of the kitchen piping hot. The service is great too; I am pretty sure it is run by a family because we always see the same people there.  We have been here several times and I don’t think you can go wrong with their menu. They are also open for lunch and dinner and have a bakery section where you can purchase items to go.

There doesn’t seem to be hours posted anywhere online so if you need to know I would just give them a call: (802)862-3318. They are located at 824 W. Lakeshore Drive, Colchester, VT 05446.

4.Chef’s Corner Café & Bakery

We accidentally discovered this place hidden away off of Hwy 2 down the street from the Maple Tree Place shopping center. When you walk in you are greeted with glass cases of delicious looking baked goods and menus of their food and espresso drinks. You order at the counter and then they bring it out to you. Our food was delicious and served quickly. In addition to my food I had a peppermint mocha from their seasonal menu that was like a dessert. I would love to order one of their cakes or try something from their bakery area.

Chef’s Corner is located at 2121 Essex Road in Williston. There is another location in Burlington but we have not been there yet. The Williston location’s  hours are  7:30am-3pm seven days a week,  hours may vary on holidays.

stonesoup

5.Stone Soup

We have only been to Stone Soup once but it made quite an impression on us. Its a cozy spot in downtown Burlington, the kind of place that makes you want to sit and drink coffee there while it snows outside. The space is full of warmth; worn hardwood floors, thick brick walls, chalkboard menus, and glowing light from vintage school house style fixtures.

We both ordered quiche and decided to share a maple walnut scone. We should have done it the other way around! The pieces of quiche were huge and very filling while the scone was so amazing we each wanted the whole thing to ourselves.

The cheddar cheese in the quiche was outstanding and the sharpness was the perfect compliment to the richness of the eggs and cream. The scone was bursting with walnut flavor and had the most delectable maple glaze on top. There were walnuts in it and all over it. Although the quiche was very good, the scone was outstanding.

Stone Soup is located at 211 College Street. They are open Monday-Friday 7am-9pm and Saturday 9am-9pm.

 

Make sure to check out these places this weekend if you are in the Burlington area! And if you are not, plan a trip here. Burlington is pretty cool.

Have a great weekend!

-Christy

 

 

Hello from Vermont

Natural Vermont. This was taken at the Underhill State Park. This state is FULL of State Parks!

Natural Vermont. This was taken at the Underhill State Park. This state is FULL of State Parks!

Once again I have fallen behind on my blogging. Trying to keep up with this in between moves is hard because of the long car rides with no computer access and when I get somewhere new there are so many distractions!!

My husband applied for his Vermont RN license while we were in Carlsbad. The chances that a travel RN position in Vermont would open up just as we were looking for another position were slim but we were hopeful. Some states, like California, have a ton of positions available. Vermont is not one of those states.

Everything wrapped up in Carlsbad at the beginning of September so we loaded up the truck and headed back to the KC area.  It was great to be home for a bit, even though it seemed like we were in a constant whirlwind of activity. We were able to attend my Grandma’s 95th birthday celebration and got to see a lot of family we had not seen in some time.

During the madness of trying to squeeze in as much time with friends and family as possible, Wyatt got a call for a job in Vermont! We couldn’t believe it! The position had already been filled but for some reason the person backed out so they called the next person on their list!

The colors of fall are everywhere. Lucky for me since fall is my favorite season.

The colors of fall are everywhere. Lucky for me since fall is my favorite season.

We have been here since the beginning of October and we love it. We found a furnished rental on Lake Champlain which has allowed us to soak in the brilliant fall foliage. We are close to Burlington, which is filled with locally owned shops and restaurants. I know we are in for some cold weather and probably some snow before we head back to the KC area in January but we are more than happy to endure it. Vermont is really a special place.

One of my favorite areas- Stowe. So beautiful.

One of my favorite areas- Stowe. So beautiful.

Now that we are “settled” for a bit I’ll be able to get going with this blog again. I’ve got some great free patterns in the works and posts that will cover some of our other travels.

Hope everyone is having a great autumn!

-Christy

 

Key West: Final Thoughts

 

One of my favorite pictures from this trip.

One of my favorite pictures from this trip.

 

All too quickly it was time to grab our last Cuban coffee and board our flight back to Kansas City. I had an amazing time and would love to go back. Here are some final thoughts in case you are planning a trip to the Conch Republic.

1. Leave the kids at home….maybe. Key West is a big “party” destination and there are a lot of retirees and honeymooners there. However if you do bring the kids there are a lot of historical sites and resorts that are family friendly. I would not recommend bringing very small children simply because there is a lot of walking involved and it is very HOT.

2. Step away from that Bahama Mama. I am certainly not against having a drink or several on Duval but there is a lot more to do and see in Key West than just party. Key West is old and has a wonderful and interesting history. Those intensely warm afternoons are the perfect time to take advantage of the air conditioned museums.

3. Spend one evening on Duval. Grab a drink (alcoholic or otherwise) and enjoy the cooler evening weather and some great people watching. Key West has always been a haven for the outsiders of society and even with all the tourists that still rings true today.

4. Eat some seafood, even if you think you don’t like it. Obviously if you are allergic you can ignore this but I had some of the best seafood of my life in Key West. Especially shrimp. Seafood in Key West is FRESH which makes it taste nothing like the seafood you normally get in grocery stores or restaurants. So try a gulf shrimp or yellow-trail snapper- you may be pleasantly surprised.

5. Go fishing! My father-in-law and husband secured themselves a spot on a boat and spent the whole day fishing. They had a great time and ended up with a lot of fish. At the end of the day the Capitan and the First Mate cleaned the fish for everyone so it was ready to eat. There are several restaurants on the island that will cook up your fish for you and they give you options on how you would like it cooked and what sides you would like with it. It was one of the best and most memorable meals we had while we were there.

This is the dock where everyone gathered before heading out to the ocean to fish. You can just show up or call ahead and reserve a spot.

This is the dock where everyone gathered before heading out to the ocean to fish. You can just show up or call ahead and reserve a spot.

 

This is the boat they went out on.

This is the boat they went out on.

6. Take a tour. There are several different tours that will drive you around and inform you of all the wonderful sites and history of the island. Its a great way to see more of the island, learn a bit, and take a break from all the walking.

7. Stay near Duval or prepare to walk a lot. Most of what you will want to do and see revolves around Duval Street. The further you get from Duval the less expensive accommodations are however, that also means you will have to rent a car and drive. With downtown being designed many years ago, parking can kind of be a crap shoot. Sometimes you will luck out, other times you will spend 20-30 minutes driving in circles hoping a space will open up. Also, 95% of the time the parking is NOT free. Its not super expensive but since most people vacation on a budget that expense can add up quickly. And speaking of parking, if you must have a car make sure the place you are staying provides parking. A lot of vacation rentals near downtown do not even provide parking spaces.

8. Timing is everything. Don’t get your heart set on going at a certain time until you check an events calendar to see what’s happening on the island. There are festivals through out the year and with those festivals come higher prices. Streets become packed, there are long lines at restaurants, and parking is impossible. We went in April- the holiday season was over, the people escaping their hometown winter weather were beginning to return home and it was too early for summer vacationers. Nothing was too crowded, prices were lower and during the day we had no problem finding parking. (night time was a different story).

I hope you have enjoyed reading about hearing about our trip. If you haven’t been I highly recommend you go! If you have been I would love to hear about your travel experiences.

-Christy

Key West: The Historic Side

A lot of the older homes have been turned into businesses in Key West.

A lot of the older homes have been turned into businesses in Key West.

When you walk down the streets of Key West you are surrounded by history. Key West has a varied and fascinating history and although a lot of the island seems to cater to the partiers you can still find a interesting historical buildings and tours which is a nice break from all the partying.

Almost everyone who visits Key West stops by the Hemingway Home. At least it felt that way the day we were there. He’s famous, his house is famous but I didn’t really enjoy it that much.  I always feel like something is lacking when I have to fight masses of people just to look in a room. By far my favorite part of the tour were the polydactyl cats. But then again I love cats so not much a stretch there.

Sleeping Hemmingway kitty.

Sleeping Hemmingway kitty.

 

 

There's an extra toe there!

There’s an extra toe there!

My favourite historic place we went to was the Audubon House. First of all we were the only people in there for most of the time we were there. Also, it was air conditioned. But, historically it was a beautiful and interesting house and had lovely grounds. I loved learning about the family that had built it and their connection to John James Audubon. They had a lot of the original furnishings on display that give you a glimpse of life in Key West in the 1800’s.

One of Mr. Audubon's pieces.

One of Mr. Audubon’s pieces.

Side view of the Audubon House. The plants are so big its hard to get a good picture!

Side view of the Audubon House. The plants are so big its hard to get a good picture! I can almost feel the warmth of the sun in this picture.

My husband and I also walked around the Key West Cemetery. There are a lot of interesting gravesites there. Be forwarned there isn’t much shade so visiting it in the middle of the afternoon (like we did) will definitely shorten your exploring. I would love to go back in the morning when its cooler and have a longer look.

 

A cemetery rooster. Roosters and chickens were everywhere on the island.

A cemetery rooster. Roosters and chickens were everywhere on the island.

There are a lot of above-ground vaults due to flooding during hurricane season.

There are a lot of above-ground vaults due to flooding during hurricane season.

 

Lastly we went on a Ghost Tour. I realize that might not necessarily seem “historical” to some people but this one was. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to learn a bit about Key West’s past and be entertained. It also was nice to be driven around to areas you might not see when you are just driving/walking to Duvall street. It was fun, educational and not very scary so it was right up my alley.

Overall I would suggest taking an afternoon away from the bars and get to know the historical side of Key West. After all, its past is what makes it what it is today!

Hope you all are having a good weekend!

Christy