Maya: Our advanced planning for this Northeast excursion was extremely minimal, to say the least. (No exaggeration: We booked our first night’s accommodation—at a campground—the day we arrived.) There was that all-points bulletin, as you may recall, for suggestions on where to eat, hike, visit, etc., but to be completely frank, we knew all of those details would fall into place eventually, as they always do on our trips.
The only thing I was concerned about was finding somewhere to watch the Manchester United v. Arsenal match-up on Saturday morning. Huge game. HUGE.
Maya: Our breakfast waitress recommended the nearby Church Street Tavern as a possibility; happily, they carried the appropriate channel. Unlike every other bar or restaurant we checked. (Just a tiny bit stressful, no big deal.)
Jill: While Maya watched the game, I spent the time discussing Vermont politics and health care with our bartender, one of the only conservatives in the state. We both agreed that since he didn’t vote for Obama, he’s clearly a racist and since I did, I’m clearly a socialist. For the most part, Maya (intelligently) avoided the conversation.
Maya: With the television on mute, it was hard to divide my attention. I couldn’t be bothered with yet another health-care debate—that’s what halftime is for.
Jill: What happens when you accidentally have several pints of Switchback pale ale in the middle of the day in Burlington, when you need to be in central Vermont by nightfall? Fried oysters at another bar, of course.
Maya: Church Street Tavern’s menu was run-of-the-mill, but by the time we went looking for another place to eat, we were in the dead zone—almost all of the restaurants that looked promising were closed for the afternoon, post-brunch and pre-dinner. We wound up at the Vermont Pub & Brewery, another bar-type spot, yes, but one with a more extensive menu at least. And, more importantly, it was open. The oysters weren’t as good as Pearl’s, but as you can see, that didn’t stop us from inhaling them, then remembering to take a picture.
Maya: Much better was the Toad in the Hole: maple sausage, onions and cheddar cheese—too good not to have been local—wrapped in flaky pastry, plated with just-about-perfect fries and a homemade chutney for dipping purposes.
Jill: I still can’t believe that we managed to split the pair (they come two to an order, conveniently) without requesting seconds. Self control (three beers, cough, cough) is not our strong suit.
Maya: One of these and several cups of black coffee later, and we were ready to hit the road.
Jill: What follows an afternoon of pub fare and football? A trip to the farm, of course.
Church Street Tavern
103 Church Street
Vermont Pub & Brewery
144 College Street