Mother’s Day Brunch at the Homestead

Jenn and Me sharing a moment

When I visit Vermont to see the family, one thing I can always count on is great tasting and healthy food. Since I have chosen to be more proactive in seeking local and organic foods, I have a challenge in dining at many restaurants because I can’t control the ingredients used.

But when I am in Vermont, we patronize dining spots that utilize local, fresh, and seasonal food. Over the next several posts, we will look at some of the restaurants in the Burlington-Stowe area where we ate. I did a lot of eating up there. Interestingly though, with all the good, healthy foods, I didn’t gain any weight which delighted and surprised me to no end!!

The first though that I do have to mention is the wonderful Mother’s Day Brunch lovingly prepared by my daughter Jenn, aka The Leftover Queen at their home Thistlemoon Meadows.  ( To see more pictures and get her recipes, then click on the link.)  She and Roberto made ME feel like the queen.

Roberto doing the honors

Jenn setting out the goodies

We started the meal with a Proseco and pear juice cocktail. So good. Then we had home grown organic eggs from their own chickens combined with mushroom, chives, and feta cheese with a drizzle of truffle oil. YUM. Along with that we had organic sausage patties, roasted fingerling potatoes and the most wonderful and surprising coffee cake made with white beans. Who knew you could do that!! And to top it off, was much coffee with cream and a dish of her homemade yogurt and berries.

I was ready for a nap by then, but they whisked me of to a craft show. I hadn’t done one of those in years. It was a big one, the Champlain Valley Expo.  We just went to the craft side but there were antiques there as well in a different area for those who wished to see it.

We ended our day taking a drive and walk through the New North End in Burlington. Could be a place to move to one day?? Big thing to think about going from the deep South in Florida to well Vermont. Not a big fan of cold and snow but the healthy lifestyle of Vermonters is a big draw.

More good eating to come. See you next post.

 

 

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Leunig’s

 

             Just waiting to go in

Located in the heart of downtown Burlington on Church Street is a little bit of France. Leunig’s has an old world ambiance AND great food. I heard from the server there that a lot of Canadians come to Burlington and eat there.

There is this big bar as you enter and the tables are arranged thoughout on various levels.

Jenn and Roberto at our window view table 

It was warmer when I visited and we had this wonderful table by the window that opened to the walk outside. It was charming. The menu features French foods with a Vermont touch added for good measure.

My yummy salad

They serve a weekend brunch and are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a little café menu tucked in the middle for those who drop by between meals for a little somethin’, somethin’. I was also happy to see gluten free additions to the menu. Leunig’s is a member of the Vermont Fresh Network.

We were there for lunch and I am determined to go back repeatedly until I can sample the foods from the different mealtime menus.

Stained glass outside entrance

If you visit their website right now, you can find a recipe for Glug, a Swedish holiday Spiced Hot Wine. Or just stop in for a mug!    www.leunigsbistro.com

 

 

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Montpelier, Vermont

 

Montpelier- the smallest state capitol in the US. With only 8,000 residents it still packs a punch. I can’t compare it to say Burlington. While Burlington is a lively college town, Montpelier is more sedate with a flavor all of its own.

I enjoyed strolling up and down the streets looking at the shops, restaurants, hotels and conference center, cultural venues and government buildings. Very stately, clean, and with an aura of prosperity. Talking to the townies, I got the impression that this is a nice family place to live. Big city look with a small town feel. I am not a fan of big cities, and even though this is an important place, I felt totally comfortable and at ease during our daytrip there.

The folks and shopkeepers were the typically friendly Vermonters -helpful, and courteous.

While our stay there was brief, I would totally visit there again. The only negative according to Jenn and Roberto was that there was not an ice cream shop to be found. We did highlight every trip during my Vermont visit with a stop for some icy treat. So this caused a lapse in our “tradition”. ;-)

 

 

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High Tea at the Governor’s House

When I was a little girl, my friends and I would often play out make believe scenarios, some of them trying out what in our minds fancy ladies did – like having tea. What we’d always heard was that these ladies would dress up and sit at little tables laden with tea pots and fancy little sandwiches. It seemed quite glamorous. And, if I am to admit it, when I get the chance even now and want to feel really pampered and special, I still enjoy going to or having a tea.

My trip to Hyde Park took an interesting turn when we found just minutes from Jenn and Roberto’s home a former Governor’s Mansion turned Bed and Breakfast where we enjoyed a full English afternoon tea. It was just perfect. The table was set in the library and we were the only guests in the mansion at the time. What a stroke of luck that was for us. We got the royal treatment, too.

The hostess, who owns and runs the whole household herself, served us her own special blend of teas in fine china cups on a white linen topped table. It was quite refined and we found ourselves acting just a little more polite, complete with Roberto’s little pinkie held out when he lifted his tiny cup to sip. It was a riot!

Along with the tea, we were given assorted fancy sandwiches, scones with cream and strawberry jam, pound cake and sweets that she baked that day special for us after we called in our reservation. There was more than we could eat. Imagine taking a doggie bag home from a tea. Okay, that part wasn’t too fancy, but we couldn’t resist and we had a great breakfast next day.

I asked for permission to look into the other downstairs rooms, and we were graciously rewarded with a tour of the entire mansion. It was such a wonderful afternoon. I would enthusiastically recommend this venue for high tea or a romantic getaway weekend in the event you find yourself in this part of Vermont.

Check the website for special events and room packages.

The Governor’s House in Hyde Park

100 Main Street

Hyde Park, Vermont

866-600-6888

 

 

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Waterbury, Vermont Tours

What a fun day it was taking a day tour of Waterbury, Vermont. Hot hot hot, but we still managed to have a great time. Driving south on Rte 100 we were able to spend time at 4 local points of interest that Vermont is known for. Best of all, every one of them involved tastings. We tried to arrange them in meal order thereby rationalizing that this was just a progressive lunch of sorts.

Our first stop was at the Cabot Annex Store- famous for its cheese. Here we are grazing at the tasting table. I tried a bite of EVERY one. Yummmmy. Naturally, we needed to buy some for the road.

There were lots of other Vermont specialty foods on hand and Roberto was able to pick up his new supply of fancy Maple Syrup. (I am going to have to make it back some March to see a tree tapping.) One day we determined that we will travel to Cabot, Vermont to see the place where the cheese is made and take the tour.

Next on our tour was Chocolate. This was a Willy Wonka of a place!! If you didn’t find your favorite chocolates, fudges, fruity bits, sauces, and assorted candy confections here, you won’t find them anywhere. So, we sampled a dark chocolate-caramel bite and then walked it off (I wish) at the attached Danbury Pewter shop. Some really gorgeous stuff here from Christmas tree ornaments to dinnerware.

We hoped back in their air-conditioned truck and headed for Ben and Jerry’s. This place was crazy busy. It was full or whimsy and oh so commercial. But we got to eat ice cream which helped to cool us a bit. We looked around the extensive grounds and stood in line to get our ice cream while we waited for the tour. It consisted of a 7 minute movie, a tour of the facility and ended with – what else – a free sample in the tasting room.

While I enjoyed the experience and can now say I have been there, I am not sure that I would need to do it again. Alas!! Poor Jenn and Roberto!! I am sure this is on the to do list for all their many visitors. Ha ha.

Our final Waterbury stop was at the Apple Cider Mill to get some cold cider. It was like a little general store with all manner of country trinkets for sale along with many edibles like pies, cookies and jars of all things apple. Jenn found a neat little cookbook and some kitchen things to add to her ever growing kitchen tool supply. And they also found some great sauces that were too good to pass on.

Finally, we enjoyed a short scenic ride as we headed back home for the day.

The days are flying by and I am building a lot of wonderful memories with Jenn and Roberto.

 

 

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Stowe, Vermont – Part 2

 

Even though my trip to Vermont was not long, one trip to Stowe just wasn’t enough. Much as I enjoyed rambling through the downtown, Stowe is renown for its skiing and resorts. On the return visit to Stowe we took a wonderful drive UP and UP to see some of the resorts and the scenes of the mountainous terrain. One word for both- WOW. I was actually a little scared winding our way up to Smugglers Notch – and there wasn’t even snow! But Jenn and Roberto forged ahead in their 4-wheel drive truck with nary a care. It was awesome. Steep, raw, windy, amazing, beautiful. And as hot as it was in Vermont during my stay, it was COOL up there too. Ahhhhh.

We even saw a brave couple climbing straight up the side of the mountain. I don’t know how they could not fall off. There were too far up to actually photograph, but trust me, they were doing it.

Here is one of the many ski lift places.

The resorts were one better than the next.

Ever see The Sound of Music? This is the Trapp Family resort in the background.

Here we see condos, privately owned. They have their own lift that crosses the road and up to the slopes. That is how the other half lives…………..

After all that “mountain climbing” that we did, albeit in a truck, we worked up an appetite and needed a good cold one to go with it. We ate at Mr. Pickwick’s down the hill.

It was a wonderful English Pub with tons of atmosphere and good food. I wish I could say I was more adventurous, but for some reason, you say “pub” and I say “fish and chips”. Yum – my!! Light, crisp batter and tender flaky fish. I only had one pint, but Jenn and Roberto said I was fair to singing. But that is just between us, okay?

I think I could visit Stowe again and again. Lively, pretty, and fun.

 

 

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A Creamie in Morristown, Vermont

 What’s a CREAMIE?? One of our first outings was to visit the local garden shop in Morristown to pick up some supplies for the new chicks and assorted soils for the garden.

Morristown was a quick 8 minute ride from Hyde Park. It’s one of those cute little, tiny towns that dot the landscape in this northern area of Vermont. Very cute and quaint with little shops like the Bees Knees Restaurant and the Bijou movie theater.

Here is a little history of the town. On November 6, 1770, the General Assembly of the Independent Republic of Vermont granted a petition to establish a land grant that would become Morristown in 1781 and by 1791 they had a population of 10 that moved from New York, Massachusetts, and 2 Native Americans. By 1795,  there were enough settlers to open a tavern that housed the first school and a brick church.  The town has grown some since then and at the 2000 census boasted a population of over 5,ooo.

We enjoyed a sweet treat as a reward for our “hard work” at the local ice cream shop where we had one of their famous concoctions called a creamie. For those uninitiated like myself, it is a hand mixed CREAMY soft confection in a cone. I had maple – what else in Vermont. Jenn enjoyed her espresso and Roberto his favorite – coconut. I like the way they do errands around here!

 

 

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Thistlemoon Meadows

My long awaited trip to Vermont has finally arrived and so have I. Although it has been slightly less than three months since I have seen Jenn and Roberto it has felt much longer to me. So it was with great anticipation that I traveled from Florida to Vermont to see first hand the new life they have created for themselves at Thistlemoon Meadows.

After being here, I have forgotten about the long, tedious day of travel and have been caught up in the idyllic life they are creating for themselves. Throughout my stay, I will try to capture some of life on the farm and of our travels out and about in the country as they go through their daily lives and to the little side trips of sightseeing they have arranged on my behalf.

The first thing that struck me as I took the tour of their home and their grounds was the absolute beauty, and sense of peace that enveloped me. The trees, the ever present breezes, the mountains standing sentry over their farm, the flowers of all colors. Oh, and the smells of the fresh air. A little paradise and hideaway from all the cares and stresses of  life I can feel just peeling away.

They have worked magic already, making this farm into their vision of home and life. I am absolutely delighted for them even though I miss having them around like I used to. But they are happy and I can see why. And I am grateful for the bounty and beauty in their lives.

I wake every morning to a hearty, breakfast of crepes and fruit, frittata, or Jenn’s special grains, greens and eggs dish. Roberto has the coffee ready for my wake up cup and I can sit in their green room sipping and reading. What a way to wake up! Sure beats rushing out the door with a piece of cheese toast or a protein shake to go to work in an office all day long like I have to do.

They have a day to day routine, nicely paced to manage the running a homestead of this size. Time for household chores, Jenn’s ever cooking in the kitchen, gardening, taking care of pets and chicks and a thousand and one projects that they have in the works.

But it is not all work and no play. You can always hear music throughout the day, whether it is recorded background music while they work hard on the business or the melodic strains of Jenn on her fiddle, or Roberto on his cello and at the piano.

Life is never dull here at Thistlemoon Meadows that is for sure. During my stay we have worked together and played and laughed together. Ahh. Life is great down on the farm. I am getting used to the relaxed, rhythm and will sorely miss it and them when I have to go.

 

 

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