2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge

2018 Reading Challenge
Tina has read 4 books toward her goal of 30 books.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Visiting Burlington, Vermont

 I decided to spend the weekend in Burlington, Vermont. This is a beautiful area of the USA that I try to visit at least twice a year :)  While it is not New York and BEA, it IS the US and I am always happy when I cross the border whether I am alone or travelling with someone :)

I decided to shake it up a little this time by switching hotels.  I found a great hotel rate on Expedia.ca and booked the Hilton in Burlington.  I figured hey! a well known chain - I am bound to be treated well - right?

First, I discovered that they moved the Greyound bus terminal - which I did NOT know. Instead of leaving it downtown, they moved it to the airport. I chose the Hilton, in part, because of its proximity to the terminal, but this point became completely useless as the airport is actually closer to the hotel I normally stay at. Anyway, I ended up taking a $20.00 taxi ride (the meter starts at $8.50!!!!!) for a less than 10 minute ride. Of course, upon my arrival at the hotel, the Hilton clerk told me "we have a free shuttle you know" - darn!

I got a beautiful room - with a Lake Champlain view. This lake is glorious and I was thrilled.  This is the view from my room

I walked around Burlington (trust me, this is not an easy thing as this town is built on a hill!).  I, of course, made a beeline for the Borders bookstore as well as Barnes and Nobles.   A word about bookstores - I use to spend hours and hours in these stores.  Now, in about 1 hour, I had done the rounds. I had a list of 30 books (recent releases) that I was looking for and ended up finding only 1.  I talked with one of the clerks at the Borders and asked her why none of these new releases where in store and she told me that Borders and Barnes and Nobles are trying to carry less books and more "stuff" in their stores, especially since so many people are now ordering online and using ebooks. Of course, she also stated that shipping through their online store is so much cheaper.

I was NOT happy to hear this as when I want a book - i want it NOW!!! and don't even get me started on ebooks.  So, I left both stores with only a few books and I was not very happy as I rely on these visits to get books that I know I won't find in Chapters in Montreal - which is a pretty crappy bookstore at the best of times.

As I walked I went into the Fletcher Library (also a favorite spot of mine) and headed for their "free books" section - where I found a brand new Yoga magazine (May 2011) which someone had donated for the feebie bin.  This made my trip to the library worth it.  This building is odd.  Its a beautiful old winged building with a really hideous add on - see for yourself.

I then headed for two of my favorite haunts.  The Dobra Tea house - which is an ecclectic and zen tea shop and serves the Indian tea - Masala that I love.  I also went to Muddy Waters - one of the most ecclectic coffee shops in the area, it is always busy and full of college students and I love the place.  There are tons of coffee shops in Burlington, but I always choose this one (this is a picture of the entrance).

Of course, Burlington is also known for being the home of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, so I took a picture of the storefront.  I have never actually tasted the ice cream (too much sugar and fat for me) but I hear it is amazing.  I also took a picture of  Church street, which is the main cobblestone shopping area.

Needless to say, I was exhausted after my day.  So, I went back to the hotel to discover that the heater in my room was out of sorts. It was either too cold, too warm or too noisy (I felt like the three bears).  The manager changed my room and I ended up on the 6th floor which was okay. until I was awakened at 2:30 a.m. by the couple next door -having sex - loudly.  I have to say that my second room had a connecting door (unlike the first room) and the noise was mainly coming from there - but boy was she loud and getting louder. After pulling the pillow over my head ( by the way, this does not work) and patiently saying to myself "how long can this take?" i ended up calling the front desk who was to send security - which they never did. Of course, this meant that it went on and on and then, when it was finally over, they put the TV on full blast. I was not happy.

Of course, the next morning (I am a morning person) I was up at 6:30 and put the TV on as loud as I could - but when I left the hotel at 9:00 a.m. there was not a peep coming out of their room. I almost banged on their door until I woke them up, but thought I should probably take the high road on this one :)  What a night!  Its funny because this stuff never happens to me when I stay at the cheaper chain hotels - go figure.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention one of the main reasons I chose this weekend to go to the USA. I wanted to see the TVLAND Awards (we can't get them here).  They were honoring some of my favorite shows: Facts of Life, Family Ties and Welcome Back Kotter and I was dying to see what they all looked like now.  They were also honoring The Cosby Show, but I never liked that one.

The only problem? (can you see a pattern here?)  the hotel does not have TVLAND on their tv channels!!! Until - I discovered that I could get that station on the little tvs that are mounted on the treadmills in their fitness center (read:  small area with a few treadmills and a bike).  So, I actually spent 2 hours walking on the treadmill, with my ear plugs on watching TVLAND Awards on Sunday night.  I am sure the other guests must have been wondering why I was walking on the treadmill like a demon for the first 30 minutes (my real work out) and then kind of strolling along for the next 90 minutes!  But it was so fun to see all the casts back together again and to those who will email me that I could have seen it on YouTube - yeah! i know, but it was fun to watch the entire show even if I had to do it from a treadmill.

Having said all of this, I have to mention that the hotel manager was very nice and removed all of my breakfast charges to compensate me ($50.00 worth) and I do have to mention that this hotel is so clean and offers a beautiful view  if you can get it minus the sound effects.

Random thoughts on the US (these are things that popped into my head as I was walking around):
  • Why didn't I bring my hat?  (It was so cold - and they were also getting some of the winds - courtesy of the tornadoes other states had experienced);
  • How on earth do Americans stay healthy?  Every piece of food I was served was covered with breading, sauces, cheese or something equally fattening.  I found a Ponderosa steakhouse (we use to have here ages ago) and was thrilled until I saw their buffet.  Chicken wings, mac&cheese, stuffed pizza and a huge variety of mayonnaise filled salads??????
  • Why doesn't anyone in Burlington know where the bus stops are?  I don't like to drive so I take public transportation when I travel most of the times. Its a great way to discover the areas you are in.  However, Burlington has a weird habit of putting bus stops here and there with no actual reason behind it.  As I found myself in a completely foreign area, I tried to locate the bus stops and could not find any - asked about 10 people who live in the area and not one person knew where to find them either. How is that possible?  I had a similar problem in New York City - where Cindy and I were looking for a subway - any subway and had to ask the street vendor - who seemed to be the only one who could answer us.  Doesn't anyone in the US take public transportation?  I guess that living in Montreal has spoiled me. Here, you can pretty well ask anyone and they can tell you where the metro is or the bus line - at the very least they can point you in the general area.
  • Why are there so many cars in this tiny state (I guess this goes hand and hand with the previous comment)
  • How do people find work around here? there is no industry to speak of - not really.
  • How can I move here?   Its such a beautiful place.
I guess that's it for my trip.  I came home with a few books, but nothing exciting.  I did have a great time though!


Cindy said...

OMG Tina poor you but at least they were nice enough to give you a discount.

I can still picture us walking around NYC and asking for directions LOL

Sadly the times I have gone to Burlington have been in a car so I can't help you there. I agree its one big hill there.

Too bad you didn't get more books but I am sure it was nice to get away. I will have to keep those places in mind the next time I go to Burlington.

avisannschild said...

That is a gorgeous view, but oh my god, talk about a poor hotel experience! At least they were nice and credited you for your breakfasts!

Thanks for posting the pics of Burlington -- I'm looking forward to spending a bit of time there in May!

I can't believe you've never tried Ben & Jerry's ice cream! It's some of the best (although I'm more of a Häagen Dazs fan myself).

bermudaonion said...

It sounds like a fun trip even with all the noises! You may have been asking tourists in NY - I think most New Yorkers take public transportation. A lot of Americans aren't healthy, but you can find healthy options when you go out to eat - they're usually not part of a chain, though.

Gail said...

Great town and scenery. Sounds like a great week-end minus the bedroom noises. Well at least you got some books. I guess this is not your first time there as it seems like you know the town pretty good.

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