16.11.23 — Travel

Kevin in Vermont

Well, the surprise has already been ruined by the rather explicit title, but here we go. After landing in Montreal, exploring Vermont with everyone, and then some quality time with Megan in Burlington, we were joined by a special guest who’d come all the way from Buffalo: Kevin!

The day he arrived was a Saturday, so I finally had chance to have a lie in and mooch around all morning. Me and Megan made the most of the hours we had together, heading to Walmart (a favourite spot of mine for people watching) and grabbing a huge beef hot dog from a stall outside Home Depot. The American dream!

Nothing says “USA” quite like a hot dog in a car park.

Whilst we were gorging on street food (throwback to late-night pizzas together in New York and sausages in Vienna), I was watching Kevin’s little blue dot on my phone get closer and closer to Burlington. The drive from New York State is not a quick one, taking about eight hours, so I was chuffed that he was making the trek to spend some time with us in the green mountain state.

It was also exciting to be seeing him again, as the last time I’d caught him was in the summer of last year when I visited him and James in Buffalo itself. Megan had also actually met Kevin before, way back in 2018 when Kevin visited me in Madrid for the first time. As the Spanish would say, “el mundo es un pañuelo”: the world is the size of a napkin!

Once we’d chatted for a while it was time to get some food, so the three of us headed out to a local pizzeria which was bring-your-own-booze. With a bottle of wine in tow we enjoyed lots of laughs and some amazing food: it was a blast to be in such great company.

Here we are, looking rather content after a glass or two!

The next day had us up and about to explore Burlington despite the cloudy sky. We first stopped off at the lovely farm shop that we’d been to a few days before, but this time were looking for doughnuts rather than pies. Megan had said that they have some of the best maple doughnuts around. I think she may be right!

This selection of freshly-fried doughnuts was not the healthiest of breakfasts…

From there we drove into the centre of Burlington so that Kevin could have a look around. After a spot of shopping and tourist wandering, we landed in Henry’s Diner for lunch, a spot that I visited last year and absolutely loved. It was no disappointment this time around either, with the same delicious food and crappy coffee that I had remembered so fondly.

Whilst in the diner the weather finally took the turn for the worst that it had been threatening all morning. This had us back to the car and back home in no time, as there wasn’t much we fancied doing in the cold and the rain that had suddenly descended on us. We made some food at home and had a relaxing evening watching The Great British Bake Off. What a treat!

We were back on our feet again the next day, as Megan wanted to take us for another climb after my ascent to the top of Jay Peak just a few days earlier. We drove to Mount Philo under sunny skies and began our ascent up the hill. It reminded me a little bit of a wander up to the hills around Oslo, but this time in much more autumnal colours.

The views from the top of Mount Philo were amazing. Despite the fog and the rain in the distance, we could still see out quite a long way, so we spent a while at the peak taking silly photos and making fools of ourselves – the usual.

Who knows what was going on here…

As we reached the bottom of the hill it then began to rain, but we figured that it would soon pass and so headed to grab some food from a local farm. When we arrived there was a huge queue and the rain was just picking up again, so in the end we found ourselves grabbing some snacks from another shop and heading home.

That evening Kevin and I headed out for a catch up and to let Megan have a rest from so much hosting and ferrying me around. After wandering around the centre of Burlington for a while, we plonked ourselves on the terrace of a bar and had a lot of laughs and a great chat over some drinks and chips.

Not long after we woke up the next day Kevin had to be on his way. We said our goodbyes and then I had to get packing, as I’d be leaving Vermont to the very next day. Me and Megan then ran a few errands and got to preparing a meal at home, as we’d invited everyone over for one last hurrah before I left.

I made a pasta bake and Megan made apple crumble, all which went down very nicely whilst we all chatted at the dining table. It was a fabulous send off with some great people, so you can be sure I’ll be looking to come back and visit once again just as soon as I can!

The next day I got up, finished my packing, had some lunch, and then waited for my lift from Megan to Burlington Airport. She nipped over after school and drove me there, where I killed a bit of time in the teeny terminal before boarding my equally teeny plane off to another part of the US…

As usual, more on that next time!