Loving the weekend update idea, Abs!
This weekend was actually not a typical one for me. Around this time last year, I went to Rutland, Vermont to visit my friend Matt. Our friendship is kind of a weird one as we became friends when he tagged along on mutual friend Chuck’s trip to NYC to visit me. What makes this weird, of course, is that Chuck and I had dated when I lived in DC…but Matt and I are now the ones who keep in touch. But I digress.
When I had gone to visit last fall, we did a number of things, hiking amongst them. The other highlight of that trip was something called a Pug Social. Abby would love this- it’s basically an excuse for a bunch of pug mommies and daddies to dress up their pups, have them do tricks in front of strangers, and enter them in contests such as “scrunchiest face.” Too cute, no?
We had brought Matt’s dog, Sharky (half black lab, half rottweiler) with us, and it seems the pugs are racist as every one who saw him had a barking tantrum. Poor Sharkster! Anyway, we had a blast, and decided I would visit again when the social returned in 2013. Hence, this past weekend.
I arrived on Thursday night to homemade frozen yogurt (raspberry with dark chocolate chunks!) and Cupcake Chardonnay. 97834058902348 points to Matt for thoughtfulness. We chilled out to New Girl, The Mindy Project, and Can’t Hardly Wait (!!!!!!!!!!!!) til 3 a.m., then it was [a very late] bedtime.
I went to a coffee shop that Matt had raved about on Friday morning to get some work done. The coffee was delicious- as promised- as were the homemade gluten-free baked goods. Gluten-free pumpkin scone drizzled with maple glaze? Ummmm yes please!
I broke from work for a quick run around noon, and was suddenly hit with the altitude change. Ooof! Never even thought about it. Matt met up with me for lunch shortly after- he’d gotten the afternoon off to keep me company as I worked- and took me to this nice spot a few blocks from his house. So yummy.
Later that night, we got dinner at a German-themed place with more delicious beers, where I had duck fat fries. These fries deserve a paragraph of their own. HOLY CRAP. If you are ok with eating meat/meat by-products, you MUST try them. Then we went out with a group of Matt’s friends to the local bars.
His friends were AWESOME. I felt immediately welcomed, and so easily at home. We left around 2 when the bars closed and hit the hay.
Saturday was pug social day!!! I woke up before Matt and brought back coffee and pastries, and then we hit the road (pugs were about 30 minutes away). We brought Sharky, and he was immediately riled up as soon as his car door opened. The pugs didn’t bully him this year though…as he is now 90 pounds. Silly pugs.
We spent a few hours walking around, playing with strange pugs and letting Sharky make friends. I have to tell you guys, you know I’ve never necessarily been a dog person, but that dog cut straight to my heart. My eyes are welling up just thinking about it right now! We definitely bonded this weekend.
When we left the pugs behind, Matt suggested hitting up a brewery. Vermont has a trail of breweries along Route 7, and a passport to go with them. Once you get a stamp for every brewery, you get a free brewing kit. Pretty cool. I was asked to make the choice (OPTION OVERLOAD!), and settled on The Alchemist, known for its Heady Topper IPA.
We had some samples, Matt bought a case, and we headed out…at which point I saw a Ben & Jerry’s sign. Um, what? Their factory was literally a quarter mile away. SCOREEEEE. Next stop- B&J factory.
We took an impromptu tour and laughed at all the silly 70’s inspired stuff. I felt badly that Sharky was missing out on everything! The tour was short (20 minutes), but as soon as it was over we gave the pup some extra playtime. Pretty sure those dirt stains on my sweater are permanent.
Matt suggested we spend the rest of the day in Burlington, about another 45 minutes. It’s far more of a city than Rutland, and there’s plenty of space to walk around, shop, people-watch, etc. Linz, Burlington (Church Street in particular) reminded me a LOT of downtown Charlottesville. We walked around, let Sharky make some friends, and settled on a place by the water with outdoor seating for a late lunch.
At this point, rain was starting to threaten our day, so we headed back to Rutland. It took us a little over an hour to get back- we made great timing- and watched movies til we fell asleep. We even turned down plans to go out with his friends again as we were absolutely exhausted; there were a couple of breweries we stopped at between B&J and Burlington that I can barely even remember at this point.
Yesterday was breakfast and puppy play time, then I headed out to avoid driving through the impending rain storm…which didn’t happen, by the way. That dog definitely thought I was part of the family by the time I left, blocking my car door from me getting in, and even hopping in the passenger seat. Such a sweet dog. I’ll definitely be visiting more often.
I returned my car to the Zipcar garage by my office around 7 and went for a quick 3 mile run before meeting Jess, Grant, Nik, and Claire for some beers and football. I went to bed around 12:30 and was out like a LIGHT.