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A Little Bit About a Lot of Things

A lifestyle blog with a focus on my food adventures

Tag Archives: trips

imag1166When we finally got up to Stowe Mountain Lodge in Vermont, we decided to go out for dinner. Looking for something casual, we decided on Gracie’s. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid, and that was at their old location in town. Closer to the hotel, Gracie’s is a popular casual dining spot for locals and tourists alike.

imag1172Gracie’s opened in 1991, and it was named after owners Sue and Archie’s rescue dog. They made the move to this new location in 2009. The dog theme is carried throughout the dining room – from the decor to the names of the menu items.

imag1167We started the meal off right – they brought out a wonderful bread basket with delicious chocolate chip oatmeal bread.

imag1170The quinoa salad special was more of a dinner sized plate than an appetizer! We all ordered burgers, they are all named after dogs:

The Chihuahua
Half-pound burger served with lettuce, tomato and guacamole on the side.

The Airedale
Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed peppers and onions.

The Boxer
Half-pound cheddar bacon burger.

The Husky
Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed mushrooms.

Blazing Beagle Burger
Gracie’s half-pound burger rolled in Cajun spices and grilled to juicy perfection with lettuce and tomato.
Also available as Dante’s Dalmatian-for the firedog.

The Kirby Burger
Gracie’s half pound burger topped with melted cheddar, bacon and a side of our own Memphis BBQ sauce.

Blue Tick Hound Burger
Half-pound melted blue cheese burger with lettuce and tomato.

The Rottweiler
This one’s got a good bite to it. A half-pound cheddar burger topped with lettuce and Tomato. With sour cream, garlic, horseradish sauce on the side.

The Petey Burger
Everyone’s favorite canine orphan. Spanky and Alfalfa put their minds together for this one. A great combination that only the little rascals could think of starting with a half pound of Boyden Farms ground beef topped with Vermont cheddar cheese and, bacon, onion rings and cajun spice.  A dollar of the price of each Petey Burger will be donated by Gracie’s to the North Country Animal League.

imag1174The Husky ($12.95): Half-pound cheddar burger with sautéed mushrooms. Just what the dr ordered after a long car ride. The burger was flavorful and cooked perfectly medium. The service was excellent – Archie the owner was there running the host stand! I always think it’s nice to see the owners of restaurants pitching in.


18 Edison Hill Road, Stowe, VT

Gracie's on Urbanspoon

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Vermont Farm Tour 7I had really wanted to attend this year’s Vermont Cheese Festival but we were going to be in Vermont the week after. So the next best thing would be a Vermont Farm Tour. I looked up the company and contacted Chris Howell, the owner. We made plans to meet on Friday in Middlebury. Tours are $400 for a full day and  $250 for a half day (up to three guests). M and I took the scenic route to get to Middlebury, and there were moments when we thought we weren’t going the right way. We met at Champlain Valley Creamery and headed out to our first farm. Nicky Foster and Julie Danyew run Bridport Creamery. They make the cheese from Nicky’s family dairy, Iroquois Acres. Julie has a goat herd and makes fresh and aged goats milk cheeses.

Vermont Farm Tour 2The young cows are kept separately from the rest of the adult cows for their own safety.

Vermont Farm Tour 3Nicky talked to us about organic vs. non organic cows – how with organic cows if your cow gets sick, you can’t give it medicine.

Vermont Farm Tour 4Here at Iroquois Acres, they treat their cows well. On hot days they circulate into covered areas where they are misted with water and fans to keep cool.

Vermont Farm Tour 5In addition to growing up on a dairy farm, Nicky married a dairy farmer. Her husband’s farm is one of the largest in the state.

Vermont Farm Tour 6Look at this face!!!!

Vermont Farm Tour 8We were able to step inside Nicky’s cheese cave and check out what was inside! In addition the cheese curds they also make:

  • Swisserella – a mild, great melting cheese in plain and herbed
  • Danz Ahn Farm Feta – a variation on a classic
  • Champlain Valley Tomme – Bridgeport Creamery’s aged cow milk tomme with a mild and nutty finish
  • Tango – a sightly sharp, aged goat milk tomme

Vermont Farm Tour 9We had the chance to buy cheese from all of the stops during the day. Chris brought a cooler so that the cheese would stay cool in the car. It was here that I tried my first cheese curd. AMAZING! We bought some to take home with us. Nicky sells her cheese to many local businesses and her cheese curds to restaurants like the Skinny Pancake in Burlington where they make deep fried cheese curds! YUM!!

Vermont Farm Tour 23Next on our tour was Trevin Farms. Troy and Kevin run a B&B on their working farm. Originally from Cambridge, they moved up to Vermont a decade ago not knowing much about farming. When they bought the property, there was only the house. They cleared the rest of the land themselves – 14 acres!

Vermont Farm Tour 14We are greeted by Troy and about 20 baby goats! He’s like the goat whisperer. Troy told us that they bottle feed all the goats inside the house, 7 times a day until they are weaned.

Vermont Farm Tour 10These are Nubian goats known for their long ears and “Roman” noses.

Vermont Farm Tour 11They couldn’t have been more friendly and curious….and vocal.

Vermont Farm Tour 12The goats were playful – running all about, while never getting too far from Troy.

Vermont Farm Tour 13Troy tells is that these goats prefer to eat things that are higher up off the ground, so it is very natural for them to get on their hind legs and eat off tall branches. This adorable spotted guy will be the father of the next round of baby goats.

Vermont Farm Tour 15In addition to goats they also have chickens. Troy and Kevin use the fresh eggs for breakfast in the morning for guests. They have an amazing garden where they grow veggies for the guest’s meals. Kevin let us in on the secret to growing enormous pumpkins….you inject the vine with goat’s milk.

Vermont Farm Tour 16And they have horses – this guy helped clear some of their land.

Vermont Farm Tour 17Look at that face!

Vermont Farm Tour 18They hand milk all of the goats. Troy and Kevin keep all of the female goats and sell off the males – so they only have two males on the property.

Vermont Farm Tour 19All the goats are named after cities.

Vermont Farm Tour 20We have lunch at the farm. Chris has picked up a variety of sandwiches and creme brulee from City Market in Burlington, one of my favorite markets. We eat and taste Trevin Farms’ fresh goat cheese. I’m not generally a goat cheese kind of gal, it’s just too…goaty. But this was so fresh and so light, really quite lovely. It really makes a difference to have cheese that was made just the other day. We also tried raw goat’s milk. I can’t even remember the last time I had a glass of milk…and as I mentioned before, I was hesitant as I don’t love really the goaty flavor. But this milk, from this morning, was light and clean, really not goaty at all. Goat’s milk is also supposed to be good for people who are lactose intolerant and raw milk is supposedly easier to digest.

Vermont Farm Tour 21Our lunch companions.

Vermont Farm Tour 22Kevin told us that Troy does the cooking and he looks after the goats and the garden. They used to try and do things together, but it works out better if they each do their own thing. Kevin delivers all of the baby goats and in addition to all of the hand milking and the care involved with these amazing animals, he also has a full time job! We had such a lovely afternoon here, Troy and Kevin were gracious hosts and really wonderful to be around. As I mentioned, they have a B&B with 3 bedrooms, and you can even do a package where you can make your own goat cheese!

Vermont Farm Tour 1While we are waiting for Carlton to arrive and show us around Champlain Valley Creamery, we stop in upstairs at Appalachian Gap Distillery for a little booze tasting! A whiskey, a rum, and two coffee liqueurs.

Vermont Farm Tour 29Our final stop is Champlain Valley Creamery – above is our guide Chris Howell (left) and Carleton Yoder (right) owner of Champlain Valley Creamery, and head cheesemaker.

Vermont Farm Tour 24Carleton takes us through the cheese making process. Once the cheese has been mixed it is hand ladled into these plastic cups where they sit and drain.

Vermont Farm Tour 25They make an ash ripened pyramid cheese – here they are fresh out of their molds – they will be salted and left to ripen in the cheese cave.

Vermont Farm Tour 26When the cheese has been in the cave for enough time, it will be covered with a layer of ash.

Vermont Farm Tour 27

Organic Champlain Triple – Silver Medal Winner, 2007 American Cheese Society, Burlington VT

Organic Champlain Triple is a beautiful soft ripened triple crème cheese with a bloomy white rind. Produced from cultured whole milk and cream, Champlain Triple is hand ladeled into traditional crottin molds and aged approximately 10 days. It has a rich, creamy interior flavor that is offset by a delicious earthy rind with hints of mushroom. Champlain Triple is a must-have for any cheese plate.

Vermont Farm Tour 28In addition to these cheeses, they also make an old fashioned cream cheese, a queso fresco, and a queso anejo. If you can’t make it up to VT to try Champlain Valley Creamery’s cheese, don’t worry, you can find it at Formaggio Kitchen.

Vermont Farm Tours

Chris Howell

278 North Street, Winooski, VT

Bridgeport Valley Creamery

Nicky Foster and Julie Danyew

3284 Lake Street, Bridport, VT

Trevin Farm

Troy Peabody and Kevin McNaught

901 Willowbrooke Road, Sudbury, VT

Champlain Valley Creamery

Carleton Yoder

88 Mainelli Road, Suite 3, Middlebury, VT

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imag1159Another summer and that means another trip up to Stowe Mountain Lodge. There is just something about Vermont that we love. I can’t quite figure out what it is, but the people are nicer, the air seems fresher and crisper, and the food is outstanding. There was some blasting on the highway on the way up to VT so it took us about 5 hours to get there. Needless to say we were a bit tired when we arrived…and some of us were hangry and cranky, but I won’t name any names.

imag1153This year, we had a two bedroom suite and a studio. Pictured above is the second bedroom in the two bedroom suite. The bedroom had it’s own full bathroom with shower and there was another half bathroom outside in the hallway near the kitchen.

imag1151This layout was a little different than last year’s suite, this layout provided more privacy for each bedroom.

imag1149The master bedroom had a king size bed and a private bathroom.

imag1150There was a stand up shower and a soaking tub.

imag1165We were all anxiously awaiting our rematch at the Alpine slide this year, there have been excuses all year long about not knowing how to properly drive the sled and who actually won. We were a little disappointed to see that the slide wasn’t open this year. They are doing massive construction to allow for a zip line, an outdoor ice skating rink and a parking garage.

imag1162This gave us a good excuse to take in some of the other parts of the property.

imag1160We took a short and easy hike around the property – which was really quite beautiful.

For more information on Stowe Mountain Lodge, check out their website.

7412 Mountain Rd, Stowe, VT

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IMG_4236This post seems to have missed the whole Philly set of posts. No matter! When you go to Philly, one of the must try things (besides a cheese steak) is a pretzel. You’ve had a pretzel before, maybe Auntie Annies? You can’t even compare these to other pretzels you’ve had.

IMG_0417Located in the Reading Terminal Market, Miller’s twist offers delicious hot and fresh pretzels that are soft and chewy, buttery and delicious.  I go for the original but they also come in flavors like cinnamon, garlic, and sour cream and onion. You cal also get things like a pretzel dog or a chicken cheese steak. And if that isn’t enough, they also have ice cream! My only regret is that I only went once and that I only bought 1 pretzel.

Miller’s Twist

Reading Terminal Market

11th Avenue and B, Philadelphia, PA

Miller's Twist Pretzel's & More on Urbanspoon

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When we left Keystone on Sunday, the hotel told us to leave at least 4 hours before we needed to get to the airport. Traffic was supposed to be heavy because of the holiday weekend. We got to Denver in no time, and found ourselves driving aimlessly trying to find something to do. And that is when we spotted voodoo doughnuts. I had seen the on the Food Network channel and my friends who have been to Portland rave about it. The lines are supposed to be legendary but we happened to show up at an off time and breeze right in.


Good news for us that all locations are open 24 hours, 7 days a week. There are so many doughnuts, and they all look so delicious, it’s hard to choose.


We limit ourselves to a half of a dozen doughnuts, hearing endless comments through the airport about having to “confiscate” them…


imag1012So how do you go to Voodoo Doughnuts and not get the voodoo doughnut? You don’t. Raised yeast doughnut filled with raspberry jelly topped with chocolate frosting and a pretzel stake! (characteristics of Voodoo Dolls are all different) ($2.10)

imag1017The Loop doughnut -raised yeast doughnut with vanilla frosting with fruit loops. ($1.45)

imag1007The apple fritter doughnut is fried dough with apple chunks and cinnamon covered in a glaze! ($2.45)

imag1008The Bacon Maple bar: Raised yeast doughnut with maple frosting and bacon on top! ($3.25)

imag1009Blueberry cake doughnut: blueberry dough with a glaze! ($1.10)

imag1011My dad loves chocolate doughnuts, I’ve heard him complain endlessly about how now only select Dunkin Donuts has them, and they are small…blah blah blah. So I brought him back one from Voodoo and he was raving about it! ($1.10) For a full list of doughnuts, see their website.

Voodoo Doughnut

1520 East Colfax, Denver, CO

Street parking only – make sure to have quarters for the meters.

Voodoo Doughnut on Urbanspoon

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imag0949The day finally came when Gabe and Jill were getting married. Guests boarded two gondolas to get to the top of the mountain.

imag0950Altitude sickness is no joke, 1 beer up on the top of the  mountain could feel like 3 beers on the ground. We didn’t experience any of it, but another guest certainly did and needed some oxygen.

imag0978The room for the reception was beautiful!

imag0979We sat at a table with some other Boston people.

imag0982There was a little sprinkle before the ceremony started, but the weather held through the ceremony and the cocktail reception outside on the balcony. It didn’t start to rain until we sat down for dinner. My friend Gabe goes to at least 10 weddings a year. I joke with him that he should stop making eye contact with people so that he can finally use his vacation days for somewhere he actually wants to go. That being said, when  you have been to that many weddings, you know what works and what doesn’t – you’re a pro. So no doubt, the food was going to be delicious.

imag0987We started with a baby lettuce salad with strawberries, toasted almonds and chevre with champagne vinaigrette.

imag0988Intermezzo was a champagne sorbet.

imag0989Dinner was porcini rubbed filet mignon & butter poached Maine lobster with demi glace and lobster beurre blanc sauces, white truffle whipped potatoes and seasonal vegetables.

imag0990In lieu of a cake they did a dessert bar. Flourless chocolate mousse tulip.

imag0991Blacberry creme brulee.

imag0993New York style cheesecake rings.

imag0994Raspberry rectangles and mango jalapeno gianduja cups.

imag0995Truffles in a variety of flavors.

imag0996Pistachio frangipane.

imag0997Lemon raspberry towers.

imag0998Salted caramel feuilletine cornets.

imag0999A delicious way to end a meal. A lovely wedding overall. Simple and understated while being beautiful and classy. Guests danced the night away until around 10 and then the afterparty moved to a bar in Keystone. Congrats Gabe and Jill!

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IMG_3065Breckenridge, CO is another hot skiing destination. We had nothing to do and decided to take a ride out there. From Keystone, it is about a 30 minute scenic drive.

IMG_3069This  scenery reminds me of our recent trip to Vegas.

IMG_3070Loveland is the highest mountain pass in the world that regularly stays open during a snowy winter season.

IMG_3081Breckenridge feels like one of those towns you see in the movies.

IMG_3084Main street shut down for all sorts of family oriented activities.

IMG_3085People were encouraged to design squares with chalk on an adjacent street.

IMG_3087Some of the artists were very talented.

IMG_3088Isn’t that amazing?

IMG_3091They had a group music session – everyone was given a different kind of instrument – so much fun!

IMG_3094Love the enthusiasm!

IMG_3103The local fire department came out and they opened up the hoses for the kids to run through on the street.

IMG_3101Everyone enjoyed this! Young children, their parents, even the dogs!!

IMG_3104Smart businesses were selling towels!

IMG_3109Rental bikes.

IMG_3111We were going to try and drive to Vail but we ran out of time before we had to get back for the wedding. Another time!


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IMG_3162We were in Keystone for my friend Gabe’s wedding to his college sweetheart Jill. The wedding itself was beautiful and it gave us an excuse to go to one of the hottest destinations in CO. Most of the guests stayed over Saturday night so Gabe’s parents hosted a wagon ride and bbq dinner. We met at the resort and we were bussed to the pickup point near the stables. About a hundred of us hopped on 4 carriages.

IMG_3170The ride was about 30 minutes to the open field and homestead.

IMG_3176You couldn’t have asked for a better location – so picturesque. Make sure to pack some bug spray, those mosquitos are fierce – they were biting people’s faces.

IMG_3186The horses always pull with the same partner. You should have seen the size of these horses!! They were ENORMOUS! They can comfortably pull three times their body weight, so somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000lbs.

IMG_3190Sweet flowers as centerpieces on the picnic tables.

IMG_3197Guests were give cowboy hats and bandanas by the wedding party to get into the mood.

IMG_3206The kids were pretty darn cute, wrangling the metal cows.

IMG_3211Dinner was served buffet style: garden salad, grilled BBQ chicken, smoked ribs, corn on the cob, Durango beans, corn bread muffins and apple pie a la mode.

wagon ride 2Entertainment was provided by Randall McKinnon, who has been singing for the last 23 years. Randall had the whole group singing favorites like Sweet Home Alabama, American Pie and House of the Rising Sun.

IMG_3230Guests cooked s’mores around the fit pit.

wagon ride 4Randall can be reached at 970.389.1246 or you can email him at


Check out Randall in action.


A really great night over all – everyone had a fun night!

For more information about wagon rides at Keystone, see their website.

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IMG_3149I’m not a biker or a hiker, or an outdoorsy person for that matter, so the best way I know how to see the landscape is to go on a horseback ride. I have plenty of experience riding English style, however, most places that tourists go offer Western. The hotel offers 1 hour or 2 hour rides, and note that they leave from different locations, so check with guest services as to which site you need to go to. We chose the 2 hour ride for $74pp. We were fortunate enough to only have one other person in our group. Make sure that if you are planning on going for a ride to 1)turn off your cell phone – you don’t want to startle your horse, 2) wear long pants – trust me on this one, 3) wear sneakers or some other closed toe shoe option and 4) bring a light jacket, it could get cool.

IMG_3154It’s only fitting that my horse’s name is Rebel!

IMG_3120The two hour ride has a lot of uphill and downhill stretches and weaving in and around trees – it’s not to say that you have to be an experienced rider, but know that the ride isn’t all flat.

IMG_3125The views are amazing.

IMG_3127Group size can vary, there can be up to 8 riders with each wrangler.

IMG_3138The horses don’t live in CO all year round, they are rented and come for the summer and early fall season.

IMG_3151If you’re feeling adventurous, call up Keystone and book your ride! You can get more information on their website.

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imag0921We were invited to a wedding of an old friend and headed out to Keystone, CO over the July 4th weekend. If you’ll remember, we were expecting a hurricane. Our jetBlue flight was delayed leaving, and with the altered flight plan to avoid the storm, it was a long night. Once we arrived at the airport it was an almost 2 hour drive to the hotel. We ended up getting in around 4am EST (if you think these photos are blurry, you should have seen what my eyes looked like). Having worked all day, it made for a long night. Keystone Resort covers a large stretch of highway and there are small village areas along the road. We stayed in River Run as it was closest to all of the wedding festivities. The guests of the wedding stayed in all different areas which was surprising. We stayed in Red Hawk, just steps from the gondola that would take us up to the site of the ceremony and reception. They have underground parking and laundry on every floor. We chose the 1 bedroom style condo – they also have a studio option with a Murphy bed.

imag0922The bedroom was a little dated with it’s floral bedspread and the tube tv in the wall.

imag0923There was a gas fireplace in the living room which was a nice touch. There was no air conditioning in the condo, which at times made it a little warm inside.

imag0924The living room was spacious and a sliding glass door led out to the small balcony.

imag0925Because the space was a condo there is no cleaning during your stay. Guests are expected to bring trash and recycling to the garage to empty into larger bins.

imag0927Each unit features a kitchenette, but we weren’t in the room long enough to utilize it.

imag0931Each morning we headed over to the main hotel in Lakeside village for breakfast. There is ample complimentary parking across the highway for people who don’t want to pay for the valet with an underground walkway to get to the hotel. The views at the hotel are amazing. There is a deli where you can grab a quick egg sandwich for breakfast or a sit down restaurant where you can have a leisurely meal by the lake.

IMG_3048There are a good amount of hiking and biking trails around the lake.

imag0933Prefer a water sport? They have stand up paddle boarding, kayaks and paddle boards.

IMG_3060The resort was crowded for the holiday weekend. Lots of families with small children and lots of people with their dogs!

IMG_3052The weather in CO wasn’t as warm as you would think. It was in the low 70’s during the day and in the 50-60’s in the evening. Make sure to pack a sweater for the evenings.


Keystone Resort

155 River Course Dr., Keystone, CO

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