After a day and a half in Acadia that included a hike at Jordan Pool Pond this morning, we then departed to grab a quick cheesecake at Momo’s Cheesecake in the town of Ellsworth.



The remarkable thing is not only that this amazing piece of work is $5.50 a slice, but that you can pay on the honor code — there isn’t a single employee here to take your order; you simply pay by dropping off your cash in a box and take whatever you paid for!



Furthermore at a nearby farm, we found this “honor system” to be the continually running theme in this part of Maine.



We then headed onwards for a quick fast food lunch in empty Augusta, Maine.



Then along the long 6 hour drive to Vermont, I finally drove for the first time in 11 years! At the time of writing, we’re still alive!

Once we arrived at Burlington at 8pm, we made a beeline to #1 stop on everyone’s list here: a stroll through Church Street Marketplace.



A perfect balance of historic buildings, public performances, and modern trappings can keep a visitor here busy all day!



Although the original Ben & Jerry’s location is only a block away on College Street and Saint Paul’s (now currently an empty lot with a plaque commemorating the original location), this is the closest you’ll get to the OG:



There’s also a Ben & Jerry’s factory about an hour east from Burlington (complete with a Flavor Graveyard!) but sadly it was closed for the weekend for this trip.

And if you’re willing to venture a bit farther from Church Street Marketplace, check out the waterfront to Lake Champlain a few minutes away.



As we checked into our lodgings at the Hilton DoubleTree in Burlington, we noticed another casualty of COVID-19: their famous chocolate chip cookies were no longer offerred. They also made us sign another certificate of compliance related to the concerns of the virus spreading everywhere else around the country.

The next morning we got some coffee and stopped by for a second at the World’s Tallest Filing Cabinet.



Then we drove south and picked some strawberries for $3 a pint at Fat Belly Farm:



I also got bit by a bee for the first time (no allergic reaction, don’t worry) here:



Then with another hour’s drive south, we enjoyed a thorough free cheese and maple syrup tasting at Sugarbush Farms, also part of the Vermont Cheese Trail.



Here you can visit their sugar house where they evaporate the maple water into syrup, all from the 9000 trees that they tap on their farmlands.



They’ll helpfully warn you to steer clear of imitations!



There’s also a pleasant “maple hill” walk that takes around 10 minutes so you can see all the maple trees from where they tap. Find the hidden chapel in the woods where people can book for weddings.



Finally on our final stretch home, we stopped once at Flayvors of Cook Farm in Amherst, MA (on the last minute recommendation of one of my friends and monsooners Victoria Lu from the Antigua & Barbuda trip!):



Remarkably the mask culture completely shifted when we entered Massachusetts; it went from “masks appreciated” in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, to “masks required” that we also saw in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York.



The great thing about Flayvors of Cook Farm is that you can eat ice cream staring at the very source where they came from:



Driving onwards home, by 8:30pm we returned full circle back to Frank Pepe’s in New Haven. We noticed that the indoor dining we had seen 6 days ago when we began this trip now have been rolled back and they were back to doing pickups only. Thanks to my friend and monsooner, Alfred Yeung (of numerous trip/monsoons), he helpfully was able to order ahead a classic tomato pie + mozzarella for us!

After a quick catch up with him (he had done the exact same trip that we did for the weekend up to Providence, RI), we returned to NYC, dropping off out car at 11pm in what seemed to look like a scene from an apocalyptic movie: Countless cars with their hazard lights on stretching around both corners of the street.

I figure this was from all the pent-up demand of July 4th weekenders dropping off their vehicles at the only 24/7 open Avis in this part of the city!



But we did it — 1 week of responsible travel in the era of COVID-19!




- At time of posting in Burlington, VT, it was 20 °C - Humidity: 71% | Wind Speed: 3km/hr | Cloud Cover: partly sunny


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July 2020