Quick Post-Vacation Check-In

Happy Monday, friends! I didn’t mean to disappear for an entire week, but hey, I was on vacation, and I really took that to heart! I didn’t read any blog posts, I didn’t write any blog posts, and didn’t even really think about the blog that much at all. It was glorious!

Ben and I sent half the week at home and half the week in New Jersey visiting friends. We got a taste of spring weather, did lots of house work, slept, ate, and just tried to soak up some alone time before Baby Girl makes her arrival in approximately 8 weeks. Crazy! I hope you all had a great week, and I’ll try to get back to regular posting soon.

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My handsome husband at Triumph Brewing Co in Princeton

A Love Letter to the City of Burlington, VT

First things first, THANK YOU SO MUCH to every one of you who has commented either here, on Facebook, on Instagram, or Twitter. Even though I may not have replied to everyone, please know that I read and appreciate every single kind word. You guys are wonderful. Now, on to business.

I know that my recap of the Vermont City Marathon yesterday was a huge downer. I’m still feeling really, really shitty. I’ll get over it eventually, but I just need to feel what I’m feeling and acknowledge it before I can move on.

HOWEVER-I don’t want people to think that I hated the race, or that I don’t appreciate the amazing way this city stepped up to support runners on an oppressively, dangerously hot day. In fact, this post is an attempt to recognize all of the positive things that happened on Sunday, in spite of my disappointment and frustration. I need to pay homage to the incredible residents of my city.

When it became apparent that Sunday’s temperatures were going to be extreme, RunVermont put out a call to folks living on the race course, asking them to help runners by leaving sprinklers running, or putting out hoses for runners to go through. And I’m here to tell you that Burlington answered that call. And then some.

There was not a single neighborhood that didn’t have some kind of unofficial support going. Children were standing on the side of the road holding out bags of ice. Men and women stood on their front lawns all day and hosed runners down, calling out, “Free showers! Cold showers! You earned it!” There were college-aged bros standing with 30 gallon athletic coolers of water on their shoulders so runners could have a drink or refill their bottles. There were women on Pine Street dressed in crazy tutus and wigs with spray bottles to help cool runners down. There were live bands playing, cowbells clanging, signs waving, and high fives for days.

Every time I took an orange slice or a handful of ice from a spectator, I smiled and said something along the lines of, “Thank you, you’re amazing.” And every.single.person said, “No, YOU’RE amazing! Keep going!” These people gave up their Sunday and stood out in the blistering heat to do something completely selfless and kind, and I can’t thank them enough.

I NEVER would have made it as far as I did on Sunday without the exceptional people of the city of Burlington. I had always heard that spectator support for Vermont City Marathon was off the charts, and I know now with every fiber of my being that it’s so true. This city loves its marathon and loves its runners, and I am SO FIERCELY PROUD to live here.

So Burlington–thank you. Thank you so much for being incredible, and making what could have been an entirely miserable day at least somewhat positive. And you can bet that from now on, if I’m not taking part in marathon weekend as a runner, I will be out there spectating, with water, ice, and a kind word, because I know first-hand how much it means.

Have you ever been completely blown away by spectator support at a race?

And So It Begins…

This is it folks; week one of Marathon Training for the People’s United Bank Vermont City Marathon. Dun dun DUNNNNN. As I have mentioned a few times previously, I decided to hire a coach to help me through my first marathon.  A lot of consideration went into this decision, and I feel really good about it. Here are my top three reasons for hiring a coach:

  1. It’s my first marathon and I have no idea what I’m doing. I want to finish and feel proud. I don’t want to end up injured, or feel sad about my time, or be totally burnt out on running.
  2. In addition to marathon training, I’m rehearsing for a musical. My schedule is BANANAS. I need structure, I need accountability, and I need someone to tell me to get my ass in gear when I whine about having to do a 16-miler on a two-show Saturday.
  3. Susie is awesome, experienced, and level-headed. I trust her. I like her. I know she will be tough when she needs to be, and hold my hand when I cry like a little bitch baby because marathon training is HARD.

I’m definitely nervous, but because I feel so good about my coach, the excited outweighs the nervous. I have The Plan for this month in my hot little hands and I feel good about it. I’m also really glad that I’m only getting it a few weeks at a time, because seeing 18 or 20 miles might cause me to flip a biscuit…

Does seeing high mileage on a training plan freak you out?

Race Recap: The Color Run Burlington 2015

Disclaimer: I am a Color Run ambassador and therefore received a free entry to the race. All opinions and thoughts are my own. This recap is of my own personal experience at the race. If you’re looking for just the nitty gritty details, check out my BibRave review here. Don’t forget to help your fellow runners by reviewing all your races on BibRave.com!

What:  The Color Run 5k Burlington, VT

When/Where:  Saturday September 26, 10 am, Champlain Valley Exposition, Essex Jct, VT

Weather:  Sunny and cool with a light breeze

Pre-Race:

Pre-registration was available online with incremental price increases, and open until the day before the race. I received a free entry through my ambassadorship, but in the past I have registered for early bird pricing as low as $35. You can register as an individual or team, and team registrations are $5 cheaper.

Packet pickup was available the day before the race at a Kohl’s store in South Burlington. While this was sort of random, it was very quick and streamlined. I waited in line only about 5 minutes, then had my stuff and I was ready to roll. Race morning, my friends and I decided to park at one person’s house about a mile away from the Expo Center and walk up. I’m glad we did, because traffic sucked. Traffic on Rte. 15 in Essex is usually crappy, and it was more so because of the event.

We arrived at about 9:15 and I hit the porta-potties right away. There were plenty, and while the one I went into was relatively clean, there was no hand sanitizer (yuck!), and from what I gathered overhearing other conversations, most of them didn’t have sanitizer (double yuck!). There was a Jazzercise warm up happening on the stage, and just before 10 am, people started lining up in the Start chute. Like last year, we had to wait through a few starting waves, but the DJ was entertaining, and threw a lot of freebies into the waiting crowd.

Color Run Start

During the Race:

Once again, this race was run through the empty fair grounds, which is just sort of strange, and not very scenic. There was some music on the course, which was really nice, and the color throwers did an awesome job of getting some color on everyone without getting it into peoples’ faces. The colors this year were slightly different than last year–yellow, pink, blue, orange, and silver with glitter, because it was the “Shine” tour this year. While I liked the idea a lot and it looked super cool, I have to wonder about the health effects of inhaling a bunch of glitter…

My main goal going into this race was to help my friend, Emily, finish her first-ever 5k. You may remember her name popping up from time-to-time in my Manic Monday posts–I’ve been “training” her once a week for months, and she did some running on her own too, in preparation for this race. She was super nervous because she hadn’t run anywhere near 5k in any of her training, but I’d promised her that we’d reach her goal. We kept it slow and easy, and I used every motivational tip and trick in my arsenal.

Long story short, she did AMAZING. She ran the whole race without stopping and didn’t complain once. Just before the finish line, I sprinted ahead so that I could take pictures of her crossing the finish line. She crossed with a HUGE smile on her face, and collected her first piece of “bling.”

Color Run Finish

Post-Race:

We grabbed some water and Kind bars, and headed over to the Color Party by the stage. The DJ was ridiculous–funny, loud, and energetic. He played great music and kept people really pumped up. The color throws were tons of fun–we were covered head to toe in color and glitter, and when I blew my nose later, it was rainbow colored (TMI I know, but it was too funny!).

Color Run After

There were lots of great backdrops for photos, and you could get a finisher photo taken, but the line was super long. There was also a place to get the excess color blown off you with leaf blowers, but the line for that was super long as well, so I just rolled the windows down on my drive home and created a little color and glitter tornado in my car 🙂

Overall:

My only beef with this race is that I actually used my Garmin this year, and the course was about half a mile short. I get that it’s not a competitive or timed race, but if you advertise a 5k race, it really should be at least 3 miles. Otherwise, this race is a really good time. While it can be somewhat expensive, if you sign up early, you get a decent price, and especially this year with the addition of the finisher’s medal, the swag is pretty good–a nice cotton/poly blend t-shirt, sweat band, and temporary tattoos. This is a great event to attend with a bunch of friends, and is a perfect first race for anyone who wants to try it out.

And I just have to say again, I am SO proud of Emily. She set a goal, stuck to her guns, and DID IT. She told me that a lot of people in her life were really skeptical about her ability to finish, and I’m so glad she proved them wrong. As we were walking back to our cars after the race, she asked me to find her another 5k to run before winter. Looks like I’ve created a runner 😀

Have you ever helped a friend finish their first race?

What was YOUR first race?

Run Where I Live: Burlington, VT

Danielle at Live Run Grow recently had the brilliant idea to do a series of “Run Where I Live” posts and do a link up. I wasn’t able to participate on the day (Monday) because of my Prague trip, so now I’m doing a little piggy-back on the idea. Make sure you check out Danielle’s initial post so that you can follow along and find all of the other participants all over the country (and Australia too!).

I’m very lucky to live in Burlington, VT. This small city boasts myriad places and options for outdoor activity, especially if you’re a runner. I’m going to highlight just a couple of my favorite places to run in and around Burlington.

island-line-burlingtonBurlington Bike Path/Island Line Rail Trail

This is my favorite place to run, and not just because it’s minutes from my apartment. The Burlington Bike Path extends along the waterfront of Lake Champlain for 8 miles, passing marinas, restaurants, a science museum, and beaches. It ultimately links up with the Colchester Causeway north of the city for even more mileage and views. There are many entry points all over the waterfront, so it’s incredibly accessible. The views can’t be beat, and it’s super well-maintained and very safe. Almost all of my runs happen here. To get there: You can access the bike path from many areas, but to start at the “beginning,” head for Oakledge Park at the bottom of Flynn Ave.

Ti-Haul Trail/Shelburne Bay Park Rec Path

I just discovered this trail when I joined the Lake Champlain Running Club a few weeks ago, and I wish I’d found it sooner. This trail follows the route that the steamboat Ticonderoga was hauled across from Shelburne Bay to its final resting place at the Shelburne Museum.The trail is packed gravel and well-shaded, but not too isolated, which is good for me, because I’m a weenie about trail running by myself. It connects with the Shelburne Bay Park Rec Path, with is more dirt trail, and boasts some gorgeous views of the bay. To get there, drive south on Rte 7 and turn down Bay Rd. Parking is on the right past the boat launch. Ti-Haul Trail starts across the street.

South Burlington Rec Path

This one is a little weird, because it’s lots of different pieces that go through neighborhoods, forested areas, and crosses busy streets. There are some really nice little sections that I like to repeat (Farrell Park, for instance), and they get you out of the city. To get there: Depends on where you want to go and what conditions you want. Farrell Park is a nice, hilly, wooded section off of Swift Street.

Tracks

If you’re in town and looking to get in a track workout, there’s no shortage of high school and university tracks to take advantage of–Burlington HS in the North End, Rice HS in the South End, and UVM up at the top of the hill.

Fleet Feet

If you’re looking for a group to run with, the Fleet Feet in Essex Jct. hosts group fun runs that set out from the store on Saturday mornings at 8.  Fleet Feet VT–76 Pearl St, Essex Jct VT, 05452

Lake Champlain Running Club

Another option for group runs is the LCRC. They run from Fleet Feet in Essex on Thursday evenings at 6, and from the Shelburne Athletic Field House on Saturday mornings at 9. The group is run by a RRCA certified coach, and has lots of great people, myself included!

Races

Vermont may not be a big state, but there are plenty of opportunities for racing. Our most notable race is the Vermont City Marathon, which takes place on Memorial Day weekend every year. My favorite resource for finding races to run is Running in the USA, but I also run a lot of races with RaceVermont and the Green Mountain Athletic Association.

If you’re ever in the Burlington, VT area, make sure you email me so I can show you around!

Have you ever been to Burlington?

Manic Monday – 03/02/15

Photo Dec 30, 12 48 14 PM

This week was heavy on running and light on cross-training. While that’s definitely ok once in a while, I don’t want that to become the norm. I really love my CXWORX and Body Pump when I can get there, and I want to continue to build my strength for injury prevention.

Monday 02/23/15:  Ran 3 miles on the treadmill and stretched, then lots of jumping rope and dancing at rehearsal

Tuesday 02/24/15:  Rest day

Wednesday 02/25/15:  Speed work–1 mile warm up, 4×400 with 400 recovery in between.

Thursday 02/26/15:  Rest day. Normally I would have gone to CXWORX, but we had a pizza and beer date with some friends instead 🙂

Friday 02/27/15:  Unscheduled rest day. I intended to run, but realized I forgot my sneakers, boo. I actually considered going to Fleet Feet and buying sneakers since I need a new pair to rotate in anyway, but I just can’t justify the purchase right now, so I just relaxed until rehearsal.

Saturday 02/28/15:  “Rest” day. I got to ride the Legally Blonde float in the Mardi Gras parade, and spent  some time running around helping to construct the float beforehand, walking around before and after, and throwing beads to the crowd. I also parked my car many, many blocks from the after party, and had to walk there to get home.

The float as seen from the back.

The float as seen from the back.

My awesome pink wig

My awesome pink wig

Sunday 02/29/15:  First rehearsal at the Flynn theater! I wish I’d taken some pictures, because this theater is beautiful. Fully restored art-deco. It’s great. We rehearsed all of the big dance numbers, including the jump rope number, so I got in several hours of dance and jumping rope.

I’m feeling REALLY worn down today. People at work and in the cast have been getting sick left and right, and I feel like it’s only a matter of time until I succumb. I’m trying to hydrate like crazy and eat well, but I just need more sleep, and that’s hard to come by right now.

The good news is, I have a 4-day work week and a 3-day weekend to look forward to. Ben’s cousin Scott is getting married this weekend, so we’re headed over to Ithaca for the festivities. Other than the wedding on Saturday, we don’t have much to do other than drive, so I’m hoping to catch some car naps and rest up.

Does your town/city celebrate Mardi Gras?

Have you ever gotten to ride a float in a parade?

Legally Blonde Takes Over REV

This post may not be super beneficial for those of you who don’t live in the greater Burlington, Vermont area, but I need to write about my experience at REV anyway.  Feel free to skip this one, especially if you’ve done spinning before.

I had never done a spin class, ever, and I generally don’t like the stationary bike.  I find it SUPER boring, and I’d pretty much rather be doing anything else.  But I figured, with the combination of good music, variations in movement, and somebody telling me what to do when, it would probably work out well.

On Saturday, a good chunk of the Legally Blonde cast was treated to a free class at REV Indoor, because Sarah, the owner, plays our Brooke Wyndham.  The building is very cool–high ceilings, exposed brick, and nice wood floors.  There’s only a single spin studio, but it’s large, with lots of windows and natural light.  We were each properly fitted to our bikes by an instructor, and I was very happy that special clip-in shoes are not necessary; the pedals have cages, so you can wear your own sneakers.

I have nothing to compare this class to, but HOLY CRAP.  I can honestly say that I’ve never worked so hard in a group fitness class in my entire life.  The class was co-taught by Sarah and two other instructors, each of whom are also in the Legally Blonde cast.  They each had very different styles, but I liked them all equally, and found myself really wanting to work hard and do well, so I guess they were pretty motivational.  It was also ridiculously fun because everyone knew everyone, so we could shout encouragement or curses and not feel weird.

The thing I liked most about the class is that you can really work as hard as you want, or take it easy when you need to.  They’ll give you suggestions for increasing or decreasing your resistance at various points, but ultimately, the level of resistance is totally up to you, which is especially great for a noob like me.  There were actually a few minutes towards the end where I was working so hard I started to feel nauseated, so I backed way off on the resistance, and was able to keep going and finish the class sans pukeage.

So yeah, long story short, I loved it.  This was hands down the best workout I’ve had in a long time.  Unfortunately, the pricing isn’t so great for me.  A drop-in class is $16, or you can get various class punch cards that offer a small discount.  I’m torn, because I’d like to catch at least one class a week, but I’m not sure it’s in my budget right now.  My gym does offer spin classes, but I like the idea of taking classes with instructors I know at REV.  We’ll see how things shake out.  I guess I should try a class at the gym before making a decision.  I’m sure the fact that the class was full of my friends probably made it better, and if I went to a regular class at REV, it might not be the same experience.

REV

Don’t let the smiles fool you; we’re exhausted.

Have you ever tried a spin/cycling class? Love it or hate it?

Have you ever worked out so hard you threw up?

Athleta Church Street Grand Opening Party

Please note:  I was not asked to review or write about this party.  I am not affiliated with Athleta or any of its parent or subsidiary companies, and I was not compensated for writing this post.

Athleta has finally opened a store near me!  I’ve always loved the look of their apparel, but buying clothes online is always a crap shoot.  You pay for shipping, and then the item doesn’t fit, and you have to pay additional shipping to send it back.  No fun at all.  But now, I’ll be able to try on all of the lovely athletic apparel I want without paying for shipping!

My college buddy, Chris, is the General Manager of the store, so I got an invitation to attend the Grand Opening party last night (this sounds really cool and exclusive, but they were letting people in without tickets; whomp whomp).  Upon entering the store, I was handed a coupon for a free yoga class at a local studio, and this pretty little hair tie/bracelet with the Athleta slogan “Power to the She” on it.  I love me some free swag!  They were also offering complimentary wine, and different juice/smoothie samples.

Photo Sep 30, 7 59 10 AM

I told one of the (very friendly) employees that I have a running/fitness blog and asked if it was OK to take pictures in the store; she gave the affirmative.  Unfortunately, the store was IMMENSELY crowded.  I’m not sure they were limiting the number of people allowed inside, and it was difficult to move around.  It was also really hot inside, and I started sweating immediately.

Photo Sep 29, 5 09 19 PM

And this is BEFORE it got super crowded

I spent about 25 minutes wandering around with my complimentary white wine and coveting everything I saw.  I could seriously spend an entire paycheck in here and not bat an eye.  Chris recommended the Relay Capris, which have an oversize zipper pocket at the back that’s supposed to fit smartphones, reflective detailing, and wide cuffs that are supposed to prevent the legs from sliding around.  They come in lots of great colors and prints, but since I’m broke as heck right now, I held off.  I don’t think I’ll be able to resist for long, though.  Does anyone else prefer athletic apparel to just about any other clothing options? #leggings4life

I loves me some free wine!

I loves me some free wine!

Another reason I’m so excited about Athleta opening in my town is that they offer all kinds of great in-store activities like fitness classes and group runs FOR FREE!  I also found out that they offer free hemming on pants, capris and skirts so that you get the best fit possible.  Um, hello?  Who does that?  Well, Athleta does!  And last and certainly not least, they offer a Fitness Professional Discount, so all you certified run coaches, personal trainers, and group fitness instructors can get 30% off full-priced merchandise in store!  Woo!

Do you shop at Athleta?

Have you ever gone to a “Grand Opening” party at a local store?

Anybody else wear athletic clothing any time it’s remotely acceptable, or even when it’s not?  I can’t be the only one…

A Guide to Bike Path Etiquette and Safety

I would like to preface this post by stating that I am by no means an expert on either bike path etiquette or cycling safety–I am in fact, only a very few steps up from a noob.  The following post is merely a collection of observations and pet peeves I have developed on my daily bicycle commute.  If you have anything to add, or refute, by all means, chime in!

I am very lucky that the city of Burlington has such a lovely and well-maintained bike path.  It stretches several miles along the Lake Champlain waterfront, from the south end of Burlington all the way up to Colchester.  This bike path is used by an enormous cross-section of locals–from walkers, runners, and cyclists, to moms with strollers and folks walking their dogs.  I think it’s fantastic that people are getting outside and getting exercise.  It’s a beautiful spot, and a great way to get around.  Unfortunately, however, I’ve noticed that even though the rules are clearly posted in several areas (and sometimes even spray painted on the path itself), there’s a startling lack of rule-following, or even common sense by many bike path users.

In order to address my own pet peeves educate the public, I have put together a list of some of the most basic courtesy and safety rules that should be followed when using a bike path (specifically, the Burlington Bikeway).

  • Keep right.  This is a simple one, and yet I see people running/biking/whatever in the middle or even on the left hand side of the path EVERY DAMN DAY.  You should always keep right so that traffic coming toward you has room to get by, and so that a fellow cyclist or  runner going at a faster pace has room to pass you.
Not my bike path, but the same printing appears on mine in many spots

Not my bike path, but the same printing appears on mine in many spots

  • Pass on the left.  Just like when driving a car, you should really only pass on the left.  Unless the person is totally breaking rule number 1 above and is running/walking/biking on the left side of the path. Then you just do what you’ve gotta do.
  • When passing, call out, or ring your bell.  It’s just common courtesy to call out “On your left (or right)” when passing, so that you a) give the person a chance to move over and give you more room, and b) don’t scare the bajeezus out of them.  I’ve had bikers go whizzing past without warning while I was running, and it’s fricken scary!

Bell

  • Don’t pass on a curve or hill.  I witnessed a really scary almost-accident last week.  I was plugging along on my bike ride home, approaching a big blind curve.  I could hear someone coming up fast behind me, so I pulled even further right to allow room for him to pass.  As I came up to the curve, I saw two ladies riding side by side approaching from the opposite direction.  Before I had time to call out a warning, the person behind me pulled out to pass and almost had a head on collision with the oncoming bikes!  One of the ladies screamed and they both slammed on the brakes, then the guy managed to zip around and just kept going, no apology, no acknowledgement, no nothing.  So, moral of the story, if you can’t see what’s coming, don’t pass!  And be nice, for crying out loud!
  • Don’t ride/walk/run more than 2 abreast.  The bike path is only about 10 feet across at its widest, and is usually more like 6 or 8.  If you make a huge line across the path, it’s really difficult for others to get by, or for your group to acknowledge that call of “On your left!” and move over fast enough.
  • Keep your dogs and your kids close.  Don’t let your leash’s flexi-lead out 20 feet, and don’t let your child wander far away from you on the wrong side of the path.  I’ve had a couple of close calls where I had to come to a complete stop on the bike path, even after calling out that I needed to get by.  Keep your kids and pets close enough that when another biker/runner/walker wants to pass, you can keep control of them so they don’t get run over.
  • Make sure your music is turned down enough that you can hear someone call out or ring their bell.  I get it, music is awesome.  It can make a tough workout better, and make your long run more bearable.  But if you’re rocking out so hard that when I call out “On your left” you don’t hear me and move, it’s totally not my fault if I run you over.
  • Don’t stop in the middle of the bike path.  If you need to stop, move over to the right as far as you can.  I know that in some areas, there’s not really anywhere to go, but if you can, get off the bike path.  Yes, sometimes shoes come untied.  Yes, the views are pretty and it’s nice to take pictures or regroup with your friends, but if you come to a dead stop in the middle of the path and I can’t get around you, it’s not going to end well.

All snarkiness aside, I really do love riding my bike to work.  It’s only sometimes that I want to punch people.  And to be fair, the rules should be posted in more places along the bike path–are you listening, City of Burlington?

Do you ever commute on your bike?

Do you have any suggestions for bike path etiquette/safety?

Vermont Brewers Festival

The Vermont Brewers Festival is an annual event, and every year, tickets sell out fast.  This year, tickets sold out in a record 11 minutes!  I’m lucky enough to sit at a desk all day long, so I was able to score tickets to the Saturday evening session for me and Ben.  This is the first year either of us have been able to attend, so we were very excited.

For the price of $30, you get a commemorative 5 oz sampling glass, and 15 sample tickets, which means you can try up to 15 beers.  Most beer samples were only one ticket, but some of the higher alcohol content beers were two tickets each.  You could also purchase additional beer tickets if 15 samples wasn’t enough for you.

The event takes place in the Waterfront Park, which affords beautiful lake views and an awesome sunset for the evening session.  With almost 50 breweries in attendance, as well as lots of food vendors, a good time was had by all.

Me and Torey

Me and Torey

I’m gonna be 100% honest here and state that I couldn’t remember 90% of the samples I tried without a little help.  15 samples times 5 oz each equals just over 6 beers (our buddy Pete also gave me one of his tickets, so that’s even more!), which is quite enough to get me feeling good.  I actually went to the Brewers Festival website to try and jog my memory.

  • Bobcat Cafe:  Kolsch.  Light, crisp German Ale
  • Burlington Beer Company:  Margarita Gose.  Like Budlight lime, but way better.  Fruity and refreshing without being artificially sweet.
  • Drop In Brewing Company:  Supernova IPA.  Hoppy and delightful.
  • Foley Brothers:  Forgotten Ale.  Surprisingly good for a sour beer.
  • Harpoon:  IPA.  I was sad, because I asked to try their special Citra, but the guy misheard me and gave me the regular IPA instead 😦 I’ve had it many times, and it’s good, but I wanted the limited edition sample.
  • Prohibition Pig:  Pro Pig Extra Pale Ale.  Pretty standard pale ale, nothing special.
  • Queen City Brewery:  Yorkshire Porter.  Yum.  I love dark beers.
  • Stone Corral:  Palomino Pale Ale.  Again, pretty standard pale ale, nothing special.
  • Sixpoint:  The Crisp.  Hoppy lager.  More like a pale ale than a lager.
  • Whetstone Station:  Fort Dummer Summer Ale.  Light and yummy.

So yeah, that’s only 10 out of the 16 that I can remember trying.  And really, after 5 or so samples, everything starts to taste the same, especially if you’re drinking hoppy or strong beers.  There were a few breweries that I would have liked to hit, but the lines were insane; like, stretching from one end of brew fest to the other insane.

This was the line for Lawson's--you can see it stretches all the way back past that tree in the left corner!

This was the line for Lawson’s–you can see it stretches all the way back past that tree in the left corner!

Lawson’s Finest Liquids and Hill Farmstead  are two that (in my humble opinion) aren’t that amazing/aren’t doing anything super different from other breweries, but a) they’ve perfected the art of supply and demand (you can’t get a lot of it, it’s not available a lot of places), and b) recently got written up in some publications as really good beer, so people are flocking to them.  There was plenty of delicious beer at plenty of other breweries, and I didn’t have to wait in line for an hour to try them.

The atmosphere at this Brewers Festival was WAY different and more relaxed than the one we go to in Providence , RI every year.  First of all, being outside, while a crap-shoot if the weather is bad, was amazing.  It was a bit overcast, so it wasn’t blazing hot, and there was a nice breeze.  It wasn’t at all claustrophobic, and actually had a festival feel, unlike being locked inside a convention center.  The food vendors were totally overpriced, but it’s nice that they were there in case people needed food to be ok, whereas in RI, there was a limited amount of free pizza, and that was it.

The commemorative glasses that they gave out are really nice, and I know we’ll use them around the house; RI had crappy plastic dixie cups.

Photo Jul 19, 5 35 26 PM

While the RI brew fest had unlimited samples, I was totally cool with the 15 tickets in VT.  It made me more mindful of how many samples I was getting, and I was a lot more selective about what I tried.  And we still left feeling pretty buzzed.  There were plenty of port-a-potties, and even some nice bathroom trailers, with flush toilets and running water, so the waits weren’t too bad.

Yup, I took a picture of the potty trailer.

Yup, I took a picture of the potty trailer.

For the price, the Vermont Brewers Festival is an excellent value, and I hope that we’ll be able to get tickets every year.

Did you make it to the VT Brewers Festival?

Is there a Brew Fest that happens near you?

What’s your favorite beer?