I awoke early in Burlington, packing up my soggy camping gear and shoving it back into our still overstuffed vehicle. I got myself ready to leave before my two companions had, so I scurried down to the beach for a few shots of beautiful Lake Champlain.
We left our campsite and made the short drive back into town, parking and walking down to the water, to the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center
. This center has been a public attraction since 2003, boasting dozens of aquatic and amphibious creatures in a colorful, modern setting. It's also the first LEED
certified Green Building in the state, setting a Burlington standard for environmental awareness.
We had a lot of fun running around this place, which was thankfully light on the underfoot children traffic on this particular day. The exhibits were geared in large part toward a younger audience, but only to the point that a younger audience would be able to understand them - still perfectly accessible for an older crowd like we three.
The busiest area was around the museum's temporary exhibit, "WIND: Power and Play," which centered around wind power and its uses in today's society as a source of clean energy. I took some photographic strides, using the handy-dandy "aquarium" setting on my camera and leaving with some pretty impressive shots of fish, turtles, and these little frog guys who were nice enough to pose for us.
Practically next door to the aquarium awaited our lunch at the Skinny Pancake
, a creperie with a busy outdoor seating section and a wildly eclectic assortment of crepe creations. There was a short wait for our food, which threw me off my game a little - to the point that I completely forgot to take any photos of our food before we had wolfed down every single bite. Trust me, they looked great and tasted even better.
Next on the ol' agender was a visit to one of the east coast's foremost craft breweries, the Magic Hat Brewing Company
. As a young drinker in Philadelphia, I was always extremely gratified whenever a bottle of delicious Magic Hat made its way into my hands. So as I'm sure you can imagine, this stop was a must-do, probably one of the biggest reasons I wanted to come to Burlington in the first place.
The grungy, rusty exterior was merely a front, as the interior was pretty sharp for a factory. The main entrance brought us directly into the shop, and on the far end of the room was the bar (shown here). Two bartenders handed out free samples of any kind of beer we wanted, from their Circus Boy Hefeweisen to their sensational HI.P.A., in tiny, shot glass sized receptacles. We tried a few beers (all of which I had tasted and enjoyed before), and wandered through the brewery on a self-guided tour.
The brewery did offer a guided tour, about a half hour after we arrived - but quite frankly we didn't feel the need to have the brewing process explained to us for the third time in about as many days. So once we'd gotten a good look inside, snapped some photos and loaded up on three growlers of beer (64 oz. each), fresh from the tap, we turned tail and hit the highway.
As we drove south toward the Adirondack Park Preserve, the clouds loomed over us in a rather haunting fashion. The rain wasn't quite with us yet, but we were fairly certain that we'd encounter something unpleasant as the night progressed.
We'd flipped through my handy dandy Frommer's campground guide
and discovered a gushing review for a spot by Lake George, called Lake George Escape Camping Resort
. Apparently, given the time of year we came to town, there were a minimal amount of vacationers present, and the campground still had all of its decorations from Mardi Gras up. As always, Joey was happy to oblige.
The second we exited the vehicle, we were absolutely swarmed by the most aggressive bunch of mosquitoes that I've ever encountered. It wasn't five minutes before we were slapping ourselves in the face and screaming bloody murder - necessitating the maiden voyage of the Coleman GeoSport Tent
. This lovely device shielded us very well from the thousands of bloodthirty savages in the air around us, especially after we picked up some bug spray to further deter the little buggers.
Once we got settled, we realized how incredibly well we had set ourselves up. Before the rain hit we were able to build a fire, let it turn to embers and cooked an unbelievable meal of sausage, pierogies, rice, veggies and mouthwatering beer from the tap at the Magic Hat factory. By the end, Sarah's place in the culinary history books had been further solidified, and we were as satisfied as three campers could ever be.
Soon enough, the rain came down for the second night in a row, but who cares? If anything, it helped to drown out Joey's insufferable snoring somewhat.
This is the life. More on how much better I'm living than you are, coming very soon.