Quebec, Canada, and Vermont, USA!

Day Five

Destination: Burlington, VermontWhat a glorious night of sleep we had, and with a short day of driving planned for the day we were able to sleep in until nine a.m. Truly a luxury in our Marriott beds.

So what do you do with four hours to spend in Montreal?

1)   Talk with the locals
2)   Practice your high school French
3)   Find a great café
4)   Marvel at the architecture
5)   Visit a church or two
6)   Shop

We started our morning consulting with the concierge.  He marked on the map for us a few of our destinations: a café, Notre Dame, and the underground city.

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First food. We had an amazing meals at Olive et Gourmando. This very busy café was obviously a local hotspot. I just loved watching the people come and go, the food delivered to tables, and the staff friendly and chatty both in French and English with everyone. I was impressed with the ability of both our hostess and waiter in the ease in which they would look to us and speak English and then turn to someone next to us and speak French. I commented to our hostess as she stopped by our table a few times checking on things – she just laughed saying she tries to remember which guests speak what, but she she said that she usually speaks the French to the English speaking person and visa versa. The food was so good we also ordered some pastries to take with us on our drive.

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Fresh fruit with yogurt with a hint of maple.

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The Gustavo – Garlic and yogurt chicken, grilled red onions,marinated portobellos, maple dijonnaise, and havarti cheese.

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Then we walked around the city.  We found a few great shops to wander in and out of. Buying a few small purchases: hand milled soaps, calligraphy pens, scarf, and maple treats to take home for the family.The Notre-Dame Basilica was of course most impressive. Walking into the very dark church is just simply awe inspiring. It is absolutely beautiful. The level of detail to every surface inside and outside of this building is exceptional.

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After Notre-Dame we headed to another corner of the city to check out the “underground city”. While this area is large and yes, underground, all we did was wander a bit through an underground shopping mall. Loads and loads of great shops! The lower floors are unique and the “tunnels” connect crisscrossing a large territory of downtown real estate.We also wandered through a couple of more churches; St. Patrick’s Basilica and St. James United Church, and up and down the various streets. Before we knew it, it was time to load back into the car and drive to Vermont.  While our final destination was Burlington, Vermont for my last hotel stay before my early moning flight back to California, Burlington was not Alyssa’s new home town. We first headed to her new place of residence right across the USA boarder and sitting on a large lake filled with sailboats.

We found her home, met one of the roommates and moved her belongings into her orange room on the third floor.  Alyssa will be interning for a non-profit that works to connect farms with schools. The home will be inhabited by four AmeriCorps workers and two interns. It is a great home in a small town in Vermont. I am very proud of my daughter and admire her gumption to move so far from home and into a house with complete strangers. She has an adventurous spirit for sure!

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Once we moved her into her new digs, we had another long drive to the state capitol of Burlington.  We traveled yet more and more miles of winding and rolling country roads past farms, fields, cows, and chickens. The scenery was beautiful with covered bridges, farmhouses with wrap around porches, and small town Main Streets lined with American Flags. I felt as though I was driving through a Norman Rockwell painting.

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I was told by many that Burlington, Vermont, is Pleasantville, USA, and it did not disappoint.  Their downtown promenade reminded me much of Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. We found a French restaurant called Leunig’s Bistro and Café on Church Street. I guess I was just getting my French on in Montreal and needed some more. This dinner was a bit of a splurge – OK, it was a big splurge, but I reasoned that it was a celebratory dinner. Yes, we were most definitely celebrating  the fact that we had just finished our drive across the country, a drive that took us from Northern California to Vermont, through ten different states and through two provinces in our neighbor, Canada. We drove over 3,300 miles and spent more than 55 hours in the car together. This was cause for a celebration!

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Fusilli & Avocado Sauté – Fusilli Pasta Tossed with Roasted Baby Squash, Baby Zucchini, Cipollini Baby Onions, Paneer, Edamame, Sweet Corn, Black Beans & Roasted Tomatoes Tossed in a Creamy Avocado Sauce

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Captain Cod – Pan Seared Cod Crusted with Roasted Tomatoes & Kalamata Olives, House Made Maple Brook Ricotta, Caper, & Lemon Gnocchi Sautéed Tossed with Baby Spinach, Wild Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Roasted Eggplant & Broccolini with Fennel Pollen & Honey Broth

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Blue Ledge Farm Camembrie with House Made Crackers, Bing Cherry Compote & Fresh Fruit

I was also rolling Thanksgiving and Christmas into this dinner celebration as well. Alyssa has accepted a job as a cook in the Sundeck Restaurant in Aspen beginning the third week of November. So as soon as her internship finishes up mid-November, she will be repacking her Subaru and driving (without me, but hopefully a friend) to Colorado. A winter job at a ski resort means lots of time to work on those boarding skills, but it also means she will not be home for the holidays. So unless I can figure out how to get in a trip to Aspen, I will not be seeing my daughter until April or May of next year. This is a hard thought for me to bear! Instantly causes my eyes to well with tears.A wonderful dinner to cap off an unforgettable experience of driving cross-country with my daughter.

Saturday morning brings an early flight home for me, and Alyssa will be off to start her first day of her new internship.

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