Places: A Familiar Destination

One of the great things (and sometimes a complicating factor) about travelling is the ability to experience new and different things; new food, new sights, different cultural norms than those that you are used to. However, sometimes, there is something very comforting about visiting a place you have been to a dozen times before. When you visit, you stay at your regular hotel, you eat at your favorite restaurants and you notice when a shop you used to go to has been replaced by something else. You feel more like a regular than a tourist.

For us, one of these places is Burlington, Vermont. We usually end up there two or three times a year since it is a comfortable distance for a weekend and it is also a good halfway point on the way to the Maine coast. We stay in our same hotel, visit many of the same places and we eat at our favorite restaurants from the last time we were there.

And now.

Last weekend, we made the four-hour drive from our freezing cold climate to a similarly cold environment in Vermont. Upon arriving, we visited Pizza Verita on Friday night and although not quite the same, it provided a nice reminder of our many pizzas eaten in Italy last fall.

One of the new wrinkles this weekend was a trip out to Shelburne Farms, a 1400-acre working farm just south of Burlington that sits on the edge of Lake Champlain. It is a National Historic Landmark and one of the things they seem to offer is educational programs for kids and adults. On our way out, we stopped at our favourite place for bagels, Myers Bagels, a nondescript shop in an industrial sector of South Burlington.

At the farm there happened to be a ‘Bread and Butter making’ interactive class for the kids on the Saturday we were going to be there so we signed the kids up and they had a great time making their own flour, then baking bread, and learning how to make their own butter to spread all over it. I am looking forward to making a trip back out to the farm in the summer since it is set on gorgeous land with many walking trails and a seasonal restaurant that looks out over the lake.

The teaching barn at Shelburne Farm
The payoff.

On Saturday afternoon, we did a little shopping on Church Street Marketplace and the kids continued to make great use of the pool. We also tried out a new place for dinner, El Cortijo Tacqueria which delivered on some really good tacos.

On Sunday morning (after another swim of course) we hit an old favourite for breakfast, Magnolia Bistro. All in all, even though it wasn’t any warmer, the weekend proved to be a nice respite from the winter.

I expect that some other people have these type of ‘comfort destinations’ as well. When we were kids, I always considered Victoria to be ours because we would visit my grandparents there so often. Even when I visit now, it feels like a familiar place. Does anyone else have places like this that they enjoying visiting time after time? Where’s yours?


4 thoughts on “Places: A Familiar Destination”

  1. For me, the Olympic Peninsula is an old favourite. Small towns, a few hippie-run cafes, basic motels . . . and beaches to die for, if beachcombing (not sun worshipping) is your thing. Loved this piece about revisiting favourite spots.

  2. Well, I thought about it for a while, and I think I’d have to say Canmore. I have wonderful memories of Banff and Jasper as well – but those are REALLY old memories – whereas, Canmore is somewhere I think of visiting with family and friends, including a wonderful “gift trip” from YOU! I like the open valley and the views, the restaurants, and the feel of a small town.

  3. Our kids will definitely say Burlington, Vermont when asked this question later on. For me, it was Smiths Falls, Ontario. Our family spent summers boating on the Big Rideau, watching the arrivals and departures through the various Locks, picnicking and grabbing ice cream cones to take to the playground in town. I remember my dad sitting us on his lap while he drove over the narrow causeway to the cottage, and the sound of the bullfrogs and loons as I lay in bed.

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