If eggnog were available year-round it wouldn’t be special, I lie to myself while sobbing into a glass of milk.
From the people who brought you “Place the Token” and “Don’t Eat the Instruction Booklet.”
I hope I never have to choose between everlasting fame and a Baconator.
Happy Easter, from Brillo and me.
I’ve already covered Howth pretty well. Just in case, though, here’s a quick recap.
The first, most important thing you need to know about Howth is fudge. It’s also got a phenomenal weekend farmers market, which is perhaps best know for its fudge.
This little patch of flowers is locally famous for being the most colorful area for thirty kilometers.
We had some absolutely gorgeous weather for our day in the seaside village.
Here’s the harbor itself. In the background is Ireland’s Eye, a small island uninhabited aside from some ruins.
Weird old churches can pop up almost anywhere in Ireland. Here’s one above a bike shop:
This seagull lives life on the edge:
Ireland is ridiculously strict about cleaning up after your pooch.
An old fishing boat tied to the breakwater.
Check it out:
We decided to walk out on the breakwater towards the lighthouse. Now, if there’s one thing you should know about Howth, it is that the town is exceptionally windy.
Howth gets more wind than most wind tunnels. NASA considered testing their designs here before realizing the weather surpassed any extreme they could possibly encounter. Residents call Chicago the “Breezy City,” and then only because they’re being generous.
While walking out, we got a closer view of Ireland’s Eye.
Past the lighthouse was a little vantage point.
Then we walked back towards the town.
We decided to head up around the bend towards the hiking trails.
We’ll get to those in the next post. Until then, I have to go save Brillo from whatever trouble he’s gotten himself into now.
You know when your neighbor stops you and says, “Haha, if you don’t like the weather just wait ten minutes!” and chuckles quietly as he pats himself on the back? It doesn’t matter where you live, two things are guaranteed: One, you have weird neighbors. Two, everyone everywhere thinks their state has the strangest weather. Turns out, unless you live in New England, your neighbor is dead wrong. Also you should probably keep an eye on him. Trouble brewing there if I ever saw it.
Now, I have stories out the whazoo about New England weather. There was the time our house got lifted off its foundation and replaced slightly off-center by a gust of wind. My parents’ trampoline once got blown twenty feet up a tree and bent in half, also by a gust of wind. Some time later, my grandparents lost a two-story barn door and their best maple sap producer to, well, a gust of wind. It’s pretty windy here. But that whole “wait ten minutes” business is not truer anywhere else in the States than here in the Northeast.
This week started at eighty degrees. On Tuesday it snowed. This afternoon our grass turned green. The following photos are all from a single day, within a few hours.
I got off the bus at the Champlain College campus, because it’s gorgeous and also I go to school there.
After my morning class, I walked home to get ready for a lunch date.
That morning’s high was twenty degrees with a biting wind. It’s practically tropical compared to the thirty below of this past winter, but still, it’s spring. I was sweating bullets on Monday, and now I’m bundling up before venturing into the frozen tundra beyond my apartment. It’s nuts.
On a more positive note, check out this art I made:
As I walked back downtown for lunch, I passed the University of Vermont:
Keep in mind I took these photos well after the snow had stopped. Even though it was cold, the sun was intense and many patches had already begun to melt. We didn’t get buckets of the stuff, but based on the previous night’s exploits I’d guess there was a solid inch on the ground. We also had copious amounts of ice, which I got up close and personal with several times.
The UVM campus is absolutely massive. It covers probably a good half of Burlington and the surrounding towns. The path I take into town goes straight through the heart of the school. Here are some of the dorms.
I love taking pictures of this intersection. I have no idea why. I have like a hundred of them. Much as I love the architecture of Champlain, UVM is truly awe-inspiring. Check this business out:
Looking down towards the lake:
Check out these sweet dorms: This is not a dorm:
I got arty with a bush next to the apartment building.
My boyfriend’s apartment:
We went out for Chinese to celebrate the end of his student teaching episode. He’s now just days away from becoming a certified teacher. No jokes here, just pride.
By the time we rolled our bloated bellies out of there, the snow was almost gone.
As I walked home through my suddenly snowless surroundings, I noticed that not only had the scenery changed, but it was at least twenty degrees warmer than when I walked downtown.
I took some pictures at the same angle as my earlier ones:
The dorms. The lake. The Hogwarts. The Hogwarts.
New England doesn’t have seasons, it has hourly temperaments. I really can’t stress enough how truly weird it is to have snow in the morning, and walk home sweating in the sun just hours later. We even had green grass.
You remember that snow-covered school from earlier? Well, here it is by the end of the day.
What the hell.
Check back for the exciting conclusion of the Snow Blown series whenever I get around to writing it.
Yesterday was Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s. It’s a global event, but it’s extra-special here in Burlington where the company began. The scoop shop on Cherry (Garcia) Street is arguably the most famous outside the factory itself, and often appears in their promotional material.
Well, the snow is just about gone, and to celebrate its death hundreds of Vermonters stood in damp 30º weather waiting for ice cream. In our defense, it is very good ice cream.
I’ve gone to this event every year since I moved to the Queen City, save when I was in Ireland. There’s always a long, snaking line, and it never takes less than an hour. There are tricks of the trade – always go before school lets out, for example – but it’s still an adventure. We usually just play cards while we wait.
This year, though, there was no line in sight. We were early, yes, but even then this was highly unusual.
As we approached the shop, there was still no line in sight.
Had we done it? After all these years, had we finally beaten Free Cone Day?
Turns out, this year the line snaked in the opposite direction. But don’t worry! You weren’t worried, were you? Honestly, this is a relatively minor thing to worry about, but in case you were, don’t, because this year the line was super speedy. I don’t know what the lines look like elsewhere, but the wait is legendary in Burlington. It’s hard to describe just how mindblowing it truly was to arrive, be served, and leave, all within fifteen minutes.
As we approached the door, each of us decided on a flavor. I chose Phish Food, because I enjoy the finer things in life.
There’s a band for some reason!
Yeah, I don’t have any pictures of my ice cream. I ate it.
We were considering going to UVM and swinging by their Ben & Jerry’s, but it’s a good thing we didn’t.
See you next year, Ben & Jerry’s!
Or tomorrow. I’ll probably see you tomorrow.
Spring has long since sprung, but snow loves the frozen Republic of Vermont more than a Deadhead stoner with a craving for Cabot cheese. Finally though, it’s begun the long process of melting, gradually reminding us that there is soil beneath the permafrost and what a major pain in the ass that soil’s going to be come mud season. The snow has been with us for so long it feels like an old friend. And old friend who everyone pretends to like because nobody can admit that, frankly, they are sick and tired of seeing his stupid face every time they make plans for the weekend. To commemorate and celebrate the passing of our dearly departed inconvenience, here’s a timeline of a Vermont winter more bitter than Almond Tonic-Water Swirl Ben & Jerry’s.
The first major snowstorm hit us mid-November. Here’s the parking lot of my apartment building a few minutes into the dusting:
Oddly enough, by December we actually had less snow.
The lack of snow did not last, though, and two days later we got this:
At this point, all the native New Englanders knew we were in for a doozy. Before winter even started we’d had more storms than I cared to photograph. Lake Champlain froze over, which has happened only a handful of times in decades. And of course we had that pesky polar vortex. Enjoy the next few pictures, because I almost lost my fingers taking them.
The new year showed no sign of being any less cold or white. On New Year’s Day I drove back to Burlington after spending the holidays with family. My boyfriend’s parents were getting married, and damned if I was going to miss the ceremony. They couldn’t have chosen a more beautiful day.
Church Street was no less gorgeous, but much less capable of sustaining human life.
Eventually the snow stopped falling, and froze over instead.
Main Street – which is one giant hill from the lake to the highway – was coated in black ice. The sidewalks were impossible to navigate, but the Main Street Slalom was the most fun I’ve had in years. Just avoid the cars.
This winter may have been the coldest in ages, but I’ve found a way to keep warm.
There’s too much snow for one post so check back later. We haven’t even gotten to the big storms yet.
So you know Brillo as my abrasive little global travel partner. Well, recently he got a brother. I named him Kartoffel. Brillo gives him noogies.
The other day I was walking downtown for a meeting, when I reached the end of the world.
I found myself drawn to the blankness, walking out on Perkins Pier and looking into the vast expanse of nothing.
In that moment, I felt hopelessly small. Helpless, even. I was a tiny, insignificant dot on an immense lake, on a massive continent, on a gigantic planet that barely registered an existence in the overwhelming enormity of space. I was forgotten, forsaken, and lost.
Actually, I was just really fucking cold. I made that other stuff up.
Interestingly, this is what that view normally looks like: