Vermont Has Great Pizza
…and there’s cat stuff everywhere.
First time here? Check out my first post from May 2022.
Greetings from New Jersey, in a quiet area near the Delaware River. I’m hanging out with Buster, a 19-year-old cat who is very choosy who he gets along with. It took a week, but we’re now best buds. Today we are monitoring a groundhog that has turned up in the back yard.
This is where I’ve been and where I’m headed, with the cats I’m caring for:
May 8 – May 28: Burlington, VT – Willow
May 28 – Jun 5: Manchester, NH
Jun 5 – Jun 22: Cambridge, MA – Bella
Jun 25 – Jul 26: Washington, D.C. – Freddie, Tuxie, Fiona, and Luna
Jul 26 – Sep 28: Rosemont, NJ – Buster
29 Sep – Nov 13: Lévis, QC – Freddy and Bubbles
Nov 21 – Dec 7: Halifax, NS – Gidget
I do not have plans locked in yet beyond December 7, so if you’re looking for someone to watch your home and cat, let me know!
Also, if you’re going to be around New Jersey or Eastern Pennsylvania in the next few weeks, let’s hang out!
Frequently Asked Questions
Indeed, I do get a couple actual questions asked frequently:
Where’s all your stuff? Did you really sell it? I have about four pieces of luggage with me and a few other things in my car, and about the same amount of bins stored at my sister’s place in Minnesota. My bike, keyboard, and guitar are also there. That’s it. I’m finding there are even more things I have with me I can do away with, and stuff I’m storing I don’t need. I do miss having my own bike and keyboard with me.
What does being a digital nomad like? I call wherever I’m staying “home” without thinking about it. It’s like the good parts of moving to a new place, but it’s every couple months and thankfully without most of the hassle of moving. A downside is having to put serious effort into meeting people, but thus far it has been rewarding in the end. Reconnecting with old friends in the places I go has been a real joy, and done so at a comfortable pace opposed to the rush of being on a vacation. Walking from wherever I’m staying and quickly being somewhere I’ve never been before is pleasing. I don’t like the perpetual uncertainty of where I’ll be in six months, but I am becoming used to it.
How are you getting around? I had a 2005 Subaru Outback. I now have a 2022 Hyundai Ioniq 5. I’ve driven a ton of different electric vehicles over the last ten years, including many of the newer ones on the market today, and after a quick test drive of the Ioniq 5 in April I knew it was the one. That week I ordered one for pick up in New Jersey. I got it a couple weeks ago. Great car. Read the New York Times take on it.
Vermont and Cats
Willow, in Burlington, Vermont, was a little standoffish at first, but quickly warmed up. Eventually Willow would sit on my chest while I was waking up, and by the end of my stay, she would give me big hugs with her paws gently gripping my back. On the morning I moved out, she knew something was off. Willow came in for a hug, wouldn’t let go, and in my attempt to pull her away she errantly tore my favorite shirt. 😿 Really happy I got to spend the time with her and to wander around the state.
During my stay in Burlington, I noticed an older woman a few doors down walking around with her gray cat in a regular basis, just holding it in her arms. Days later, I saw a young woman a couple doors down walking her cat on a leash. I approached her cat and she introduced herself, and she pointed to her friend who was also walking her cat as well! The young women then invited me to a cat walk that weekend to visit other neighborhood cats! 😻
The catamount, or “cat of the mountain,” is an extinct cougar that lives on as the mascot for the University of Vermont with a huge sculpture in the middle of campus. I saw the catamount frequently posed with for selfies and professional graduation shots. There’s a CATS bus system, and the athletic teams are the Catamounts. The a cappella ensemble calls themselves the Top Cats. There’s a Blue Cat Wine Bar, and I had a drink at El Gato Cantina. Unfortunately, the cat walk was rained out, but in my walks I saw a lot of cats, and Vermont felt comfortable calling home for a month.
Pizza in Vermont
For the second-least populated state, Vermont has a plethora of high quality pizzerias that truly take seriously sourcing local ingredients and making top quality dough. It’s not just Burlington either. Many small towns in Vermont have pizzas that far surpass some of the best pizza joints in mid-sized cities in the U.S. Even some rural cafes have clay dome ovens serving pies that can go toe to toe with some of the best in New England.
One of my top favorites is Stone’s Throw Pizza in Richmond (population 4,167). I had the “Homesteader” with Kalamata olives, baby spinach, herbed feta, and lemon. Great pizza is about balance, and this one goes to extremes before leveling out: the sweetness of the olives cut through the sourness of lemon, the feta hits the salt notes clearly without going too far, and the spinach is sharp, bitter, and acidic but in a way that tastes pleasantly fresh as if it was just plucked from the garden out back. Even with the zing of the aforementioned lemon, none of the flavors overpowered me to put me at pause, but instead excited me to take the next bite. All of this going on atop a crispy yet densely chewy crust that seemed to embody some of the same flavor dynamics but at a more muted profile: a little sweet, a little salty, and a bit sour.
Put Stone’s Throw at the top of your Vermont pizza to-do list, and also consider some of these others I’ve tried:
Piecasso in Stowe is nestled in the center of this ski resort town. In addition to the wide selection of local brews, their pizzas are some of the best in the state. The “Vienna” I got has a pesto base instead of red sauce, and is topped with sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, mozzarella, and balsamic. So good that I took the trek back to Stowe a second time to get the same pizza again, and I came back winning some local brewery swag on trivia night.
American Flatbread in Waitsfield is deserving of an entire story on its own. Founder George Schenk is to local pizza as Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are to ice cream: unabashedly progressive and dedicated to moral business choices. Schenk is inspirational and influential enough to be invited to give a school commencement address, but wildly outspoken and abrasive enough to have the school later apologize for it. Nonetheless, the pizza is fantastic. Flatbread expanded to a number of locations across the country and Canada in part through franchising, and you can find frozen versions in speciality grocery stores. If you go to any of their locations, get the Punctuated Equilibrium.
Pizzeria Ida in Burlington has the best New York-style slices you cannot get by the slice but only by the entire pie. The menu changes daily and usually only has four or five choices. No website or phone, and was initially described to me as a “secret place,” so knowing what you’re getting into (or seeing if they’ll even be open) requires hopping to their Instagram account. The account oscillates between menus, food being prepared, and selfie videos by the arrogant and vulgar chef-owner Dan Pizzutillo. The faux secrecy and crass attitude is part of the brand, and if that’s not your thing, trust that the quality is high enough to squelch those vibes.
Positive Pie in Montpelier (and a couple other locations) say they’re “harvesting Italian flavors and infusing them with a Vermont Sensibility,” which could be said by a number of pizzerias in the state but truly pulled off here. I enjoyed the Bruschetta pizza with white garlic sauce, red onion, basil, pesto, Kalamata olives, and balsamic.
Pizzeria Verità in Burlington is not at the top of my list, but in terms of having the best looking pizzas in having one of the nicest spaces, it’s tops. The interior mirrors that same farm-to-table with craft cocktail restaurant vibe in your town: ceilings with HVAC exposed, wood pillars, the chalkboard menu with tall skinny letters, vintage-looking light bulbs with exposed filaments, and a stack of quarter-cut logs ready to heat your food (except they’re oddly stored at the front of the house instead of at the oven). The pizzas themselves are friendly for social media but didn’t have the depth of flavor or consistency I grew accustomed to elsewhere in the state. All said, Verità is still quite good.
If you’re looking for bar slices around Burlington, there are higher tier finds at Mr. Mike’s and Three Needs Taproom & Pizza Cube, as well as at Monkey House in nearby Winooski. And in case you’re wondering, there were close to a dozen other places I tried that didn’t make the cut.
More Cat Updates
Bella in Cambridge liked her own space, a regular schedule, and appreciates having someone around. We became incrementally closer every few days and eventually I felt like her human with regular brushing, play time, scratches behind the ears, and hanging out on the living room floor. When I picked up her normal human at the airport and we walked together into Bella’s condo, Bella welcomed me back normally but when she spotted her normal human, she darted away and hid! 😿 It took until the next morning for Bella to snap back into her old relationship. Funny how cats are.
Freddie is a distinguished gentleman of a cat who regularly crosses his paws when he sits. I know Freddie well, and brought him a catnip toy, but he got bored with that quickly. I went food shopping and brought back a half-sized paper grocery bag which Freddie fell in love with instead. He’d go inside it, step on top of it, sleep on it, and it became his new favorite thing most of the day, every day. After his humans returned the bag got torn and they had to replace it. Freddie’s renewed love of bags is apparently still going on strong.
Tuxie is a sweetheart. Cute, personable, and would listen to me play the piano. No adjustment period at all, and I was treated as her normal human right away. Look at those cute socks!
Fiona and Luna are joyful floofs. Each day, Fiona would lounge in a window hammock, Luna would perch in her cat tree, and they both try to sneak into the bathroom to steal elastic hair ties. They’re cuddly, great company, and you can follow them on Instagram!
I appreciate you reading this. Please keep in touch! What are you up to?