Sunday, October 9, 2011

Mt. Philo: Hurray for Vermont State Parks!

Tristan and I recently spent a few days in Burlington with the Vermont Sports tent at the Nor'Easter Festival. We decided to make a trip of it and stay there, and we picked a campground that offered a walking distance commute to the festival each day. I'm not going to name names, but the campground rhymed with Morth Meach Mampground. So there's a hint for you. Anyways, this campground was not my cup of tea - there was a cart that drove around at all hours, our site was about 10 square feet, there were no trees, and there was nothing appealing about having a campfire practically in the road. It was crowded, loud, bright, and sounded like the city. And we were wedged in between the intersection of two roads. Not fun.

So we abandoned our [very expensive] site at said unnamed campground and headed to Mt. Philo - we had heard this was a good one. And was it ever! Vermont State Parks never disappoint.

We drove up and up and up to the top of the mountain in the dark, where we met Nick the caretaker.  The sites - only seven of them - are actually on the way back down the mountain (it's a one-way road that winds up and back down) on a little saddle of Mt. Philo. We pulled into our site, stepped out of our car in to the blackness, and heard only crickets. Perfect!

That first night we started a fire, set up camp, imbibed, played checkers, and made chicken fajitas on the grill over the fire (the recipe's super easy - see below!). What a great night, and what a great weekend. We have always been fans of the Vermont State Park system - Smuggler's Notch Campground is a favorite of ours, as is Underhill State Park. We're sorry we didn't just go there in the first place! If you are ever in the Burlington area, of just south of that area, we highly recommend Mt. Philo for camping, and we hear the hiking is nice too!

Chicken Fajitas Over the Fire (feeds 2+)
2 chicken breasts
3 bell peppers
1 red onion
fajita seasoning
salsa verde
tin foil

Wrap the chicken breasts (whole) in foil along with the fajita seasoning and some of the salsa verde. Slice the peppers and onions and wrap these in a foil packet. (To make a foil packet: Place the food on top of a large square of foil. Fold the foil up, bringing the two edges together, then roll the edges of foil together and keep rolling down until you form a snug wrapping around the food. Fold in the opposite edges on top of the first fold, making a little packet.) The tortillas can also be wrapped in foil and warmed over the fire. The chicken took about 20 minutes over a good bed of coals; the peppers and onions were on for about 10 minutes. The tortillas were only on for 5 minutes or less. To make the fajitas, cut the chicken into strips, put the chicken onto a tortilla, top with peppers and onions and some of the left over salsa verde. Then enjoy! Yummm!

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