My Vegan Day Trip to Miami, Florida – Little Havana, Art Deco, & South Beach!

My two day TBEX Travel Blogger conference had wrapped up by Friday evening. The time was ripe to do some weekend sightseeing in warm & sunny southern Florida! Thus that Saturday morning, I hopped on an early Greyhound bus to Miami for a fun day trip. Upon arrival in town, I went directly to the completely vegan “Choices Kitchen”(Choices Kitchen) for my breakfast meal.

A thirst-quenching “Green Envy” made of Spinach, Kale, Apple, Banana, Garlic, and Ginger started off the day.

For my breakfast main course, I selected “The Kind Slam” consisting of one mango pancake, tofu scramble, and two slices of tempeh bacon. A side of sprouted grain toast with pesto butter accompanied the meal. The entire breakfast was so delicious!

A display case near the register showcases a nice variety of vegan baked goods. I purchased a maple faux “bacon” donut. What a yummy treat! I highly recommend “Choices Kitchen” for a filling and spectacular vegan breakfast.

After having eaten this wonderful breakfast, my day of sightseeing was about to begin. First on my agenda was the popular “Little Havana” neighborhood of Miami. This neighborhood is home to many Cuban immigrants. Little Havana was named after the capital of Cuba.

The first landmark that I encountered was the “Walk of Fame” on Calle Ocho(8th Street). The sidewalk pavement contains golden star imprints with names of Cuban-born and other Latino celebrities in the music, sports, and film industries. Samy Sosa, Gloria Estefan, and Tito Puente each have a star.

Further up the road, I observed the Bay of Pigs Memorial with flame, honoring its heroes.

The Florida heat urged me to grab a cool beverage at this point. Several fruit stands reside in the area and offer popular tropical fruit juices such as mango, watermelon, papaya, and orange.

I stopped for a cold and satisfying “jugo de papaya” (papaya juice).

Another attraction for which the neighborhood is fondly known, is the random rooster that wanders about here and there. Two or three met my path.

Random spots along the sidewalk revealed additional stars on the Walk Of Fame. The music legend Celia Cruz was represented with a well-deserved star.

Neighborhood markets sell Latin American food products and produce, such as rice and beans.

Little Havana is also renowned for its colorful graffiti artwork. Exteriors of restaurants, shops, benches and other media showcase wonderful examples of this artistic graffiti.

Miniature plaques, license plates, and mosaic tiles are also media forms used to showcase local art.


Several gift shops on Calle Ocho offer Cuban style souvenirs including rooster statues, art pieces, and jewelry. Through the windows of one such gift shop, one notices the reflection of a classic blue & white auto that is typical of Cuba.

Domino Park is a small park in Little Havana where seniors enjoying playing a game of dominos. Many tables are set up with groups of four socializing and playing the relaxing game on a lazy afternoon.


Colorful mosaic tiled walls and walkway pavement also proudly showcase the vibrant ambiance of the neighborhood.


Across the street, my eyes set gaze upon the Masters of Cuban Art Museum.

Along the museum’s exterior, artwork by Cuban artists are displayed, as well as paintings depicting Cuban celebrities and their contributions to the music scene.


Bands playing Cuban music perform in several restaurants along Calle Ocho. Its a great way for tourists to experience the Cuban music scene.

A music shop on Calle Ocho sells cds by Cuban singers and other Latin American performers.

A wide range of music is found on the shelves. Whether its a widely recognized artist such as Celia Cruz or a band known primarily in Cuba, one can find their music cds in this shop.

Onward to my next stop. The Futurama art gallery showcases works by many local artists. A range of styles representing contemporary art are found here. Whether it is paintings of Little Havana scenes in rich colors or 3D art, there is something for everybody to enjoy.

A giant rooster sculpture greets visitors near the entrance.

In fact, several spots along Calle Ocho display large and striking rooster sculptures as well. Colorful patterns, intricate images, and local quotes such as “azucar” are inscribed on their bodies.

Beautiful graffiti art displays throughout the neighborhood.

Cuban cigars are popular in Little Havana. Though I do not condone smoking whatsoever, I will give mention to this topic, as it is a huge part of Cuban culture, its economy, and Little Havana. That said, I did attend a cigar-making demo at a local cigar shop, merely as a touristic experience in the history and culture of the area.

Back outside the shop, several colorful rooster sculptures came across my path.


My self-guided tour of Little Havana had concluded. After my delightful visit there, I called upon an Uber driver to take me to downtown Miami for a bite to eat. “Mi Vida Cafe” (Mi Vida Cafe) is a casual restaurant offering a completely vegan menu, as well as daily specials.

A display case of vegan baked goods offers the hungry tourist a selections of cakes, pies, and cookies.

For my mod-day appetizer, I chose the sizzling seitan chimichurri made with freshly ‘’home made’’ seitan, grilled & served with a lemon spicy chimichurri sauce. Spicy and tasty!

My main entree selection was the pumpkin tacos special containing two home made tortillas, pumpkin, vegan cheese, onions, & home made ground seitan topped with home made guacamole, sprouts & salsa.

An invigorating Divine Spark smoothie of Watermelon, Mint, Pear & Strawberry completed my meal.

Deciding upon a dessert was quite a task, as there were many amazing options to consider. I chose a vanilla ice cream drizzled with chocolate and topped with a cookie wafer. My entire meal was delicious.

Within moments after my meal, a trusted Uber drive whisked me away to the ever-so-popular South Beach in Miami. The palm tree-lined Ocean Drive is lined with shops, restaurants, and many elegant hotels with “Art Deco” architecture.




The Art Deco Welcome Center on Ocean Drive includes a gift shop where visitors may purchase whimsical and retro “Art Deco” souvenirs.

Tourists and locals alike are greeted by a large stone that contains a temperature gauge and a date stamp.

South Beach is simply stunning! Whether you look to the left or to the right, the lengthy soft white sand beach is unspoiled and immaculate. A lifeguard tower painted in vibrant hues sits peacefully atop the shimmering sands.




Beachcombers frolic about the warm waters and stroll along its shores.

Leisure craft and enormous cruise ships are seen in the distance, as they make their way to their destinations. Tourists swim in the ocean waters and seagulls waddle along the low tides.

After spending some time soaking up the rays and dipping my feet into the ocean, it was time to explore the Art Deco scene.

Hotels and other businesses along Ocean Drive and Collins Ave are home to many of the Art Deco style buildings of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. The Art Deco architecture is sleek, clean, and simple,using rectangular blocks arranged in a geometric pattern; with porthole windows. Visitors may do a self guided walking tour of the Art Deco district using a map provided by the Visitor’s Center or may go on a guided walk.

Many of the Art Deco buildings are outlined in pastel colors, while others are simply facades of white or grayish shades.


I even encountered a gallery & gift shop that offers Art Deco artwork and souvenirs.

The Cardoza Hotel was once the residence of singer Gloria Estefan. One of its recognized features are the coral railings and columns that are incorporated into the 1939 structure.


The Delano was the tallest building in Miami when it was constructed in 1947 and the Sagamore is known for its impressive art collection within its Modernist exterior.

Several of the Art Deco properties also invite visitors to check out their building’s interior. Sleek Art Deco style furnishings reside in their lobbies.

Photos of glamorous move stars from bygone eras, are found on the walls of some of these old hotels.

The Raleigh Hotel is known for its Art Deco lobby furniture. Its Deco pool was used as a backdrop in Esther Williams movies from the 1940s and 1950s.

As the evening turned into night, some of the Art Deco district buidings shone colorful bright lights on their facades.

From greens and purples on hotel fronts to brilliant yellows atop the water fountains, the night scene was alive with color!





My stroll along the Art Deco district was spectacular. However, dinner was now calling my name.

I headed over to Full Bloom(Full Bloom), an all vegan restaurant in downtown Miami. The spacious restaurant offers gourmet vegan cuisine with an eclectic menu and elegant ambiance. Outdoor dining is available, providing an incredible view of the Miami skyline.


My meal started off with a great tasting complimentary gazpacho soup.

For an appetizer, I opted for the asparagus leeks, and parsley cream.

My main dinner entree selection was the Black and white sesame crusted tofu with grilled pineapple macadamia. The entire meal was absolutely delicious and flavorful.

A Hawaiian coconut Haupia was my choice for dessert. The custard-like sweet was really delectable.

For a taste of Miami’s vegan gourmet cuisine, Full Bloom restaurant is the place to dine. Before I waved adieu to this fascinating city, I stood on the outdoor deck at the restaurant, gazing at the magnificent Miami skyline.

I enjoyed my Miami day trip immensely. From the traditional neighborhood of Little Havana to the impressive Art Deco scene to the breath-taking beaches, and the vegan dining scene; Miami is a city that should be on everyone’s future travel itinerary!

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Beaches, Nature, Wildlife, and Vegan Eats in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

On the evening of October 28th, I hopped on a flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida to attend the TBEX Travel Blogger Conference. I had always wanted to visit warm & sunny southern Florida and its beautiful beaches, so this event presented the perfect opportunity! The two day conference would take place on Thursday and Friday, thus leaving Saturday and Sunday open for sightseeing.

Prior to my flight’s departure from Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts; I had a quick bite to eat at “Currito”(Currito) in the airport food court. They offer several vegan burrito choices. My tasty dinner selection was the Bangkok Burrito with cilantro lime rice, Asian slaw, cucumber, Thai style peanut sauce, wrapped in a tortilla.

Once aboard my JetBlue flight, I was pleased to notice that their snack menu now includes a vegan option. The “Pump Up Box” that I ordered included Dip-in Hummus dip, Olives basil garlic olives, 2 Degrees chocolate banana snack bar, Mary’s Gone Crackers Mulitgrain Crackers, and Enlightened Roasted Broad Beans. Each one was enjoyable.

The first day of the TBEX conference was fantastic. I met many fellow travel bloggers and attended some fabulous workshops.
An after-party was held at an exquisite resort in nearby Hollywood, Florida. The evening was capped off nicely with pink skies, as the sun was setting.

Upon arrival back in Fort Lauderdale, I decided upon Top 42 Bar (Top 42 Bar) for my dinner. The restaurant is accommodating to vegans, by substituting or eliminating ingredients to their vegetarian selections. Two of their side dishes made a decent evening meal. My roasted brussel sprouts and brown rice with veggies(peas, edamame, scallions) in a tamari sauce were good choices.


Prior to heading over to the second day of the TBEX conference, I stopped by the Fort Lauderdale Beach on Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. What better way to start the day than a walk along the beach!

The sun was still rising and looked spectacular!

Across the street from the beach was “Ocean View Delight” restaurant (Ocean View Delight Restaurant). This Mediterranean Cafe offers healthy and fresh vegetarian and vegan food on their menu. I opted for the vegan whole wheat French Toast topped with cinnamon and agave syrup, sliced bananas, and a side of hash browns. A cold glass of fresh orange juice was my refreshing morning beverage. Everything was delicious. For a beachfront view and great vegan breakfast choices, I highly recommend this cafe.

After my breakfast, I went back to the beach to dip my feet in its warm and soothing waters before heading to the conference.

Day two of TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) had come to an end. The conference was both informative and enlightening. Dinner time had arrived, so I opted for the all vegan “Sublime Restaurant” (Sublime Restaurant) in Fort Lauderdale. This upscale vegan restaurant offers an eclectic menu and amazing ambiance. Their gourmet vegan meals attract many nationally recognized celebrities.

The waiter first presented me with a complimentary baked polenta cake with herbs. I enjoyed it very much.

The cashew cheese plate appetizer arrived next with house made cheese, olive tapenade, and house made crostini. Such a tasty vegan cheese plate!

My entree was the Sublime Picatta consisting of a Gardein cutlet, mashed potato and sauteed spinach, in a lemon-caper sauce. What flavorful and fabulous meal! A pineapple juice complimented it.

For dessert, I selected the vegan coconut cake made with white cake, coconut bittercream, and almond tuile, with a drizzled chocolate sauce on top. Wow! My sweet treat was absolutely delectable.

Saturday had arrived, so I took an early morning Greyhound bus to Miami for a sightseeing day trip. On Sunday, I woke up bright and early back in Fort Lauderdale, ready to commence my day’s itinerary. The first activity of the morning was a visit to the Everglades. I took an educational sightseeing tour of the Everglades by airboat. Our guide stated that we would possibly meet a few of the local crocodiles in these waters.

This habitat for rare species such as the American alligator and manatee, is also considered a a World Heritage site and an International Biosphere Reserve and Wetlands.

Various trees, tall grasses, and a multitude of lilypads provide lush wetlands with each twist and turn along the winding waterway passages.

Eventually, we encounter an alligator’s head peering above the calm waters.

Then his body begins to emerge.

From each and every angle in the airboat, we catch striking views of the Everglades.

Again we enocounter a couple of alligators. Our guide calls out to them to attract their attention. He never pulls up the boat too closely to them, so that he respects their space and safety. They slowly glide by, as their long sleek bodies swim further into the deep waters.


The warm wetlands habitat provides the proper environment for green plants, trees, and flowering lilypads to thrive.

The reflection of the puffy white clouds in the sky and the green trees start to shimmer upon the waters.


I was quite pleased to have witnessed several alligators casually swimming about the waterways of the Everglades and glad that the airboat slows down and doesn’t get too close to invade their space. My day of adventure was off to a good start! After cruising around the Everglades, it was time to grab some lunch.

A trusted Uber driver brought me to “Green Bar & Kitchen”(Green Bar & Kitchen) in Fort Lauderdale. The completely vegan restaurant offers plant-based healthy vegan food in a casual and bright space. For my Sunday Brunch meal, I opted for the Tofu Benedict with tempeh slices on a homemade biscuit with greens, topped with a vegan hollandaise sauce. The entree was complimented with a side of roasted potatoes and avocados. My beverage was a tropical mango tea. Everything was superb! This cafe provides an extensive menu of savory and sweet items.

A fruit tart with vegan cream cheese was a great snack purchase for me. The fruity and cheesy flavors was indeed a tasty treat for me!

Later in the afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit an animal sanctuary that cares for injured wildlife that are unable to be released into the environment. I encountered many of the rescued wild turkeys, snowbirds, peacocks, and absolutely stunning pink flamingos.






A Florida lion was also cared for on the grounds.

Next on my itinerary was a tram ride through botanical gardens and forests in the Everglades region of southern Florida. We encountered many species of flora and fauna. From banana trees to gigantic “Hammock Trees” to moss covered giant branches on moss-covered trees to swaying palm trees, we gazed in awe at the sheer uniqueness and variety that each tree has to offer.



Within the woods, a large pond exists. Geese and other birds reside along its shores.

Beautifully colorful flowers and berries are found throughout the botanical gardens and forest, displaying their splendid hues of oranges, reds, pinks, and yellows.


Florida’s prized crop of mango trees also grows within the botanical garden site, as well as a few other fruits.

My day in the Everglades was amazing, but the time had arrived to pay a visit to one of Florida’s spectacular beaches: Las Olas Beach in Fort Lauderdale! The long stretch of pristine beach offers miles of soft white sand and crystal clear waters. Though it was late October, the water was still warm and comfortable. I went up to my knees in the ocean and enjoyed the soothing feeling. The beach is clean, safe, and quiet. I really enjoyed my visit.



As I exited the beach, I took a stroll by the winding white walls along its edge.

Late afternoon turned into evening, so it was time to leave the beautiful Las Olas Beach and pack up my luggage for my return flight home. The airport food court presented me with one vegan-friendly restaurant. The “Food Network Kitchen” (Food Network Kitchen) offers casual sit down dining or takeaway sandwiches, beverages, and snacks. I purchased a tasty vegan chickpea and veggie sandwich, wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla. The portion was decent and inexpensive.

My four day visit to Fort Lauderdale and Miami were magnificent! I enjoyed the gorgeous beaches, the breath-taking natural wonder of the Everglades and its wildlife, and the impressive vegan dining scene in the southern Florida region.

My tours in the Everglades were provided by “Greater Fort Lauderdale Visitor’s Bureau” but all opinions expressed are my own.

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Fall Foliage, the Arts, and Vegan Dining in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts – Part#2

Breathtaking Autumn foliage, a stately author’s residence, eclectic art and music, and superb vegan dining are what awaited me during my second day’s visit in the Berkshires Mountain region of western Massachusetts. I started the morning with breakfast at the super vegan-friendly Starving Artist Creperie (Starving Artist Creperie) in Lee, Massachusetts. My breakfast selection was the Autumn Apple Crisp crepe with apples, raisin, and chopped nuts; wrapped in a buckwheat crepe and a side scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream. Such a delicious taste!

For my AM beverage, I chose a raw juice of orange, carrot, and ginger. I enjoyed it very much. The cafe offers several raw juice combos and smoothies made with soy or almond milk.

A display case filled with vegan treats is found beside the counter. I purchased the carob and coconut breakfast bar as a tasty sweet for later in the day.

After my terrific breakfast, I hit the road for a visit to “The Mount” in Lenox, Massachusetts; home of late 19th and early 20th century author Edith Wharton. Ms. Wharton is known to be one of the first authors of travel guides, in addition to her popular fictional works. Born in 1862, she grew up in an era when women were discouraged from accomplishing anything besides marriage. Edith defied these odds and became an accomplished author of over 40 books, including “The Age Of Innocence”, “Ethan Frome”, and “The House Of Mirth”, as well as guides on architecture, gardens, and interior design.

Her home “The Mount” was built in 1902. Harmony and simplicity are two of the traits that she felt should be incorporated into residence. As visitors stroll through the lengthy wooded path to her mansion, their gaze is set upon the many sculptures and artwork throughout the grounds.

The mansion’s sizable exterior is surrounded by well-manicured greenery.

Edith entertained her author friends, including Henry James, in her elegant dining room.

It is believed that Edith Wharton actually penned her literature while in bed, not at a desk. Several of her writings are on display on the bed in her room at The Mount. The window view to the gardens provides a bright and well-lit location to do some writing.

An exquisite living room defines elegance and class. She is known for her style and superb interior design. Several of her works reflect upon the subject of the architectural design of homes.

Gardens of colorful flower varieties, lush greenery, and a water fountain are found surrounding the residence.


Next on my itinerary was the Schantz Gallery in the town of Stockbridge. This ‘hidden gem’ fine arts gallery features contemporary glass sculptures by a variety of artists, including Dale Chihuly and Lino Tagliapietra. Each piece is truly unique. Geometric shapes, human form, wildlife, and nature are some of the subjects reflected in the media of glass.








I was truly impressed by the works in this beautiful gallery and highly recommend visitors to the region to stop by to view the art for themselves.

Starting my foliage drive from Route 183 in Lenox, I headed south to the town of Great Barrington. Baba Louie’s Pizza(Baba Louie’s Pizza) in Great Barrington is where I decided upon for lunch. This vegan-friendly casual restaurant serves up vegan pizza with soy mozzarella cheese. I opted for the “Vegetazione Bravo Spelt” pizza with soy mozzarella, tofu, broccoli, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, spinach, chêvre, tomato sauce and tarragon. It was really delicious!

After a truly yummy meal, it was time to commence my foliage drive from the southern town of Barrington heading north on Route 41 into West Stockbridge, through Richmond, onto Hancock Shaker Village. Then I proceeded onto Route 20 east into Pittsfield. During my drive, I observed many spectacular and stunning views of the Autumn foliage through the forests, by lakes and ponds, on the rolling hills, and surrounding the vast fields.




Oranges, yellows, reds, browns, and greens; the trees were showing their best colors of the season.


My foliage drive led me to South Mountain in Pittsfield, where I attended a wonderful classical music concert. Mozart and Shubert pieces were performed by the Dover String Quartet.

The day was drawing to a close, so I headed to the town of Stockbridge for dinner. Boutiques, gift shops and restaurants line the main street. I decided to dine at the fancy “Red Lion Inn Restaurant”(Red Lion Inn Restaurant). The entrance is adorned with two giant pumpkins. This upscale dining establishment offers a couple of vegan options on their menu.


I selected the chickpea and quinoa patty over greens. I really enjoyed my flavorful evening meal.

My Fall Foliage weekend getaway in the Berkshires had come to an end. I truly enjoyed my foliage drives, the arts, and the vegan dining in the region! The region truly lives up to its reputation. For magnificent foliage, a superior arts and music scene, and fantastic vegan meals; I recommend a visit to the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Admission to The Mount provided as a guest of “Berkshires Visitor’s Bureau”

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My Fall Foliage Weekend Getaway in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts-Part#1

Autumn brings crisp air, colorful foliage, plus tasty apple and pumpkin treats. No other leaf-peeping destination is more associated with the Fall season, than the Berkshire Mountain region of western Massachusetts. As the second weekend in October was forecast to be “top peak” for foliage in the region, I packed my bags and headed in that direction for an overnight stay!

I arrived in Lee, Massachusetts; nestled in the heart of the central Berkshires. The quaint downtown area is home to restaurants, cafes, boutiques, and galleries.

Accommodations for the evening were at the historic Morgan House Inn. The 19th century inn has hosted several renowned guests including President Cleveland, Ulysses S. Grant, and George Bernard Shaw.

My room was lovely with its poster bed, antique chest of drawers, and authentic period wallpaper.

After checking in, I walked across the street to the vegan-friendly “Starving Artist Creperie”(Starving Artist Creperie) for breakfast. The spacious and casual cafe offers various sweet and savory crepes that may be veganized by selecting the buckwheat wrap and vegan cheese. I started off the day with a “Fall Favorite” beverage: a pumpkin chai tea latte with almond milk. Great choice!

My breakfast choice was the veggie scramble crepe. Filled with tofu scramble, mushrooms, tomatoes, spinach, vegan cheese, and scallions in a buckwheat crepe; my morning meal was wonderful.

Paintings displaying the local landscape are showcased in the adjacent gallery.

With my hunger now satiated, it was time to start my day of apple picking and foliage viewing. As I drove away from town, a small lake came into my sight and with it, the day’s leaf-peeping had begun!

Hilltop Orchards in Richmond, Massachusetts is known to be one of largest and best apple orchards in the state and most definitely within the Berkshires region. I arrived mid-morning for some prime apple picking, as the crowds were arriving as well.

A tractor drove excited apple seekers up the slight hill and into the orchards.

Rows upon rows of apple trees greeted us. For as far as the eye could see, apple trees of many a variety were growing in these fields.

Red apples such as Macintosh, Delicious, and Cortland were among those available.

Green apple varieties were available, as well.

The apples in these fields are among the best that I have ever picked! The grounds were impeccably well-manicured and no bugs were seen throughout the day. The apples did not have insect marks or rot whatsoever.

Upclose, every apple of each variety that I gazed upon, looked absolutely in perfect condition!


As I walked back to the onsite market, the orchard left an impeccable impression in my mind.

The $10 bag of apples that I picked contain several varieties of greens and reds.

Back in the gift shop, I purchased a hot cup of apple cider, maple candy, a yummy apple cider ice pop, and a decorative small pumpkin.




Lunch time had arrived and the town of Pittsfield is where I ate my mid-day meal at the vegan-friendly “Dottie’s Coffee Lounge ” (Dottie’s Coffee Lounge ). This casual dining spot offers a few vegan selections. Starting off with a hot ginger root tea, I chose the tempeh vegan wrap as my main entree. The tasty sandwich was filled with lemon zest hummus, red onion, avocado, spinach, tomatoes, tempeh, and crimson kraut and drizzled with a house balsamic vinaigrette. It was accompanied by a cup of red quinoa in a zesty vinaigrette.


Off I went on an afternoon foliage drive through the towns of Richmond, Pittsfield, Hancock, and Lenox!

Fenced in fields with a backdrop of colorful foliage, row upon row of crimson/orange/golden hues of tree-lined forests, and shades of Fall on the hilly mountain tops; met my every gaze along the afternoon drive.



A local farm displayed a wagon full of pumpkins by their field.


A train could be seen chugging along its tracks with the distant foliage along a lake, providing stunning views for its passengers.

The town of Hancock, provided a panorama of magnificent and colorful foliage among its tree-lined fields at the Shaker Village.


Dinner time had arrived. I dined at the Morgan House Inn’s restaurant(Morgan House Inn Restaurant) back in Lee. The ambiance here exudes warmth in this cozy space. Kitchen staff are amiable to offering a vegan dinner option. My evening meal was a risotto with peas, beets, string beans, carrots, and tomatoes, with a side of sauteed spinach. Everything was delicious.


The evening ended with a superb live theater performance at the Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield. This award-winning community theater offers musicals and dramas throughout their Summer and Fall seasons. The theater has gained a national reputation for its stellar productions.

My first day of sightseeing in the Berkshires had come to an end. All of the adventures on my itinerary had left a positive mark. From apple picking at Hilltop Orchards to my foliage drive around the central Berkshires to the live staged performance capping off the evening, it was a splendid day! The vegan meal options in the region were also quite amazing. I looked forward with eager anticipation to what day two in the Berkshires would bring, with its dazzling display of foliage, cultural activities, and vegan dining.

Admission to “Barrington Stage Company” as a guest of “Berkshires Visitor’s Bureau”.

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My Vegan Day Trip to the Burlington, Vermont Region

Every child loves teddy bears. Many a grownup will admit that they cannot resist a cute and cuddly bear, as well. I, too acknowledge my affinity for these precious creatures. Thus a day trip to Vermont and the “Vermont Teddy Bear Company” became a reality this past August. Of course, there were other reasons for visiting northern Vermont. New vegan-friendly places in the city of Burlington prompted my return. Whether it be a warm Summer day or a cooler Autumn afternoon, a road trip to Vermont is sure to please.

After a three hour drive north, I arrived in Burlington, Vermont. My morning started with breakfast at Pingala Cafe (Pingala Cafe). The area’s first all vegan cafe serves up breakfast items, baked goods, lunch options, and juices and smoothies. The restaurant is housed in a historic old mill building, by the Winookski River. The chef creates creative cuisine, using organic produce. I purchased my breakfast and lunch meals there. The whole wheat, walnut, and raisin cinnamon roll was superb.

For lunch, I opted for the Karma Burger sandwich. The veggie burger was topped with mixed greens, roasted tomato, red onion, cheese crisp and chipolte aioli on toasted millet bread. It was accompanied by a salad and pickle. What a delicious vegan burger!

My morning beverage selection was the Berry Bliss Smoothie made with mixed berries, banana, maple syrup, and coconut water. It was wonderfully flavorful.

The first stop on my itinerary was the Shelburne Museum, in nearby Shelburne, Vermont. This museum captures the spirit of Americana and art. Whether its folk art, paintings, or historic homes spanning 300 years time, there is much to explore for visitors.

One of the many museum buildings on the grounds, showcases Vermont furniture and woodworking from the 19th century period.


Steamboat Ticonderoga is a restored National Historic Landmark. It operated on Lake Champlain from 1906 until 1953. Its staterooms, spacious dining room, and impressive staircase are reminiscent of the grandeur of the heydey of steamship travel.


The Webb mansion located on the museum grounds, was the residence of the museum’s founders. The Webbs were enthusiastic collectors of Americana folk art, toys, furniture, quilts, and other creative forms.


After spending a couple of hours at the expansive museum, I then headed to the infamous “Vermont Teddy Bear Company”, conveniently located down the same road! The main building’s exterior was as cute as can be! It is painted in bright Crayola-like colors. Colorful bear “paw prints” guide visitors along the cement path to the factory entrance.

Once inside the main entrance, a gift shop tempts visitors offering adorable teddy bears of all sizes. Bear outfits ranging from career-inspired uniforms to festive attire are also available for purchase.

A glass display case shows special teddy bears designed throughout the decade for various causes.

An adorable giant teddy bear greets guests as they are about to enter through the factory door.

Our tour guide begins by giving us a brief history of the company, then describes the unique design of the bear. Each teddy is created with movable limbs. He informs us that each bear is stamped on its foot, with a manufacturing date and has a lifetime guarantee.

We then begin our guided tour of the teddy bear-making process! Step#1 is the cutting of the soft fabric into teddy bear parts and sizes.

Next, is the individual assembly and pinning of each of the bear parts. This is carefully done by hand with care, not by machine.

Following the assembly and pinning, each bear is individually hand sewn.

The bears are then filled with cotton stuffing to give them their fluffiness. We witness the vacuum machine which circulates the stuffing material.


After the stuffing in placed into the bears, their coat is brushed.

One of the bear types that the company creates are career bears. Each one is outfitted with attire for a particular profession, such as an emt or doctor.

Once each bear order has been completed, it goes onto an automated conveyor belt, and then placed into a cardboard box that filled with a certificate of ownership and some candy. The package is then ready to be shipped and delivered to its proud and happy owner!

The final segment of the tour shows visitors the customer care process for damaged bears sent back to the factory for repair. I had such an enjoyable time visiting the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory! Obviously, I could not leave without purchasing a small teddy bear for myself, with a terry cloth bath ensemble.

For my dinner meal, I decided to dine at New Moon Restaurant (New Moon Restaurant) back in Burlington. The casual and comfortable space is quite vegan-friendly. For starters, I opted for the gazpacho soup. My meal was off to a great start.

My main entree was the Vegan Delight signature sandwich. Made with whole wheat bread, the sandwich was filled with avocado, seitan or tofu, hummus, basil pesto, red onion, grilled zucchini & eggplant, and spinach. The taste was fantastic.

A refreshing and tasty lemon apple ginger cooler beverage on ice, complemented my meal.

A glass display case offers several vegan baked goods. I opted for the cranberry orange cupcake. it was delectable. My entire meal was delicious!

Before heading back home to Boston on my three hour journey, I had some time to explore Burlington’s waterfront. The shores of Lake Champlain touch the downtown area. Facing the lake to its left, one reaches New York state.

To its right, one views Vermont mainland.

This day culminated with a spectacular sunset over Lake Champlain.

My “one day” road trip was superb! It was fun to “be a kid again” while visiting the Vermont Teddy Bear Company. I recommend this as a great choice for any fun-loving tourist. Shelburne Museum is definitely well worth a visit to explore all of its vast collections of memorabilia from Americana’s yesteryear. And last but not least, I was happy with the ever-growing and impressive vegan food scene in the region. No matter the season, these indoor itinerary options are sure to please visitors from near and far.

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