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In case you missed it, I blogged about our stay at Sonesta ES Suites Burlington, Vermont here.

Our weekend in Burlington was a cold one, but it sure was cozy, and one of the restaurants we found (and visited three times!) really helped to make it special.

On a very chilly morning, we needed a place to get out of the cold and stumbled upon Leunig’s Bistro, which not only occupies a corner of the Church Street Marketplace with its adorable cafe and bistro, but also has a pastry kiosk right across the pedestrian street.

Leunig’s Bistro, Burlington, Vermont

I was instantly smitten with both, and while we needed heat most, I knew we would be back to visit Leunig’s Petit Bijou at some point during our stay.

Leunig’s Bistro, Burlington, Vermont Leunig’s Bistro, Burlington, Vermont

A rich and delicious hot chocolate at Leunig’s bar was the perfect respite from winter, and the lovely staff made us feel at home and unrushed as we enjoyed our chocolate and read the paper. The pace and the warmth of the space was so nice; it definitely felt far from the hustle and bustle of our Boston lives.

Leunig’s Bistro, Burlington, Vermont Leunig’s Bistro, Burlington, Vermont

Isn’t it just beautiful? It’s rare that we spend an hour just sitting and enjoying a hot drink early in the day, and this was the perfect start to our Burlington wandering.

Leunig’s Bistro, Burlington, Vermont

We loved it so much, in fact, that when it came time to find a place for dinner, we made our way back to Leunig’s to see if there was any possibility of getting a table without a reservation. While the restaurant was full, we were in luck that they keep some tables for walk-ins, and the hostess happily let us know that there was room for us.

We got settled into a cozy table and looked at the extensive menus, unsure how we would decide. We wanted mussels and fries and all the salads and truffle fries and onion soup. . . and all of the entrees.

While we decided, I also noticed that they had a nice menu of non-alcoholic drinks like the refreshing pineapple sage sour that I went with for my “cocktail”.


In the end, after devouring a basket of fresh rolls and Vermont butter, we went with the petit portions of steak frites (with truffle fries, of course) and Beef Bourguignon. I rarely finish anything, so I love when smaller portions are offered, and the size of these was perfect.


This was amazing comfort food at its absolute finest. Perfect fries, a delectably medium rare steak, creamy horseradish. . .

And my Beef Bourguignon was a melt-in-your-mouth feast. It must have cooked all day. The rich and incredibly tender meat was complemented by onions and crisp green beans and the creamiest garlic mashed potatoes. I need to make this at home when I am able to drink wine again. I know it’s a time-consuming dish, but it is so worth it!


After dinner we took a nice walk around Burlington before heading back to Leunig’s Petit Bijou for hot chocolates with French vanilla whipped cream, paired with one of their homemade chocolate croissants, which we decided to save for a cozy breakfast the next day.

We fell in love with Leunig’s and found it the perfect date day and date night spot. If you are visiting Burlington, Vermont, I would highly recommend this spot for any time of day.

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Tags: Burlington, dining, Food, Travel, travel blog, Vermont

One of my goals in past years has been to explore more of New England in all seasons, and this past weekend, as part of my blogging for Sonesta Hotels, I got to take a weekend away in Burlington, Vermont at Sonesta ES Suites.

Burlington, VT hotels

We left a messy, rainy nor’easter in Boston, and when we got to Vermont we were greeted by a light dusting of snow and a cold but clear night, perfect for curling up by the fireplace in our King Studio Suite. I loved having a fireplace (with a real firelog!) in the living area of our room.

Burlington, VT hotels

Another thing I loved about this room (and other Sonesta ES Suites I have stayed at) is the inclusion of a well-stocked kitchen. Making coffee in our room, having a fridge for snacks, proper wine glasses and wine opener. . . all of those little touches make me feel so at home. And I love that you can cook a meal with the full-sized stove. These properties are often used for family travel and business travel and are ideal if you don’t want to or can’t eat every meal out. When we travel longer term, I always like to eat at least one meal a day at the hotel/house. It helps to save money but also allows exploration of local grocery stores and farmers markets.

Burlington, VT hotels

While our sweet suite was in a townhouse-like building in a quiet area behind the main building, all of the fun happened in the main building, where the lobby, pool, and breakfast area are. Sonesta ES Suites Burlington, VT offers a pool and hot tub in a toasty warm room enclosed in walls of windows. You get to swim and stay warm while watching the beautiful Vermont snowfall. It’s quite a nice way to spend a winter evening!

Burlington, VT hotels

All Sonesta ES Suites properties offer free breakfast with your stay, and in addition to lots of PJ’s Coffee, they have plenty of items, including hot options like waffles, eggs, and oatmeal.


I don’t eat much oatmeal at home, but I always love it when I am traveling, especially when it’s cold outside. My breakfasts each day were a highlight of my weekend!


Sonesta ES Suites Burlington, VT is located in Wiliston, VT, just a few miles on the highway from downtown Burlington. It was a very quick and easy drive, and in between visits to Burlington, we also checked out the beauty of Williston.

Burlington, VT winter

Maple sugar season in Vermont had just arrived when we visited, and we got to see some of the tapped maple trees on our travels. I blogged all about it over at the Sonesta Hotels blog.

maple sugar season

Though it was gray and cold, we wanted to be outside, and while in Burlington, we strolled along Lake Champlain, which is a massive lake that has ferries to take you across to other towns like Plattsburgh, NY. I would love to come back when it’s a bit nicer out to take one of these ferry rides!

Lake ChamplainLake Champlain

Lake Champlain was beautiful despite the weather, but when we needed to warm up, we were glad to find the locally recommended Zero Gravity Craft Brewery. Local beer is huge in Burlington, and we could easily devote a whole trip to tasting.

Burlington, VT brewery

I was most interested in their cozy fireplaces. The vibe was so relaxed that I could have fallen asleep!

Burlington, VT brewery

But there was ice cream to be eaten! New Englanders love their ice cream, even in winter, and I couldn’t pass up a trip to Ben & Jerry’s in Burlington.

Ben & Jerry's Ben & Jerry's

So much deliciousness in one place!

Ben & Jerry's  Ben & Jerry's

I’ve been a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies lately, so a cookie sundae was at the top of my wish list, complete with Americone Dream ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream. YUM. The cookie was absolutely amazing.

Equally amazing were the lights in Burlington, which made it look like a beautiful winter wonderland for our Saturday night out.

Burlington, VT

Stay tuned for more posts on Burlington!

In the meantime, if you would like to read past Sonesta Hotels blog posts, click here or check out their Winter Sale to book your own stay!

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Tags: beer, hotels, Travel, Vermont, winter

There are so many incredible regions of Italy to choose from when planning a trip; you could really easily spend a year there and not spend enough time seeing and tasting all that this beautiful country has to offer. While my first choice would be somewhere by the sea (Sicily is still one of my dream trips!) on our last visit to Italy, we traveled for a wedding, and our destination was set for us!

With our home base a villa in Umbria, just on the border of Tuscany, we discovered there were countless day trips we could take: Perugia, Siena, Assisi, Montepulciano, and so many more.


Montepulciano was one of our day trips, and this spectacular medieval city atop a giant hill, surrounded by wine, is well worth a visit, especially during sunflower season in Tuscany. Fields of gold were everywhere! Be prepared to drive and walk some steep streets and alleyways in order to get some of the best views, but be sure to take in the architecture on your way.

We were traveling with a group, which isn’t easy in a town like Montepulciano, but we found some great food nonetheless.


You won’t want to miss the wine cellars of Montepulciano and surrounding areas. I was absolutely fascinated by Contucci.

According to the Contucci website, it’s likely that the Contucci family was living in Montepulciano by the year 1,000. . .

Visiting the cellar is quite the experience. You just keep going down, down, down many flights of stairs to find gigantic wine barrels. An added bonus: on an extremely hot Tuscan day, the cellar is delightfully cold and a break from the baking sun!

Contucci Winery

We merely got a taste of Montepulciano and would absolutely love to visit again to cover the history, food, wine, and amazing views for longer.

As I mentioned above, the reason for our visit was a wedding, and the location of the ceremony was Cortona, inside its beautiful Cortona Cathedral. Cortona and its surroundings were definite favorites on this trip; I still have one last winery post to write, so stay tuned!

Cortona Cathedral

Our final day trip during our week in Italy was to Arezzo. Again, it was a group trip, and finding parking for multiple cars was a bit of a challenge. We actually almost gave up and returned to our villa!

Arezzo, Italy

Once we found parking, we didn’t have a ton of time to explore, but we did get to see some great views and cute shops. Truffles are king in the region, and I enjoyed some truffle potato chips while wanting to buy everything in sight. The intoxicating smell of truffles filled the air!

Arezzo, Italy

As one does on a hot day in Tuscany, we stopped at a cute patio for refreshments; mine was a cold glass of local white wine with a great view of the surrounding square.

Arezzo, Italy

There are definitely lots of moments in Italy where sitting outside enjoying local wine is just all you need.

Arezzo, Italy

Arezzo, Italy

Arezzo offered beautiful architecture, and while we planned to visit its famous cathedral, our parking issues made us miss opening hours! Perhaps this post is a guide on how NOT to travel?

Instead we enjoyed the great outdoors and explored where the film Life is Beautiful was made.

Arezzo, Italy

Even reading about the movie made me cry!

Life is Beautiful Arezzo

Have you seen it? I think I have watched it at least three or four times, and it is heart wrenching every single time. I actually did not know that Arezzo was the setting of the movie, but it made me love this town even more.

Arezzo, Italy

After some shopping and taking in Arezzo’s scenery, we needed to get back to the villa for our final night’s dinner and one last sunset in Umbria.

Arezzo, Italy

And that sunset over the vineyards did not disappoint!

sunset in Umbria

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Tags: Arezzo, Italy, Montepulciano, Travel, travel blog, Tuscany, Umbria, wine, wine cellar

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