My First “Couch Surfing” Experience + Belmont Vegetarian – Worcester, MA
What do you do when you can’t find overnight parking (that also feels safe) and you haven’t budgeted for regular hotel stays? You go surfing. On couches, man!! This actually wasn’t planned out too far in advance. The timing of Jennifer’s message, “…and let us know if you need a place to stay.” couldn’t have been better. Little did I know just how cool this vegan family of four would be!
The McCullough’s welcomed me into their home, only knowing about me and the trip from the info I have available on the website and Facebook page. I arranged to arrive at a certain time and brought some goodies from Wildflour (since that’s where I had just come from) to thank them for letting me stay. We sat around their dining room table for a bit, enjoyed the sweets that I brought, and chatted about their awesome vegan-ness and travel experiences.
It turns out that in 2009 the McCullough family took a two month road trip across the country, in their veggie powered VW bus, in an effort to spread the word about environmentalism. They created a series of interviews about the project, which can be found on their YouTube channel: CarrickGareth.
Colin and Jennifer are a wonderful couple and have raised their two son’s vegan, from birth (love!!). The boys were more talkative than I expected, polite, and engaging. After learning about their cool road trip experience, raising vegan kids, and Colin’s work within the environmental movement, I quickly settled in and was so very pleased to have met such a wonderful family who is doing amazing things. It was such a joy to learn about their road trip too as I feel like I’m still in just the beginning stages, myself.
It was such a lovely time and reinforced the idea that most people truly are good, gracious, and well intentioned. What an uplifting and perfectly timed experience.
Thank you so much for your hospitality, McCullough Fam, and please give the kitties some snuggles for me! :)
Jennifer and her two sons joined me for lunch the next day at Belmont Vegetarian – one of three all-vegan restaurants in Worcester (the other two are Loving Huts).
Belmont Vegetarian – 100% vegan
157 Belmont Street
Worcester, MA 01608
Belmont Vegetarian is known for their off beat, fast food style noms. They offer a few options, of which you can mix and match or get just one. You select which items you’d like and then what size container – small, medium, or large. I opted to cram in four of the seven options, into a medium sized to-go container.
The closest one in the pic below is the Pepper Steak and then moving clockwise we’ve got Mac ‘n’ Cheese, Sweet & Sour, and Curry with white rice. It was all pretty good. My favorite was the Pepper Steak. It was even really good the next day, as leftovers for dinner! Food keeps well in the van. Just sayin’. :)
The McCullough clan had to scoot off to some music lessons (I think) and so I stuck around to chat with Steven, the owner of Belmont Vegetarian. This corner-side restaurant was founded in 2008. Steven has been vegan for just over ten years and eluded to the fact that his transition to veganism was in large part due to family health problems and the influence of veg friends. Real nice guy!
As Steven and I chatted I’d wait to the side if someone came in to order. One woman who came in explained that she was going vegan for a month, along with a handful of her girlfriends. They decided to make it a contest to see who could last the longest…or something like that. Haha. It was interesting but just cool to hear someone talk about exploring veganism for the first time. You gotta start somewhere, right? :) Good luck, Lady. You can do it!!
It’s amazing in this day and age to be able to still see genuine human kindness being extended to strangers like that family that welcomed you into their home. When my car broke down once (luckily close to a gas station) my BF and I were pushing the car and out of no where one guy just came up and started pushing w/us no questions asked and then another guy came up too. Small gestures but very meaningful to me.
I think I saw you there when I was there with my kids, and that’s how I heard about your blog! Steven is such a friendly guy. My babies love the beans & soy.