2011 Guide to Readers' Picks

OMG, you’re multiplying. We thought we’d hit it big last year when nearly 4400 people responded to our annual best-of survey, but this year, we heard from more than 5800 of you — that’s almost 1 percent of Vermont’s population!

We like to keep you on your toes, so for the ninth annual Daysies survey, we added a bunch of new categories, some of them better received than others. Only a handful of people felt strongly enough to vote for Vermont’s best side musician, for example, but everyone had an opinion about the best creemee stand. Can’t say we’re surprised.

You extolled the virtues of your favorite soft-serve providers while cutting down the competition with a nerdy enthusiasm unparalleled in other categories. Three Brothers Pizza & Grill in Colchester, one of you declared, uses 10 percent milk fat, “unlike most creemee stands at 5 percent.” About Morse Farm’s maple creemees in Montpelier, someone wrote, “Real maple syrup, people! Not cut with Aunt J. like some BTV places!” One of you refused to name any particular stand. “That’s like picking a favorite child,” you protested.

Speaking of children, we weren’t surprised that so many of you feel children don’t belong in restaurants, but we were surprised at the vitriol with which you expressed your desire to banish them from all eating establishments forever. When asked about the best restaurant to take the kids, scores of you answered, “Anywhere I’m not.” One of you took the opportunity to attack the little ones’ character: “Kids are expensive and ungrateful.” Another wanted to send them to “The [restaurant] at the bottom of Lake Champlain.”

Maybe it’s the contrarian in us, but your collective self-righteousness on this issue kind of made us want to cart hundreds of babies to your favorite restaurant, just to watch you squirm.

The only other category that inspired such rage was best Internet service provider. Many of you replied with some variation on “Anyone but [insert name of service provider here].” “Do we have a choice?” you bitched. “Fuck them all!” wrote more than a few of you. Perhaps that explains why so many Seven Days readers opt for a different kind of provider: “My neighbor.”

Many of you thought it was hilarious that we would ask about your favorite bookstores, record stores, movie rental shops and photo shops. “What is this, 2002?” you scoffed. “What’s a book?” “What’s a record?” you joked. Over and over. We hear ya. But these places do still exist. And even in 2011, local bricks-and-mortar stores are still winning Daysies over Amazon and Netflix — well, just barely over Netflix.

Old favorites, such as City Market, Higher Ground and WPTZ weather god Tom Messner have held on to their Daysies, year after year, and 2011 was no exception. We thought about creating a new category called “Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride” to honor longtime runners-up, such as Radio Bean (best small local music hotspot), The Point (best radio station) and, of course, Healthy Living Market (best natural foods market), which this year lost to City Market by an agonizing 32 votes. It’s up to you, dear voters, to see if, next year, these “bridesmaids” will get their turn in the spotlight.

Congratulations to all the winners — and almost-winners — and thanks to everyone who voted. You’re an opinionated and loyal bunch, and that’s why we love you.