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Burlington: Lakeside History and Picturesque Scenery in Vermont
Located in northwest Vermont on the banks of Lake Champlain, Burlington is a city that’s more laidback than it is demanding. Known for its forward-thinking, eco-friendly approach, the small city serves up picturesque lakeside scenery alongside a rich heritage, not to mention friendly locals and a vibrant city centre. If your travels take you to New England, Burlington is well worth the visit.
Getting to Know Burlington
Much of the activity in Burlington, VT revolves around its small-but-lively downtown area. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, galleries, shops, hotels, and other standard city amenities. You’ll also find a touch of local flare here.
Church Street Marketplace is the main focus of downtown Burlington. This pedestrianised shopping area is home to an abundance of shops and eateries, as well as a year-round farmer’s market. Whatever you’re looking for, the chances are you’ll find it here.
In terms of culture, residents in the city rave about the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts. The venue regularly hosts an array of events, from opera and ballet to amateur dramatics and stand-up comedy. Check the listings during your visit and you may find something that tickles your fancy.
Burlington is also home to the University of Vermont (UVM) and its renowned medical school. As such, students frequent the city centre, giving daily proceedings a youthful and exuberant feel.
Exploring the Lakefront
There’s no doubt that Burlington’s most picturesque vistas can be found along the lakefront area. Travellers will find Lake Champlain to be a scenic and serene setting, ideal for gentle strolls, livelier bike rides and even boat trips. Miles and miles of cycling tracks are located around the lake. Fortunately, there’s plenty of places to hire a bike too. Visitors say that the view of the lake in the forefront and the Adirondack Mountains in the distance is awe-inspiring.
Travellers interested in heading out on the lake can enjoy a spot of fishing, thanks to a number of local operators. Alternatively, sailing trips can be arranged, with sunset and sunrise tours sometimes available. Those interested in crossing the lake to New York state can catch a ferry from the lakeside to Port Kent, NY. The ferry ride takes just over an hour each way, with drinks and snacks available on board.
Back on dry land, ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain (A.K.A. the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center) is a popular lakeside attraction in Burlington. Visitors of all ages get a kick out of seeing the many animals on show, including marine life and reptiles. Be sure to keep an eye open for the snapping turtle and poison dart frog!
History and Heritage
The relative compactness of the city centre means you won’t have to go far from your hotel to discover some of the rich history and heritage on display in Burlington, VT.
The city is home to a selection of museums, each offering insightful looks back at the past. Shelburne Museum, an open-air museum, features nearly 40 historical buildings spanning different eras. Each has been lovingly restored to give you a glimpse into what the city was like. Meanwhile, the Robert Hull Fleming Museum of Art – located on the University of Vermont campus – displays art and historical artefacts from across the globe.
If you’re looking for a pleasant way to spend an afternoon in Burlington, why not take in some of the city’s historical buildings. The Old Mill Building (constructed in 1825), First Congregational Church (1842), Co-Cathedral of Saint Joseph (1887), Carnegie Building (1904) and Burlington City Hall (1928) are all accessible as part of a leisurely stroll around the city.
Enjoying Burlington’s Green Spaces
The city and people of Burlington value their environment. Believe it or not, the whole city is powered by renewable energy, making it the first city in the U.S. to rely entirely on clean energy sources. The city and its people also value their green spaces.
Waterfront Park is a popular destination for locals and visitors looking to enjoy a spot of fresh air. Obviously, the fact that the park overlooks the lake means that you’ll get some great views too. Battery Park also proves popular. In this downtown park you’ll discover sculptures, statues, monuments, a playground and bandstand.
Oakledge Park also offers great views as well as two intriguing features. Situated south of the city, the park is home to the Burlington Earth Clock, a series of giant stones that are said to align to the solstices and equinoxes. The park is also home to a seriously impressive treehouse. These two unique features make the park worth hopping on a bike and cycling to.
Burlington in the Winter
While Lake Champlain makes Burlington a popular summer destination, the arrival of winter also sees the arrival of winter tourists, many of whom plan on visiting the region’s ski resorts and clubs.
From Burlington International Airport, a selection of ski resorts are less than an hour’s drive away. Popular choices include Smugglers’ Notch, Cochan Ski Area, and Stowe Mountain Resort. For those preferring to avoid costly ski resort hotels, Burlington can serve as an adequate and cost-effective base of operations for a day on the slopes.