By far the largest city in the state, Burlington Vermont is the ideal place to begin a Vermont vacation. The city is pleasantly located on Lake Champlain, has a thriving and eclectic downtown area, and from Burlington travel across Vermont is easy and convenient.
Despite being an urban center in a largely rural state, Burlington Vermont epitomizes the Green Mountain state’s individualism and independence. This is the home of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream shop, the location of the progressive University of Vermont, the birthplace of the hippie jam-band Phish, and the only American city to elect a socialist mayor in recent years. (Former mayor Bernie Sanders is now the nation’s only socialist senator.) Burlington’s location between Lake Champlain and the mountain ranges makes it ideal for a Vermont hiking or fishing vacation and for other outdoor pursuits. Its freethinking residents and student visitors ensure that Burlington Vermont has a lively nightlife, restaurant, and shopping scene.
Burlington travel can begin by several routes. The only serious commercial airport in the state is located in the city; there are flights from Burlington International Airport to many American and Canadian cities. Nearby Essex Junction is a major stop on Amtrak’s Vermonter service; there are also commuter trains to several Vermont towns. Several large highways: Route 7, Route 2, and Interstate 89 run through or close to the city, making Burlington travel by car the logical option for most travelers. But the ideal way to reach Burlington Vermont is by ferry across Lake Champlain. A boat ride from Port Kent, New York, takes about an hour and runs throughout the summer months.
The heart of the city and the main area for Burlington Vermont shopping is the Church Street Marketplace, four blocks extending south from the elegant 1816 Unitarian church. An array of street performers makes the marketplace a unique place for Burlington Vermont shopping. Funky homegrown stores and used bookshops alternate with national chains. Despite the influx of non-native stores, this pedestrian walkway buzzes with enviable urban energy and remains a distinctly Burlington Vermont shopping experience. The city’s best music clubs are located near Main Street at the end of the mall.
Burlington is a thriving and energetic city, but a Burlington vacation would be incomplete without some trips outside downtown. A suggested Burlington itinerary would include a ride along the Burlington bike path, a scenic twelve-mile path along Lake Champlain through the town of Colchester. Colchester is a great Burlington day trip, and for those interested in history, the site of Vermont hero Ethan Allen’s grave and a reconstruction of Allen’s last home are located on the border between Colchester and Burlington, and are maintained by the city of Burlington. In addition, the popular Waterworks restaurant is located in nearby Winooski..
There are over 1,000 Burlington hotel rooms, so accommodation is generally available even in the busier summer months. The largest and best downtown hotel is the Radisson Hotel, Burlington; odd-numbered rooms overlook the lakefront. Other good places to stay on a Burlington vacation include the Inn at Essex, about 10 miles away in Essex Junction, and the Inn at Shelburne Farms, an elegant Edwardian farmhouse overlooking Lake Champlain.