Small-town allure with world-class outside actions in Burlington, Vt. – The Day by day Gazette

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SUMMER TRIPS 2022 – Looking for a city that offers local shops, breweries, restaurants and outdoor activities? Look no further than Burlington, Vermont – just a three hour drive from the capital area.

“Burlington is hard to beat, especially as the weather warms up,” said Jeff Lawson, director of destination marketing organization Hello Burlington. “There is nothing more beautiful than Lake Champlain.”

The 107-mile-long lake is the 13th largest lake in the United States by area, covering a cool 490 square miles. It touches parts of two states (Vermont and New York) and one Canadian province (Quebec).

In addition to swimming, activities such as paddleboarding, sailing, fishing, and cruising on Lake Champlain are available in the warmer months.

“Getting on the water is really easy,” Lawson said. “You can rent kayaks, sailboats, paddle boards, and even learn to sail. The ghost of Ethan Allen [offers] a beautiful cruise, especially at sunset.”

Visitors can also explore the city by bike, according to Diana Wood, marketing and outreach manager for the city of Burlington Parks, Recreation and Waterfront Department. “You can rent bikes or use the city’s Greenride bike rental service to take a tour of the ‘bike path’ that runs along the Lake Champlain shoreline, Wood said. “You can also stop for Creemes along the way [Vermont slang for soft-serve ice cream]’ said Wood.

THINGS TO DO
Wood also encourages people to visit one of her favorite places in Burlington, the Intervale Center, a 360-acre campus with farmland, trails and open spaces along the Winooski River.

The center extends to the Ethan Allen Homestead, a historic house museum and former home of the soldier who fought in the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution. Visitors can also climb the Ethan Allen Tower, a 40-foot monument.

“It’s a magical place to hike in the summer,” Wood said of the Intervale Center. “The tower gives you spectacular views of the city, lake and mountains, giving you a sense of what the valley looked like before the city grew around it.”

Wood also recommends visiting Burlington’s public, general-access community treehouse in Oakledge Park.

“It’s a wheelchair-accessible, giant tree fort that’s open year-round,” Wood said. “It’s pretty amazing.”

For those looking for something off the beaten track, Lawson recommends venturing outside of the Queen City.

“If you go to Colchester, you get beautiful views of the Champlain Islands along the bike path,” he said of the nearly 11-mile trail. Shelburne also has great offerings including a museum with the largest selection of folk art.

The Shelburne Museum, just 10 minutes south of Burlington, houses a collection of 18th- and 19th-century American folk art on its 45-acre campus. It features 39 different buildings, some of which are historic and have been moved to the museum, including a carousel, steamship, shaker barn and more.

“There’s nowhere else like the Shelburne Museum,” Lawson said. “It’s the more unique experience you will find.”

Lawson also recommends visiting one of Burlington’s many breweries, including Zero Gravity Craft Brewery, Switchback Brewing Company and Foam Brewers. According to the Vermont Brewers Association, more than 1 million people visit Vermont breweries each year.

“Vermont craft beer is a category of its own, and Burlington is the epicenter of that,” he said. “We have so many great breweries, and many restaurants also serve beer from across the state.”

‘BEST PUBLIC SPACE’
A visit to Burlington is not complete without visiting Church Street — a four-block, brick pedestrian mall in the National Register Historic District that USA Today named “Best Public Space” in the United States for 2022.

“It’s four blocks of shops and restaurants that are almost entirely locally owned,” said Julia Chalmers, marketing coordinator at Church Street Marketplace and Love Burlington. “It is the heart and core of our city and the center of downtown.”

Church Street has more than 100 shops, according to Chalmers, making it a top attraction for shopping, dining, and enjoying live music. Many local events are taking place on Church Street this summer, including the 15th annual Festival of the Fools scheduled for August 5-7.

The festival features acrobatics, dancers, sketch comedy and music by international street performers.

Events and concerts will also return to City Hall Park this summer including the Twilight Series concerts, Summer Concert Series and the BTV Market featuring local artists and makers every Saturday through October.

The 2022 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival is scheduled for June 3-12 and will take place at various locations throughout Burlington.

“There’s always something going on in Burlington in the summer,” Chalmers said.

CITY RETURN
Because Burlington relies heavily on tourism, the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic caused many difficulties for the city’s businesses.

“The Burlington community has gotten behind local businesses by shopping online, providing takeout and curbside pickup,” Chalmers said. “The city has also closed roads to allow for al fresco dining, which has really helped them.”
According to Chalmers, tourism began to rebound as pandemic restrictions were lifted across the country.

“Things started to pick up in Burlington in the summer of 2020, and last summer things started to feel normal again,” she said. “The opening of the Canadian border has also really helped the city to recover.”

This city is gearing up for another busy summer season.

“There’s so much pent-up demand for vacations in Burlington, so we’re really looking forward to summer,” Chalmers said. “We expect things to return to normal, if not better, this year and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the city.”

For information on Burlington attractions and events, visit enjoyburlington.com or loveburlington.org.

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Categories: Life and Art, Summer Travel 2022