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What Should I Do While Visiting Burlington, Vermont?

Skiiing is a popular winter activity in Vermont.
Kayaking is a popular activity near Burlington.
Farmer's markets are a popular stop in Burlington, Vermont.
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  • Written By: Mary Elizabeth
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2014
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What you do when visiting Burlington, Vermont may involve a blend of seasonal activities and events and attractions that are available year-round. Year round attractions to check out when visiting Burlington include the Robert Hull Fleming Museum, with its local and international visual arts; the Shelburne Museum with its folk art collection; or the Middlebury College Museum of Art.

Outdoor activities to take advantage of when visiting Burlington include alpine and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling, for which Vermont is famous. In the summer, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and tennis are all popular. You can watch the Vermont Lake Monsters, a minor league Expos/Nationals club play a game and even find a game of cricket or Australian rules football.

If history is one of the facets you’d like to explore while visiting Burlington, the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum, closed November through April, gives a look at life in the 1700’s through the person of one of Vermont’s important early families. If you are willing to drive a bit, you can also see the President Chester A. Arthur State Historic Site in Fairfield, the President Calvin Coolidge Homestead in Plymouth, or the Robert Frost Stone House Museum in South Shaftsbury, Vermont.

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If you want to shop when visiting Burlington, check out the Church Street Marketplace, where you’ll find over 100 shops including national chains such as Border’s Books and Old Navy, as well as local shops such as Boutilier’s Art Center, Vermont Folk Instruments, Lake Champlain Chocolates, Frog Hollow — a Vermont State Craft Center gallery, and the Peace & Justice Center, which has a store featuring international items., Speaking of local, remember that this is a rural state, so you’ll find food, quilts, pottery, and more for sale by individual Vermonters at their homes and studios if you venture out on the back roads, as well as local farmer’s markets during the growing season.

Of course visitors need to eat, and if you want to do something more than just grab a bite, there are fine restaurants to explore when visiting Burlington. Check out Chef’s Corner Café and Bakery for wonderful food and exciting pastry, Café Shelburne for French fare, Penny Cluse Café for a scrumptious breakfast, and the New England Culinary Institute (NECI) restaurants, such as the Inn at Essex and Butler’s Restaurant. For Asian food, check out India House, Asiana House for fusion Japanese, A Single Pebble for Chinese, and Parima Restaurant for Thai cuisine.

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jmc88
Post 7

@kentuckycat - I have been hiking in that area before, and it is beautiful (as I'm sure you have experienced at White Mountain).

Mt. Mansfield National Forest is the closest big forest to Burlington, but there are tons of little state parks and wildlife sanctuaries. If you're coming in from the south, you can always stop at the Green Mountain National Forest. It is my favorite in the area.

The article doesn't mention it, but Burlington is also the home of the University of Vermont, so there is a bit of nightlife if you're looking for something more exciting.

cardsfan27
Post 6

For anyone who has ever been fishing in the area, what is the lake like? I am always up for fishing in a new place.

Is it pretty similar to fishing in the Great Lakes, or does the smaller size offer a little bit different experience. How big is the lake anyway?

On a related note, I have heard a story from Lake Champlain about there being some sort of Loch Ness type creature that lives in it. Obviously, that's where the name for the baseball team came from. I'm sure it would be interesting to get some of the local history about that.

kentuckycat
Post 5

I had no idea there were so many things to do in Burlington. I have been to the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire a coulple of times, since my wife and I love to hike.

Does anyone know if there are any good hiking or outdoor places around Burlington? It might be an interesting place to check out the next time we are up that way.

The article is right, though, it is great checking all of the little local shops. The people are always really friendly and can tell you a lot about the area.

stl156
Post 4

Whenever my family goes on vacation, we always like to stop and check out small little scenic places. Whenever we were going to Montreal one time, we stopped over in Burlington for a day. It was a really nice place to see.

We all love baseball, so we watched a Lake Monster's game. They are a low minor league team, so you could get great seats for just a couple of dollars. The players were great, too, and signed a lot of the kids' baseball cards.

I didn't know about the art museums. That might be an interesting place to stop when the kids get older.

SarahSon
Post 3

I have only visited Burlington, Vermont one time, but always remember my trip to the Church Street Marketplace.

What I liked best about it was that they had the familiar shops that I am used to, but also had some great unique places where I could find things that would be perfect for gifts.

They had some local shops there and I bought some of the best pure maple syrup for myself and gifts for some friends. It didn't take long to go through the syrup, but I was always reminded of my visit to such a beautiful state whenever I used it.

I was there in the fall when the leaves were in full color and it was a sight I will always remember.

strawCake
Post 2

@starrynight - Vermont is a fairly rural state, so it would probably be a great place to find yarn spun from the sheep at local farms. Sorry about your allergy though!

I've been to Vermont, but I didn't get to stay that long. I went with an ex (while we were still together) for a family function. So I spent most of my time doing family stuff, and no time exploring the area.

However, my mom visited Burlington a few years ago and picked up a quilt that was made by a local quilter. The quilt is very pretty and has held up quite well over the years.

starrynight
Post 1

I always prefer to visit local businesses if I'm going to shop while I'm out of town. I think if I get to Burlington, Vermont anytime soon that is what I'll do. Lake Champlain chocolates definitely sounds like something I would really like.

I'm a knitter, so I usually make an effort to visit local yarn stores when I'm out of town, too. Knitters tend to be a friendly bunch, so it can be a great place to talk to some of the local people. Also, local yarn stores and, as the name states, local businesses. That's something I like to support.

And a lot of local yarn stores carry yarn made by local farms and studios. I'm allergic to wool, so I can't take part in a lot of that. But, some local yarn stores carry yarn that is dyed by local dyers, and that comes in fibers like cotton and silk that I can actually buy!

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