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A city that has all Vermont’s best to offer

BURLINGTON — There’s something innately romantic about Vermont: the rolling mountains, majestic Lake Champlain, boutiques selling handblown glass, farmers’ markets with their organic chard and chocolate. Perhaps no place captures that Green Mountain essence quite like this city. Whether you’re looking to shop, cycle, snack or sip, tap into the sweetness of Burlington.


The drive from Boston is just about four hours, and makes for a mostly scenic road trip. When you arrive, head to Church Street Marketplace, the heart of downtown Burlington. The red brick, pedestrian-only street is jam-packed with boutiques, shops, galleries, cafes, restaurants, and bars. There are far too many stores to mention — everything from niche artisan galleries to Patagonia and L. L. Bean — but suffice to say you can get anything from a hand-cut flannel shirt to a Vermont-crafted violin. Even if you’re not looking to buy, it’s a neat place to window shop; the outdoor marketplace is dotted with public art and bustling with shoppers, diners, and, at times, live music or street performers. churchstmarketplace.com

Listen to live music while you fill your tote with Vermont-sourced goodies, from gourds to gourmet doughnuts, at the Burlington Summer Farmers’ Market at City Hall Park each Saturday through Halloween; 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., corner of College and St. Paul streets. Market goes indoors in winter. burlingtonfarmersmarket.org



Head to Waterfront Park on Lake Street to take in the beauty of Lake Champlain. Keep your eyes peeled for ol’ Champ, that fabled Lake Champlain monster. Rent a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard from Community Sailing Center, 234 Penny Lane. 802-864-2499, communitysailingcenter.org

Pedal the Burlington Bike Path, part of the 14-mile Island Line Trail, which connects Burlington with South Hero on the Champlain Islands. If you’re not planning on carting your bike with you, rent one from Local Motion. They also run the bike ferry that bridges the 200-or-so-foot gap from Burlington to South Hero. ($8 round trip.) 1 Steele St. 802-861-2700. www.localmotion.org


If you have kids, you may want to check out the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, which boasts interactive exhibits and science education programs. 1 College St. 802-864-1848, www.echovermont.org

Enjoy gravy fries and a cold brew while you take in some live music at Nectar’s, famed birthplace of Phish. 188 Main St. 802-658-4771, liveatnectars.com


The Heartbreaker Crepe at the Skinny Pancake on Lake Street.Ian Thomas Jansen-Lonnquist for The Boston Globe

Have breakfast at The Skinny Pancake, where specialty crepes include the Deja Vu Crepe with local sausage, Vermont apples and cheddar; the cornmeal Johnny Crepe with local pulled-pork and caramelized onions and cheddar; and the PB & Bee made with organic banana, peanut butter, local honey, and whipped cream. 60 Lake St. 802-540-0188, skinnypancake.com

At The Farm House Tap & Grill, a farm-to-table gastropub, start with the local blue cheese garlic toast with local wildflower honey, then sink your teeth into the free-range turkey burger with local blue cheese, blueberry mostarda, arugula, and grilled onions. For dessert? Try the Champlain Orchards apple and local berry pie with salted caramel and whipped cream. 160 Bank St. 802-859-0888, farmhousetg.com

At Bleu Northeast Seafood, fresh catches include pan-roasted red fish, cast-iron seared scallops, Maine rock crab cakes, lobster rolls, and beer-battered fish and chips. 25 Cherry St. 802-864-8600, bleuvt.com

Don’t know what you want? Stroll Church Street, which offers dozens of dining options, including a taste of France by way of Vermont at Leunig’s Bistro & Cafe, where fare includes stuffed Vermont quail, foie gras and escargot maison. 115 Church St. 802-863-3759, leunigsbistro.com


Get your Cherry Garcia straight from the source at the flagship Ben & Jerry’s. 36 Church St., 802-862-9620. benjerry.com . Or go native and cop a creamie — or creemee or creamy — just don’t call it soft serve. The native-to-Vermont sweet treat is essentially a richer, creamier soft-serve ice cream, sometimes maple-flavored. Try one at Al’s French Frys (1251 Williston Road, South Burlington. 802-862-9203. alsfrenchfrys.com ) or at the Burlington Bay Market & Cafe by Lake Champlain. 25 Battery St. 802-864-0110, burlingtonbaycafe.com

Of course, this being Vermont, there are two main amber-colored treats: maple syrup and craft beer. Craft breweries dot the landscape, and craft brews are served on tap in almost every bar and restaurant. But if you’re looking to sample several straight from the source, sign on with Burlington Brew Tours. They’ll chauffeur you to local craft breweries, swing by a local restaurant for a meal, and drop you safely back at your hotel. There are various tours through various local breweries. The Classic Tour, for example, makes its first stop at either the Vermont Pub and Brewery or Burlington Beer Co., then heads to Fiddle Head Brewing, Switchback Brewing, and Magic Hat Brewing Co., with a meal at Folinio’s Pizza. 802-760-6091, burlingtonbrewtours.com


You’ve got dozens of options here, including The Hotel Vermont, where you can treat yourself to a whirlpool tub suite and wake to a farm-to-table brunch at the hotel’s restaurant, Juniper. 41 Cherry St. 855-650-0080, hotelvt.com .


The Lang House on Main Street is an 1881 Queen Anne Victorian home converted into the quintessential Vermont bed-and-breakfast. Each of the 11 rooms is unique; some have turrets, fireplaces, wing-back chairs, or four-poster beds. In any case, you’ll wake to a dreamy Vermont breakfast. The menu — and the cookie of the day — changes daily, but have included toasted maple walnut scones, fried eggs over lemon, chive, and goat cheese grits, applewood smoked ham, and vanilla buttermilk pancakes with blueberry sauce. Cookie sample: mocha fudge drop. 360 Main St. 802-652-2500, langhouse.com

Lauren Daley can be reached at ldaley33@gmail.com. Follow her on Twitter @laurendaley1.