Can you picture the last time you felt pure relief? A little euphoria? Well, I think relief is largely to credit for my love of Burlington, Vermont. I was trying to get a second back-to-back 90 day visa for entry in to the USA and I’d been filled full of scare-mongering stories of passport rejection! But I made it. After 3 months’ travel I was thrilled not to be overhauling plans and flying back to London, and this quaint little spot made the perfect re-entry destination. HAPPY!
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3 THINGS YOU REALLY CANNOT MISS:
HIRE A BIKE | Burlington, Vermont has a lovely waterfront paved stretch called the Island Line Trail. I hired a bike from town and spent a leisurely couple of hours exploring.
WATERFRONT PARK | I arrived in Burlington, Vermont in late June, and this town felt decidedly sleepy. The boathouse and Boardwalk have a pleasant regular buzz about them, so while away the time and watch the boats bobbing on Lake Champlain. It’s a really pretty spot.
GREYHOUND | you won’t often hear me say this about the state of Greyhound buses, but the connection between Montreal, Canada and Burlington, Vermont was seamless. The Alburg / Noyan border crossing was stress free and quick. I was not unnecessarily challenged over my visa status, which is a good thing as I was a legitimate long-time tourist!
3 THINGS WORTH A SNOOP:
DAILY PLANET | Now that I had a visa extension, my USA road trip also came with a serious budget curb. Having met fellow travellers who recommended couchsurfing.com I totally landed on my feet in Burlington, and stayed for 3 nights with a legend called Bart. We shared travel stories over a drink at this local eclectic bar.
BEN AND JERRY’S | who’d have thought this global brand now owned by Unilever (more’s the pity) would hail originally from Burlington, Vermont? Ben Cohen – co-founder with Jerry Greenfield – has severe anosmia, a lack of a sense of smell or taste, and so relied on “mouth feel” and texture to provide variety in his diet: this led to the company’s trademark chunks. Now there’s a store nestled on lovely Church Street in the centre of town.
UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT | Burlington feels like the Uni, which supports a large Agricultural College as well (and has a long history toward operational environmental sustainability on its campus), is a big part of the community. As such there’s a youthful, fun vibe around town and you can pick up Vermont Catamounts sports memorabilia should you want to feel the part!
3 THINGS TO STEER CLEAR:
DAS BIERHAUS | this German themed bar was drawing a crowd and had a lovely roof top, but I wanted American living not snitzel! Bart and some friends tried to convince me on the merits of pretzels, but I stand by the opinion that they are dry and bland.
WET WEATHER | I enjoyed my handful of days in this lovely town, but I have no idea what you would do in bad weather! There’s a lovely independent cinema Merrill’s Roxy and Wholefoods contender Healthy Living to feast at! Pray for some sunshine so you can enjoy the outdoors.
HOSTEL | it wouldn’t be fair to say don’t stay at The Burlington Hostel – I walked in, and then decided to give couch surfing a whirl. It has great reviews and an awesome central location. I would observe two things though: the hostel felt super quiet (maybe seasonal?), and part of my great experience staying in Burlington was how homely it felt staying with a host.
1 THING I WISH I’D DONE:
HILDENE | in Manchester, Vermont, is the summer home of Lincoln’s son. Yes son, granted, but I’m not interested in the famous names: I just LOVE grand houses and a chance to noisy around them. I would love to travel to this area in Fall and see the incredible reds, oranges, and yellows of the foliage.
AND KNOW THIS: Vermont became the 14th state in 1791; it was the first admitted after the thirteen colonies. Before that, it was its very own country. Founded in 1777, the Vermont Republic operated a post office, issued its own currency called Vermont coppers, and abolished slavery – a progressive kind of place then!
–> –> –> Next stop The Bay State | Massachusetts –> –> –> (post coming soon)