What to do
- Worth the detour
- Must see
Burlington, a small Vermont town of 43,000 people on the shores of Lake Champlain against a backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains, has a lot to offer!
Renowned for its warm atmosphere, good restaurants and craft breweries, it features a great mix of sports, cultural and gourmet activities.
Burlington Greenway Bike Path
The Greenway is a crown jewel of the town! This 13-kilometre paved trail offers magnificent views of Lake Champlain and the surrounding mountains and is immensely popular with walkers, runners and cyclists.
The Burlington Greenway Bike Path is part of the 22-kilometre-long Island Line Rail Trail. Bicycles can be rented at Local Motion (1 Steele Street, Burlington)
Church Street Marketplace
You can't visit Burlington without doing some window shopping on Church Street. This four-block pedestrian mall features many restaurants and stores. It is extremely lively during the summer and is the site of a number of festivals and activities.
Most stores are open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (or 9 p.m.) and Sundays from 11 a.m. (or noon) to 5 p.m.
Church Street, Burlington
Very popular with residents and visitors alike, this outdoor market is one of the most beautiful in Vermont. You will find more than 90 booths offering local products: seasonal fruits and vegetables, flowers, prepared foods, crafts and much more.
Open every Saturday from May to October, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. A winter market is also held some Saturdays from November to April, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Lake Champlain cruise
Many companies offer cruises on the lake. The Spirit of Ethan Allen (802-862-8300 / soea.com) is a large cruise ship on which you can enjoy a variety of excursions including dinner cruises and sunset cruises.
If you want a more classic experience, without the engines, the Whistling Man Schooner Company (802-825-7245 / www.whistlingman.com) also offers 2-hour tours aboard their large sailboat.
Departures daily in the summer season from the marina. Reservations required.
Shelburne Farms is a National Historic Landmark and beautiful 570-hectare working farm on the shores of Lake Champlain. Created in 1886, today the farm is a non-profit education center for sustainability and includes a cheesemaker, a dairy, a snack bar with farm products, a children's farmyard, a gift shop, and 16 km of walking trails offering magnificent views of the farm and the region.
The visitor centre and gift shop are usually open year round, and the entire centre is open from May to October.
A visit to the Shelburne Museum is an unconventional experience that will add some art, beauty, history and culture to your day. The many collections are spread over 39 buildings on 45 hectares of beautifully landscaped grounds. You will discover collections of decorative and popular art, circus art, textiles, toys, and much more. From French impressionism to American ingenuity, this museum will delight visitors of all ages.
Open Wednesday-Sunday, June to October, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some buildings are closed in off season.
Burlington Brew Tours
Vermont is renowned for its craft breweries, and Burlington Brew Tours is a great way to discover them without having to drive, in the company of experienced beer experts! For example, if you opt for the 4-hour Classic Brew Tour, you will sample more than 16 different beers from 4 local craft breweries. Reservations required.
As you head towards Burlington, be sure to take beautiful Route 302 through Crawford Notch, which offers spectacular scenery.
Smugglers' Notch State Park
Near the charming village of Stowe is the famous Smugglers' Notch , a narrow pass through the Green Mountains. Smugglers' Notch derives its name from illegal trade between Vermont and Montreal under President Thomas Jefferson, who passed an embargo act forbidding American trade with Great Britain and Canada. Many local people continued herding cattle and carrying other goods through the Notch. Today Smugglers' Notch is a busy state park and a popular destination for visitors. It offers good opportunities for hiking at all levels, including the challenging Hellbrook Trail and the popular Sterling Pond Trail. You can also explore the caves in the park. Go to Barnes Camp Visitor Center for more information.
Open every day from mid-May to mid-October.
Mount Mansfield in Stowe is the highest mountain in Vermont and the most visited in the region. Its summit ("The Chin") is located at 1,339 meters above sea level. When viewed from the east or west, this mountain has the appearance of a (quite elongated) human profile, with distinct forehead, nose, lips, chin, and Adam's apple. The summit offers postcard-worthy landscapes and an awe-inspiring 360-degree panoramic view.
To get to the top, you can take the spectacular Mount Mansfield Auto Toll Road , a steep and winding 7-km-long unpaved road. It will take you about 20 minutes to reach the "Chin". Note that there is a toll to use the road, and RVs are not permitted.
Open every day from the end of May until mid-October, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can also ride to the top in the Gondola SkyRide (at Stowe Mountain Resort, 7416 Mountain Road, Stowe). Open every day from late June until mid-October.
And if you're looking for a physical challenge, several trails also lead to the summit, including the famous Sunset Ridge Trail, which many believe is the most beautiful the mountain has to offer.
Green Mountains National Forest
Between Burlington and New Heaven lies the Green Mountains National Forest. The Green Mountains are part of the Appalachian mountain chain, like all mountains in eastern North America. They are also the origin of the name of the State of Vermont (French explorer Samuel de Champlain named them verd mont on his map, meaning green mountain). The national forest covers 160,000 hectares, is characterized by rugged mountains and wild forest, and offers few amenities. You will have the impression you are venturing into unexplored territory! Immerse yourself in this pristine natural environment, breathing deeply of the scent of spruce, pine and larch. There are many hiking trails, including part of the Long Trail or the Appalachian Trail, which wind through the heart of the forest. An experience unlike any other! The Green Mountains National Forest is divided into 2 regions: The Rochester-Middlebury District to the north and The Manchester Ranger District to the south.
The Rochester-Middlebury District: 99 Ranger Road, Rocherster / 802-767-4261
The Manchester Ranger District: 2538 Depot Street, Manchester / 802-362-2307
Where to eat
- $ Inexpensive
- $$ Moderate
- $$$ Upscale
- $$$$ Fine dining
Ben & Jerry's ($)
If it's warm, you'll want to go for a good ice cream at Ben & Jerry's, Vermont's iconic ice cream shop. You'll find a wide variety of original flavors with creative names that are sure to put a smile on your face.
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. with reduced hours in low season.
Leunig's Bistro ($$-$$$)
This French bistro & bar is a Burlington institution, offering the “Panache of Paris and the Value of Vermont." It's the perfect place to enjoy a "steak frites" with a good beer! Local bands also perform some evenings.
Open Tuesday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Hen of the Wood ($$$$)
This American-style restaurant offers a true Vermont culinary experience with an emphasis on local ingredients. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming and the menu offers simple, delicious and well-presented dishes that vary with the seasons. The fresh and flavourful oysters are particularly popular.
Open Thursday-Monday for dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
*** Hours may vary ***
When to visit
- Very Favourable
- Very Favourable