Burlington, Vermont , a socially and artistically-conscious place which graciously welcomes visitors all times of the year.




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Burlington, Vermont         Web Cam Burlington Vermont

Burlington VT - Land of Lake, Arts and Food
by Deborah Straw

Burlington has changed immensely in the 25 years I have lived here. Always beautiful, it has also become much more cosmopolitan. Its main street, Church, is now an award-winning pedestrian mall; its Lake Champlain waterfront becomes more accessible yearly ; and its selection of restaurants continues to increase and improve.

The largest city in the "Green State," Burlington is a fine place to live and to visit, as witnessed by many awards over the last few years. These include, for example, the least stressful metro area for raising children; winner of one of five "Great American Main Street Awards,"; among the top twenty metro areas in Money magazine; and most livable city (for cities with populations under 100,000) in America awarded by the National Conference of Mayors Here's another good one: Vermont has often won the safest state in the country award.

If you're not a snow person, the best times to visit Burlington, on the shores of 120-mile-long Lake Champlain, are between May and October or November, but activities abound in all seasons. If you're a skier, we are only an hour away from four nationally-heralded ski areas: Sugarbush, Stowe, Smuggler's Notch and Jay Peak.

The lake is one of the primary attractions. One of my favorite places is the Burlington Community Boathouse, where during the warm months, you can sip a coffee, eat a snack or a light meal, and watch the world float by (sail boats and kayaks, ducks and cormorants). There's an eight-mile paved bike path along the lake for walkers, runners, bicyclists and roller bladers. Picnic tables and swinging seats are available in many stretches. Also on the water is the ferry dock, with a restaurant and gift shop; the Lake Champlain Transportation Co. ferry crosses to Port Kent, New York between May 21 and October 18. You can go by foot, car or cycle; it's a one-hour ride, worth it for the scenery and breezes.

Of course, we also have several beaches.

Food in Burlington is top-rate. No longer a center for steakhouses and fern barns, the area hosts more than 200 restaurants including Italian, Thai, Cajun, Japanese, Vietnamese, Mexican lots of deli/outdoor cafes and two good downtown diners. Try Sweet Tomatoes, Smokejacks, The India House or the Daily Planet. And with the introduction, last year, of the New England Culinary Institute's excellent restaurant and shop, standards have improved even more. A school for chefs, NECI also runs restaurants in neighboring Essex Junction and nearby Montpelier, the state capital.

Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream started in a small gas station in Burlington, and it still has digs at 36 Church Street. The company's factory, a 30-minute drive away in Waterbury, offers a fun and tasty tour.

On and around the Marketplace, you can find excellent pizza, fine tacos, sushi, Montreal bagels, vegetarian entrees, and microbrewery beer (at the Vermont Pub and Brewery), or a downhome diner meal at Henry's or the Oasis, historic Burlington landmarks. We have a plethora of coffee shops where you can linger for hours.

The arts are alive and well in Burlington during all seasons. One of the reasons for this stimulating life is the presence of six colleges and universities within a ten-mile radius. Students of all ages keep us on our toes. In the summer months, we have the Mozart Festival, which holds outdoor and indoor concerts in spots such as Shelburne Farms, the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, and aboard a Lake Champlain ferry. The Festival also holds a winter series, generally in a downtown church. The Lane Series and the Flynn Mainstage Series also offer world-class concerts year-round, many in the Flynn Theatre for the Performing Arts on Main Street, a restored art deco masterpiece.

For another kind of culture, you must visit the nearby Shelburne Museum, one of this country's primary spots for historic Americana. Consisting of thirty-seven exhibit building on forty-five acres, the world-class museum is open full-time from late May to late October and offers daily mini-tours at 1 p.m. throughout the winter months. The collection-- especially of paintings, quilts and folk art -- is spectacular.

It's heading on toward winter now, and I 'm beginning to feel nervous. We have great snow removal and plowing, but I just don't enjoy snow. So I do what most of us here do -- stock up on warm clothes, bring out the winter duvet, and plan our winter activities -- skiing, concerts, people to see and books to read. We socialize a lot in Burlington-- it's a community-centered place, good for children and the elderly.

Try Burlington -- it's a socially and artistically-conscious place which graciously welcomes visitors all times of the year.Through November 15, 1999 select Burlington businesses are offering special rates on rooms, dining and area attractions in a "The Best of Burlington" package. Information is available through the Chamber of Commerce: tel. 802-863-3489 or fax 802-863-1538. Burlington has an international airport and is well-served by bus. Amtrak runs to nearby Essex Junction. It is approximately 100 miles to Montreal, 150 miles to Albany, 230 miles to Boston, and 300 miles to New York.If you visit in September or October, the Fall Foliage Hotline lists the best spots to see the brightest leaves: 1-802-828-3829.

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