We arrived in Burlington sometime near midnight after a flight I nearly missed (don’t rely on DC’s Metro to get you around reliably after rush hour on a weekday). And at BTV’s Enterprise kiosk, we met the nicest, friendliest employee of a rental car company I have ever encountered. Seriously, I didn’t even think they allowed people that nice to work for them.
Jordan, a 20-something transplant from New York, gave us a list of Burlington recommendations, an in-state discount and CUPCAKES that she’d made and brought from home. And I still owe her a list of DC picks in exchange for what made for a great day in Vermont.
Burlington is really lovely. It’s got the energy of a college town with the relaxed, laid-back feeling you find in Vermont. Oh, plus the Green Mountains and Lake Champlain.
How I got there:
U.S. Airways, now American. Round-trip flights used to be pretty cheap ($200s) as long as you booked far enough in advance; haven’t checked since the merger officially closed.
Where I stayed:
The Little Place Guest House, which restored my faith in Airbnb after our Portland nightmare. It was well-designed, well-located and perfectly clean, and it had a little balcony I would have sat outside on had we not been trying to hightail it out of the U.S.
What I did:
I spent a lot of my time in Burlington walking around Church St. open-air mall, the city’s main (pedestrian) drag. It’s adorable.
And the night view:
Jake had to work for the afternoon, so I drove out to Shelburne Farms, a location I probably discovered and put on my list while reading some Buzzfeed-style roundup of the top 10 prettiest place in Vermont. Though I’m sure this place is at it’s peak during the fall, it didn’t disappoint in summer. I took a 1.5 hour guided tour around the premises that included beautiful views of Lake Champlain, plenty of Vanderbilt history and a look into how cheese is made.
After Jake finished up, we set out again, this time for the Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour in Waterbury. The drive there was more than twice as long as the tour–which basically consisted of a short, self-loving video and about 10 minutes of listening to a hilariously awkward teenager with a ponytail tell bad ice cream jokes–but it was a pretty drive through the mountains. There was ice cream on the tour, too, and afterward you could sample any flavor of Ben & Jerry’s you wanted, some of which I’d never seen elsewhere. I got the Spectacular Speculoos, which was spectacular indeed.
Where I ate:
After checking out of Little Place, we stopped at Barrio Bakery & Cafe, which was right next door. Main attraction, for me at least: 10 types of sugar you can put in your coffee, including coconut, vanilla, hazelnut and lavender. This was particularly exciting for someone like me, whose coffee consists of about half actual coffee and half things I throw in it to make it taste like ice cream.
Next was a breakfast spot off Jordan’s list in Penny Cluse Cafe. I was sold after reading the first menu item, which is “Bucket-o-Spuds.” There was a half-hour wait, but we used that to start exploring the Church St. And the wait was soo worth it.
We ended the day with another of Jordan’s recommendations, the Farmhouse Tap & Grill in Burlington. The food was just okay, but they were having a sour beer event that included several from Colorado brewery Crooked Stave, as well as some ever-elusive Cantillon.
What I missed:
Below are the rest of Jordan’s picks.
– Prohibition Pig (beer – Waterbury)
– The Reservoire (beer – Waterbury)
– American Flatbread
– Mirabelle’s Cafe (breakfast)
– Al’s French Frys