If you haven’t picked up on it yet, I’m a fan of “small cities.” Sure, places like New York, Philly, and Boston are great to visit, but often times portions of these cities are so homogenized that they become interchangeable. Big cities are also super transient. People come there to get jobs. You could walk around these locales and easily not run into a native. Small cities maintain much more local culture and character.
A small city I’ve never been visited but have on my bucket list is Burlington Vermont. While Burlington might be a “small city”, it is the largest city in Vermont (sorry Montpelier). The city is built on a hill overlooking Lake Champlain and is nestled in between the Adirondack High Peaks across the lake (you could take a ferry) and Vermont’s Green Mountains to its south.
Burlington is chiefly known for three things: the lake, beer, and ice cream. Lake Champlain itself is a great recreation area for boating, kayaking and paddleboarding and hosts The Great Pumpkin Regatta every Columbus Day weekend Saturday. If you’re not content to simply watch others paddle across the lake in jack-o-lantern boats and want to get in on some of the dumb fun, book a ride on the Spirit of Ethan Allen. This old fashioned steamship sets sail every Friday night from Burlington’s harbor opened as a bar and nightclub. If driving near the lake is more your thing, take a ride around the Lake Champlain scenic byway.
The most famous beer to come out of Burlington is Magic Hat, but it’s really just one of many microbreweries in the city. Take a beer tour or come in mid July when they have the Vermont Microbrew Festival.
The city is known for ice cream because Ben and Jerry’s has their headquarters here. You can tour the factory and gorge ice cream samples for only $3.00. If you still feel like eating and drinking your way through Vermont you could also visit the Cabot Cheese factory forty minutes away or stay local and wander up and down the Church Street Marketplace, a car free street fair that pops up every week.