A random corner of the states, I know–but one that is near and dear to my heart: Burlington, Vermont. I went recently for a weekend escape from the busy city life and fell in love with the small charmingly eccentric town all over again. It is the perfect mix of social events, a creative community, boutiques, healthy living and friendly personalities. (If only it were not so far away, I would go there much more frequently!)
Church Street is the lively heart of Burlington and houses all the cutest boutiques (with great unique buys for clothes, accessories, and home goods! I ended up grabbing a couple of wonderful artist crafted jewelry pieces from Zinnia’s. LOVE that store! Affordable & adorable, two of my favorite qualities!), street performers, delicious restaurants and fun nightlife. Oh and one of the best features of Vermont? Their strong belief in supporting local business. A majority of products sold and food served are locally made or grown. Some of my favorite restaurants that do this are on streets just off of the main church street stretch:
1.) The Farmhouse Tap & Grill The menu is american at heart and hosts a bunch of dishes prepared with ingredients from local farms. I’ve had their burgers and toast points (with some of the freshest cheese and honey I’ve had at a restaurant). Excellent and savory, to say the least! Though the most attention The Farm House gets is for its extensive craft brew list. The prices aren’t too far fetched but a little on the pricier side.
2.) Flatbread Now, I know this italian-ish restaurant is technically a chain, but I still love it and it too has an emphasis on using local farms for ingredients. I’m not positive if the menu is slightly different at each location for food, but I am sure the drink menu is–another craft beer bar can be found here. The best part about this restaurant? Large portions you can share with big parties–and all the flatbreads are amazing!!
3.) El Corjito Interestingly enough, this place is owned by the same people who own The Farmhouse, so it too has the farm to table concept. This taqueria is so good it usually draws a line that goes out the door and has a pretty lengthy wait. But the wait is worth it! Especially for the margaritas. I had one and am now in love! I have to learn how to replicate them ASAP!
So those are 3 of MANY places to eat downtown. You really could go anywhere and have a great meal, but those are some of my favorites!
Ignoring the gluttony urge, there are plenty of active things to do in Burlington to burn off the calories. There are extensive walking/biking trails that run alongside Lake Champlain, a couple of beaches to enjoy a swim when the weather is warm, plenty of hiking trails (my favorites are the ones by Red Rocks where you can watch daredevils jump of 40-70 ft cliffs), segway tours, and a number of grassy knolls to have a game of frisbee or two. I personally love strolling along to the galleries scattered around town and looking at all the neat local art!
Or if you want to spend a day driving around, there are several breweries in the area (Vermont has the highest number of breweries per capita! My favorite is Magic Hat–very cool designs!), Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory, The Teddy Bear Factory, the Shelburne Museum, nearby mountain trails to hike, and local wineries in Shelburne and the Champlain Islands.
If you do decide to drive out of town, be sure to make it back to Burlington for the nightlife! It thrives with live music and bustling bars–I always have an excellent time whether I’m drinking cheap beers at What Ales You or lounging with a martini at Red Square as I listen to a local band. Ahhh Burlington, just thinking about you, makes me yearn to return right now! You are forever in my heart.