Ferry to NY from Burlington
Nov 1, 2019 at 8:00 AM in Things to Do by
As the biggest and most happening city in Vermont, Burlington has lots going on. Located on the shores of Lake Champlain facing the lovely Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, the oh-so easy-on-the-eye scenery sets the tone for a very chill, down-to-earth vibe throughout the town. Add to that a population of students from three colleges and a university and you have a super cool place to live and visit.
Church Street, a four-block-long pedestrian mall in the center of Burlington, flanked by Victorian buildings as well as modern structures is very much the epicenter of this northern Vermont town. With about a hundred retail shops, bars, restaurants and coffeehouses, it’s a great place to while away the day. People-watching here ranks high, especially since depending on the weather, folks like to hang out and take in the street performers that provide entertainment day and night. Crow Bookshop and Phoenix Books (just a block off the mall) are musts; this is a town that salutes independent booksellers and these two are tops.
For a taste of Vermont outdoor life, check out the Outdoor Gear Exchange, also on Church Street, where you can snag some deals on new and used gear the likes of which you would not find in a big cosmopolitan area. (Remember Vermonters–particularly in this college town–are outdoor enthusiasts all year long and many like to switch out their gear before the beginning of the next season.)
Crafts abound in Vermont and Frog Hollow showcases artists that work in a variety of media in their gallery on Church Street. Don’t you just love that name? Yes, it’s all about creativity here.
Go to Lake Champlain Chocolates Café for a shopping pick-me-up. If you like super rich and creamy hot chocolate, this place is for you. Don’t forget to purchase gifts for your loved ones at home. If you have time, go to their factory on Pine Street for a tour, more sampling and shopping.
Stop into Simon Pearce just off Church Street to admire (and even purchase) exquisite glassware, all handblown in Vermont. Just a few minutes-walk–away you can admire pottery, glassware and other gifts of a more rustic nature at Bennington Potters North. For over seventy years, this company has been making stoneware pottery in the charming town of Bennington in southern Vermont.
For a big breath of fresh air and beautiful views, head over to the Burlington Waterfront. Stroll the Boardwalk, amble around Waterfront Park and maybe even check out the Burlington Recreation Path. Cycling here is fun, partly because it’s super flat. Look out for the headwinds though!
If you’re more into aquatic discoveries, go to Echo Lake Aquarium & Science Center located just south of the Boardwalk. There’s always lots going on here, including films and many hands-on activities and interactive exhibits. Great for kids and adults, you’ll be amazed at all that lies beneath the waters of the mighty Lake Champlain. Some say there’s even Champ, their own sort of Loch Ness Monster.
You can partake in all kinds of water sports on the lake during the summer season. Rent a SUP from Paddle Surf Champlain, head out and be prepared to brave brisk winds and sea creatures that might topple you while touring. Only kidding.
Crossing Lake Champlain on a boat is one of the best ways to be out on the water. Lake Champlain Ferries operates from Burlington, Vermont to Port Kent, New York during the fair weather season. This scenic one-hour crossing affords spectacular views of this glorious Adirondack lake and the long, loaf-y mountains that border it on the other side.
The Burlington Earth Clock offers another unique way to experience nature in this very socially-conscious town. Circles for Peace, a Vermont grassroots nonprofit, created this Stonehenge-like installation with the goal of having people witness the rhythms and cycles of nature on these huge granite boulders in order to restore their inner peace and strength. Like much of Burlington, it’s both New Age and steeped in tradition. (Remember that Vermont is called the Granite State.)
Burlington is known for the birth of both Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and the band Phish. Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield opened their first ice cream shop in an old (converted) gas station in 1979 and as they say, the rest quickly became history. The jam band Phish was founded at UVM (University of Vermont) in 1983. Still today Vermont is known for its yummy ice cream (consider all the cows in the outlying area) as well as for promoting up and coming bands. You can find both your sweet and music fix (and maybe even a little stout on the side) at Radio Bean, a coffee bar that also displays works from local artists. If you want to go to where it all started for Phish, check out Nectar’s, a club that’s been featuring live music since 1972.
Here’s another good tidbit:Burton Snowboards is also headquartered in Vermont.
This is just a sampling of Burlington’s bounty. Have fun seeking out more on your own.