Burlington is Vermont’s most populous city, though with a population of less than 40,000 and surrounded by farmland and Lake Champlain, it’s a far cry from one’s image of a major city. And despite its northern location (just 95 miles from Montreal) with cold winters and lots of snow, it’s an intimate and vibrant place, often touted in lists of best places to live in America.
The University of Vermont and Champlain College make their home here, and art and culture are front and center. The Burlington City Arts (BCA) Center has three levels of exhibition space, and the organization hosts art classes, camps, open studio hours, and city-wide festivals, events, concerts, films, artist markets, and more.
The Burlington Farmers Market in the South End, established in 1980, is rich with farmers’ produce, specialty foods, and artisan crafts. Church Street Marketplace, a pedestrian-only district, is full of shops and restaurants, and also has a full events calendar. Breweries, a comedy club, theaters and more keep the game going into the night.
As with the state’s overall reputation, Burlington has a decided progressive bent. Ben & Jerry’s began their venture here. It was the first city in the U.S. to run entirely on renewable energy. Bernie Sanders has his political headquarters here. Need I say more?
Outside the city to the south, Shelburne Museum in the town of Shelburne extends the art vibe with its 45 acres of art, Americana and history. The museum includes 39 buildings, 25 of which are historic, 22 gardens, a Shaker design round barn, a blacksmith shop, general store, carousel, and the Ticonderoga, a 220-foot sidewheel steamboat.
And of course there’s the lake – with boating, fishing, swimming and just simply gazing at this beautiful body of water.
Come visit Burlington – you might not want to leave.