I started Day 3 in Vermont’s largest city. Burlington has Lake Champlain on the western side, and the beautiful Green Mountains on the east. The city has all the charm you’ve come to expect from New England towns, except on a slightly larger scale.
I didn’t have a lot of time to spend in Burlington, but there was one place I knew I wanted to see: the Church Street Marketplace.
Burlington’s stately Unitarian Meeting House provides the focal point for its pedestrian mall. The church was built in 1816, and caps off the northern end of Church Street.
The Church Street Marketplace was created in 1981, around the time that other towns saw businesses leaving for the suburbs, and downtowns turned into ghost towns. Fortunately, that didn’t happen in Burlington, because the city gave people a reason to shop downtown. The Marketplace’s website estimates 3 million shoppers a year visit Church Street.
In addition to a brick street with dozens of stores (almost all of them filled with shops and restaurants)…
… Church Street also had some funky cows on display during my visit in 2010. The “Cows Come Home To Burlington” art exhibit allows local business to sponsor a cow, and local artists to decorate them.
Sadly, though, by the time you read this, the cows will be gone. They were auctioned off in November 2010.
Burlington’s City Hall Park is half a block west of Church Street, and just north of Main Street. The leaves were just starting to change when I visited in the first week of October — no doubt, Lake Champlain’s affect on the Burlington climate slows things down slightly here.
Admittedly, I didn’t give Burlington as much time as it deserves. If you want to devote a full day to the city, you won’t be disappointed. Burlington has several museums including the home of Ethan Allen (Vermont’s founder), six acres of wildflowers at the Vermont Wildflower Farm, water recreation on the lake, and several ski resorts nearby (including Bolton Valley and Stowe Mountain).