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Burlington - Things to do?

Fort Wayne, Indiana
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Burlington - Things to do?

My husband and I are in our mid-fifties, staying at B&B in Burlington (Howard Street Guest House) for 5 days and two days at the Shelburne Inn. We've been to the Shelburne Museum, Ben & Jerry's, etc. Looking for some new things to do. Are thinking of a luncheon river cruise. Is there one better than the other? Also, we do have a car available and we like to hike. We did go to Mount Philo last year. We also like botanical gardens, arboretums, galleries, farmer's markets, art fairs, etc.

Thankful for any assistance!

Burlington, Vermont
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1. Re: Burlington - Things to do?

At least three options for getting on Lake Champlain (no "river" cruises) which all depart from the Burlington waterfront.

(1) Sail aboard the Friend Ship with the Whistling Man Schooner Co. http://whistlingman.com/ This is a sailboat and it will be a smaller, more intimate experience than the other two options. Usually you'll chat with the crew and other guests during the sail, and I believe you are free to bring a picnic and drinks. Nice folks who run this operation.

(2) The Northern Lights which is run by the ferry company. http://lakechamplaincruises.com/ This is my favorite of the 2 "big" boat options. The boat is a more classic design, and the crew has always been extremely friendly. They have a bar on board and I believe they sell some snack-like food, and offer a dinner cruise although I have not done that.

(3) The Spirit of Ethan Allen. http://www.soea.com/ This is probably the most popular "cruise" and it's the biggest boat. I've been out a few times and it's a fine way to get on the lake, but not my favorite. They also have a bar on board and offer more food options on the regular scenic cruise, and also dinner cruises and brunches. The food is actually really good on this boat, but again, I don't like the boat itself quite as much as the other options.

Hiking. If you have more ambition than walking (or driving) up the Mt. Philo road, then I would absolutely recommend hiking Camel's Hump or Mt. Mansfield. Together with the Lake, this is what exemplifies Vermont. There are a number of trailheads for both mountains. The Burrows Trail is the easiest way up Camel's Hump, is about 5 miles roundtrip, and would be my first recommendation for people with a basic level of hiking skill. www.summitpost.org/burrows-trail/167210

If you are not up to that hike, head up to Stowe Mountain Resort and take the gondola up to just below the summit of Mt. Mansfield. stowe.com/activities/summer/gondola-skyride/ The ride up is very scenic and from there it's just a quick jaunt up to the summit. Either way, you really should see Vermont from these elevations.

Every Saturday morning there is a farmer's market in City Hall Park in Burlington. http://www.burlingtonfarmersmarket.org/ I've been to a lot of farmer's markets around the country, and although I may be a bit bias, I think this is one of the best small-city farmer's markets around. You could walk there in less than a mile from where you are staying, and is probably a good idea since parking is tight on market day.

Edited: 2:44 pm, June 12, 2013
Ormond Beach...
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2. Re: Burlington - Things to do?

Good input. I'd suggest different hikes however. Burrows (and all trails on Camels Hump) is nearly all woods - no views until the last ~10%. Some far better options IMHO are on Mt. Mansfield, including:

The loop formed by Butler Lodge, Rock Garden, Maple Ridge & Frost trails. Also ~ 5 miles, and moderate in difficulty - with a few short scrambles and superb western views of Lake Champlain & beyond.

For easier hiking, rather than the gondola, take the toll road. That goes all the way to the top ridge line, where there are numerous trails ranging from flat (along the ridge) to steep and scrambly (like the trail down to the gondola, Lake Vew, Canyon, etc... All those trails have the best views in the state IMO - similar to the very top of Camels Hump.

There are a bunch of nice little art galleries around Burlington, incl. the Friehouse Gallery on Church St. next to city hall, and along the rec path at the foot of main st.

Edited: 5:28 pm, June 12, 2013
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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3. Re: Burlington - Things to do?

Thanks to Adams Traveler and Chris and LIz for all the great suggestions! We had actually hiked Camel's Hump last fall when we were there. What we ended up doing was we rented bikes at Local Motion and rode the Burlington Bike Trail one day when it was rather cool. We had a great time doing that. (I think we did from Local Motion store to WInooski and back). We really enjoyed that.

We did end up doing a lunch cruise on the Ethan Allen, and the food was very good. I think next time we come, we'll do the Whistling Man sail. It was rather hard to hear the canned commentary on the Ethan Allen so we missed some things, I am sure.

We drove up to Button Bay State Park and did the very short and easy hike to the point.

We also were lucky enough to stay at the Shelburne Farm Inn and so we did a little hiking there as well.

Thanks for all your assistance! You have a lovely town there.

Ormond Beach...
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4. Re: Burlington - Things to do?

Another excellent & unique biking option is to ride out the Colchester Causeway. It's an old rail bed turned rec path that goes ~2.5 miles out into Lake Champlain, with great views of the Green & Adirondak Mtns. Stowe also has a great rec path, ~7 miles long.... quite different than BTVs path.

Fort Wayne, Indiana
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5. Re: Burlington - Things to do?

Yes, the Stowe path was on our list, but we just ran out of time. Next time we are there (hopefully next year), we'll try both those places. Do you know, do either or both of them have bike rentals?

Many thanks again!

6. Re: Burlington - Things to do?

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