Got kale? They usually do at the Burlington Farmers Market. Area food producers take over Burlington City Hall Park every Saturday morning throughout the growing season in a democratic display of edible innovation. Just-picked fruit, veggies and flowers practically sell themselves, but there are local livestock farmers, too, selling fresh meat raised the old-fashioned way. Don’t cook? Homemade baked goods, ethnic treats are the Queen City’s fast food.
Burlingtonians come here to swim and picnic, out-of-towners also use it as a campground.
Going bareboat? Winds of Ireland at the Burlington Boathouse rents out seven sailing sloops to experienced skippers. If you need someone else to take the tiller, they’ve got captains for hire.
Perkins Pier’s Waterfront Boat Rentals lets out rowboats, kayaks, canoes, double kayaks, aluminum skiffs and Boston Whalers by the hour — or eight. With more than 130 square miles of lake before you, the only limitation is how long you’ve got. And, of course, your vessel’s horsepower. An easy paddle north will take you to the Rock Point promontory via North Beach, where Burlingtonians go to swim and out-of-towners camp out. Go south to survey Red Rocks — a popular swimming and sunset spot — and Oakledge Park. Got a few hours?
The crack of the bat, the call of the hot-dog vendor — it wouldn’t be summer without minor-league baseball. In Burlington, the Vermont Lake Monsters — formerly the “Reds,” then the “Expos” — play through Labor Day at UVM Centennial Field. The 103-year-old ballpark is a jewel in the middle of a city neighborhood that once hosted the likes of Barry Larkin, Ken Griffey, Jr., Orlando Cabrera and Jason Bay.
Nonprofit Preservation Burlington leads guided tours — upon request — with an eye toward architecture of historic and stylistic interest. Learn about how the Queen City was developed, and find out who built it. Look for contact information on the Preservation Burlington website.
Don't wait until you're dead to enjoy the Queen City's scenic garden cemetery. Wander the winding paths toward the waterfront, and you'll pass headstones that read like a Who's Who of local history. A former governor, the second U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., the namesake of Howard University in Washington D.C. and Civil War hero General George Stannard are among the notable residents.
This fertile flood plain at the north end of Burlington hosts myriad organic market gardens, a gardening-supply store and a big, stinky controversial compost pile (for now, anyway). Hikers and bikers can explore trails that wind along the Winooski River all the way to the Ethan Allen Homestead.
The Burlington waterfront used to be a busy shipping center with all the accompanying industrial detritus. Thankfully, the urban shoreline has been beautified over the years. Take a stroll along the boardwalk or the bike path, step about the Spirit of Ethan Allen for a lake cruise, have lunch at Splash! at the Boathouse or toss a frisbee on the grass. If it's raining, take refuge at the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center.
Oakledge Park marks the Southern end of the Burlington bike path. Once home to the Webb family's Oakledge Manor, it now boasts picnic shelters, playground equipment and a stony swimming beach (no lifeguards, though). It's also home to the first handicapped accessible treehouse built in a public park. A short walk north takes you to the site of Burlington's Earth Clock. Stick around for the spectacular sunset.
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