The views of Lake Champlain, the Champlain Valley and the Adirondacks are breathtaking from this hillock that also happens to be a state park. It’s a short, winding climb to the top — on a road that you have to share with cars, and you have to pay either way — but somehow the exhaust fumes don’t spoil the experience. Must have something to do with all those happy people at the top.
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.
A happy obsession is in evidence at the Birds of Vermont Museum — home to hundreds of life-sized wooden birds expertly carved by Bob Spear. The loon family alone took him 850 hours to carve and paint. Spear founded Vermont’s first chapter of the National Audubon Society in 1962, and is still carving birds today. Photo: Matthew Thorsen
If one side of 7-mile Isle La Motte — the Goodsell Fossil Preserve — is evidence of evolution, the other is faith-based: St. Anne’s Shrine attracts thousands of pilgrims every year. Fifty-seven years after Samuel de Champlain “discovered” it, in 1609, Fort St. Anne became Vermont’s first settlement. The first Mass was celebrated at the site of the shrine — now a rustic, open-air chapel in a spectacular natural setting. Don’t miss the roomful of discarded crutches. Summertime services are conducted Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. and Sunday mornings at 9 and 10:30 a.m.
(Published in 7 Nights 2008-2009)
Anyone who thinks of White River Junction as a place to hop off the highway for a bathroom break and a quick burger hasn't been there lately. Over the past decade, the old railroad town at the intersection of interstates 89 and 91 has experienced a renaissance. A theater company, a cartoon-art school and a tapas bar have all taken up residence in this burg that's seeing better days.
In the summer, you can tour this replica of the simple, 18th-century home occupied by Vermont’s rabble-rousing founder. The 284-acre grounds are accessible daily from sunrise to sunset. The entrance to the property is off of Route 127.
(Published in 7 Nights 2008-09)
It's the closest thing to a palace that exists in Vermont: The crimson damask lining the walls matches the upholstery on the chairs. The floor is a checkerboard of black-and-white marble, and imposing portraits of former proprietors Lila Vanderbilt Webb and William Seward Webb grace the walls.
Middlebury is a walking town. If you’re really ambitious, there’s an 18-mile Trail Around Middlebury — a project of the Middlebury Area Land Trust. A combination of hiking trails, dirt roads and paved highways, TAM stretches from the Otter Creek Gorge Preserve to the Battell Woods.
This landmark brick building was once known as "The Socialist Labor Party Hall." Samuel Gompers, Eugene Debs, Mother Jones and Emma Goldman spoke here. And stonecutter Elia Corti was shot here in a scuffle in 1903. It's a must-see stop on any tour of Barre.
All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2013 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684