Hands down, our favorite of the three towns we visited on our anniversary trip to Vermont was Burlington. Set on the shores of Lake Champlain and nestled between a mountain range to the east and west, it has a quiet feel and yet a surprising amount of things to do, see, and taste. We chose to tackle the 13 hour drive north and arrived on Friday night. Exhausted from the drive, we didn’t see much of Burlington that evening other than the welcoming bed and flannel robes in our room at our hotel.
The next morning, a coffee and fresh breakfast had us refreshed, so we walked a few blocks to the town square for the Farmer’s Market. I’d heard wonderful things about the market prior to visiting, so I was grateful that our trip fell on a Saturday. The market is practically a mini fall festival because, well, all of Vermont is this time of year. All the seasonal staples, from real maple syrup to nutty cheeses, Oktoberfest brews, freshly picked apples, piping hot cider, and seasonal flowers, were there for the taking.
I picked up maple syrup, local nut butter, and popcorn kernels to bring home. As we were leaving, I saw a flower stand from a nearby flower farm. I learned that they would make you a bouquet for a price you set, and I was sold. The stand carried purple and burnt orange amaranth, the latter of which was in my wedding bouquet, so it has special significance for me. I asked them to make a bouquet with amaranth, creamy whites, and greenery, and I was so happy with the result! There’s nothing like walking around town with fresh flowers, even if you’ll only have them in your hotel room for a few nights.
Thankfully, Burlington wasn’t as cold as I’d expected that morning, so my corduroys (similar, less expensive here) and cream sweater worked out perfectly. I was also glad to have my backpack to keep my hands free for sampling all the goodies and, later on, carrying the items we purchased. Once we’d seen our share of the market, we headed back to our hotel to change into comfortable clothing for a bike ride.
One of the things I loved most about Hotel Vermont is the free bikes they provide for guests. We picked up a couple from the lobby and rode the bike path by Lake Champlain for an hour or so before our hearty soup lunch. It was one of my favorite days of the trip, and I can’t think of a better way to have started off our anniversary vacation.