Best of Burlington, VT | 2013 Editors' Choice Awards
On the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington is Vermont’s largest city and a favorite tourist spot for quirky Green Mountain culture, not to mention plenty of good things to eat and places to stay.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN BURLINGTON, VT
BEST LAKESIDE BIKING
BURLINGTON BIKEPATH, Burlington
Lake and mountain views abound. Head to North Beach, onward to rustic Charlie’s Boathouse, or up the Causeway through Colchester to the Island Line and Champlain Islands. Or just meander along the Burlington waterfront south to Oakledge Park. Rentals and maps at Local Motion.
1 Steele St. 802-652-2453; localmotion.org
BEST CHILDREN’S BOOKSTORE
THE FLYING PIG BOOKSTORE, Shelburne Village
This award-winning shop, owned by former teachers, features more than 40,000 titles and knowledgeable staffers who have seemingly read every single one. Makes its home in the former Shelburne Inn.
5247 Shelburne Road. 802-985-3999; flyingpigbooks.com
ECHO LAKE AQUARIUM & SCIENCE CENTER, Burlington
More than 70 live species and 100 interactive exhibits depict the ecology, culture, and history of the nation’s sixth-largest lake. Leahy Center for Lake Champlain,
1 College St. 802-864-1848; echovermont.org
BEST GIFT SHOP
VERMONT GIFT BARN, South Burlington
You’ll find a full array of Vermont-made things, from maple syrup to pottery to furniture, at this unique shop, housed in (you guessed it) a real barn. 1087 Williston Road. 802-658-7864; vermontgiftbarn.com
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN BURLINGTON, VT
BEST FRENCH FRIES
AL’S FRENCH FRYS, South Burlington
It’s really all about the spuds at Al’s–freshly cut, quickly blanched, and double-fried. A local institution since the late 1940s, Al’s was named one of “America’s Classics” by the James Beard Foundation.
1251 Williston Road. 802-862-9203; alsfrenchfrys.com
BEST ECLECTIC BISTRO
DAILY PLANET, Burlington
Light bistro dishes range from Southern fried chicken to sweet-potato yellow curry to pan-roasted duck breast with BBQ peach glaze. In the solarium, gaze up to watch the night sky, or catch the changing local art on the walls.
15 Center St. 802-862-9647; dailyplanet15.com
SKINNY PANCAKE, Burlington
With savory crepes featuring local apples and Cabot cheese, or sweet ones such as the “Choco-Monkey” (Nutella and banana slices), Skinny Pancake suits most tastes. Elaborate dinner crêpes (such as Thai veggies and noodles) are available Thursday through Saturday evenings; brunch crêpes on weekends. 60 Lake St. 802-540-0188; skinnypancake.com
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN BURLINGTON, VT
BEST BACKYARD-GARDEN TOUR
HIDDEN GARDENS B&B, Hinesburg
Deep in the Champlain Valley, estate gardens have been carved into the wild, creating a 26-acre Certified Wildlife Habitat. Whimsy and creativity add to the unique charm. Accommodations are in a contemporary post-and-beam.
693 Lewis Creek Road. 802-482-2118; thehiddengardens.com
BEST DOWNTOWN GUESTHOUSE
LANG HOUSE ON MAIN STREET, Burlington
Sloping gently above downtown, with Lake Champlain beyond, sits this 11-room Victorian inn. Decorated with elegant period furnishings and antiques, the third-floor rooms bask in late-day sunlight and westerly views.
360 Main St. 802-652-2500; langhouse.com
BEST DOWNTOWN-WALKING VALUE
BEL-AIRE MOTEL, Burlington
Family-owned and -operated, this cheerful motel sits on the back side of a trendy South End family park. Gardens compliment the red-white-and-blue décor. Rooms are basic, well-kept, and just a 10-minute walk from downtown.
111 Shelburne Road. 802-863-3116; belairevt.com