I recently did a little getaway with my sister to Burlington, Vermont, where we were able to escape the hustle and bustle of NYC and take in the fresh air and relaxing lifestyle of Vermonters. It was certainly much needed and long overdue (our last sister trip was Italy!). We were a bit boujee and decided to fly because 5 hours in the car with each other may have turned the trip sour before we even arrived…just kidding! Below are some of our must-sees, must-dos, and must-haves in Burlington. I also should note that going in the Fall would be ideal because you get to see incredible foliage everywhere you turn.
First things first – highly recommend renting a car for a few days. There are a ton of super cute towns and things to do outside of Burlington and its a great opp to see the mountains and trees and just how green (or colorful depending on when you go) Vermont really is. A fun little fact – billboards are illegal in Vermont! So just picture completely unobstructed, clear visibility to the beautiful scenery!
We stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn – I would certainly recommend since its location was perfect. Just a few minutes walk from Church Street, two minutes from Lake Champlain (the hotel actually overlooks the lake), and about a 10-15 minute walk to the campus. Parking was $15 a night if you do decide to rent a car and keep it there.
Below are my recommendations!
- Farmhouse Tap + Grill – AMAZING food. The biscuits were incredible. We split a cheese plate, a fresh, crisp salad, and a savory burger. Highly recommend.
- Penny Cluse – absolutely heavenly breakfast – we actually went back TWICE. Definitely get the bucket of spuds…or two. My sister had the special maple french toast and couldn’t say enough good things about it! I loved that I was able to kind of mix and match my breakfast to make my own platter. Gingerbread pancakes are a must! Below is the bucket of spuds and one of my breakfasts.
- August First – the cutest little bakery/cafe EVER. We actually came here multiple times because everything was just so satisfying and palatable. The maple biscuit was so flaky and light it honestly didn’t even need butter. I also had a skillet which was delicious – you can really taste the freshness. My sister had the huevos ranchero and for lunch one day she also had the turkey and brie sandwich. They also had really great sweets, such as doughnuts, cookies, brownies, etc. I’m salivating just thinking about them.
- Hen of the Wood – great little restaurant and bar. Very eclectic drinks and a pretty unique menu. We were not too hungry so instead of full on meals we split some appetizers and split the pasta special. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of it, but I must say I finished it in seconds it was that good! Below we tried a cheese, split a salad, calamari, and this super appetizing mushroom flatbread with an egg and a big thick chunk of bacon.
- We also enjoyed creemees, Ben + Jerry’s (duh), Skinny Pancake for some late night crepes and American flatbread. I would also recommend checking out some of the breweries. We are not big beer drinkers but Foam Brewers was super close to our hotel so we walked over to see it.
- El Cortijo – SKIP at all costs. Totally not worth it at all. The food was sub par at best – I mean have you ever had shrimp that tasted like dirty fish water? We both had gotten sick after our meal. The service was also rude and irritable – as if they didn’t want our money. The atmosphere was drab and dingy. I don’t know if I have just been spoiled with great Mexican restaurants around me, but for them to pass this off as Mexican cuisine is just insulting.
- Cheese Making/Farm Tour at Bread and Butter Farm
- This was $75 per person and absolutely worth every single penny. We had a private class where we got to make our very own mozzarella. We also got to tour the farm – and play with the pigs, obviously our favorite part! We were able to pair our cheese with house made bread and farm fresh tomatoes and herbs. A wonderful experience and would recommend to everyone who goes to Vermont!
- Ben + Jerry’s Factory
- AKA home. For only a few bucks it was pretty cool to be able to get a little tour of the factory and see how this *God sent* food is created. They have a cute little gift shop and of course an entire section dedicated to where you can buy ice cream. A little walk up the hill, and you will see a park, the Flavor Graveyard, as well as some cows!
- Horse back riding at Lajoie Stables
- This was what I was looking forward to the entire trip! I love horses and I love horse back riding. This was about 45 minutes away form Burlington but I am so glad we decided to do it. We received a private hour long tour through the whopping 300 acres of land. We were able to see unbelievable mountain views and see some of the 55 horses they have! The ladies who ran it were so sweet and allowed us to stay longer and pet all of the horses.
- Lake Champlain
- Lake Champlain is absolutely stunning. We were able to see it from our room so it was a short distance to walk. We did evening “hikes” (we walked a path lol) along the lake. They had great little bench swings we sat on and people watched…I mean watched the sunset. It was also pretty cool along the trail they had a skateboard park and little random exercise platforms with some equipment. There are also a ton of activities you can do on the water – from sports, to sunset booze cruises. Whistling Man Schooner Co. came highly recommended to us.
- Church Street Marketplace + Farmer’s Market
- Church Street is a bustling marketplace that spans a few streets long. It is blocked off so you are free to walk in the middle of it. They have a ton of restaurants, bars, boutique clothing stores, book stores, you name it they got it. It was a neat little spot and we took strolls down it every night. They also had the absolute #goals of Farmer’s Markets – we checked it out Saturday before we left – highly suggest you make a point of going to it and getting some specialty foods and goods! We also loved Bennington Potters – it was like the Anthropologie of Vermont!
- Explore Farms
- There are a ton of farms that are family friendly. A lot of them offer cheese making demonstrations, some even have wine tasting and such. I highly recommend exploring local farms and seeing the animals and if they have any events going on!
- After got settled into the hotel, we went up to UVM and explored campus. We stocked up on shirts, hats, and sweatshirts. Very beautiful campus with beautiful buildings and tons of gorgeous flowers!
Burlington is a wonderful little city with welcoming and neighborly people. They have absolutely amazing fresh food, and the scenery is unmatched! For a short little inexpensive getaway, I totally suggest Vermont!