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It’s not quite the wide-open ocean, but it sure feels pretty big when you can barely see New York State and the Adirondacks in the distance. They call Lake Champlain the sixth great lake—and according to Wikipedia it actually was for a bit in 1998—and it sure feels that way when you’re standing along its shores. A visit now probably isn’t quite the same as it is in the summer, but strolling or riding along its shore on the bike path is certainly a welcome distraction.
Be sure to bundle up, as the wind off the lake isn’t the warmest of welcomes. However, once you’re basically numb you can no longer notice the chill, and you’re just able to focus on the waves, the rocks, and the water—the ducks seem to downright enjoy it. Heading south out of town is the best option as it points you in a more scenic direction, and it eventually leads you all the way over to one of Burlington’s hidden attraction—the earth clock.
Hot chocolate with a view of a chocolate factory...
Everyone has their own bests when it comes to foodie finds and locations, so we wanted to share ours with you—the best bits and bites in Burlington. With plenty of things to sip and sample it’s a good distraction from a day on the slopes, as there’s plenty of local flavor and Vermont variety from which to sample. So here are our picks for some quick not-to-miss options:
There’s many fine breweries from which to choose in Vermont, but little did we know that the state is home to the "world’s best beer."
On past trips to Burlington we've noticed that there were always a few people at bars and restaurants drinking from large silver cans, and honestly we always thought it was odd to choose a canned beer over one on tap. Well we admit to judging a book by its cover, as apparently the preferred way in which to sip and sample the double India Pale Ale brewed by The Alchemist in Waterbury is straight from the can.
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With the University of Vermont just up the hill and the shores of Lake Champlain on its western edge, Burlington is a city to spend some time with anytime of the year. Sure the nearby mountains and ski slopes are pretty darn enticing during the winter, but we find plenty of charm, character, and cuisine right within the boundaries of The Queen City.
This weekend is when they’re flipping the switch on all the holiday lights and decorations at the Church Street Marketplace. This pedestrian mall features plenty of local shops, restaurants, and other places to poke and peruse, and there’s some national chains on hand as well for when you just need something from Starbucks or Macy’s. The local retailers are a great place to cash in your American Express Shop Small promotion this weekend, as there’s plenty of spots to support Small Business Saturday.
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We hope you’re enjoying the time change in your area, as we can’t help but smile—we’re kidding—as we see the sunset a whole hour earlier. It definitely feels like winter is just around the corner now more than ever, but at least there’s one thing to which we can look forward and that’s ski season. The cool weather is already just enough to get things open, as resorts, mountains, and the bunny slopes across the country are just starting to do their thing.
Out in Colorado it’s not just the manmade stuff, as a couple resorts have had already had snowfall and are open for business. If you want to brag to your friends that you’ve already hit the slopes this season check out spots like Copper Mountain and Keystone Resort—in Frisco and Keystone, respectively. Other spots out in the Centennial State include Loveland, Wolf Creek, and Arapahoe Basin, so if you’ve been waiting since the spring to get back on the mountain now’s the time to do so.
Someone, somewhere in the airport apparently burned some toast, which set off a fire alarm and forced everyone to evacuate the terminal building. Luckily, the evacuation only lasted about half an hour, and it sounds like the resulting delay wasn't bad enough to cause passengers to miss fights. Annoyed passengers did, however, begin tweeting pictures of fire trucks heading for the airport at the ripe hour of 5am.
Although the crisis wasn't averted, we don't consider the mystery solved. Who exactly is responsible for burning the toast? How sensitive are the Burlington airport's smoke alarms? Were there no windows open anywhere? And was it whole wheat or seven grain?
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Technically the autumn season doesn’t begin until later this month, but let’s just say the apple orchards are more than ready. Rearrange plans and make your next stop Vermont because up there, it’s not just the fall foliage that’s attracting visitors to the Green Mountain State, but the chance to score some free gadgets while apple-picking.
The state’s pick-your-own orchards are running a promotion throughout the next several weeks where specially marked wooden apples are hidden in and around apple orchards across the state. In total there are 16 different orchards participating, and if you find the alternate apple you win a different kind of Apple—like an iPod or iPad. The state’s tourism department has actually been running something like this for a few years now, and the contest is back for the 2013 season.
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With summer winding down and cooler weather right around the corner we suggest raising a glass to remember the season. The long holiday weekend brings a few solid options, so pick a beer festival that looks good to you and enjoy. Here’s our picks for three winners—cheers!
Key West BrewFest
There’s still plenty of summer weather left down in Florida, so may we suggest heading down to Key West to enjoy a little sun and suds. The 4th annual Key West BrewFest arrives in town on August 29, and things are scheduled to run throughout the weekend until September 2. Cigar City Brewing, Florida Keys Brewing Company, and Florida Beer Company will be just a few of the breweries in attendance, so be sure to pace yourself with the sips and samples. Tickets will set you back $35 in advance, and that will get you access to over 150 beers all during the Signature Tasting Festival right on South Beach.
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With the summer weather winding down we figured it was worth celebrating Labor Day with a bit of outdoor fun and overindulgence. The seasonal food festivals are winding down, but there are still a few worth the price of admission. Here’s our picks for a few fun Labor Day food events to close out the summer season:
Buffalo Chicken Wing Festival – Buffalo, New York
When it comes to buffalo wings the annual party up on Buffalo, New York is pretty much the granddaddy of them all. The National Buffalo Wing Festival is set to do its thing at Coca-Cola field on September 1 and 2. Events include the US wing eating championship, bobbing for wings, and of course the Miss Buffalo Wing pageant. Admission will set you back just $5 per person, and the food tickets for the chicken wings start at $1 each. Restaurants and vendors—some as far away as Georgia—will all be there preparing their crispy-skinned delicacies, so if you’re in the neighborhood this is a don’t miss event.
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After ice cream, chocolate, and cheese we’re pretty convinced that Vermont is the foodie tour capital of the world. However, that didn’t stop us from checking out one more place. This was especially the case because we needed something sudsy to wash down all the other snacks and samples. That’s why we loaded up our phone with directions to see the secrets and scenes at the Magic Hat Brewery in South Burlington. We waited until the afternoon to visit—like at a couple minutes past noon—because we wanted to appear somewhat responsible.
The Magic Hat Artifactory is made up of a crazy trippy gift shop, a psychedelic bar, and snazzy factory. In total it added up to one of the best breweries we’ve seen, and it was surprising to see such a place just a few minutes off the city’s commercial strip.
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Most people think that Vermont’s most famous export is maple syrup, but unfortunately those folks are totally wrong—at least if you ask us. While we're fans of maple syrup it just doesn’t satisfy our sweet tooth the same way that ice cream does, so that’s why we consider Ben & Jerry’s to be the most famous—and important—product to come out of the Green Mountain State. We already had plenty of cheese and chocolate on our little foodie tour of Vermont, so it was only natural to see what kind of new flavors were being cooked up at the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury.
We’re not sure of the numbers, but we’d bet you a pint of Cherry Garcia that the ice cream factory is one of the state’s largest—if not the largest—tourist attraction. There’s state highway signs pointing you in the correct direction, and once you pull into the parking lot it’s pretty darn clear that you’ve arrived at the mecca for ice cream lovers. The grounds and surrounding area is picturesque Vermont to a tee, and there’s even a chance to check out the landscape through snowshoe tours during the chillier months. Although we were slightly distracted by the view—and the babbling brook by the parking lot—we new we needed to head inside.
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For those looking for something a little more sobering than the typical wine trail, we’d like to suggest the cheese trail up in Vermont. The state is pretty well known for their dairy this and that, and you never have to drive too far before stumbling across plenty of fields, farms, and cows. Some of the smaller locations have some truly unique options for cheeseheads, but before getting down with some of the seriously stinky and sharp stuff it might be worth it to check out one of the more famous spots. That’s what we did when we swung through Cabot, VT to check out the Cabot Visitor’s Center.
On the way there you’ll think something like, "hey, this can’t possibly be the right way." Soon enough, however, we were stuck behind a tanker truck filled with farm fresh milk and you know where that's headed.
The Cabot Visitor’s Center offers a sneak peek behind the whole cheese making process, and the $2 we spent on the guided factory tour was well worth it. You even get a little plastic cow bracelet or Cabot button as a souvenir that doubles as your admission ticket. We’re suckers for that kind of stuff.