The summer high season in Burlington, Vermont, is all about the lake and mountains. The best way to get a feel for them is to pedal the seven-mile Burlington Bike Path. This gem of a route hugs the shores of Lake Champlain and offers views of the Adirondack Mountains in the distance. Oakledge Park, the starting point on the south end, is one of many spots along the trail where you’ll find small beaches and picnic areas. One of the best features of the Burlington Bike Path is that you’re always a block or two away from a good deli if you need to re-energize. This is certainly true if you’re near Church Street Marketplace, the heart of the city, comprised of four pedestrian-only blocks between Pearl and Main streets. In early June it’s the site for one of the best local events of the year, the Discover Jazz Festival, which draws top performers, like the legendary Herbie Hancock.
Fall is shoulder season in Burlington, but when students return and visitors come to see Mother Nature dressed in her most colorful foliage, it’s almost as busy as summer. In September, the water on Lake Champlain is still warm enough to go swimming, sailing, and sea kayaking. In the early part of the month, over 500 artisans participate in the state’s largest visual arts display, the South End Art Hop.
Don’t expect Burlington to shut down in winter, this is Vermont and it takes more than snow and sub-zero temperatures to scare residents. On the contrary, once the lake freezes over in February, locals go ice fishing and snowkiting, an increasingly popular sport where you kitesurf on ice. Also, Stowe and Sugarbush ski areas are only a 30-minute drive from town.