If you’re looking for the perfect fall playground for an active, outdoor getaway, you can’t do better than Burlington, Vermont. Perched on the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington is ringed by mountains—New York’s Adirondacks and Vermont’s Green Mountains. Plentiful and accessible biking, hiking, kayaking and great yoga classes—punctuated by delicious, healthy places to eat—make this an wonderful destination for wandering weekenders.
The Burlington Bike Path hugs Lake Champlain for 7.6 miles. It passes through downtown Burlington and connects 6 waterfronts parks so it’s ideal for casual peddlers and picnic-ing along the way. If you’re looking to clock more mileage head South for a Tour de Vermont. Bike rentals are available through the Ski Rack and North Star Sports.
Most restaurants in this socially conscious city (Berkeley has nothing on Burlington, except Chez Panisse) espouse a Locavore philosophy, but none more so than Stone Soup where you actually feel virtuous eating a cheeseburger with local, grass fed beef and Vermont cheddar.
You’ll find fantastic yoga teachers of every stripe in Burlington. Emily Garrett, who trained with New Yorker Jill Satterfield, is hands-down the state’s most famous teacher. She teaches out of Yoga Vermont (it started as an astanga studio and has branched out). Evolution Yoga, in Burlington’s arts district, is the other go-to studio. Try a class with John O’Connell who teaches a special yoga class for kayakers. Kripalu practitioner Martha Whitney is another local favorite.
Yes, it’s time to eat again. Penny Cluse Cafe is only open for breakfast and lunch, but it does these two meals to perfection. The breakfast burrito is the best we’ve ever had and the tofu scramble is a revelation.
The goods may feel familiar at The Lotus Shop, which carries PrAna yoga gear, Me&Ro jewelry, and Sundari skin care, among many other smaller brands. But this carefully curated shop is a delight. If you’re in the market for a vegan handbag this is the place.
The Willard Street Inn is a Victorian-era mansion in Burlington’s hill section, just a ten-minute walk from downtown. Late September and early October is prime “leaf-peeping” season, but there’s still some availability. Rooms start at $160. If you don’t nab a room here, you might want to try staying in nearby Shelburne, home to the magnificent Vanderbilt estate-turned-inn, Shelburne Farms. Burlington has mostly chain hotels, so you’ll have to go farther afield for stylish or intimate lodgings.
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