Visiting Church Street Marketplace and the Waterfront in Burlington, Vt.
Burlington is known as the "Queen City," and I couldn't agree more. New England is, no doubt, true travel royalty and Burlington reigns right near the top.
Sometimes called a "mini San Francisco," the aesthetics of this small city never fails to amaze. The combination of the leafy, hilly college town vibe of the University of Vermont, a colorful pedestrian-friendly downtown, beautiful Lake Champlain, and the mountains on the western shore make for a truly appealing travel destination.
You've heard of anchor stores at shopping malls? Well, Burlington does it another way with The Church Street Marketplace serving as the anchor to its downtown. With more than 100 places to shop and dine (including outdoor cafes), brick-paved walkways, fountains, historical architecture lending substance and character, and street musicians and other creative types adding a layer of personality and entertainment, this downtown district is surely one of New England's finest.
Annual events at Church Street marketplace include the Discover Jazz Festival (starting the first Friday in June and lasting 10 days). Sidewalk Sale (first Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of August) and the Festival of Fools (street theater during the second week of August). There's also the Marketfest during the Friday after Labor Day that focuses on entertainment, arts, and crafts, and Halloween Parade and Trick-or-Treating on Oct. 27. Be sure not to miss, also, the Church Street Santa Parade and Lighting Ceremony (November 23).
But wait, there's more. The Burlington Waterfront -- just a hop, skip and a jump from Church Street Marketplace -- is an urban outdoor enthusiast's dream-come-true with parks, cruise boats, ferry crossing, events, as well as some restaurants. The views across the water to the Adirondack Mountains in New York make for some of the best scenery I've seen in New England -- especially at sunset. What an ideal place for a stroll and such a bonus as a true oasis in the heart of the city!
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