by Merle Exit
Burlington, Vermont is located just along a very scenic Lake Champlain. Acquaint yourself with a walking tour of this college town. There are lots of shops and restaurants in this “outdoor mall.”
Take a short cruise aboard the Spirit of Ethan Allen II. The 500-passenger ship has two enclosed and one open top deck, offering an historic and very educational tour of the lake, as well as interesting facts about the area. The lake does get quite cold in the winter, so call for their schedule: 802-862-8300.
Plan to spend a full day in Shelburne, just south along Route 7, beginning at the Vermont Teddy Bear factory, 6655 Shelburne Rd. (802-985-3001). They carry the tradition of creating jointed bears of just about any ilk. Factory tours are available for a nominal fee and well worth it just for the souvenir.
In addition, you can “Make A Friend For Life”, by creating your own ‘non-jointed’ bear, have it stuffed, place a felt heart inside, have it sutured, cut the umbilical cord, record the birth time, name it and say The Teddy Bear Oath, all for about $20. Check out their catalogue at www.vermontteddybear.com.
At first glance, the Shelburne Museum appears as a well-preserved historic village. A massive paddlewheel steamboat and a roofed lighthouse relocated from Lake Champlain stand out, almost as much as the horseshoe-shaped circus building.
The “museum” is composed of several buildings, each its own museum, and although there are knowledgeable volunteers at each historic venue, they are not in period costumes. Expect to spend at least four hours at this collection of collections in over 40 buildings. Call at 802-985-3346 or www.shelburnemuseum.org.
There’s no secret about the Belgian chocolate used in making Lake Champlain Chocolates. Visit the factory at 750 Pine St. and get a glimpse of the chocolate preparation or just purchase them at the 61 Church St. downtown location. “Seconds” are sold at up to 50% off at both locations.
Just up the road, on Route 100, is the Hollow Cider Mill, where you can sample the cider made through an old-fashioned press. Don’t miss out in trying their award winning cider donuts. 1-800-3-APPLES.
Kim Borsavage is the owner of the Lang House, a most gracious place to stay. This Victorian grand mansion is situated in Burlington’s Hill Section, near the University and a short distance to the waterfront. Each of the eleven spacious rooms is a work of art. If more privacy is your thing, there are two rooms in the carriage house. Check out the Reed Room if you need a shower chair. Two rooms in the main building are open for breakfast and not just a quick Continental one. For rates and reservations, call 877-919-9799 or www.langhouse.com.
According to Vermont Gay Tourism, the “in” place to eat is Leunigs Bistro and Cafe, located at 105 Church Street, along the pedestrian mall. Billing themselves as “The Panache of Paris in the Center of Downtown Burlington”, it has a retro old-world flair: washed walls, marble bar, crystal chandeliers, and old oversized posters. 802-863-3759.