Spring/Summer 2015 Business Travel Guide
No visit to Vermont should be all business. Bring your family for a mini-vacation. You’ll find a rich variety of fun things to do and places to see.
A visit to the area is not complete without spending time in Vermont’s most populous city. Burlington boasts many lake and mountain views and an award-winning, outdoor downtown shopping mall, the Church Street Marketplace. The rejuvenated waterfront features a park, skateboard park, and bike paths; art galleries, shops, a theater, and restaurants; and a boathouse and mooring area.
The 90-mile trip to Montreal from Burlington takes a pleasant hour and a half. It’s a little more than three hours for the 225 miles to Boston. At 293 miles, New York City is over five hours away.
The city’s active arts and entertainment scene is enlivened by the large population at the five area colleges.
Several other engaging towns and cities are within an hour’s drive of Burlington — Middlebury, St. Albans, Montpelier, and Barre — each worthy of a visit. Farmers’ markets can be found across the state.
- Col. Joseph Battell, a Vermonter whose interest in preserving and promoting the Morgan — America’s first breed of horse — saved it from extinction, gave his farm to the U.S. Government in 1907. In ’51, the government gave it to the University of Vermont. The UVM Morgan Horse Farm in Weybridge is open daily . May–October. A small admission charge. (802) 388-2011; asci.uvm.edu/morgan.
- The Ethan Allen Homestead, off Vermont 127 in Burlington, is set in the middle of a 284-acre public park. It includes an orientation center in a 1700s tavern, historical exhibits, heirloom gardens and landscaping, and a glimpse of what life was like for Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen and his family. Open mid May–mid October. Admission to the park is free; there’s a charge for admission for the historic site and museum. (802) 865-4556; www.ethanallenhomestead.org.
- The Robert Hull Fleming Museum at the University of Vermont is one of New England’s finest art museums, home to outstanding collections of American and European art and permanent exhibits of African and ancient Egyptian art. Closed Mondays and major holiday weekends; hours vary by season and the UVM schedule. (802) 656-2090; www.uvm.edu/~fleming.
- ECHO at the Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, a lake aquarium and science center on Burlington’s waterfront, interprets the ecological, geological, biological, and cultural history of the Lake Champlain basin. Exhibits change periodically; permanent exhibits include the Awesome Forces Theater, a water-play space for children, an Atlantic tide pool touch tank, a working miniature lighthouse, and a replica of the historic General Butler shipwreck. Open year-round (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve and Day). There’s a charge for admission. (802) 864-1848; www.echovermont.org.
- Lake Champlain Chocolates, 750 Pine St., Burlington. Visit the factory, retail store, and café; watch chocolate-making from the observation deck. Purchase firsts and seconds from the shop. (802) 864-1807; www.lakechamplainchocolates.com.
- Shelburne Museum, south of Burlington on U.S. 7 in Shelburne, offers 150,000 things to look at in its collection of buildings, folk art, paintings, and artifacts, plus the newly opened Pizzigalli Center for Art and Education. The 39 exhibition buildings and historic homes include a lighthouse, a railroad station with a vintage private rail car, and a paddle-wheel steamship, all on 45 lush acres. Open daily mid May–October. There’s a charge for admission except for museum members, active military, and disabled veterans. Discounts after 3 p.m. except on certain Wednesdays. (802) 985-3346; www.shelburnemuseum.org.
- Shelburne Farms is a 1,400-acre National Historic Landmark and environmental education center on the shores of Lake Champlain. The Inn at Shelburne Farms, open seasonally, has beautifully restored rooms and a restaurant showcasing the best of local produce. Mid May–mid October: property tours and tractor-drawn shuttle to the farm barn with cheese-making, bakery, and children’s farmyard. Year-round: Welcome Center, miles of walking trails, farm store, cheese-making, and programs for all ages. There’s a charge for admission except for members and Shelburne residents. The Welcome Center is at 1611 Harbor Rd., Shelburne. (802) 985-8442. The inn serves breakfast and dinner daily and brunch on Sundays. Reservations (required) to dine or stay: (802) 985-8498; information: (802) 985-8686; www.shelburnefarms.org.
- Award-winning wineries and their vineyards lie in breathtaking Vermont landscapes. Tastings are offered at all 15 of them, but phone for hours. Shelburne Vineyard, (802) 985-8222; Charlotte Village Winery, (802) 425-4599; Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge, (802) 644-8151; Lincoln Peak Vineyard in New Haven, (802) 388-7368; and Neshobe River Winery, Brandon, (802) 247-8002.
- The Vermont Teddy Bear Co. gives tours of its factory at 6655 Shelburne Road (U.S. 7), Shelburne. The company designs, manufactures, and sells hand-crafted teddy bears. Open daily except major holidays. Factory tours are every half hour. Check for schedule and fees. (802) 985-3001; www.vermontteddybear.com.
- The Vermont Wildflower Farm, on U.S. 7 in Charlotte, has six acres of wildflower fields crisscrossed by walking trails. The shop/information center sells wildflower seeds for all areas of North America, plus gifts and garden products. Gardens and woodlands open Monday–Saturday, May–October. (855) 846-9453; www.vermontwildflowerfarm.com.
- Vermont State Historic Sites are peppered around the state. Hours and fees vary by site. A directory of sites, hours, and fees can be found at www.historicsites.vermont.gov/directory. Chimney Point, an 18th-century tavern at Lake Champlain in Addison, (802) 759-2412; Mount Independence, Orwell, (802) 948-2000; Hubbardton Battlefield, Revolutionary War battle site, (802) 273-2282; the Calvin Coolidge Historic Site, Plymouth, (802) 672-3773; the Chester A. Arthur Historic Site near Fairfield, (802) 933-8362; The Justin Smith Morrill Homestead, South Strafford, home to the author of the acts that established the land-grant colleges, (802) 765-4484. Underwater Shipwrecks: For certified divers, seven underwater historic preserves in Lake Champlain are maintained. (802) 475-2022, [email protected]
- The St. Albans Historical Society Museum on Church Street overlooks historic Taylor Park. It contains rooms devoted to the Central Vermont Railway, children’s toys and furniture, and military history, including the famed Confederate raid of 1864. Open Tuesday–Saturday, late May–mid October. (802) 527-7933; www.stamuseum.com.
- The Vermont State House in Montpelier is one of the oldest and best-preserved capitol buildings in the nation. Free, self-guided tours all year; free guided tours to walkins July–October. All group tours must be scheduled in advance: (802) 828-2228. Arrange in advance and eat lunch in the State House cafeteria. The legislative session begins in January; on weekdays visitors can watch lawmakers at work.www.vtstatehouse.org.
- One of Vermont’s biggest tourist attractions is the ice cream factory tour at Ben & Jerry’s Homemade on Vermont 100 in Waterbury with its scoop and gift shop. The company is now part of a large conglomerate, but its heart and headquarters are still here in the Green Mountains. Open seven days a week except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day; times vary by season. There is a small admission fee. (802) 882-1240; www.benjerry.com.
- Up Vermont 100 from Ben & Jerry’s, Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury Center offers free samples, old-fashioned apple products, specialty foods, Vermont crafts, and maple products. Visitors can watch apple cider and cider doughnuts being made. Open daily. Admission is free. (800) 327-7537; www.coldhollow.com.
- From the Vermont Icelandic Horse Farm on North Fayston Road in Waitsfield, you can ride through the Mad River Valley on one of the farm’s Icelandic horses, one of the worlds oldest breeds and the only naturally five-gaited horse. Rides and treks available. Call ahead 24 hours for reservations. (802) 496-7141; www.icelandichorses.com.
- New England Maple Museum & Maple Market, north of Rutland on U.S. 7 in Pittsford, presents the story of maple sugaring from sap to syrup through demonstrations and slide shows. The world’s largest maple museum offers food and syrup tastings. Open daily mid March–December. Hours vary by season. (802) 483-9414. There is a fee; senior and AAA discounts. www.maplemuseum.com.
- Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium on Main Street in St. Johnsbury is two hours from Burlington, but worth the scenic ride. The museum features more than 165,000 mounted animals, tools, dolls, dinosaurs, and exhibits from around the world. Open daily year-round (closed Mondays, November–March). The planetarium is open weekends year-round, daily, July and August. Closed New Year’s Day, Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Museum. There’s a fee for the museum and planetarium presentation. (802) 748-2372; www.fairbanksmuseum.org.
- Other attractions include Green Mountain Audubon Center, Huntington, (802) 434-3068; Rock of Ages Granite Quarry, Barre, (802) 476-3119; Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vergennes, (802) 475-2022; and Vermont Folklife Center, Middlebury, (802) 388-4964.
Always call ahead to make sure the information hasn’t changed. Call or check websites for hours and admission fees. •