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sam Jul 29th, 2005 08:00 AM

Lake Champlain, Burlington, VT over Labor Day Weekend
I asked my husband if he had a weekend away where he would want to go, and he said Lake Champlain. Now I'm on a mission, we have Labor Day Weekend with no kids and I want to go away. I've searched and read many threads on Burlington and Lake Champlain, but there aren't many recent ones. I also checked looking for accomodations. Also have been several websites by googling both.
1) I've made a tentative reservation at the Holiday Inn Express in S. Burlington, but am thinking I should probably pay the extra to stay at the Wyndham overlooking the Lake, any thoughts?
2) Any breakfast/lunch/dinner recommendations?
3) We are 40 and 45 years old, and enjoy pubs and live music, any suggestions for night life for our age group?
4) I saw something about Champlain Valley Fair, if anyone has been, what is it all about and would you recommend?
5) Things to do? (boat rentals, lake cruises, jet ski rentals?) I've already seen the Shelburne Farm, and I'm not into Vermont Teddy Bears, so those would not be on our list. Are there other pretty towns in the area/scenic drives to explore, or that we shouldn't miss? I read something about the islands of Champlain - is they worth a trip?
6) Ausable Chasm - is it worth the trip over? Has anyone done the rafting or tubing there, and if so, is the water terribly cold to do the tubes?
Sorry to ramble, but if anyone has any ideas or help to offer, I'd appreciate the input!

bm Jul 29th, 2005 09:02 AM

1. If you can swing it, stay at the Wyndham. It's right downtown and overlooking the lake. The Holiday Inn Express is nice though, but located on a busy road that is undergoing a major reconstruction project (although they don't work weekends).
2. Definately try A Single Pebble for dinner. Also Smokejacks and American Flatbread.
3. check out
4. The Champlain Valley Fair is a big carnival. Rides, concerts, arts & craft halls, animal halls, etc.
5. Take a sunset cruise on the lake. The islands are beautiful. Head over to Stowe and drive through Smuggler's Notch.
6. Cant help w/Ausable Chasm...sorry!

sam Jul 31st, 2005 11:45 AM

Thanks bm for your input - much appreciated - any else have any other recommendations?

easytraveler Jul 31st, 2005 05:21 PM

Try Church Street in downtown Burlington. It has all kinds of restaurants, includiign the Culinary Academy where you can sample their "test" dishes.

Visit Fort Ticonderoga at the south end of the lake and in New York State. Great fun place to just wander around and soak in a bit of American history - by George! we almost became French speakers! :)

Lovely partof the country! Enjoy!

dfrostnh Aug 1st, 2005 02:27 AM

It's been a few years since we went to Ausable Chasm. My husband loved it, esp the display of the steel that was twisted when raging floods took out some of the walkways. They now use rubber rafts for the boat ride and it's very tame. He also loved the ferry ride but he loves all ferry rides. Shelburne Farm is different than Shelburne Museum. If you haven't seen the museum some people take two days to see everything. If you head over to Stowe you can make a visit to Boyden Valley Winery for a tasting. There is also a brewery tour in Burlington. The Great Vermont Corn Maze is on the other side of the state next to NH so the ride would be too long. It's very challenging. Corn Mazes are popular. You might look for one closer to Burlington. I second the vote for lunch at the Culinary Institute on Church Street. The drive thru the islands is very pretty. There's a few shops but it's mostly quiet villages. We ended up back in Burlington for lunch. If you garden, Gardeners Supply is north of town and they maintain display gardens.

rosevalley Aug 15th, 2005 07:34 AM

I just returned from a week in the Burlington area of Vermont. Look into Howard Street Guest House in Burlington for a great place to stay. It's perfect! Have dinner at Butler's Inn at Essex. We stayed at their hotel for 2 nights (average) and then 3 nights at Shore Acres Inn. This a real mom and pop kind of's pet-friendly which I didn't realize until we'd arrived, but there was no issue with this. Rooms are small but newly redone inside. Our room for $136 night had queen bed, frige, TV, AC, iron, etc. There are tennis courts and a dock for swimming. Tons of adirondacks and lounge chairs for reading and relaxing. The food is the most outstanding feature. Def make dinner reservations! It's very popular as it's one of the few island choices.

Anonymous Aug 15th, 2005 08:00 AM

I'll second the recommendation for the Shelburne Museum, it has something for everyone:

Parks and recreation info at:
If you want to get e-mails about accommodations, or even if you just want info about the area, try the following web site run by the Chamber of Commerce;
I signed up at this site to get a snail-mail info "package" and the next morning I started getting e-mails from all sorts of inns and B&Bs, even though I hadn't checked off any interest in them.

sam Aug 15th, 2005 08:10 AM

Thanks for the recommendations. I had signed up and got that package by mail a week ago, it's got some good info., and I'll be going through those this week to get more ideas. Again, thanks, and any more suggestions are welcome.

cheapbutnice Aug 15th, 2005 08:23 AM

You may want to consider a drive south to Mt. Independence and then return thru Middlebury for dinner at the Dog Team Tavern.

afc Aug 15th, 2005 05:55 PM

I'd opt for the Wyndham, Church St has a good variety of places to shop and eat. We had a great meal at the Vermont Brewing Co, sample their beers as well as an Italian restaurant, can't remember the name but they have outdoor seating on Church St. Also there are a number of theaters in the area which may have live performances when you go. Burlington is a great small city.

sam Aug 16th, 2005 08:23 AM

I've booked the Wyndham for $199 with lake view. We like to pub-hop, so I think it's a good idea to be within walking distance to Church St.
Can anyone recommend:
1) A place to rent jet skis?
2) A lake cruise?
3) A place to swim?
4) A place for an easy-moderate hike?
Again, thanks!

goodheart Aug 16th, 2005 08:54 AM

Hi Sam - You'll love staying downtown, much easier to get around and access the lake, restaurants, pubs etc. Can't help with the ski rentals, but here are a few other ideas.
For lake cruises, check out
They have regular cruise sailings (I would imagine the season isn't quite over by early Sep.). Another option is to take the ferry from Charlotte (about 20 mins south of Burlington) to Essex, NY which is a cute, sleepy little town. Always a nice relaxing day.
You could combine that with a short hike up to Mt. Philo ( Philo). While the hike is not the most interesting you have ever seen, the views from the top are absolutely amazing - definitely the high point for my visitors I had in Burlington. In the same general area, you could go swimming at Kingsland Bay State Park (you can find out more at the State Parks website referenced above).
Another nice and lovely swimming area is Lake Dunmore, a little further away near Middlebury. You can take a quick hike to the Falls of Lana, and enjoy the swimming holes (be warned, the water is FREEZING).

Another priceless resource for Burlington is the local weekly paper, Seven Days, which you'll find free in many stores/restaurants/hotels etc. You can also find it online at You can find listings for concerts, bands, etc. and a great calendar of fun stuff to do all around town - I think it is more helpful than most resources geared at tourists.

BTW if you want any more restaurant recommendations, just let me know - I am so jealous!

bm Aug 16th, 2005 06:35 PM

Can't help with jet skis...and to be perfectly honest, I don't see many out on the lake near Burlington. Try calling a marina up in the Champlain Islands (South Hero, Grand Isle) and see if they rent any...I saw some buzzing around up there this past weekend.
The Mount Philo advice is great. The view is awesome.
Cruises...the Spirit of Ethan Allen or take one of the ferries.
Swimming...if you don't feel like venturing too far out of Burlington there is always North Beach. Google it-it's probably on Burington Parks & Rec website.
Have fun!

Mama Aug 17th, 2005 03:18 AM

Sam, for many more ideas read this post 'Please suggest ideas for ways to spend free time during a one month business trip to Vermont'

sam Aug 26th, 2005 08:11 AM

Thank you to all for the suggestions, and mama, I read that whole thread that you recommended, many great ideas. It's now coming together, and keeping my fingers crossed that the weather will cooperate. I noticed Ethel will be there at the same time, have fun Ethel (if you read this)! Any more suggestions are welcome!

jimfigg Aug 17th, 2012 08:12 AM

sam my girlfriend and i are going to vermont that weekend its are first time i am 56 she is 48 we are going fishing for pike on mon should be lots of fun we are also staying in plattsburg and taking the ferry over to church street for fine dining and hanging out.we are going to lake placid as well they have the bob sled run their we want to experience that as well they have a driver and brake man you just go for the ride 50 seconds of speed and excitment. we are from nj are names are jim and sherry if you guy care to hang out

sassy_cat Aug 17th, 2012 08:59 AM

Jim, sam's trip was in 2005!

jimfigg Aug 17th, 2012 11:29 AM

ooooooooooooooooooops lol did not see the date ouch

panecott Aug 17th, 2012 12:31 PM

LOL. Neither did I.

And I am going to the Lake Champlain Islands via Burlington the week after Labor Day --- of THIS YEAR!

I was about to offer advice to sam based on my research. b(

oobmaine Aug 17th, 2012 02:10 PM

Sadly the Dog Team Tavern burned down a couple of years ago. North Beach is a good recommendation for a swim. There is also a small beach at Oak Ledge Park in Burlington....great spot for a picnic on the water, fabulous tree house and views that can't be beat and interesting trails to explore. The water front has had music,cultural fairs,food expos and the like almost every week end this summer. So much to see and do....great city and beautiful atate. Enjoy your visit.

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