After a long day of walking and experiencing all kinds of food flavours, it was now time to go check in to our hotel. We usually try to book the cheapest hotels possible since we barely spend time there (unless it’s a resort of some sort). We found that an affordable option for a decent hotel was Anchorage Inn in South Burlington (about $120 CDN/night for two). The staff was quite friendly and it was located only a 9 minute drive from the main attractions of the city. But the hotel itself is… Well, let’s just say you get what you pay for. It’s not a memorable hotel, but it served its purpose: We had a place to crash.
If you are willing to pay a bit more we recommend the Holiday Inn that’s not too far (about $150), the Comfort Inn & Suits ($160), Homewood Suites ($200), or better yet Hilton’s Double Tree ($250). But if like us you just go to your hotel for sleep and are only there for one or two nights, then the Anchorage Inn will be just fine. Just a warning though, they did not have warm water in the shower. It was summer, so we did not mind it. But this might be a bit of an issue if you travel in winter.
On day two of our trip we decided to start by visiting the University of Vermont (after a very modest continental breakfast offered by our hotel). Considering that this university is the largest employer in the city (with its adjacent medical centre), surely, we had to go and visit it!
There is just something special about universities that we like. The smell of books, the feeling of being surrounded with knowledge, and the large study space. Yes, okay, there is also the fact that we’re both geeks (of different stripes, but geek is geek). Even after spending a huge chunk of our lives in school, we still get excited about the prospect of seeing another library or a lab. So there we went!
The University of Vermont is expansive, beautiful, modern, and inviting. We originally planned to be there for 20-30 min, but ended up staying close to two hours. There was so much to see: The architecture, the library, the gardens, and all the cool sport/entertainment facilities they have were just quite amazing.
We particularly enjoyed our stroll in the empty campus (students are mostly away in the summer). It felt like walking in a huge green field surrounded by buildings of wisdom. We learned a few things as well. For one, it’s the fifth oldest university in New England, and the first university to have accepted African-Americans and women to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Wow! Today, the institution offers a large place for experience-based learning and there is a huge campus-life promoting healthy living and entertainment. Really our type of university!
Lunch time arrived sooner than we had expected. The walk in the university went by super quick, which goes to show you how much fun it was. But as much as we enjoyed our visit to the beautiful campus, lunch time is lunch time and we weren’t about to let a meal time pass.
We passed by a Himalayan restaurant called Sherpa Kitchen that seemed nice. Plus, the reviews were quite good, so we decided to give it a try. And, yes! That turned out to be a great idea. It was our first time trying the cuisine from this part of the world (Nepal-Himalayan), and we were happily surprised. We highly recommend it if you ever go to Burlington. And if you live there, I hope you’re going once a week :-). Want to know more? Check out our post on Sherpa Kitchen.
After lunch, we walked a bit more in downtown where we re-visited some of the stores we had seen the day before (this time to get some souvenirs). We ended up at the Peace and Justice Center, which is partially a store, partially an organization that fights for, well… you guessed it: Peace and Justice. The staff there was very friendly and told us a bit about their mission and what they do. It was nice to learn that all the products they sold were fair trade and were helping communities in all parts of the world (no mass production here). Most of their items were handmade: Bags, art pieces, candles, clothing, etc. A great place to find a birthday or Christmas gift for your loved one(s).
At their centre, they offer peace programs, racial justice programs, environment/climate discussion… You name it, everything for Mother Earth basically. Had we had more time in Burlington, we would have loved to participate in one of their programs, but unfortunately we only came for two days. Still, before going, we purchased an up-side-down map… Well, not really up-side-down is it? Since the planet does not have a side.
Last stop before returning to Montreal had to do with food again: Desserts. This time we went to August First Bakery. This is a place that prides itself on its cakes and breads, and their reviews were quite high. Surely, we had to check it out. The first thing you notice when you arrive is that everyone is talking… Yep! This is a computer/cellphone/internet free space. This was quite refreshing. Socializing 101!
We wanted to try their cold drinks and their cakes so we settled for an iced-coffee and brownie for Henry and iced-chai and pumpkin bread for Mariam. The drinks were not impressive to be honest. But the cake and bread, yes yes yes! The brownie was moist on the inside, a bit crunchy on the outside with a melty chocolate taste. The pumpkin bread was warm with a dash of sugar and some pieces of crunchy chocolate inside. Both delicious and both what we needed to brave the drive back to Montreal. An excellent way to end our trip.
So, this is it! This ends our 2-day trip to Burlington, VT. A short, and yet fun, informative, relaxing, and quite entertaining trip. If you live about 2-3 hours away from Burlington, we highly recommend you drive for a weekend and visit this beautiful city. When you do, please let us know what you enjoyed the most. We will definitely be going back!
Thank you Burlington, Vermont, USA, America, Earth!