One of the perks of acting for a living is having the opportunity to travel and perform all over the world.
While previous jobs have taken me to the other side of the globe, my latest venture brought me just half a days drive north of NYC to Burlington, Vermont.
After two weeks of rehearsal and a whirlwind opening weekend I finally had the opportunity to take advantage of my locale in a 3 day mini stay/vacation.
The theatre covers the cost of getting to/from NYC. I opted for a flight buyout so I could have my own car on site and use the money for gas.
Though there is now Megabus service between NYC and Burlington, VT for under $30 each way.
The theatre also provides housing. Though sharing a twin bed in a college style dorm with even your closest of friends can get to be a bit much after two nights.
We sprung for a hotel on our last night using hotwire.com. $80 total after taxes for the Sheraton about 1 mile south of downtown Burlington.
Downtown Burlington has metered parking but the parking garages are free for the first two hours and all day Sunday (if you can find a spot).
Parking at meters is free after 6pm.
For all day weekday parking I found a spot down by the waterfront next to the skate park, completely free!
I really splurged here. And to be honest, it was worth it. I had some of the best food that I’ve eaten in a long while during what became something of an impromptu 3 day food extravaganza.
Burlington is very vegetarian friendly. Most restaurants we visited had at least a half page of veggie options and they all had much more to offer than the standard salad or veggie burger.
And don’t worry meat eaters. There are plenty of meat options aswell.
Big focus on using organic and local produce and meat which I also appreciated.
– Took a leisurely stroll down Church Street in downtown Burlington. Lots of unique little shops and boutiques in addition to some retail staples. I really enjoyed sampling the amazing assortment of olive oils at Saratoga Olive Oil Company. If you can avoid the temptation of making a purchase at these charming shops, it’s a great free activity.
– While browsing the lunch menus along Church Street we witnessed at least two street performers drawing sizable crowds. Think fire eating, unicycling, juggling, etc. Free/donation based performance.
– Lunch on Church Street @ Ri Ra Irish Pub.
– Magic Hat Brewery. About a ten minute drive from downtown Burlington, the Magic Hat Brewery offers free tours and beer samples There were no tours while we were there, but you can follow the tour route on your own. It’s probably more interesting with someone who knows the ins and outs of the brewery. There was also no production going on while we were there which would have been nice to see, but the self guided tour had a video explaining the process and an overlook of the floor and all the machinery. The best part is definitely the sampling. Each person is allowed 4 free samples. It’s a great opportunity to try some of the lesser known and harder to find Magic Hat brews. Free.
– Ben and Jerry’s Factor Tour. The Ben and Jerry’s factory is located about a 30 minute drive south of Burlington. Tours are $4 per person and last about 20 minutes followed by a sample of Ben and Jerry’s famous ice cream. We went on a Sunday, so production was not in progress, but we got to overlook the factory floor while watching a video of the machinery in action. We didn’t purchase or try any additional flavors as the line was epically long, but we did make a visit to the flavor graveyard which was adorable and beautifully situated.
– Dinner in Winooski @ Our House Bistro.
– Breakfast @ The Skinny Pancake.
– Bike Rental @ Local Motion. We rented bikes for four hours which came out to $26.75 per bike after tax. The location was convenient, but considering I pay $100 for my citibike ANNUALLY, $25 felt like a lot. I had tried researching other rentals, but they were all
comparably priced. I even checked craigslist, but I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t a sale.
– Burlington Bike Path stretches 7.5 miles along the shore of Lake Champlain. If you don’t want to splurge on a bike rental, walk the path north from downtown Burlington 1 mile and you’ll wind up at the lovely North Beach.
– North Beach is a small beach and park perfect for Lake Champlain. We visited on a Monday which was nice and peaceful. We leaned our bikes against a nearby tree and soaked in the sun. The water was chilly so I didn’t make it in past my calves, but my fellow beach goers were much braver and enjoyed a full on swim.
– Drinks @ Splash.
– *Interesting Fact: Happy Hour is illegal in the state of Vermont. There are, however, daily specials at many bars and restaurants.
– Dinner @ The Vermont Pub and Brewery.
– Breakfast/Lunch @ El Cortijo.
– Walk along the Burlington Waterfront. We claimed a bench swing in the park along the shoreline for an hour or so and enjoyed the lovely view before heading out of town.
Thoughts, Lessons, and Wishes:
– If I had more money I would enjoy spending a day on the lake either renting a boat or chartering a sail. We considered taking the commuter ferry at one point, but it really would’ve been nice to have had the freedom and luxury of a private vessel.
– I had trouble finding deals in Burlington. I checked groupon, scout mob, living social, etc. There was nothing really useful for non-residents which was somewhat disappointing. Bike rental deals would’ve been helpful!
– Overall, I had a lovely time. If you’re passing through Burlington, be sure to make a stop at one of their delicious restaurants and maybe take a quick trip down Church Street and a stroll along the lake. Happy Travels!
Have you visited Burlington, VT? What do you recommend? Find any good deals?