Going to Vermont!
July 26, 2009 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Help me plan my trip from Boston to Burlington, Vermont next weekend!

Next weekend, I'm making my first trip ever to Burlington, VT to meet up with a long lost, now found friend, all by my lonesome. Our meetup isn't happening until Sunday afternoon (Downtown Burlington, Church St., wherever that is :)), but I'd still like to make a whole weekend out of it (at the very least, arrive early Saturday and stay over). I'll be driving up (I considered taking the train, but $88 round trip blows the budget and limits my exploratory options).

#1: I'm having difficulties finding reasonably priced lodging (reasonable being in the $75 - $100/night range - less would be better - the hotel is just going to be a place to sleep and nothing more). I had even thought about camping in the area, but it seems there are no decent campgrounds around with showering facilities (which I need if I'm going to meet a long lost friend!). Even staying on the NY side is an option (especially if it's cheaper!) Also, I don't necessarily need to stay right in the Burlington area. If something well priced and interesting is within an hour's drive, that would be OK, too (as long as I can make Burlington by 1pm on Sunday).

#2 What to do Saturday day, evening and Sunday morning? I keep forgetting to acquire a passport, so going up to Canada isn't an option, unfortunately (but I may drive as close to the border crossing as I can, just to see it) .
I'm more interested in outdoors type stuff (could be hiking, could be a scenic drive) on Saturday (day), especially things that allow me to explore the interesting things around the Lake.

posted by Cat Pie Hurts to Travel & Transportation around Burlington, VT (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
There are a lot of sleepy motels in the Burlington area, mostly near the airport, that you could get for that amount of money. Here's an example. Not that fancy, but cheap and definitely safe. Further outside of Chittenden County (maybe 30-40 min from Burlington) you could get a room in a decent B&B for that [this one has a discount for quilters, librarians and magicians, ask for the tower room and tell them Jessamyn sent you], or a smaller not-near an airport motel like this one.

Driving up route 2 or Route 89 to the islands (just south of the Canadian border) is really recommended. It's super pretty up there and there are some nice causeways, little places to eat and some spectacular views. You can take a ferry quicklike to New York which can give you some great views of the lake. Some of my favorite things to do there are outdoor walks, by the lake, over by Mount Philo, a little walk to a great view by Mount Horrid (self link!), renting a bike and going over the local bike trails [pretty flat, very lovely], walking down Church Street and people watching, going to Hubbard tower in Montpelier [smallest state capital in the US and the only one without a McDonald's].

If you want to stay near the lake, I recommend checking out the Shipwreck Museum, the Echo Center if you like Science Museum stuff or a scenic cruise on the lake. I'll be out of town that weekend otherwise I'd say "meetup!" but feel free to let me know if you have more questions.
posted by jessamyn at 9:33 AM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I can personally vouch for the showers at Apple Island Resort, just stayed there two weeks ago. It's a big RV campground with very little privacy, but some of the no-hookup sites had really nice views of Lake Champlain and the pool and facilities were clean and well-maintained. Just driving through the little villages on Grand Isle and stopping at the shops and state parks there could occupy your day (if the weather is nice).

I took my kids to Echo, which is a great option on a cold. cloudy day. It's built more for school age kids, but that doesn't mean that you wouldn't have fun seeing the fish and the shipwreck display. I also liked the wifi in the Cafe after two days of camping.
posted by saffry at 9:55 AM on July 26, 2009

We got a great deal using hotwire- ended up at the hilton right across from the echo museum for $75 / a night. definitely worth trying.
posted by jenkinsEar at 1:18 PM on July 26, 2009

My grandparents used to live at Apple Island Resort, and besides the intriguing campground politics which surrounded permanent residents, it's a very nice place. Alternatively, just down the road is Grand Isle State Park, which also provides nice camping and is a little more private than Apple Island Resort.

Bring bug spray.
posted by papayaninja at 6:44 PM on July 26, 2009

For more ideas, like restaurant reviews, or shows that weekend, Seven Days will have lots of info.
posted by saffry at 7:24 PM on July 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

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