Burlington Vermont & The Burlington Jazz Festival

Area Summary

Burlington Vermont is located right on coast of Lake Champlain. It is the largest city in Vermont and it is also home to the University of Vermont. It is 45 miles south of the Canadian border, located between the Adirondacks and Green Mountains. The city has a historic yet contemporary vibe with tons of recreational activities from boating to skiing to biking. If you what to shop, browse or be entertained there is tons of shopping, tours and events to choose from.

Campground(s) We Stayed

Lone Pine Campsites in Colchester, VT is a 15 minutes drive from downtown Burlington and 5 minutes from Malletts Bay, Lake Champlain. It is a privately owned campground with 265 campsites, providing a large variety of camping sites from 3-point hook ups to tent camping. They also hold weekly activities starting in May and ending in November. When we were there they had a classic car show in the main pavilion which was really cool.  You can checkout our full campground review here. 

Things to Do

Burlington Discover Jazz Festival – While we didn’t plan this we just so happened to be in Vermont for the 32nd annual Discover Jazz Festival. It took place from June 5th – 14th with a great educational cause – “To broaden awareness and appreciation of jazz through quality live performances of national and regional scope; present educational activities that illuminate the art form for students of all ages and backgrounds; showcase Vermont and regional jazz artists, including students; and create a vital city-wide community festival that contributes to the national jazz dialogue” Discover Jazz Mission.

Venues are located throughout the downtown area focused around Main and Church street. You have the ability to walk around and plan your own day of free Jazz listening events or if you want a more traditional show experience tickets are available for sale. We purchased two sets of tickets, one to see the Spanish Harlem Orchestra on the Flynn Mainstage and the second, Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet at Fynn Space. Both performances, while very different, were excellent. The Spanish Harlem Orchestra was upbeat and fun with people dancing at their seat while the Golden Quartet was deep and touching. We really enjoyed both shows as it opened our eyes to the great range of Jazz music. Next years festival is from June 3-12, 2016. We definitely suggest you plan a trip.

Church Street Marketplace – The Jazz festival definitely made our Church Street Marketplace visit a little more interesting than the average day, this outdoor pedestrian mall was filled will all kinds of shops, restaurants and outdoor entertainment. A few shops we enjoyed was… Kiss the Cook, a locally owned gourmet Kitchen store. We purchased a really nice salt and pepper grinder (gotta season our food in style). Keep Vermont Weird Clothing store, where Erik purchased a hat, and Bluebird Coffee shop a really neat coffee place that was an old ticket booth converted into a coffee and pastry shop. So Fun!

Burlington Bike Path – Per trip advisor this is the number one thing to do in Vermont and they are right! The Burlington Bike Path is a Rehabilitation Project that started back in 2013. It is now an 8-mile multi-use path in downtown Burlington that runs along the Lake Champlain waterfront. It has amazing scenic view of the lake with a paved path providing associability for both road and mountain bikes. It also has room on each side for a walking path. Don’t have a bike? No problem, there are several places to rent bike on Main Street. We went to North Start Sports, they were extremely friendly and knowledgeable with a wide range of rental bikes to choose from and only a few minute ride to the start of the path.

Lake Champlain, Malletts Bay – If you like the water than Lake Champlain is a must visit destination. It is 120 miles long and 435 square miles with tons of summer and a few winter water activities. You can rent all kinds of boats, kayaks or canoes. We were very lucky to have friends in the area with a boat – Oh yeah! We spent a beautiful Sunday afternoon in June hanging out on the lake. While it was a bit too cold for a swim it was definitely hot! Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Don’t have a friend with a boat? While we didn’t personally use any of the below here are a few lake activities you can check out:

Places We Ate

The Farmhouse Tap & Grill … has a great atmosphere with several beers on tap and simple but yummy menu. We came for dinner and enjoyed a few of their craft beers on tap their house charcuterie board for an appetizer. Followed by their cast iron seared Faroe Island salmon and LaPlatte River angus farm beef burger for mains. The meals were great and the grilled red hen bread with the charcuterie was delish!

Citizen Cider … I am definitely a bit of a cider lover, so when one of our friends recommend going to the tasting room at Citizen Cider we had to give it a try. We got a flight just so we could taste a bunch of the ciders and one of their signature cocktails called the ‘Dirty Mayor.’ I also strongly recommend getting their citizen burger – dressed. Their motto of “Cider Loves Food” couldn’t be more on key because the cider and burger combo was amazing!!!

The Scuffer … The location was great but the food was just OK. We sat outside to watch one of the bands play for the Jazz Festival. We got the Salmon and the Surf and Turf both were just ok. We would definitely come back here for a few drinks and the outdoor seating but probably pass on a meal.

Overall Opinion

We didn’t get to experience everything Burlington has to offer such as the Burlington Brew tours, wineries, Ben and Jerry Ice Cream factory or the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory to name a few. Overall it was a great town filled with a little something everyone would like.

Would we Recommend?

Yes, we recommend visiting Burlington, VT especially in the summer. We also loved our stay stay at Lone Pine Campgrounds. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have, simply comment below!


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