Rising To The Road | Burlington, Vermont

Visiting what was once my hometown in the rolling green (but turning orange and red) hills of Vermont

Burlington was a special stop for us en route back to New Hampshire, but it was a bit shoehorned into a short two-day window after Québec City, as we raced to get south of the quickly and drastically chilling autumn weather up north.

It was extra special because I lived in Burlington for about six years after college, so I was happy to share a piece of my past with my present, and show my family what my life was like during that time. It's the largest city in Vermont, but BTV (its airport code, but also how the locals refer to it) feels much more like a small town, nestled in between lush green mountains and Lake Champlain. It's a college town, and feels like it, home to the University of Vermont, plus St. Michael's College and many other smaller colleges in the vicinity. It's a wonderful family town, just small enough and yet just big enough to provide a balance along the spectrum of realities to which one can expose their children. But despite all of its wonderful attributes, it felt too small for a single girl after six years, so I left to explore bigger horizons in New York City (the first time, i.e. NYC, the single ladies version).

It was in Burlington, though, that I began my career in advertising, had my own apartment, performed professionally in a traditional West African dance and drum company, and made some of the best friends of my life. It was a pivotal place and time in my life, and leaving it jumpstarted the momentum toward everything I now enjoy.

It's hard to accomplish much sightseeing and sharing in less than two days, but we packed in what we could. As soon as we landed, we met up with one of my most darling friends, whom I call, "Wifey," and her family for dinner. Two months later, the World's Cutest Human still asks to go meet up with "new friend Ben," (Wifey's son) she had so much fun. 

First thing on Saturday morning, we explored the downtown Farmers' Market and wandered up and down Church Street, a pedestrian plaza that mixes boutiques, art galleries, pubs and pizza shops. We met up with, and I was able to introduce my family to, a few more of my best friends in Burlington. We sat around the drained-for-the-winter park fountain in our hats and jackets for hours, watching our kiddies run and play (and shaking our heads at what a difference a few years can make), while sampling the various vendor fare. It was so relaxing and felt great to enjoy the feeling of community.

The next morning, before we packed up the trailer and pulled out of town, we drove out to Charlotte — about 20-30 minutes outside of downtown Burlington — to hike up Mt. Philo with a few friends. It's a short but steep walk to the top, but the views reward every hiker. I was hoping to see more color and show My Love what those vistas look like on fire, but foliage came late this year (and we don't mind that it did, as you will see in subsequent posts, we experienced its magic from beginning to end during our three week pause at our New Hampshire home base). 

Time passed quickly on the hike up Mt. Philo and the taking in of the views at the top, and we soon found ourselves rushing down the hill, to the trailer and out of town. The visit was brief, but it was enough to remind me what a gorgeous place Burlington is, and at times, I wondered why I left. But if I hadn't left, I wouldn't be where I am today and despite its struggles, I wouldn't trade my path for the world. 


 Flowers at the weekend Farmers' Market off Church Street in downtown Burlington.

Flowers at the weekend Farmers' Market off Church Street in downtown Burlington.


 The first signs of foliage.

The first signs of foliage.


 Hiking up Mt. Philo in Charlotte, VT, just outside Burlington, with friends.

Hiking up Mt. Philo in Charlotte, VT, just outside Burlington, with friends.


 View from the top of Mt. Philo

View from the top of Mt. Philo


 The views of Lake Champlain and the mountains from the top of Mt. Philo.

The views of Lake Champlain and the mountains from the top of Mt. Philo.


 Fall berries at the base of Mt. Philo.

Fall berries at the base of Mt. Philo.


 Lake Champlain from All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne, VT.

Lake Champlain from All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne, VT.


 Looking up on Mt. Philo.

Looking up on Mt. Philo.



 Looking up at All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne, VT.

Looking up at All Souls Interfaith Gathering in Shelburne, VT.


 Goodnight, Lake Champlain. Waterfront in Burlington, VT.

Goodnight, Lake Champlain. Waterfront in Burlington, VT.