Weekend Retreat: Burlington, Vermont

Where to Stay

If you like to make a vacation out of eating, book a weekend at the Inn at Essex, home to the northern campus of the New England Culinary Institute. Thanks to three restaurants (including an interactive “chefs kitchen”) and access to New England’s only championship executive-length golf course, guests will be grateful for the suites’ soft beds.

Speaking of golf, the Topnotch Resort & Spa has put together what it calls “the man’s weekend,” when gents are invited to get pampered in a men’s-only spa. The facilities feature reclining chairs, flat-screen televisions, sports massages and facials, plus oversized showers complete with luxurious botanical bath products.

And if you prefer to stay in Stowe, there’s the Trapp Family Lodge, where you can immerse yourself in a true mountain experience. Brought to you by the famed Sound of Music family, this Austrian-inspired alpine lodge has sweeping alpine views. And with weekly sing-a-longs in the resort’s Tea Room, it’s the perfect destination for good old-fashioned family fun.

Where to Eat

The Penny Cluse Café is a dream come true for night owls—and that includes just about everyone in this college town. The café serves breakfast and lunch all day, meaning you can chow down on gingerbread pancakes or Mexican style chorizo after-hours.

For a more epicurean venture, there’s Leunig’s Bistro & Café. Burlington may be a far shot from Paris, but this little marketplace has French-inspired décor and a menu of escargot, frites, and beouf bourguignon.

If an intimate dinner party is more your style, visit the Kitchen Table Bistro, where the menu of small plates includes delicacies like Vermont pheasant and Chatham mussels. And like many Vermont restaurants, this family-owned bistro works through the Vermont Fresh Network. So you can pile up the plates at your own table while also putting food on local farmers’ tables.


Join breast cancer survivors and community racers as they take to Lake Champlain for an afternoon of spirited competition at the Dragonboat Festival. Visitors can also meet the festival’s mascot, Bump, the legendary moose who fell in love with a cow. Hear the tale of his quest for love, which ended with an appearance at a UMass basketball game and a severe head injury.

Shelburne Farms is Vermont at its best – cheese, farm animals, and gorgeous mountain views. Fine tune your senses this Friday evening as the Shelburne Farms summer concert series continues. This weekend’s performance is a continuation of the weeklong Vermont Mozart Festival, featuring the Quintets with Kuerti in the Coach Barn. And on Sunday afternoon, guests are invited to indulge in the freshest and tastiest of Vermont cuisine at the Vermont Fresh Network Forum. Learn about local produce and feast on local delicacies prepared by more than 20 Vermont chefs.

In search of the perfect souvenir? Take a stroll down Church Street, where artisans, fashion-mavens, and foodies flock in search of that perfect frock or a bite to eat. For your outdoor essentials, hit the Outdoor Gear Exchange, where seasoned professionals will help you suit up for your next adventure. Or stop by Lunaroma Aromatic Apothecary for the best in aromatherapeutic essential oils, perfumes, and bath and body-care products.