Mike Cohen travels to Vermont: Burlington

Trader Duke's Dining Area

Who does not love the Vermont city of Burlington? Less than two hours from Montreal, it features great shopping, good places to eat and fabulous accommodations. It is also a great place to stay during the ski season as you are near some superb hills, notably in Stowe.

When I was young my family went to Burlington each summer for an extended stay. Looking to break up the drive home from Cape Cod last summer, I decided to extend our family vacation with a few days in Burlington.

Your Vermont vacation is sure to include a stop on Burlington’s award-winning Church Street Marketplace (www.churchstmarketplace.com) pedestrian mall! With over 100 retail shops, restaurants and street vendors, this a popular destination for shopping, dining and people-watching. A recipient of the prestigious Great American Main Street Award, the Marketplace is recognized as one of the most successful pedestrian malls in the country.

Burlington Town Center (www.burlingtontowncenter.com) is considered Burlington’s premier indoor shopping center, featuring an exciting retail mix including J.Crew, Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, Ann Taylor Loft, Abercrombie & Fitch, Abercrombie, Aéropostale, Gap/Gap Kids/Baby Gap, Crabtree & Evelyn and Macy’s Department Store.

Then there is University Mall (www.umallvt.com), Vermont’s largest enclosed shopping center, with over 70 shops and services. Here you can choose from a major selection of major department stores like JC Penney, Sears and the Bon-Ton. Within walking distance, you’ll find HomeGoods, Hannaford Food & Drug, the Sears Automotive Center and one of the most fresh-looking IHOP restaurants I have ever dined at. Plus, there is plenty of free parking!

The Burlington region offers outdoor activities from lake-based kayaking, fishing and sailing to mountain-based hiking, cycling and skiing – and everything in between. Spend your time in Vermont enjoying the area’s fantastic dining, shopping, concerts and special events. Unwind in one of the area’s many excellent hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and resorts. And, of course, enjoy the spectacular natural beauty of Vermont’s Lake Champlain and Green Mountains.

Northern Lights, Vermont’s premier cruise boat, offers daily scenic, lunch and brunch cruises. Weekly dinner cruises including entertainment. This floating venue is an ideal setting for weddings, anniversaries, corporate functions and special events or to simply enjoy the spectacular beauty of Lake Champlain. Departing from the King Street Ferry Dock from May through October.

The Flynn Theatre is a 1,453-seat art-deco treasure and 150-seat “black box” facility hosting over 100 world-class live performances annually – broadway, dance, music (jazz, classical, pop, folk, world), cutting-edge, family and student matinees.

ACCOMMODATIONS: We stayed somewhere new for me. The Doubletree Hotel Burlington (www.doubletreevt.com) is just off I-89 on Williston Road and near the airport. I was struck immediately by what a large and attractive property this was. All standard guestrooms include the Sweet Dreams bed, coffeemaker, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, refrigerator, easy chair, in-room remote printing, Lodgenet with web access and Game Cube, speakerphone and complimentary wireless high-speed internet access. In the suites, there is the main bedroom with a king-size bed, a pullout couch, a working desk with two chairs and two flat-screen televisions. There is a pool, connected to an outdoor patio and an onsite restaurant (Trader Duke’s).

We were greeted with hot chocolate chip cookies upon checking in.

General Manager Rick Milliken has been in the local hotel industry for 32 years and converted the hotel from a Clarion to a Doubletree in 2005, at which time 33 suites were constructed. There are 161 guest rooms in all. You can leave your car here for two weeks when using the nearby airport for a charge of only $25.

Non-Smoking King Standard
DINING OUT: The Sadie Katz Delicatessen (www.sadiekatzdeli.com) is located at 189 Bank Street, just off Church. It is the closest thing the city has to a kosher restaurant. My family and I thoroughly enjoyed our lunch there. Owner Glenn Walter opened the place two and a half years ago and the Jewish-style diner has a loyal following. You can enjoy Meredith Mann’s Matzoh Ball Soup, a chopped chicken liver plate, latkes, and knishes. While the fresh deli sandwiches are their specialty, they also have a nice breakfast menu.

One of the more established fish restaurants in town is Shanty on the Shore (www.shantyontheshore.com), located at 181 Battery Street overlooking Lake Champlain. Open from 11 a.m. daily, the restaurant is owned by the husband and wife team of Al and Kim Gobeille. There is free parking, which is a bonus, and a menu that features excellent clam chowder, tasty appetizers, plenty of seafood, chicken, steaks, sandwiches and some tantalizing desserts. General Manager Christian Chardin and his staff merit some applause for the way they will break open a lobster for you and serve it minus any shells. A lot of restaurants won’t go to that trouble. Ask if Big Al’s Platter is available on the night you dine. It consists of flounder, shrimp, clams and either fries, baked potato, or rice.

For those looking for some standard fish options, there is broiled haddock, classic Boston scrod, grilled Atlantic salmon and grilled swordfish. For dessert, save some room for the fabulous Shanty pie – silky chocolate mousse with chocolate crust and whipped cream on top. For reservations call 802-864-0238.

Log on to www.1-800-vermont.com for more details.