a few words about burlington vermont

We are in Burlington, Vermont, for a wedding.

We drove here on Friday, a nice drive mostly through blue skies and autumn colours.

On Saturday, we found a public library so I could do some school work.

Saturday night was the wedding. The ceremony was held on a patio overlooking Lake Champlain, with a dramatic sky and setting sun as a backdrop. The wedding was fun. It was good to see some of our family (Allan's side) who we like, and do the general wedding celebration stuff.

Today we hung out with our good friend Ray and took a nice walk on a waterfront trail. Now we're in a motel room watching baseball.

So that's what we've done. And now a few words about Burlington, Vermont.

There's not much here.

It's a pretty little college town, home to the University of Vermont and some smaller schools. You always hear what a nice place this is. And it's not a bad place, it's not not-nice, but... there's just not much here.

The big attraction is the Church Street Marketplace, a section of downtown Burlington closed to vehicle traffic. Twenty years or so ago there were a lot of interesting, independent stores and funky cafes. Now it's Banana Republic, The Body Shop, and one chain after the next. People rave about it... but I don't get it. It's an outdoor mall.

There's a beautiful walk and bike path along several miles of lake, part of a rails-to-trails network. It's flat, there are beautiful views, and you can see stretches of unspoiled lakefront, and several public parks. Many people walk their dogs or jog along it, and you can rent a bike from a local nonprofit.

And that's really it. There's an aquarium and science centre, and the Ethan Allen Homestead Museum, which to me are time-fillers if you have kids. Burlington is a great jumping-off point for outdoorsy things in the rest of Vermont, but if the best thing about a town is getting out of it, what does that say about the town?

Allan was born and grew up in this area, and was living here when we met in 1985. When we were long-distance, friends of mine used to ask if it was hard to decide who was going to move. We thought they were nuts. Allan and I never considered my moving to Vermont, not for one moment.

I guess most people from New York thought of Vermont as a beautiful, peaceful place, a place where one might get away from city life. But we loved city life and wanted a lot more of it.

Now it's 25 years later, and I still look at Burlington and wonder what all the fuss is about. It's a perfectly nice place to live. Our relatives, who live in the much smaller and more scenic Jeffersonville, Vermont, have a lovely life here. If you are drawn to small-town life, I could see this being a good choice - although you'd better love winter.

But if anyone tries to tell you Burlington, Vermont, is a tourist destination, send them this post.

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