Posted by: Linda Wolf
As the snow comes down around us come March we feel at the same time thankful for it’s presence (economy booster for Vermont ski resorts) and utterly desperate for it’s disappearance and the emergence of sun, fresh foliage and enjoying the outdoors without a million layers. Built along the shores of Lake Champlain, Burlington, Vermont offers endless opportunities for warm weather fun and exploration. Take a stroll through our historic neighborhoods in the Hill District or along the Church Street Marketplace pedestrian mall where you can grab a seat at a local restaurant and enjoy the people watching. Head down to Burlington Segway® Tours and join a tour of the city or rent a bike from Local Motion and explore it on your own.
The Island Line Trail, also known as the Burlington Bike Path, is perfect for the bike enthusiast or novice. The 13.4 mile trail runs from Burlington’s Oakledge park to the southern tip of South Hero, one of the Lake Champlain Islands. The trail winds its way through parks, neighborhoods and city streets at it’s southern end before joining up with the recently renovated Burlington Bike Path at the waterfront in downtown Burlington. There, the path runs alongside the lake, with beautiful views and the occasional vista with benches to take a rest and have a snack. At the north end of Burlington, affectionately referred to as the NNE or New North End, the path crosses the Winooski river and you’ll find yourself in Colchester.
Don’t give up yet, the best is yet to come. Just 2.5 miles from this point you will emerge from the woods onto the old Island Line railroad bed built in 1901 to serve the local communities. The railroad bed is built on miles of giant hunks of granite offering locals and visitors alike the opportunity to “walk on water”. The granite rail bed stretches just over 3 miles across the lake from Colchester to South Hero giving unparalleled views of the Green Mountains to the east and Adirondack Mountains in New York to the west. To allow recreational boats access from Mallett’s Bay to the open lake, a break in the causeway requires bikers and walkers to hop on a 5 minute ferry ride before continuing their exploration. Once on the other side you can continue on to find places like Snow Farm Vineyard, Allenholm Farm and Hackett’s Orchard or take a dip in the lake across from the Bird House Forest.