Vermont, particularly Burlington, is a second home to us. Our boys, Justin and Bryan, both graduated from The University of Vermont, and now own a home together in Colchester, just north of Burlington. In all the years of visiting Vermont, we rarely stayed in downtown Burlington, so being at the Ferry Dock Marina put us in the middle of everything this great city has to offer. You can walk and bike everywhere! Downtown Burlington, and Church Street Marketplace, a lovely pedestrian mall with great restaurants and shops, are a 5 minute walk (uphill!).
The Ferry Dock Marina is great, and rather new. They are in the midst of expanding to provide boaters with more slips and a bath house. The other marina in Burlington, The Community Boathouse, already has a bath house. It’s only a couple of blocks north on the lake, and has about the same walk into town. It too, is centrally located, but many of the transient slips surround their dock-side restaurant, Splash. They have all of the boats stern in, which means the restaurant patrons are all seated steps away from your stern. Talk about being in a fish bowl! If you stay there, ask for a slip away from the restaurant, behind ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain. Note that the food at Splash isn’t so hot either.
Burlington Community Boathouse
The University of Vermont, founded in 1791, is one of the oldest universities in the country. This is the oldest part of the University, called Central Campus. The University sits at the top of the hill bordering town, overlooking Lake Champlain.
Justin and Bryan’s adorable home, Colchester, VT
The boys live there with Ellie (the orange cat), Arthur (the brown cat), and Madison (the dog).
Every Saturday in the warm weather, there is a fabulous farmers market in City Hall Park on St. Paul Street, in Burlington. This is in the heart of Burlington, a block before the Church Street Marketplace, and a 5 minute walk from the marina. Nancy had a wonderful time exploring the market and shopping for veggies! This market has everything from fresh produce and flowers, to crafts, prepared foods, Vermont dairy products, meats and more. Bring bags, as you WILL fill them! The market, like a lot of places in Burlington, is dog friendly.
Squash blossoms were purchased and served as an appy that evening. They looked AWFUL, but tasted great!
Burlington is a very artsy town. Talented street performers can be found all over town, most especially on Church Street. Scattered everywhere in the city are murals, sculptures, and sometimes some impromptu sidewalk art. It’s fun to spot things as you wander around this beautiful city. Note that there is occasionally a theme with a sea serpent, based on the legend of “Champ”, the mythical serpent that “lives” in Lake Champlain.
We had a cute visitor at the marina, and he hung out for a while.
This is a new neighborhood for us, and when walking into town from the marina, we stumbled on this adorable park just past August First on S. Champlain St.. It caught Nancy’s eye because of the gorgeous delphiniums, her favorite, and always a challenge to grow back in New Jersey.
Bryan got home from Denver just in time to join us for a ride on Misty, as we moved her from Burlington to Mallets Bay, closer to where the boys live. Bryan’s buddy from home, Jordan Bush was visiting and he joined us. We stayed at the Moorings Marina, which is lovely, with an updated and clean bath house. We had hoped to have some service done on Misty, but they are a small marina, with a small staff and seemed overwhelmed in general. Stick with Shelburne Shipyard for any service when you’re in the area. We did enjoy our spot at the end of the T dock, where we could enjoy swimming and kayaking around the bay. We also had some pretty amazing sunsets! Mallets Bay is much quieter than Burlington, and we enjoyed the change of pace. Less than a mile south from the marina on Lakeshore Drive, you’ll find an ice cream shop, a small market (Mazza’s), and across the street from Mazza’s, New York Pizza, which is good.
Since we left Ferry Dock Marina on July 1, we missed the fireworks in Burlington on July 3. We understand that they’re fabulous, as they’re staged from the other side of the harbor breakwall. However, we did have an incredible show in Mallets Bay. We had a great day swimming and kayaking on the lake, followed by a BBQ at the boys house.
We returned to the boat for the city of Colchester fireworks, which were really great. Even better? They set off the fireworks in the park across the street from the marina, so we had a front row seat on our aft deck! The bay was PACKED with boats! It is tradition in Mallets Bay for lakeside residents to have a little competitive fireworks display of their own after the town show ends. Nothing big (or so they say!). This year, someone along the lake had other ideas, and had a 45 minute fireworks show that rivaled the citys! At the end of the show, all of the boats in the bay sound their horns. Misty has a horn for a much larger boat…it’s LOUD, but it was fun to sound off along with all of the other boats on the bay.
The crowd gathering in Mallets Bay for the fireworks
We enjoyed having friends of the boys spend a day with us aboard Misty. We set off for Thayer Bay, threw an anchor and enjoyed an afternoon of swimming, kayaking and floating in the water. Thanks for the visit Morgan and Sarah!
Burlington is jam packed with amazing restaurants of every kind. We like to try new places, in addition to going back to old favorites during our visits. We were thrilled to discover August First, a fabulous bakery/cafe located at the corner of S. Champlain and Main Streets, a short walk from the marina. You can buy breads, donuts, biscuits and other baked goods, and have breakfast or lunch. We had both breakfast and lunch here, and the food is delicious! Don’t miss their maple biscuits…delicious and HUGE, one is enough for two to split. They open at 7:30 and the biscuits are hot out of the oven. We know this, because we were there early the morning we left Burlington to grab some! They have lots of outdoor seating, so Madison was able to join us for lunch.
For our anniversary, we tried Bistro Margo, a special place for a special occasion. We were happy we did. The space is clean and modern, and the tables are nicely spaced. The service was wonderful, and the “classic French cuisine with a modern twist” was delicious. We loved it!
A special meal at Bistro Margo for our Anniversary
After a few days at the Moorings, we stocked up on food and took off for a few nights “on the hook” (at anchor). Lake Champlain is vast and spectacular, and there is no shortage of great anchorages. We left Mallets Bay, and passed Thayer Bay as we made our way through the cut in the Causeway (part of the Burlington Bike Path), passing the bike ferry as we went through. Yup, you heard that right! There is a ferry for walkers and cyclists to get across the cut in the causeway!
The Burlington Causeway
Our first night was spent in a cove off of Bluff Point on Valcour Island. The entire island is a NY State Park, with some lovely beaches, rocky shores, and hiking trails. Since our dinghy was acting up (motor won’t start), we enjoyed a kayak ride ashore and a lovely hike along the Lake.
Bluff Point Anchorage
Our second night was in Willsboro Bay, where we enjoyed a quiet afternoon and evening, with few other boats. We enjoyed the entertainment from 3 loons who were nearby at dusk. As swimming birds, they’re fun to watch as they dive and resurface a good distance away. Their ever-changing songs are so peaceful and beautiful.
Willsboro Bay Anchorage
We ended the journey in Shelburne Bay, which is a lovely anchorage, surrounded by a beautiful park and has spectacular views of Mount Mansfield (Stowe) in the distance to the east, and Burlington to the north. Nancy enjoyed a swim, and we relaxed watching the boats, hikers and the sunset.
Shelburne Bay Anchorage
On Monday, we motored the short distance from our anchorage to Shelburne Shipyard, where Misty was scheduled to be hauled out of the water to have a bow thruster installed. She’ll “be on the hard” (land) for up to 2 weeks. It all depends on the weather.
The two weeks Misty was out of the water was spent with the boys. We enjoyed road trips around Vermont, went hiking and taking Madison to the beach, and spent 4 days in beautiful Quebec City. More on all of that in the next post!