Burlington, Bikes, and Beers
By Victoria Principato
Stop one on our Summer by Rail: check! Today, Cate and I departed from beautiful Burlington, Vermont, an incredibly beautiful city to begin our journey! Although we have some exciting destinations ahead, Burlington will definitely be tough to beat. We arrived in Essex Junction, the nearest train station, late Monday night, and taxied to nearby downtown Burlington. Wouldn't it be convenient if there were a train stop directly in Burlington? I'm sure the thousands of students of University of Vermont would appreciate a closer train stop! Luckily, during our stay in Burlington, Cate and I had the opportunity to learn more about the local efforts of the Vermont Rail Action Network to reopen the Rutland Rail. This rail line, with a stop located in the heart of Burlington, was shut down in 1963. If reopened, it would make the largest city in Vermont far more accessible to thousands of travelers. Check out the Vermont Rail Action Network's website to learn more about their efforts to reopen the Rutland!
Aside from the Rutland, Cate and I were able to learn about and experience more of the rich history of rail in Vermont. However, we didn't even need to get on a locomotive to do so! On Tuesday, Cate and I went on a 25-mile (!) bike ride along the bike trails of Burlington. Thanks to Local Motion, a Vermont bike shop whose mission is to get people's "butts on bikes and feet on streets," we were able to rent bikes and helmets, and follow the bike trails to the famous Vermont Causeway.
Originally used as a train track, the Causeway cuts into Lake Champlain. Also known as the Island Line Trail, this train line was historically used to transport milk between Vermont and New York. As pasteurization became popularized and milk was able to last for a longer time, the tracks served less of a purpose, and was eventually shut down. Today, the trail is a prominent figure in Vermont's active biking and hiking community. Visitors can walk deep into Lake Champlain, and experience breathtaking views of the Adirondacks on surrounding sides. This was definitely a check off the bucket list for Cate and myself. The views were stunning, and the ride was fantastic. If you ever find yourself in Burlington, make sure to complete the trail! If you're a more experienced rider than these two Jersey girls, Local Motion runs a ferry system that takes riders from the end of the Causeway in Vermont, across the lake into New York, to complete the "triple ferry loop." Check out Local Motion's bike trails for more details!
After a long day of biking, Cate and I rewarded ourselves with a sampling of locally made ciders. Citizen Ciders prides themselves on crafting delicious, fresh, and locally-sourced hard ciders. Although this was my first time sampling ciders, Citizen Ciders set the bar quite high. (I even think I may have found my new favorite one, called the Dirty Mayor!) Followed by dinner at Farmhouse, we had a really wonderful time experiencing Burlington. However, no trip to Vermont would be complete (in my humble opinion) without a stop at Ben & Jerry's! Cheers Burlington, and thanks for the memories!