Biking and Beers Along the Burlington Bike Path
Burlington, Vermont is a pleasant small college town (University of Vermont) situated along the eastern shore of Lake Champlain. It is the principal city of Vermont even though its population is only about 40,000 people. The place has a number of notables. Burlington “felt the Bern” long before the rest of the country as former Burlington mayor and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders hails from here — Bernie Weisse, a “slightly sour and forward-thinking ale” by Zero Gravity Brewing commemorates the connection. Burlington is also the birthplace of Ted Bundy (I didn’t see any beers cleverly named for him). Ben & Jerry started their notable ice cream careers here in the late 1970’s although they have moved down the lakeshore since.
Lake Champlain stretches for 125 miles North to South and is 12 miles across at its widest — only the five Great Lakes are bigger in the USA. Legend has it that the deep lake harbors a Loch Ness-like monster whose sightings stretch back to the 1600’s and Samuel de Champlain for whom the lake is named. The monster is described as a “water-dinosaur-looking creature with a serpentine neck, small head, long tail, humped back, and flippered limbs” and is called “Champ” by the locals. Sounds fishy to me.
The Burlington Bike Path is a rail-trail that uses about 14 miles of the former route of the Central Vermont Railway which ran along the Lake Champlain shoreline between Montreal and New London, CT. This segment was called the Island Line as, up until about 1960, it served several islands to the north of Burlington across a long causeway. There was a swing bridge in the northern part of the causeway that has been demolished — a bike ferry service now makes up for the missing bridge. Most of the route features picturesque lake views and park-like stretches. For my ride, I improvised a route through a short stretch on city streets through the South part in order to connect up to Magic Hat Brewery which was my furthest south destination — ugly but it did the job.
Curiosities along the way included the Burlington Earth Clock, a stonehenge-like sundial and my favorite, the world’s tallest filing cabinet. The cabinet is 38 drawers high — said to be a drawer for the bureaucratic paperwork from each year of a 38 year battle to get a roadway built from downtown Burlington to Interstate 89 to the south. The roadway was never built.
The route is very walkable (runnable) as well as being bikeable. There are seven breweries along the route including Magic Hat to the south; Switchback, Queen City, and Zero Gravity south of the downtown; Foam and Vermont Pub & Brewery downtown; and Simple Roots north of the downtown.
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Beers Along the Way
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