A peak time for foliage—and for falling in love with Vermont!

There is nothing quite like Vermont in the fall. The mountains turn red and yellow, a crisp breeze blows through the streets of Burlington, and students pull on their hoodies and sweaters as they enjoy breaks between classes on Champlain’s beautiful campus. There is always something to do in Travel & Leisure’s #1 Best College Town—from apple picking to skate parks, art galleries to concerts. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy all that Burlington and the surrounding area have to offer.

The Gateway to Fall Foliage

Fall is apple season, and Shelburne Orchards is the place to find them. Growing apples since the 1950s, Shelburne Orchards was one of USA Today’s 2018 Top 10 Apple Picking Orchards in the country. A short drive from the Champlain College campus, Shelburne Orchards is the best place to pick apples, sample crisp cider, and of course, grab a bag of fresh cider donuts before you go.

Shelburne Orchards were named a 2018 Top Ten Apple Picking Orchard by USA Today. Photo by Logan Potvin ’19.

While you’re out in Shelburne, swing by the Shelburne Museum. With a unique and eclectic collection of works ranging from American folk art to French impressionism to historical toys, as well as more than 30 buildings, structures, and gardens to explore, there is something to discover around every corner. Make sure to visit the traditional Covered Bridge, as well as the Round Barn, one of only two dozen ever built in Vermont. 

If you’re feeling up for a drive, why not join the leaf-peepers along the scenic Mad River Byway—a section of Route 100—where you can admire the waves of orange, yellow, and red leaves blanketing the mountainside. This is also where you’ll find the Sugarbush Ski Resort. Champlain’s $75 Sugarbush season pass makes it easy for students to take advantage of the slopes during the upcoming winter months!

Even before the snow, Vermont slopes are a sight to behold. Photo by Logan Potvin ’19.

Want to learn more about Lake Champlain without leaving Burlington? Or maybe the weather has taken a turn for the stormy and you would rather be indoors. No problem! The ECHO Center is right by the lake at the Burlington Waterfront Park, and provides educational experiences for the young and young at heart. Learn about the ecosystem of Lake Champlain, and see some of the creatures who call Vermont home while getting immersed in local history.

Burlington Adventures

You don’t need to leave Burlington to make the most of the fall weather. If you only have a couple of hours before hitting the road, here are some of our favorite spots to savor the season.

Grab your skateboard, head down to the bike path towards A_Dog Skate Park, and join other skateboarders and rollerbladers to experience the world-class concrete facilities. Named in honor of one of its primary influencers, the A_Dog Skate Park is the first of its kind in Burlington. If skating isn’t your thing, the bike path stretches for eight miles along the shore so you can ride, jog, or stroll among the foliage.

Champlain College Fall Open House
Leaf-peepers come from all over the East Coast to admire the foliage. Photo by Logan Potvin ’19.

Or maybe your idea of fall is curling up with a good book under a blanket. In that case, the Church Street Marketplace has you covered. Stop by the Crow Bookshop or Phoenix Books for a new or secondhand read (look for their staff recommendations!), and then find the blanket of your dreams at the Vermont Flannel Company next door. While you’re at it, why not wrap your hands around a steaming cup of cocoa from Lake Champlain Chocolates? Sounds like the recipe for the perfect fall day to us!

Experience the Art Scene

Burlington City Arts are a foundation of the arts community here in Burlington. From summer camps to classes in everything from pottery to photography to jewelry-making, they provide studio space and resources to aspiring and experienced artists alike. They also have a gallery right at the foot of Church Street with three floors full of contemporary art by local and national artists, as well as programming open to the public including music, film, and performance.

Warm Up With Local Fare

After all that exploring, you’ll want to settle in for a nice, warm dinner. For a cozy atmosphere, look no further than American Flatbread, just up the street from our apartment-style housing on Saint Paul Street . Bask in the warm glow of the wood fire oven, and tuck into what is arguably the best pizza in town. Made fresh from locally sourced ingredients, American Flatbread is one spot you won’t want to miss.

Enjoy some locally sourced food at American Flatbread after a day of exploring. Photo by Logan Potvin ’19.

For a completely different vibe but food that will warm you right up, Asiana Noodle is a hidden gem on Church Street. Go down the stairs into their lower-level restaurant for a huge (and we do mean huge) bowl of noodles and broth, or a plate of spicy curry. After a day out and about, Asiana Noodle will warm you up from head to toe.

Experience Life as a Local

As a Champlain College student, you will also be a member of the Burlington community. We hope we’ve given you a better sense of what it’s like to live here. From local apple orchards to a world-class skatepark to the best skiing in the east, you never know what you’ll find in and around Burlington. 

Champlain’s campus is always beautiful, but never more so than in the fall months. Photo by Ryan Bent ’08 // Ryan Bent Photo.

Want to experience Burlington and Champlain virtually right now? Our choose-your-own-adventure virtual tour makes it easy to get a closer look at some of our favorite Burlington spots—like Perkins Pier, the farmers market, and the annual Art Hop—from anywhere.

To see what all the hype is about, sign up for one of our Fall Open House events and take a deep dive into Champlain’s academics. If you can’t make it to the Open House events, register for a personal tour and check out everything Champlain has to offer.

See what a typical day in the life of a Champlain College student looks like.

Danni Johnson

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