September 10, 2017

Hiking Burlington VT

Nature is a huge inspiration to me, both creatively and spiritually. I love walking in the woods, sitting outside to read, and visiting high overlooks. These loves have taken me all over the country searching out beautiful vistas, amazing trees, and the smell of earth.  

One of my goals for this blog is to share my hiking experiences.  With this post, I am introducing you, the reader, to my hiking adventure in Vermont.  In September 2012, I ventured on my own to Burlington, VT.  I packed up my new, little blue car and hit the highway.  The entire vacation is a trip to remember!  

There are two hiking destinations in particular that I enjoyed; Shelburne Bay Park and Shelburne Farms, both about 20 minutes south of Burlington off Route 7.  First, I visited Shelburne Bay Park, then made my way to Shelburne Farms totalling about 6 miles between the two hikes.  I made sure to relax afterword at Magic Hat Brewing in South Burlington.

Shelburne Bay Park, which covers 104 acres, is managed by Shelburne Parks & Recreation.  This park is dog friendly but leashes are required at all times.  I hiked this trail in the AM and encountered several dogs out for a walk.  The dogs I encountered were super friendly and reminded me of my dog, Rissy, back home with my parents.

The walking/hiking/cross country ski trail loop, known as the Allen Hill Trail, is approximately two miles along Lake Champlain.  Listed as easy to moderate, this trail does include an initial upgrade, but is not overly strenuous.  The loop takes you around a peninsula with beautiful views of Lake Champlain.  Most of the trail is surrounded by lush greenery.  I captured this photo of the sun’s rays shining between the trees.

Next stop was Shelburne Farms. While at dinner the previous evening, a Burlington local highly recommended the hiking at Shelburne Farms.  While there is a small General Admission ($8) it is well worth it!  General Admission is charged mid-May to mid-October, and includes access to Walking Trails, a Children's Farmyard and cheesemaking demonstrations in the historic Farm Barn.  There are 10 miles of trail hiking available.  I chose the Farm Trail, which is 4.5 miles, though I did take the wagon ride up to the Farm Barn initially before beginning my hike.  

At the Farm Barn, I enjoyed several educational experiences including watching the making of that yummy Vermont Cheddar.  This delicious farmstead cheddar is available for sale at the Welcome Center.  I made sure to leave with a chunk!  Also at the Farm Barn, I experienced several animals including a giant tom turkey.

The grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for his part in designing Central Park, NY.  The Farm Trail starts off in a nice woods mixed with picturesque meadows of long grass and wildflowers and leads you to Lake Champlain.  There are fantastic views of the mountains on the other side of the lake.  I was fortunate to get time by the lake by myself, as I didn’t encounter too many other hikers the day I was there.  After the shoreline, I took a small detour down an unmarked trail.  It was on this small path that I encountered a stretch completely covered by arching bushes creating a tunnel.  It felt magical, like I was in a fairy garden.  It is stated in the brochure that this farm is a “landscape sculpted for both work and leisure; a landscape natural yet contrived.”  It is clear that this is a working farm, but this beautiful hike helped clear and rejuvenate my mind.   

If you are to find yourself in Burlington, VT, first make sure you have comfortable shoes, second make time for Shelburne.

*All photos taken and owned by me with the exception of the Google Map

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