By Kelly Tait
NASJE’s Annual Conference is September 25-28 in Burlington, Vermont–prime time to visit this gorgeous area! There is a lot to see and do in the area, especially if you want to add a day or two to your trip either before or after the conference. Below is a sampling.
Getting to Burlington and to the Conference Hotel
AIRPORT: The airlines that fly into the Burlington International Airport (airport code: BTV) include JetBlue, American, United, Delta, and Allegiant.
CONFERENCE HOTEL: The conference hotel, the Hilton Burlington, is in a great location right on the shores of Lake Champlain; you won’t need a car unless you want to do major side trips (of course, there are some lovely day trips…see below). The hotel has a courtesy shuttle from and to the airport. To get the shuttle from the airport, you’ll need to call the hotel front desk (802-658-6500) when you arrive, and they’ll let you know when the shuttle will be there. Trips from the hotel to the airport leave at the top of the hour. (The hotel website says that a taxi runs about $15 airport-hotel.)
OTHER OPTIONS FOR TRAVELING TO NEW ENGLAND: If you’re up for more of an adventure in getting to Burlington, the Montreal International airport is about 75 miles away (bring your passport). There are some other airports within a 2-3 hour drive (such as Albany, NY, and Manchester, NH) with service from additional airlines such as Southwest, but obviously you’d need transportation to get to Burlington. And there are even more that are farther away but that are great places to visit, such as Boston and New York City–Amtrak does go from NYC to Burlington, but it’s an all day trip.
Activities in and near the Burlington Area
IN BURLINGTON (Here are a few of the many possibilities)
- Church Street Marketplace – Strolling, shopping, and dining in a National Register Historic District that’s open only to pedestrians; easily walkable from hotel.
- Waterfront Park – walking and outdoor events including Oktoberfest (Sept. 22-25); very near our hotel.
- Lake Champlain cruise on the Spirit of Ethan Allen … oh, wait – this is included in your conference registration fee!
- Burlington Bike Path (7.5 miles)
- Walking Tours – Waterfront Walking Tour (PDF) and Walking Tour of Burlington.
- ECHO, Leahy Center for Lake Champlain – Lake aquarium and science center, an experiential learning center; near the hotel.
- University of Vermont – Stroll the pretty campus 1.5 miles from hotel.
- Shelburne Museum, Shelburne, VT – Excellent museum with renowned collections of art and Americana, including a Grandma Moses Exhibition; about 8 miles from hotel. Shelburne also has a working farm you can tour, Vermont Teddy Bear Co., a vineyard, and a brewery.
- Vermont State Parks – There are numerous state parks in the Burlington area including Mt. Philo State Park (great view!) 13 miles from the hotel and Grand Isle State Park about 25 miles away.
- Hiking trails near Burlington
- Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury, VT, has tours (also don’t miss their Flavor Graveyard); 28 miles from Burlington.
- Middlebury, VT – Charming village with shops that feature Vermont artists – stop by Edgewater Gallery overlooking the 20-foot Otter Creek waterfall; 35 miles from hotel.
- Stowe, VT – Another charming village (they’re all over this state!) with numerous outdoor activities, also where the Trapp Family Lodge is (of the Sound of Music von Trapp family); 37 miles from Burlington.
- Montpelier, VT – Vermont’s “small town capital” (least populous state capital in the U.S.) is a pretty town with a lovely capital building; 40 miles from Burlington. Go 10 miles farther for a Forbes’ favorite foliage-covered bridge drive.
- Biking in the Lake Champlain Region
- Lake Champlain Wine Trail
- A little farther afield – 90 miles from Burlington – is Woodstock, Vermont, a classic, gorgeous Vermont village near the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park, the Quechee Gorge, the Appalachian Trail, and three covered bridges.
More Vermont Activities and Maps
- Vermont 2016 Summer/Fall – Get the Official Guide and also visit the main website of the VT Chamber of Commerce.
- Covered Bridges of Vermont – There are over 100 authentic covered bridges in Vermont.
- Fall Foliage Reports – The best time to see the fall foliage in Vermont is typically mid-September to late October, but when and where depend on the weather. Starting in early September, you can find out where the best fall color is.
- Hiking in Vermont
- Maple Syrup – Vermont is the #1 producer in the country. The maple sugaring season is in early spring, but there are sugar houses open year round.
- Vermont Breweries – Quite the beer scene! Get a map and check out the passport program.
- Vermont Cheese Trail
- Vermont Wine and Vine Trail – wine, cider, etc.
- Vermont Marble Trail
- Maps – Free printable travel maps of Vermont and other areas of New England.
This is going to be a great conference in a great place – start making your plans to visit now! Remember that the early bird discount for conference registration ends on August.
Check out the schedule and links to register for the conference and reserve a room at the Hilton Burlington. Please note that a block of rooms has been reserved for September 24, 2016 through September 29, 2016. The special room rate will be available until August 30th or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first.
Kelly Tait is Immediate Past President of NASJE and Co-Chair of NASJE’s Annual Conference Committee. She is a judicial branch education consultant and an adjunct professor at the University of Nevada, Reno. A third generation native Nevadan, she is also a part-time Vermont transplant who learned a lot about the state by doing research for this article. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.